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Galaxy Online Review

By on Apr 6, 2009 in Blog Posts, Games | 3 comments

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Currently in Open Beta, Galaxy Online is a free-to-play MMORTS. This means you don’t pay for the game directly, but through optional purchases of “points” to be spent in the game. A business model that never seems to work long term, but always attracts interest from the community.

The game itself is truly quite massive. With hundreds of star systems to conquer and build up, there is no end of things to do. Except for the first month or so – where there is almost nothing to do.

Yes, you read that correctly – for the first month of playing Galaxy Online you can expect to do nothing but build up resources and research sciences. It takes a solid week just to get comfortable in the game, and after about three or four days you begin to realize what you’ve gotten yourself into. Resources are painfully slow to collect, and you require such a vast amount of them to research science advancements that getting your fledgling empire off the ground will literally take weeks. In fact, the beginner quests will only take about 30 minutes to complete, and after that there is almost nothing to do but acquire planets and resources until you’re advanced enough to build a useful fleet.

It’s because of this massive delay and steep learning curve that Galaxy Online is doomed to failure. Without a large infusion of quests for beginners, much better documentation and serious science and resource balancing Galaxy will have a hard time retaining most players for more than a week.

For example, just today I was researching Mesology, which is required for an important building upgrade. The first three upgrades only cost a few hundred science points – no big deal. Level 4 required 1,000 science points. The next level requires 30,000. That’s right – thirty times as many science points are required for no particular reason – you don’t even get anything from the Level 5 upgrade. I’m told that it just keeps going up from there, eventually costing upwards of 100,000 SPs. Insane. I have worked hard to pump out science points and I’m only at 850 per hour. At this rate I’ll have enough SPs to get the next level of Mesology in about two days. Since everything revolves around science points, that means it will literally be weeks before I can upgrade enough to have a fighting force worth anything, which is unacceptable and illogical.

Why would the developers of Galaxy, IGG, decide that this is the way they want the game to function? It’s clear that the vast majority of new players will leave due to the high learning curve and lack of documentation and tutorials, and those who make it through that will have to face down the fact that they are in for a month of monotonous button mashing before they can get to the fun part – space battles. IGG has created a game where the elitist gaming community of the unemployed can thrive at the expense of everyone else.

Still, the game is strangely addicting. Possibly because you really do have to check in every few hours to be sure you’re making the best use of your resources. Buildings take anywhere from five seconds to five hours to upgrade, and you can only queue up three building upgrades per planet, so that means you’ll have to login often to click things. If you can remember Furbies or those rubber electronic babies that you had to take care of in Home-Ec, then you can relate to the feeling you will get nursing your planets in Galaxy Online.

For now I’m still excited in the morning because I will have the night’s resources stocked to spend, but I don’t know how long that will last. I have a feeling I won’t make it a month.

  • I made an account especially to comment on this review. When I read it I whas kind off shocked that the reviewer has not learned much about this game.

    “Yes, you read that correctly – for the first month of playing Galaxy Online you can expect to do nothing but build up resources and research sciences.”

    This is in no way true, when a server opens you can expect to see within 4 days fights breaking out in the galaxy everywhere and people taking planets. It goes really fast sometimes.

    “It’s because of this massive delay and steep learning curve that Galaxy Online is doomed to failure.”

    The delay is a lie and the steep learning curve is what turns people on. It takes some effort to learn the games mechanics but when you figured it out (really isnt that hard) you have the benefit that you play with other players who didnt quit when they had to do some research. A fourth server has opened some days ago to handle to increase of new players. It seems its getting more popular.

    “The first three upgrades only cost a few hundred science points – no big deal. Level 4 required 1,000 science points. The next level requires 30,000. That’s right – thirty times as many science points are required for no particular reason – you don’t even get anything from the Level 5 upgrade.”

    You forget to mention that this is true for many research upgrades and there are really allot to choose from giving you lots of possibilties in the beginning. Why on earth do you want to research mesology to level 5 when you make 850 SP an hour?

    “IGG has created a game where the elitist gaming community of the unemployed can thrive at the expense of everyone else.”

    lol are you taking about me?

    “For now I’m still excited in the morning because I will have the night’s resources stocked to spend, but I don’t know how long that will last. I have a feeling I won’t make it a month.”

    You should try to learn how it comes that some people just have such ridiculous ranking scores compared to many others. I will reveal to you its not because they are behind their Pc’s allday.

    Personally i have quit tribalwars for this game and im not sorry for it. It is a very social game and when you understand how to play it I can guarantee you will be hooked just as much as me.

  • serverdown:
    I respect your opinion, but I think you just reiterate my points.

    You mention that if a new server opens you can play the core content of the game much faster, which is true, but a new server may or may not ever be created again, and certainly not often enough to counter my point. If you join any existing server that has been up for more than a week or two, which almost every player will, then you will have the same boring experience I have for the first few weeks. So the delay isn’t a “lie” and the extremely steep learning curve causes far more people to stop playing the game than to become more interested in it.

    Saying that you go from 1,000 to 30,000 for many upgrades and not just the specific one I mentioned only reinforces my complaint about there being a serious balance issue in the science tree.

    I’m not even sure what you were trying to say in your last two paragraphs, but yes, I was talking about people like you 🙂

    Don’t get me wrong, as I said in the original post I actually like the game, I just think it needs some serious work.

  • Thanks for replying to my comment. I had to look up the word “reiterate” since english is not my native language. It seems to mean “repeat” according to babelfish. I used “reiterate” to respond to the arguments I most disagreed with.

    What you say about joining a server after about 2 weeks is true. You will have a hard if not impossible time to compete with players who started out the first minute when a server just started. I think its a matter of preference since I have no problems with that. But you must understand this can be counterattacked more than any other game. When you join an active corps who tries to conquer galaxies they must have players to occupy the planets that are available than. Because if all the planets in a galaxy are not occupied the galaxy does not belong to the corps and they have no control over it. This means that its important for a corps to have allot of players so they can take as much as possible. This makes it possible for players who start out late, to catch up very quickly with high ranking players. This I like very much. The only thing you as a player have to do is make sure you research colonial science so that you are able to take 15 planets quickly.

    Im sorry, but about the research your oppinion is still flawed. Its actually the thing im most excited about. For instance, colonial science has only 5 levels. The last level costs about 50.000 science points which is allot when you start out. But researching weapons has about 25 levels and you can go quickly to level 10 or so. Each point you put in that research will reward you with a new weapon to put on your ship. There are many upgrades that have allot of levels so there is much diversity.

    About the learning curve, its also a matter of preference. Sure it takes some time to figure it all out. This is only a problem when the game is overly complicated. When you start learning the game you notice its all done the way its done for good reason.

    Still the game indeed needs some work. After playing about a month and a half, I have a better view of the game than when I commented on your review. I now have quit the game simply because of the huge amount of time it requires when you want to play effectively. I will still keep my eye on this game and see how much it will progess in the coming months or so. But I still think about the happy moments I had with galaxy online when I managed to get to rank 12 in my faction without spending a dime on this game and simply doing the right thing at the right time 🙂