The Price of Neptune’s Pride

Written by Craig Lager

August 12, 2010 // 11:33 a.m.

Tags: #4x-strategy #browser-game #neptunes-pride #strategy

Companies: #indie #iron-helmet-games

How to Destroy Friends

The fact that Neptune’s Pride is multiplayer and played over such a long period of time is what makes it so brilliant, and also - like I said at the start - horrible beyond measure.

Do you have friends? Because after playing Neptune’s with them you wont be able to look them in the eye again, ever. You can’t trust them post-Pride - a vale of deceit and minor hatred will come between you, borne out of paranoia and mis-trust, not to mention backstabbing and all out warfare. Neptune’s Pride lets you find out what your friends are really capable of. Neptune’s brings out the very worst in people, bubbling underhand tactics and outright lies to the surface.

When me and a set of friends played Neptune’s Pride, we had one rule - in the game, you stay in character. Who that character is is up to the player, but all emails and communication inside Neptune’s came from the character, not the person. About a week into the game an email popped into my inbox that was CC’d to all participants in the game, detailing how one of the players was going on holiday for a week but didn’t want to drop out of the game. If we could just not attack him he would really appreciate it, in other words.

The Price of Neptune’s Pride How to Destroy Friends
YOU'LL NEVER TAKE ME ALIVE, YELLOW!

This guy was one of our friends. We trusted him implicitly and didn’t want him throwing a tantrum over us ultimately killing him while he was AFK. “Sure,” we agreed, “we’ll leave you be.” He went on his holiday, not appearing online at all on the day he went; people redirected forces from his area to focus on more imminent threats, all was calm.

Then he attacked.

He faked it all and his surprise, unprovoked attack crippled two players almost immediately. I was luckily on the other side of the galaxy, but it was a taste of things to come - no one could be trusted in or out of the game. For the whole month any chat we had outside of Neptune’s always felt like it had an agenda - people vying for information, gauging your motives. Playing Neptune’s Pride forces you to guard everything you say. It’s exhausting.

Dawn raids were common too. People setting alarm clocks for stupid o’clock to log in and launch an attack - if the person you’re attacking is asleep they can’t notice the fleet you’ve launched their way and then they have absolutely no time to re-enforce their systems. It’s underhand, devious and wonderfully effective. And it might seem ridiculous out of context - to take a free browser game so seriously - but Neptune’s has a strange way of escalating like that; bitter revenge is hard to pass up and you will go to any lengths to get it.

The Price of Neptune’s Pride How to Destroy Friends
Damn you, Blue

Yaaaawn. Morning, Self.
Sir, you’re up, good. I’ve been calling you for hours
Self, I fail to see how that dream we had was ‘calling me’, exactly. In fact, it seems to me as we positively wanted to stay there. That was one sexy dre-
Never mind that, Sir. We have a problem. Our 4AM attack on Blue failed utterly, it seems Blue was up all night and responded.
Crap. Well, it’s not a total disaster, at least we did some damage.
You don’t understand, Sir. Blue was up all night – he launched a counterattack. It’s due to hit Miras in 1 hour - there is nothing we can do.
Oh, bloody hell. Self, take an email. Dear Yellow. Blue is being mean about your Mum – you should totally attack him instead of me. In fact, let’s stop fighting and take him on together. As payment for the truce, I’ll tell you Purple’s plan. Regards, Red.
We know Purple’s plan, Sir?
Nope, not at all.
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