Clive – AKA Dr Zurgle
The first week hasn’t gone well for Zurgle-kind. Apart from the same mistakes everyone seems to have (sending fleets of 5-10 ships on deep-space missions to conquer planets, rather than just expeditionary single ships and so on) a catastrophic navigation error has let Alex drive a fleet straight into the heart of my empire. And no, it’s not because I can’t use the sodding Battle Calculator
– which is what he’s claiming.
Expecting a fight, I’ve been building up my weapons strength, but on reflection this isn’t quite the advantage I had thought it would be. Battles in Neptune’s Pride
are more like wars of attrition, and a superior weapons skill merely means that you kill one or two more ships per round than the other guy. As we’ve quickly got to the point where fleets of 30+ ships are racing around the galaxy, a slightly superior weapons skill doesn’t count for much.
Of more use is speed, as Alex’s ships can hop from one of my planets to the next in half the time my ponderous battle fleets take to get to him. In fact, it seems as if my battle fleets have got slower as everyone else has been upgrading their engines. I swear it never used to take 24 hours to travel between planets that were less than half a lightyear away from each other! Perhaps I need to re-install their operating systems?
I therefore need to trade to get some speed, and have sent messages to players accordingly. However, and despite my great need, communicating in Neptune’s Pride
is a little like organising an event over Facebook – I’m constantly logging in to see if anyone’s actually bothered to look at their inboxes and if I can start wrangling a deal for some better engines. This also means that there’s a huge temptation to check the game regularly during the day, before I go to sleep and as soon as I wake up. This is why I don’t play MMOs!
Kevin - AKA KempasThe following is a log from the captain of the prized fleet The Wrath of Bruce Lee.
…Since our entering into the Dennis galaxy and the formation of this fleet, Commander Kempas has been hard to reach and even then harder to read. Clearly something troubles him, but although he tells me to inform the ships I have that we have important duties to come, we have, up until this point, been kept on a desolate outpost.
I do not know what to tell the men. They would return to their families on the comfortable star of Wei if there is no work to be done. Yet I feel that the great Kempas would not purposefully leave us idle.
[…transmission cuts and words are received from the good fleet Bergkamp.]
Men…brace yourselves – We dance the thin line between greatness and doom. I am… unsure of what forces await us on Mirach. In truth I do not know whether we will ever again set flight. But I know this: We are Kempans. We will go down fighting. And, should we live to fight another day, then fight we will once more.
For the honour of our families, our friends and our ship-mates. And in dutiful service. Onward. Onward…
Alex - AKA Sifter
I've never smoked a cigarette, never had a problem saying no to a drink. Never been interested in gambling either. I don't, in short, consider myself to have an addictive personality.
Today's To Do list at work went:
1. Call Martin.
2. Follow up James.
3. Edit tomorrow's content.
4. Move fleet towards Segin.
The game is seeping into real life; it's all we talk about, and it's all I see on anyone's screen in the office - until, of course, people notice and minimise their windows.
After an insular start, I've been more diplomatic in my dealings, trading technology to get myself ahead. My lead in speed - two levels above Clive, my nearest rival - translates into a dramatic advantage. I realise I can wait for him to commit his ships to a star, then make the jump myself, arrive first and seize the steep bonuses the game gives defenders. This means when Clive's fleet arrives, it is inevitably destroyed. There is nothing he can do, as, once committed, the ships have to complete their jump. Trust me, there's nothing worse than having your ships set sail for a star only to find Kula Shaker
have got there first and intend to beat you into submission when you arrive.
I find this far more entertaining than I expected; I don't consider myself competitive, but this is clearly my idea of fun. I am learning a lot about myself - and unlike Paul, I don't have an alter ego to blame.