Each day of our existence we encounter millions of people striving
for wealth and /or fame; we wake each morning to a stirring, which
drives us into a competitive persistent environment; we call it
'society.' Knowing that the great majority of us will never experience
extreme prosperity or recognition, games such as Star Peace, allow
us persistent worlds in which to test our competence as leaders
and successors. Star Peace is a massively multiplayer role-playing
strategic, economic simulation. Bear with me and I will explain
Stepping into the Portal
Star Peace is developed
by Oceanus Communications, and being published by Monte
Cristo. It has been in development since 1998 and began the
first round of beta testing in August of 99 with its first commercial
release in December 2000. Star Peace plans to become an environment
which merges all different gaming genres. (i.e. creating an universe
comprised of several unique functioning games.) Star Peace becomes
the first installment for the new Universe, taking the "business
component form." Monte Cristo plans to incorporate a 3D engine,
an open research component, as well as regular additions of new
structures, industries and regulations. The next phase is expected
to add the political and illegal business subgame.
Features will include: Up to 1000 players per persistent world,
over 300 facilities to build and manage, more than 600 technologies
to research and strategically players may choose to create alliances,
enemies and /or decide to play as a recluse. Furthermore, there
is a "player-rating" ladder system for each world and between each
of the planets. Recommended minimum system requirements: P266, 24MB
of ram and adequate 2D acceleration.
Star Peace conveys the survival of humanity and takes place in
the near future. Earth has reached its breaking point and a discovery
of radical portals leads to a decision to transport the excess human
population to a newly exposed world. Players will vide for power,
money and the chance to be mayor or president of their planet.
It is a game of intellect and intrigue. You must learn who your
friends are and whom you trust. Players will make-up and are responsible
for the entire society and for keeping the planet economically vital.
This means: roads, taxes, housing, public facilities, zoning, pollution,
trading, etc. The possession of power or the thoughts there of,
make many people react and plan with relentless deeds, at times.
While, in the beginning, finding your way around Star Peace
is self-explanatory, mastering the game will take time, trial and
error, and patience. Players are given the option to join the game
as a "visitor," better enabling the chance of interacting with other
players and the game before actually beginning your company. It
will allow you a few moments to get acquainted with the different
planets and different companies, which you must choose from. After
starting your company it will cost you prestige points to "reset"
your account, something many veteran players declare is a bad decision.
Once a player enters the game and creates a company, there is no
way to delete or undo the work (without losing money or prestige);
you exist in a persistent world where actions have consequences.
(Younger players receive extra allowances /refunds per research
and demolition of buildings.)
The world revolves around micromanagement, strategy and politics.
You will start with a 100 million dollar loan (you soon learn this
is not much money), which is used to create your first company,
researches and investments. Each facility will require workers,
payment and a desirable area. I began with the Seal, The Moab
[four to choose from.], and decided I wanted to have the best residential
areas on the planet. The four "Seals" each have their own personalities
and qualities, weaknesses and strengths. An example, Moab affiliates
originated in Texas, control the best chemicals in the world, have
shady food businesses and their highly popular high-class and low-class
residential areas are known for mysterious murders in the night.
Eventually, each player expands and will control many companies
A great aspect of Star Peace is the ability to research quality
and efficiencies for your products and services. For instance, when
building my residential homes, I wanted to attract people quickly,
and for my homes to have added protection from pollution. In as
much, I researched any available improvements that would add beauty
and /or pollution defense. If a player chooses to produce clothing,
for instance, she /he might decide to make clothes of the best quality
(causing clothing to be more costly) or perhaps go the route of
efficient factories, which lessens the need for services and supplies.
Research becomes integral for success in Star Peace
and adds to the gaming experience, by enabling your companies to
be unique throughout the planet.
The most interesting and absorbing aspect of the game: politics.
What good is all this wealth and uniqueness without the ability
for extreme power? In Star Peace, players not only become billionaires
but also are able to compete for the position of mayor, for each
planet's separate cities. The race for mayor begins with accumulating
prestige points. Players acquire prestige points by building public
facilities (i.e. jails, dumps, hospitals, schools, fire stations,
police stations, monuments, etc) and completing researches. Each
city will hold an election and the candidate with the most prestige
points, on Election Day, will become mayor for that city.
A Mayor controls a great majority of the city's foundation. Each
city will have a town hall, which tells a player the total population,
tax rates, supply and demand for products and services, jobs available,
and availability of housing. The Mayor is allowed to set tax rates,
the entire city's zoning, and is overtly responsible for the city's
success. Greed and anger have caused many disputes over the "fairness"
concerning a Mayor's power. Many players create alliances and set
their companies to run respectively with one another. This proves
to be a very successful ploy for many Tycoons. However, in Star
Peace, with patience, you could take control of the entire planet,
several cities, without ever making a lasting friend.
Looking into the Future
Star Peace does an excellent job of creating a futuristic environment.
One that is believable, colorful, and lively. Moreover, the world
can be viewed from 16 different zooms and /or rotated, which makes
navigating and watching your planet much more viable. Hot Air balloons
float amongst the clouds, as cars are busy heading from one destination
to the next. The distinctive housing, which have too few residents
or too high of crime in the near area, will fade to dingy and create
havoc for the beauty aspect around them.
Managing a Billion
Star Peace is easy to navigate and has several mini- interface
windows and a small map, which are simple to employ and hide-away,
making the game expedient and agreeable for management. Quick links
can be added in order to mark your buildings throughout the world
and news flashes concerning the entire planet are continually updated.
The easy-to-use interface comes equipped for in-game support, emails,
both private and public chats, a character profile and links to
Star Peace's website and message boards.
Each building consists of its own statistics, and when inspected
players are able to identify its cost, management, history, the
quality of its surroundings, and any additional intricacies controlled
by the owner. As well, players are able to import a personal photo
into her/ his character profile page. As a result, when your buildings
are inspected the photo will be displayed. Learning to control your
buildings is a major element of Star Peace. Managing and organizing
your buildings is the only way to assure your success.
In addition, overlay views are available for each city statistic
(i.e. pollution, crime, supply and demand, zoning, beauty, etc.)
Players must take into consideration the quality of each zone; otherwise
your structures will not be consistent or successful. If you build
an area of residential homes without proper police or fire protection,
your homes will be crime ridden, affecting many of its aspects.
People will be less likely to move in, the area will lose most of
its beauty and ultimately you lose money.
The game can be played in English, French, German, and Spanish.
The language variety allows players the opportunity to feel comfortable
and at ease with the game's interface, as well as tossing in the
thrill of being around and to some extent learning other's languages.
The interface could be 'buggy', and would make controlling your
companies difficult and at times impossible to inspect. Also, your
building links frequently would not "save," making finding some
of your structures near impossible.
Er, did you hear that?
I always find sound difficult to rate appropriately. Star Peace
has relaxing background music and suitable sounds for industrial
versus residential noises. Cars, factories, fire stations and such
will make apt sounds. The music is nice in the beginning, but mundane
and annoying after awhile. I hear it in my sleep. It is too repetitive
and, as most games, seems to lack a larger selection of sounds and
music. Although, the sound is easy to mute, and you can simply choose
to listen to your own music in the background.
Although Star Peace continually improves, playtime can be frustrating
and tiresome. The world experiences many bugs and "time-warps."
(Note: Time warps are much less frequent and appear to be under
control at this point.) As in any persistent state world, warps
affect every player and at times the effects can be detrimental.
It can be very frustrating to spend several hours researching and
building in a specific area, then come back the next day to find
that all of your work is gone and some one else has occupied your
spot or the Mayor has reserved the land.
Problems in Space
Star Peace Gms appear to be active in game on a daily basis. With
a social chat system, you might frequently hear the GMs interacting
with other players in the game. Also, you could easily page a GM
for a private chat.
In order to play competitively in Star Peace you
must spend some quantity and quality time getting to know the game
and its intricacies. However, because the world is persistent, your
companies will continue to exist while you are offline, and players
with less time to devote are still able to advance and enjoy the
game. Star Peace's many facades allow you to create
a persona and reap in its social rewards and or failures.
Gamers who enjoy micromanagement and interacting with more mature
players will find a lasting draw to Star Peace. The biggest flaw
with Star Peace is its seemingly 'beta' feel, which is costing many
people 9.95 USD a month. Still, I look forward to the future worlds
Monte Cristo plans to incorporate; each phase should draw a somewhat
different audience and will add many facets to the game.
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