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Phoenix at a Glance



Pigeonholing Phoenix has always been an issue with the game as there are many aspects to it and quite often one can be seen to dominate or for some people, not being interested in one aspect leads them to neglect it - sometimes to their detriment.
Each of the five aspects can be seen as the five points on a pentacle, each interacting with each other and all being affected directly or indirectly by the Game Master.




Combat.
For wargamers, this is often seen as the primary purpose of the game - to be impregnable to attack and to be able to hammer enemies with impunity. Combat require the construction of machines of war and troops to use them.
Construction of war machines - tanks, warships and their likes requires technology and bases, which fall into the colonisation category.
Troops, the underlying strength of this position require paying - paying however requires stellars and invariably come back to commerce or 'protection' money through alliances or treaties, aka diplomacy/roleplaying.



Commerce
There are two general means of earning stellars, collecting it directly from civilian populations or by dealing with other players.
For those interested in amassing wealth directly from civilian populations, they need to find somewhere where there is a civilian population that can be exploited through merchandising and for extra wealth, finding goods that can be sold to the civilian population.
In many cases these civilian populations are in regions of space claimed by other factions and colonisation of the world will require some level of diplomacy with the other faction. Further, goods to sell to the civilian population will have to be found through exploration and the base from which to sell the goods will have to be constructed (colonisation).
Even if it is decided to only deal with other players through commerce, often resources will still have to be found through exploration and private deals will also need to be struck (roleplaying).
Acquiring ships to conduct the trading will also require some level of communication with other members of the faction or through private deals and once some success has been achieved there is always the question of protection against pirates and defending assets from potential looters (combat).



Exploration
New star systems, virgin territory exists for players to discover, it is just a case of extensive research into subspace and adjacent unknown space. Some of these systems may already have civilisations present that are just waiting to start trading.
Exotic trade items resources could already exist right under the foundations of a base, just waiting to be discovered.
As well as exotic trade items there may be ores spanning the entire range from basic elements right through to super rare minerals. These might reside in the sub-ice of asteroids or the atmospheres gas giants.
As well as discovering minerals and trade goods, there are new sentient species to encounter. How these are dealt with (roleplaying) may well determine the future relationship between the sentient race and the faction. More than one promising relationship has turned sour through a wrong-word.



Colonisation
This covers everything from building bases through to designing ships, researching technology, producing ordnance and other components for industry, recruiting personnel and even improving a planet's commerce potential.
Obviously such a large area often requires somewhere suitable to build and can often require some serious negotiation with other factions (roleplaying), not to mention resources (exploration). Then there is the question of defending everything you have built. While it is not always necessary or even practical to be impregnable, it is always a good idea to be less inviting for attack than other potential targets. Whether this is achieved through ordnance (combat) or treaties (roleplaying) is down to the faction.



Roleplaying
As can be seen from the above descriptions, roleplaying in the form of diplomacy, treaties, support from civilian populations or even threats and bluffs, plays a vital part of the game and one that can be overlooked from time to time.
A combat oriented faction for example, still draws at least some of its revenue from civilian populations. It may also trade or have colonised locations where its navy might is stretched thin. Smashing an enemy on a world that is intended for colonisation also tends not to go down too well with the civilians, especially if they are not forewarned.
An exploration oriented faction may miss some of the best resources simply because they never dealt with the primitive tribes and drank their hoo-doo juice.
A commercial faction may have their merchandising embargoed because others have been spreading lies about them in civilian circles.
These can be weakness to exploit or holes to plug. Realism and circumstance play a great deal in exploiting this aspect of the game - populations are won over slowly and often sacrifices are required to achieve success, but the effects can be crippling especially where there is a 'special' relationship between the civilian populace and a specific faction.



Profiles
Affiliations - factions in which players control assets - all have profiles. These can be 'carved in stone' or mere guidelines. These are taken into consideration during GM Moderation when determining results. A faction that has a profile as a bunch of cutthroat entrepreneurs are unlikely to gain any support from a civilian faction, but by the same token, are unlikely to have their merchandising suffer when they fail to take a strong stance on a moral issue, pleading 'nowt to do with us'.
Empire style affiliations have the most to gain from loyal civilian factions but can also suffer the most when they fail to roleplay to their profile. Loyal civilians have expectations.



Game Master (GM) Moderation
The role of the GM is to facilitate the continuous progression and expansion of the game. As well as dealing with the mundane such as answering questions and pressing buttons as part of the daily running of the game, the GM also writes specific results to explorations, investigations and special actions. Finally, it is the GM's role to expand the game universe through developing plots, new regions of space and adding new items to the game.
Special Actions are what separate the game from a typical online/computer game. The GM will interpret the submitted special action and give a result. The nature of the special action is limitless, though obviously some degree of circumscribed reality is applied based on the current situation in order to keep the results believable within the framework of the game. For example suddenly declaring that the explorers are gods during first contact with natives will not result in millions of people across the entire globe suddenly falling on their knees in adulation - it is assumed that the larger the population the greater the diversity of thought and an ever increasing level of suspicion, cynicism and/or analysis of the facts.



Zones of Moderation
Moderation can generally be separated into three broad categories. These can be applied to regions of game territory - generally star systems, but potentially just the starport of a base or an entire cluster of star systems known as a Periphery.



Open
This is the most common zone and represents what can be loosely classified as a hands-off approach by the GM. Intervention is largely through reaction to special actions that draws the GM attention to a facet or detail in the game in an attempt to elicit some sort of response. This might be to point out to natives how bad the owners of a starbase on the planet are and give suggestions how they might alleviate the situation or aid the instigator of the special action.



Protected
Protected zones are ruled with an iron fist. They are there for the benefit of all and are something of a nursery where all can exist without fear. Actions intended to harm, even through carelessness are punished by the GM. Initially these may be little more than a stellar fine or the damaging of the offending position in a Pavlovian conditioning manner but will quickly escalate to wholesale slaughter is the recipient of earlier warnings proves either intractable or proves incapable of learning. The GM is at liberty to use whatever means to restore the status-quo, up to an including the removal of all offending assets of the transgressing faction from the zone - explosively if necessary. Actions that exploit transgressors of the protected status through non-combat oriented means are likely to prove especially successful just to emphasise the point - this is a protected zone. The Yank star system is the prime example of this - though it does include EEM assets.



Controlled
This is the middleman between open and protected and is generally regions of space where conflict is limited. Generally speaking there is a charter or explanation of what can and can't be done within the controlled zone. This might be limited warfleets, limits to the amount of bases that can be built or the nature of the actions that can be conducted within the zone.
Punishment is less severe than in a protected region of space and is generally meted out as a result of escalation or repeat transgressions. Carelessness or transgressions are rarely punished on a first offense basis unless they are magnitudes over the designated acceptable limit.
The Halo periphery is an example of this kind of zone.




 
News
Is open for business...
 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Wimbles Crisis Solved ***

The Wimble Crisis of 217 has come to an end with the human Baron making way to the wimble Grandfather Paden Mastaak. Celebrations were held in Wimbledon upon the news with crack teams of Wimble security staff guarding all the pies.

It’s unclear how long the Wimbles will enjoy this new era of peace and self-determination.

Vocal Wimble Dinasha, one of Paden’s early backers, has chosen this precarious moment to bait Dewiek, Flagritz and humans who were initially disposed to be friendly to the new administration. Whilst the Wimbles' history with the former-slave-loving Flagritz could be understood, their animosity towards the Dewiek and humans was more mysterious. One insider alluded to a rise in the number of cases of foot-and-mouth across the herd as being a likely cause.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Storm in a Teacup *** Yahn Bares All * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door ***

The stargates are closed! Reports from multiple sources indicate at least three of the stargates, all within Dewiek controlled systems, have been closed.

Two different sources have indicated that the TCA have been spotted recently in a number of systems and may be behind this turn of events. A scan sent to the SSS indicated eight TCA ships were recently spotted first in the Faery system and later near the Kasmer stargate.

Another source, suspiciously put the blame on the ARC, suggesting the ARC and DEN were working together because they “need to trap [the TCA] and try and finish them off after the DEN bodged their operation to protect the ARC while they incinerated the MEK homeworld, which ended up with several ARC ships being destroyed and the job only being half done."

However, with no public statement from the Dewiek themselves, its hard to know whether these rumours are reliable.

Lord Igor of the Dominion and Erasmus Andersen of the Garcia Family both offered public apologies at the delay in meeting their trade commitments because of the recent closures. The not-so-subtle subtext being that someone will pay with blood for this interference in their business. Or at least with a stealthy price rise.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Wimble Civil Strife * Who Sniffs the Sniffers? * Largin’ It * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Videtis quantum scelus contra rem publicam vobis nuntiatum sit? ***

The Flagritz Empire is no more! The Flagritz Republic is reborn! Quick on the heel of the collapse of the Empire, the Fessin caste declared a new era of foreign and economic policy with a rapid withdrawal behind the Black Gate.

The new ecologically-friendly Prime Minister Kayxaer, asked for patience as “economic” reforms were undertaken. It remains to be seen whether there will be any price to pay for the dramatic changes being made by the reclusive Flagritzi or whether it will all be sunshine and rainbows going forward.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Large at Large * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Bravo for Freedom ***

Naplian Forces have attacked three human pirate outposts in the Morroglyph system. A spokesperson for Naplia HQ told the press that the plucky duct-tape loving free people would continue their war against slavers and pirates in their home periphery.

One salty Naplian libertarian told the SSS, “The people of the Naplian Home Periphery are sick and tired of human criminals coming here just because their homeworld is an overcrowded hell. It’s time for them to go back home.”

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Igor of Fang and Horns * Admiral Loves Dick Turpin * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

.What is It?
..a wOrmhOle?.
…No.. worse..
….the KANG singularity!…
…..It pulls us IN…..
……lOOks sO familiar……
…….yet so strange…….
……..what is……..
………that?……..

*** Flagritz Liberalise Economy ***

In good news for all the galaxy the Flagritzi have vowed to liberate all slaves across their Empire. Furthermore, the hectapods have given up eating other sentient species; taking up a strict diet of veganism and soy chai lattes. Sales of turtle neck sweaters and Forbidden Fruit laptops have skyrocketed.

The news was cautiously welcomed by the benevolent Felini Tyranny who looked forward to reducing the War phase of their daily Nap-Lick-Nap-War-Nap-Eat-Sleep cycle to a perfunctory forty winks.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Baron Womble * A Short History of the DPP * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Empire Strikes: Solo ***

A massive fleet of some 1600 warships, including large numbers of super-heavy capital 300 and 400 hullers, attacked the DEN in the Solo system, catching them with their metaphorical pants down. The DEN gate platform and some two hundred DEN freighters were subject to antimatter missiles amongst other high tech ordinance.

Jack the lad, Viceroy of the Empire, claimed a victory for freedom and the Imperial (right of) way leaving the sullen Dewiek unusually unresponsive.

With DOM platforms firing on CIA ships, will the IMP now demand the DOM add them to the Do Not Fire lists as well? And what exactly is the nature of the DOM and DEN alliance in light of the sustained attack from the Empire? And will the DEN’s alien friends stand idly by as the Empire fleet camps in the vital gate system of Solo? How will the DEN retaliate for this action or are they ready to roll over and have their bellies rubbed?

All this remains unknown. All that is certain is the “feel good” factor across the DTR has increased, with citizens reassured that for some time yet, they may continue in their slumber with the easy assurance that their number is not coming up anytime soon.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * New BHD Guy * DOM Statement * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** To Ur Is Dewiek ***

Dewiek forces had a hefty smackdown against the mysterious living ships known as the T’Cath (TCA). Seven adult TCA 400 hull capital ships, each firing eight of their notorious plasma cannons, were killed by a DEN and DOM fleet of some 700 ships.

Of the minimal losses suffered by the DEN / DOM, one-eyed Magnus and Nevets Motnhap of the FEL were amongst the dead.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Caribbean Congo Continues * Ur Witness Report * * Hive Briefing * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** The Long Quiet Season ***

Listen…
There’s no sound of anger or of annoyance,
There’re neither cruisers racing on the jump lanes
Nor there jump lanes for them to race on,
There’re neither monks chanting on the battlegrounds
Nor bells calling us to the True One.
There’s neither the lightning cracking of the sky
Nor the persistent Naplians pattering on my roof.
There’s no Dewiek arm in arm to admire the magnificent view
There’re no war drums to feed Human ears
Nor Hive sirens to steal the boredom away
There’s no unfamiliar wing creeping underneath the Falconian sun
Nor floods to enshroud the Aquaphid grounds
The land lies lonely out here
On this lazy summer’s day
There’s no pollution to poison the airs of Inversion
Nor forests to give them life
All I hear is the hushing sound of the wind
Assisting the sand to fall into beautiful undulations.

Whilst we’ve been away: * Operation Giantslayer * Naplian Liberation * Back in the DTTR * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Falconians Saved ***

The Imperials have cunningly saved the Falconian Republic from being consumed by the Dewiek Elder Nation and at no small cost to the DEN either. Whilst the new pro tem Consul crowed about the “victory”, all former FCN systems besides Acropolis have been taken over by the two warring Empires - Human and Flagritz.

Was it all worth it? For the IMP / GTT it clearly was, for the movement of a few hundred thousand troops is surely nothing to the cost they endured trying to and failing to knock the DEN out of Solo after the fact. The FCN now plucked off most of their navy and wider assets are a tiny nothing of their former self. The DEN may have resorted to some dirty namecalling but can the costs endured to save an enfeebled FCN have really been worth it? Time will tell.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * INDignation * FELicitous Caribbean * Nah Plan for Naplia * Mercs Trouble DEN * &etc

 

Free Ship when you sign-up
Complete missions for in game rewards
Control everything, up to an entire empire
Dedicated human moderators
Player and Moderator driven plotlines
Discover new worlds to explore, exploit & colonise
Over 20 years of content development
Persistent Browser-Based Game (PBBG)

I’ve played on and off for approximately 10 years, over a 20 year spell. After some interesting debate on the in-game forum, I did wonder what, exactly, has kept drawing me back to the game, when for so many others I’ve generally lost interest after a few months.

Ultimately, I think it is a combination of automation (that allows the game to handle thousands of positions to interact on a daily basis) coupled with Special Actions (that allow the story arc to develop in a way that could not be catered for by a set of predefined list of available orders).
-Zigic