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Fast Tracking - Catching the Phoenix Bug

Fast Tracking

So, you have read a few IGN's and maybe even played some PBM's or PBeM's in the past and have pretty much sussed out what it's all about. You may only be halfway through your first mission and not even got access to the 'create a political' mission along with the other training missions, but you are savvy enough to know you want to dive right in. In fact you are somewhat surprised that most of the literature you have read to date seems to advise caution, playing for a bit longer before committing to either joining an affiliation or for that matter, even paying money. So, following questions from a couple of people looking to leap in at the deep end, I have written a short article on fast-tracking.


The curse of the Phoenix Bug
It's easy to see that there is a lot of depth to the game just reading some the obscure questions that are posed by veteran players of five years and more indicate this. It is also easy to see that a lot of players are passionate about their affiliations. Swapping Private Messages (PM's) can quickly draw you into wanting to join them. They may have quizzed you about your background, enthusiasm and probable commitment. They may have offered you a role in their faction and even waved a reasonable starbase under your nose along with ancilliary holdings and shipping. You are hooked and eager to join. You have also been playing the game for less than a week...

So, how do you get from one ship somewhere in Halo, a bucketful of PM's and a vague understanding of the mechanics to serious player in less than a week?

First and foremost you can complete your training missions even if you have already joined an affiliation. We feel that these give you some clue to the mechanics of the game and may be worth completing after you join an affiliation. Joining an affiliation is a simple matter of going to the recruitment forum (can be found at the bottom of the forums) and clicking Join on the appropriate affiliation. You then have to wait for the affiliation to accept your join request. They may send you a PM question first, especially if you have not already discussed joining them.



Getting a Political
Yup, it's time to start paying to play. This does of course open up so much more of the game and makes life a lot easier (IGN2 Politicals - Being taken seriously). You will need a KJC Account (go to Library > KJC) and create one if you have not already got one. If you have changed email address, postal address and not used it in years, then a PM to Mica is probably your best bet. This will link your credit account (used to play all games run by KJC Games) to Phoenix.
Next pay some money into your account if necessary. It does not need to be a lot though you can qualify for 10% free credit bonus if you pay 50.00 GBP. This will prevent your account from being suspended as soon as you create your political position!
Creating a political (at a weekly cost of 2.00 GBP) can be achieved either through the Create Political Mission (if you have only justed signed up, this may not even be visible) or the order Create Political. Both amount to the same thing though the former is nice for reading material. For speed however, the order is preferable. Whichever you use, you will qualify for 100,000 stellars, a 10,000 stellar weekly income and get a few more ships.

So now you have a political and have presumably been accepted into the affiliation (possibly in less than 2 days). If you have discussed the situation with them, they will now transfer to you all the assets they promised if this was part of an agreement. A word of warning though, it is almost certainly an idea to first check that they will swap the positions if you quickly discover that they are not what you want. Just because you have charged in, you should still get to play the game you want. That's it, that's all there is to it. By joining the right affiliation, you may well have a starbase or two, a dozen outposts and 50+ ships by the end of the first week playing the game!

Disasters
Everybody makes mistakes. In Phoenix these can prove disastrous such as sending your fleet through an asteroid belt or using the Mass Produce order to set the number of factories building an item to 10 rather increasing from 200 to 210, resulting in 190 factories untooling. A quick PM to the GM begging for kindly intervention will generally work while you are still new to the game.


Benefits
The major benefit to immediately scaling up is tackling the Learning Cliff (IGN1). The more positions you control the more mistakes you will make in a shorter period of time due to submitting more orders. The important thing is, because you are doing a lot more orders you will learn how they are used much quicker. If you have a couple of ships, some orders you may only encounter every few months (maintaining, repairing, refitting etc) and as a consequence you may keep forgetting quite how they work. If however you have 20 ships, you get the initial trial by fire, but are regularly undertaking these actions so that soon you are issuing them instinctively.

There can be overwhelming frustration when you only own one position and every turn seems to come back with 'there was a mistake on your turn' and once again you seemed to do nothing. When you own a fleet, this becomes a minor niggle you will come back to once you have dealt with the rest of your ships.

Another benefit is getting to know the universe - both in terms of knowing where affiliation bases are, how to get from one end of the Peripheries to the other and to some extent the distribution of other affiliations. The latter is especially useful if you intend to moonlight as a pirate.
Having more positions also brings you into greater contact with other players which in turn immerses you into the game a lot quicker and at the end of the day, gaming is all about escapism and entertainment.

 
News
GTT step forward to control protection and peace in the Stellar Empire.

With the retirement of Jack Johns and various lower-level IMP officers from public life, the Imperial Services were left on the verge of being unable to fill their role as protectors of the Stellar Empire. Due to the serious nature the Imperial Services found itself in, the Emperor recently travelled to GTT HQ to attend a board meeting with the directors of the GTT.

With Galactic Trade and Transport being one of the few remaining loyal Imperial Chartered affiliations, who also supply well over half of the war material to the Imperial Services, the Emperor sought the position of the GTT with regard to the Imperial Services becoming overburdened with bureaucracy and lacking effective leadership. Effectively the Imperial Services were at the point of collapse. A position highlighted when an opportunistic supposed ally subverted four Imperial Outposts in the Inner Empire, thinking their asset grabbing would go unnoticed.
 
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  Star Date: 221.30.5

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RAGNAROK COMES

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A Forlorn Hope

The seat of Dewiek Government has fallen. What began as a small group of Architect ships picking up retreating DEN forces, amalgamated into a much larger force. The bombardment fleet comprised dozens of Adult ARC ships plus several Planet Killers. The force made short work of the impressive fortifications of the planetary orbit of Newstart. Multiple heavily armoured and maximised deflector shield platforms crumbled. They did so only after releasing their volleys of antimatter and nova weapon batteries. Any DEN warships that remained from earlier encounters also stood the line. But within the week, the last defence was gone.

Bombardment of Wolf Lair starbase proceeded without further resistance from the Dewiek. ARC Plasmas ripped through starbase shields. They demolished tens of thousands of factories and research facilities. The ARC demolished the huge military recruitment and training facilities on the planet. Over half a million trained troops evacuated from deep bunkers, leaving a token ground defence.

The ARC were not satisfied to burn the facilities and murder the workers. They deployed repeated salvos of their Virus Bombs on the wider population. Reports began to arrive of civilians of the world regressing. Leaving settlements and returning to nature. Much as the Dewiek found themselves some decades ago when they started to recover from the First Great ARC-DEN War. This time there was no High Lord Magnus willing to obliterate the world to save a remnant of the people. Newstart was already lost.

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Newstart is lost

 
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  Star Date: 221.27.2

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RAGNAROK APPROACHES

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End Game Lost

A short-lived period of peace followed the Dewiek Elder Nation’s historic and Saga-worthy defence against the Architect Planet Killers. A handful of the more typically encountered ARC ships were spotted picking off DEN support ships in Forlorn Hope before more than forty of them appeared back in End Game.

While the ARC “Adult” class ships, as the DEN had previously classified them, were eight times smaller than the “Planet Killers”, they were still as big as the largest ships any other species has managed to produce. Including the otherwise technologically advanced Dewiek.

Forty-four of these Plasma armed organic vessels smashed through the DEN forces left circling the orbit of Beacon, End Game. The mass of ARC weapons bombarded the DEN Shipyards at Ragnorak with their superheated ionized gas, razing the entire outpost to the ground.

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ARC Plasma weapons devastate End Game

 
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  Star Date: 221.22.5

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RAGNAROK BECKONS

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Assault on End Game

The ancient Architects have declared war on the Dewiek Elder Nation. The first sign of the conflict was subspace transmissions in a remote system in the Pocket Periphery. This followed reports that the ancient Ragnarok shipyards on Beacon were malfunctioning. In response, the Wolf Mother sent urgent orders to several Dewiek scout ships to patrol the End Game system.

The Konungr Smidamadr was the first to encounter the gigantic, “Planet Killer” class ARC ships. Measuring in at thirty-two hundred heavy hulls and armed with a hundred ARC plasma weapons, the ship was more like a mobile armed platform. It is certainly the largest vessel ever recorded. The scout ship was vaporised instantly.

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ARC Planet Killer dwarves largest DEN warships

 
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  Star Date: 221.11.4

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Caste Apart

The Flagritz Republic is (very nearly) no more. In its place, a single Hexamon and Flagritz power has arisen. The new Collective has absorbed much of the Flagritz holdings with only a handful of Clique-caste Flagritz systems choosing instead to align with the other Elder species, the Dewiek.

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Flagritz and Hexamon Hybrids - A hope for the Future?

 
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  Star Date: 221.3.3

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Meklanmania

Meklan scout ships continue to be seen around the Orion Spur periphery. These cyborg creatures in service of hidden ancient masters appear to be terrorising the Wimble Nation in particular. Despite public lamentations against the hardship of defending themselves, the Wimble leadership have not yet responded to our request for comment.

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Artist's impression of a Meklanised Wimble

However, Xavier Fox, CEO of Galactic Transport and Trade, did give us the following statement:

“We have engaged several Meklan ships, although currently the source has not been identified. GTT Directors have been running patrols and have engaged and destroyed numerous ships that have attacked outlying outposts belonging to different affiliations. The pattern of ships encountered leads us to believe there is a central source, but until that is found we would suggest any affiliation with assets in the area provide adequate defences.”

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Doomsday On Pause

At the site of the Thete anomaly, the Dewiek Nation has sent media sensation Sharon Aleman to the scene. Aleman, whose cybernetic enhancements allow her to directly interface with her ship’s sensor array, led her hardened crew into a dive of the outermost “edge” of the anomaly. After spending several days collecting and analysing data (mere minutes to the rest of us outside the anomaly), Aleman reported her shocking discoveries.

 
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  Star Date: 220.50.5

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Veil Lifted on Flagritz Home Space

As the Hellcadium ISR field continues to fluctuate, one of the newly exposed systems is Junista inside the previously hidden and inaccessible home periphery of the Flagritz Republic.

Over the past few weeks Flagritz Republic patrols and platforms have dealt with a number of scout ships from the Human Empire as the IMP wasted no time in exploiting this opportunity to poke around in their old enemy’s backyard. It is understood that at least one of these unarmed scouts was destroyed with no one willing to estimate how many more might be buzzing around.

Coincidentally, suspected IMP lackey, SSL TOAD, has also been overheard showing an obsessive interest in the Flagritz periphery. However, we have received no reports of this being anything other than his usual drug-fueled, barely decipherable mutterings at this stage.

Either way, this sudden, uninvited interest in the Flagritz Periphery has left the FLZ leadership muttering darkly about appropriate measures being taken. Defensive fleets and supporting structures are being deployed in the Junista system and beyond in expectation of further uninvited guests.

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When You stare into the Flagritz Periphery...

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Thete's Timey-Wimey Tease

Investigation into the Thete anomaly continued in the Dewiek Pocket Periphery. The anomaly was scanned from all angles by a number of the Dewiek Nation’s best sensor ships and officers. The data, collected over several weeks, was sent to one of the DEN’s most advanced scientific laboratories for analysis.

What they found will shock you!

 
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  Star Date: 220.45.1

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Perfidion Reached

Long speculated by theoretical Stellar Cartographers, Perfidion Reach finally opened in the last few weeks. Immediately, the Detinus Republic boldly staked a claim on the first accessible system, Hellcadium. Only time will tell the true value of this strategic move but their much-taunted bureaucracy may have finally proved its worth.

Early reports from scans of the system reveal a wildly fluctuating ISR field. Rumours suggest that at least one ship was destroyed as it was forced into an asteroid belt chasing a stable jump field attempting to exit the system. Casual travellers are warned away from the system at this time for their own safety. Leave it to skilled explorers and navigation officers.

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Mathematical model of Hellcadium ISR Field.

We spoke to Captain Zakiyah Ummahi via subspace link. Zakiyah led the first DEN expedition into the Perfidion Reach. "Spirits remain high but this is largely down to the extended R&R we were all forced to take immediately prior to jumping into this hole. Initial scouting reports show at least one planet with plenty of forests and grasslands which might help if we're going to be stuck here for Folkvar knows how long waiting for this damned ISR field to stabilise."

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Valhalla Stargate Reopens

Dewiek engineers and scientists have finally managed to re-enable Stargate Valgrind this week and the protective Exclusion Zone is to be lifted. If DEN investigators discovered who caused the gate to malfunction, or why, they were not willing to share it with us. Military sources, however, have announced a project to provide a significant boost to the already formidable defence platform in the stargate’s orbit.

 
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*** Inter Galactic News ***

Empire - DEN action grinds to a halt

After months of tension relations between the Empire and the Dewiek Nation, which rose to several large scale fleet actions ending in the DEN losing over 60 Direwolf warships in Solo, things appear to have moved from antagonistic to unfriendly. With the Solo system being a particular issue an agreement has been reached between the Wolf Mother of the DEN and Xavier Fox of the GTT. Since this things have become very quiet, not just because the shooting has stopped, but also because my reporters have been on their summer holidays.
 
News For Discerning Naplians!
---- Special Galactic Edition ----



(The Host sits at his desk as the studio lights dim, and a single spotlight bathes him in light. He looks straight into the camera and begins to speak: )

Host: Naambta!
Good Greetings, and welcome to the show.

This is News for Discerning Naplians, and i’m sure you are all showing much impatience to see this week’s Panel Discussion. We will be discussing religion with the Lady Ghadir of the Temple of Ya Zoon, renowned neo-naplian spiritualist Chairman TonTon, and a very special guest from our imperial neighbours, Bishop Samantha Porteus of the Brotherhood. But before we get to that...

(Looks demonstratively at his digital wrist watch. )

... it is time for a word from our sponsor.
 

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Over 20 years of content development
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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