Tuesday, November 30, 2010

‘Mine Mystery’

The preceding story mission was: ‘Component Upgrades’
The following story mission is: ‘Ore Smuggling’

Now this is a proper story mission. Characters to meet, a mystery to solve and a multi-ship dog fight. Lovely.

Before I started this mission I went back to the surface of Kalabesh and filled up on Energy (E). Even though you should be about level 3 by now, your cap is still 1,000 E. You could fly around the surface and explore, or kill defenceless drones before you accept this mission, but that’s just boring. There are still no white missions, so get in there and find out what Cassius Rock wants.

Cassius is the mine manager and he wants you to find out why his ore transporters have a habit of vanishing. You, along with Bill Darius, accompany some ore ships as they move across the surface of the planet. As you do, the pilots let drop some interesting titbits of information. The miners don’t like the Colonial Guards and the Star Gate’s not working. Interesting, already there’s more of a story than the original Vega system had. Another benefit of this mission is that you get to explore some of the planet and fill out your map, which is always satisfying.

After tying up with the second ore carrier, things start to get hairy. From out of the heavens comes a big nasty looking ship, with three smaller escorts. You and Bill naturally take a few shots at the big guy but he’s too tough. What you have to do is frag the escort, which are a new type of ship called Eliminators. It’s a pity because they’re lovely to look at, however they don’t fancy you much so best to start shooting.

One problem you might encounter here for the first time is targeting the right ship. While all seven of you spin and dance about, finding and clicking on one of the Eliminators can be tricky, especially when you get to the last one. This where you learn the value of the ‘End’ Hot Key. Pressing the ‘End’ key selects the nearest target, which could be Darius, the ore ship or the big enemy ship. If it is then press ‘End’ again and the next target is selected. Keep pressing ‘End’ until you get an Eliminator, blast him and move onto the next. The ‘End’ shortcut is one you must get comfortable with. I wish I’d known about it at the start of my pirate career, it would have made everything so much easier. It selects targets quicker than a mouse click, and your victim does not have to be in view.

While there may be a chance of getting blown back to the hangar in this fight, you’ll probably kill the Eliminators with Darius’s help. As soon as you’ve done this the pilot of the big enemy ship reveals himself to be Vicius the Mutilator, a Mantis who’s not happy with your interference. He sulks off into the above and beyond leaving you and Darius to chaperone the ore carrier home. Cassius speaks ominously about the Mantis threat while you nod wisely and pocket the 45 crystals.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Kill Missions

I put 'Kill Mission' in Google Images
and this came up. Perfect.
A few nights ago I had an enjoyable hour or so catching up on Commerce Central kill missions. These are the white missions with names such as 'Nullify Tough Marauders' or 'Crush Weak Menders'.

Your task is to destroy a set number of specific Mantis types within a time limit. At the start of the mission you are told the Mantis type and level that you have to kill, for example Level 29 Marauders. Once you reach the surface you get a countdown to the end of the mission. This is typically around 8 minutes, but for patrol ships like Menders it can be 15 minutes.

Next you are shown a location on the map where the cannon fodder can be found. Getting there may take up a significant chunk of your allowed time, especially on planets like CC where there is only one long and winding road to get to the killing ground. Don't be shy about using your afterburner to get there.

Once you reach the destination, which should be well populated with your prey, start killing. Once the first is destroyed you get a 'percentage complete' message. With a quick bit of mental arithmetic you should be able to work out how many you need to destroy. For example, if you kill one and 'mission 12% completed' comes up, then you have to chalk up 8 in total. The mission ends once you've killed enough or time runs out. If you get destroyed the mission continues, but you'd have to Resurrect as it takes too long to get from the Hangar to your planet, then back to the killing area.

They are very straight forward missions but I find them great fun. There are a few obvious hints and tips I can share though you'll figure them out yourself early on.
  • Make sure you're full of Energy (E) before starting the mission. You don't have time to fill up on the way and there's nothing worse than being one kill short, a victim in your sights, but no pop in your gun.
  • A Storm ship is made for this mission. The Aim Computer, Rockets and Perforators (for some targets) give it a clear advantage.
  • Keep an eye out for Death Squads (DS). They may patrol through the target area and catch you unawares.
  • Stick to the specified targets. Killing level 27 Parasites does no good if you're after level 29s.
You may be tempted to ignore these missions as you go through the game but there are three good reasons for completing them, apart from the sheer pleasure that destruction brings.
  1. You quickly accumulate Cryonitye, not just from completing the mission but also from your victims.
  2. It's a good way to pick up Blueprints as you kill all Mantis at all levels.
  3. Unless you are too high a level, the old experience bar can move quite quickly during these missions.
The hardest are the Harvesters and Commander missions. The targets themselves are fairly easy, but it's dealing with their bodyguards that eats up the time and energy.

Now then, go forth and destroy.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

'Component Upgrades'

A one-eyed three-fingered mechanic.
He should be more careful with the
power tools.
Stolen from Pirate Galaxy Wiki.
The preceding story mission was: 'Baiting Sentinels'
The following story mission is: 'Mine Mystery'

I’m embarrassed to call this a story mission but that’s what it is. I prefer my first introduction to the hangar, back in the Beta test days. The hangar became unlocked after reaching a certain level and a few tool tips showed you how to use it. To make it a mission in itself is a bit of a joke I feel, but hardly enough to warrant the storming of Slipstream towers I suppose.

After you’ve selected the mission the navcomp lets you access the hangar, so you get to enjoy that lovely brief scene of your ship peeling off towards the starbase for the first time. Why don’t they tell you about the F7 hot key? None of the hot keys get explained in these tutorials that I can see, which is a baffling omission.

Your task is to upgrade your Blaster from Sub-Standard Ion to Standard Ion at a cost of 30 crystals, and install a Repair Droid, otherwise known (by me anyway) as an R2 unit, for 17 crystals.  Once you find yourself in the hangar you’re shown how to open the side panel. There’s a hint showing you how to upgrade your Blaster and you have to figure the rest out yourself. If you struggle then you’re probably having trouble reading this so I won’t bother explaining.

While I was there I upgraded my collector but in hindsight that may not have been the cleverest thing to do. Is having a Standard rather than Sub-Standard Collector going to make the difference between success and failure this early in the game. I think not. It is only 24 crystals but you may as well save them for later. You’ll probably be able to leap-frog the standard to a better model.

One thing that is worth doing is getting a respray. You can repaint your trusty AnIn-1300 with the Wings and Back pattern for free. Have a play and try out the different colour combinations. For later ships it costs crystal to change the paint job so enjoy the freedom while you can.

As soon as your Blaster and R2 unit are upgraded you can leave the hangar (F5) and go back into orbit around Kalabesh, and you’re done. Easy isn’t it? What’s more you get 25 crystals for completing this gruelling mission. Crystal for old rope if you ask me.

If you want to see the walk-through then you need to get out more, but if you must then you can find it here.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Frustration, anticipation and achievement

I’m going through one of those challenging times in Pirate Galaxy at the moment. I’m trying to beat Project Detonation and coming up short. My next attempt will be the 10th.

On top of that life conspires to keep me away from the game and this blog. I’ve got story missions to write up, opinions to post and aliens to kill. Yet work, family and sleep keep me from my hobby. Poor, poor me, lumbered with blessings that so many long for. Ignore me. If I suddenly got the time to play as much as I wanted then life would have taken a very poor turn indeed.

Draconis sounds good. Not the system, but the game additions. If you haven’t read them then have a look on the forum here. I like the idea of a pirate mode you can only leave by getting blasted. Kill or be killed while the bounty on your head climbs higher and higher. Cool. Even I might be tempted to go red now and then.

Even better is the medal board or trophy cabinet. I’m dying to see what they might be, and how many I might already have achieved. I’m guessing some of these will be the True System Finaliser as created by V1-Hyper, but there’s so many you could create. Some could be easier such as clearing all white missions in a system or planet. There could be awards for taking part in a certain number of conquests, or podding so many pirates. A little badge for killing 1,000 mantis, or collecting 1,000,000 crystals even if you’ve spent them all. A 6 month tour of duty medal? A year? As long as new players get a sniff of some low awards early on, I think it will be a real temptation to keep you playing on.

Of course the test game is open, so why not go and get a sneak preview as well as contribute to the testing of the game. I have tried but I can’t get on for some reason. Plus when I do get an opportunity to play I keep going onto Askone, because this might be the time that I finally beat Project Detonation. Draconis and its temptations will come soon enough. Meanwhile Marie II needs a Fusion Power Protector.

So that’s frustration and anticipation. The achievement? Small but welcome. I recently reached level 37. That gives me a power cap of 3,850 which will help in Project Detonation, an energy draining challenge. I’m also getting closer to beating it. In my 9th attempt I got the closest yet, 7 of the 12 turrets destroyed before I ran out of time. I’ll get it you’ll see, no need to call for the clan, not just yet.

Friday, November 5, 2010

‘Baiting Sentinels’

The preceding story mission was: ‘Blaster Practice’
The following story mission is: ‘Component Upgrades’

So again this qualifies as a story mission, though we’re still effectively in tutorial mode. There’s little choice but to take this mission as there are still no white missions available. Presumably you could go back down to the surface of Kalabesh and fly about killing a few mantis, but as of yet you’ve no repair droid and haven’t been to the Hangar so any damage couldn’t be repaired. I wonder what would happen if you did manage to get yourself podded at this point? Perhaps the game won’t let you lose your ship and the mantis keep ‘missing’ you once you’re down to your last bar of hull integrity. Maybe you go the Hangar and are left to figure it out via tooltips etc. I must try it one day.

Of course most pilots are eager to get on at this point and won’t waste time wondering about such nonsense. Once you accept the mission and return to the surface of Kalabesh you meet up with uncle Darius again. It seems some other rookie pirate is getting his backside kicked by the mantis and together you have to fly to his rescue. You’re told to hurry of course, but there’s no rush. The other pilot evaded destruction while I tootled along checking out the scenery.

Just like in all the best films, you and Darius arrive like the 9th cavalry and save the terrified pilot from the alien filth. You could probably just hover nearby while Darius takes care of the sentinels that are attacking the rookie, but where’s the fun in that? Enjoy the carnage and reap the experience.

After he’s been saved, the young pilot delivers the moral of the story. He declares that he’s learned his lesson, and never again will he take on an enemy that shoots back without a repair droid fitted to his ship. You can picture Darius sitting in his cockpit nodding and smiling sagely, Bill Cosby-like, knowing that you will learn from the mistake of this week’s guest star.

When I got to orbit after this mission I was made up to level 3 and thus gained 50 lovely bars of gold. If you get the same, resist the urge to rush to the shop and blow it on today’s special offer. Gold is accumulated via real-world money and level advancement, plus very occasionally as compensation for customer service lapses. There are times in the game when it will be invaluable and I prefer to save the gold for then. 50 gold won’t buy you much anyway, especially while you’re still flying tutorials. Leave it in the bank and rush to your next mission. It’s time to upgrade your ship.

Check out the video of this mission on YouTube. Bloody marvellous what you can do these days.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Ghost Warriors

I’m a member of The Ghost Warriors clan, which is led by Chaosrising. I’ve been with them for perhaps a month now and it’s a friendly group.

I was invited to join by an old buddy Saxon, who recently left. Since then I’ve been helped in one or two sticky story missions and I’ve been to the aid of some pilots back in the Vega system. That’s why I join a clan, to help and be helped, plus some friendly chat while you’re journeying between planets. I suppose my ideal clan is a loose cooperative of pilots banding together for mutual protection and assistance.

Of course that’s not really the idea. The conquest planets exist solely to provoke inter-clan warfare, and the ladders rate them against each other to generate competition. Excellent stuff and I completely understand why players get into conquests and war scores so passionately. If you’ve completed the storyline then it gives you a reason to keep playing, otherwise PG would get quite dull unless you set yourself the target of becoming a True System Finaliser.

The Ghost Warriors has recently taken a turn for the war-like. Acha is the war leader, ably assisted by Bodica. All members are now expected to play regularly and work hard to progress through the ranks and increase the power of the clan. We haven’t started to take part in conquests yet but it won’t be long. We’ll see if I can maintain my clan membership, or if I get booted in favour of some more aggressive pilots. If I do there’ll be no hard feelings as the clan has been clear and up front about what they want to do. Conquests are fun but I never seem to be on line at the right time and I’d rather be trying a story mission to be honest.

For know I’m a loyal and contented member of The Ghost Warriors, long may it continue.