Wednesday, March 30, 2011

‘Back to Mizar’

Journey's end
The preceding story mission was: ‘Hostage Negotiation’

The following story mission is: ‘Planet Search’

This is mostly, but not exclusively, a travelling mission. Vicius the Mutilator has Rosebud and you should stay hot on his heels back to the Mizar system. You need to head for Baumar though the mission doesn't spell that out explicitly.

There’s no rush so I slaughtered 50 sentinels at Lyris, then stopped of at Axiom and killed 50 scouts. That got me two achievements and 20 points. I’d already murdered Marauders at Aurora so I now have all of the Vega PVE achievements ticked off.

When you get to Baumar orbit, Ethan asks you to take him home to Jogan in the centre of the map. There he can borrow a ship to help you rescue Rosebud, presumably in later missions. This is the only risky part of the mission and you may still be in a Gemini ship (I was) so be careful. If you get podded then you’ll probably be able to continue the mission from the Mizar star base but I didn’t fancy testing that theory. I’d hate to have to fly back to Vega again to re-pick the mission.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

‘Tutorial : Buy New Spaceship’

It's the one-eyed, three fingered mechanic again.

The preceding story mission was: ‘Escorting Bill’

The following story mission is: ‘Tutorial : Find and Install Ion Shield’ or ‘Smuggler’s Revenge’

This isn’t strictly speaking a Story Mission but a Tutorial. There are four in Vega, two of which I’ve already posted, Component Upgrades and Install Afterburner which is now split from ‘Speedy Escape Strategy’. When I first went through these they were not designated as Tutorials but just a standard Story Mission. They will have changed since then but I can’t say by how much. This blog is not meant to compete with the Wiki or The Hitchhiker’s Guide in terms of completeness so I’ve no plans to go back and check the tutorials in order to update those entries.

As this is a tutorial you can choose to skip it and move straight to ‘Smuggler’s Revenge’. I’ve given my counsel on that decision already in ‘Escorting Bill’

Jake Rattenbury is keen for you to have the new ship. He wants revenge on the Colonials for spoiling his smuggling run in 'Escorting Bill', especially Major Ivanova. Jake checks that you have the necessary cryonite and if you do sends you to the hangar. What happens if you don't have the crystals I don't know, but you really should by now. If not then you should go and complete a few white missions. The payment for completing them plus the cryonite from your victims soon mounts up. 

The Recycle button
As before you are led nice and clearly through the steps of buying a new ship. You will need to buy new equipment for the AnIn-1450 which eats up your crystals pretty quickly. Jake advises you to get a better blaster at least before your next mission. You do have the option of recycling the equipment from your other ship, the AnIn-1300. You get back half the value, so if you have an Enhance Ion blaster which cost 82 crystals then you will get 41 for selling it. You click on the recycle button next to the equipment. See the second picture.You can't simply move equipment from ship to ship, at least not for free. You could say that you are transferring the same equipment, but that the labour cost is 50% of the equipment value. 

If you are equipping the AnIn-1450 then you may as well recycle the 1300 equipment as there is no advantage in keeping you first ship fully equipped. There is nothing the 1300 can do that the 1450 can not, which is not true with more advanced ships later on in the game. I think Splitscreen should modify this tutorial to include recycling instructions. 

After the ship is equipped and it orbit then you could go straight to 'Smuggler's Revenge' but you should do 'Tutorial : Find and Install Ion shield' otherwise there was no point in buying the 1450.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Pirate Galaxy Fansite Kit

I was checking out the main Pirate Galaxy website the other day and on the download tab came across the Fansite Kit. It's tucked away at the bottom of the page but worth looking for. The kit is a collection of images from the game, some good, some better, some gorgeous.

Here's the direct link.

Hope you remember where you parked

Some of them you could easily grab from the game but many of them are new to me. There are logos in there, screenshots and hi-res starship porn. Natassia looks rather lovely too.

As you can see I've scattered a few images through this post and I'm sure I'll be using more in the future. This is a good idea and will, I'm sure, inspire a few more fansites to spring up.

Have fun.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

‘Hostage Negotiation’

The preceding story mission was: ‘Give Chase’

The following story mission is: ‘Back To Mizar’

I had a slight problem getting started on this mission. I ignored my own advice that I gave in ‘Give Chase’ and had to travel back to Vega for this story mission after going to Mizar for a while. Once back in Vega I’d forgotten which planet I had to get to, so clicked on each planet until the ‘New story mission available’ message appeared at Kalabesh. I went there, but found that that story mission was ‘Tutorial – Install Afterburner’. This is an optional tutorial from the updated Vega storyline which I haven’t completed as it didn’t exist when I was in Vega.

I checked with the wiki and saw that I should be at Aurora, even though there was no ‘New story...’ message showing there. Just a little bug, but it did cause me to go on a wasted journey because I didn’t start where Pirate Galaxy expected me to. Splitscreen modified the Vega storyline so that buying the AnIn-1450 is no longer compulsory. They’ve done this by designating the relevant missions as Tutorials but they still show up as Story Missions. They need to do a little engineering to tidy this up. Give tutorials their own colour code and stop them being recognised for the ‘New story…’ message.

Never mind, on with the story. Vicius the Mutilator has captured Rosebud and you have to go to Lyris to meet up and negotiate. Why? I can’t stand Rosebud, he’s a drip. Okay, okay. I don’t really mind having him in the game. The whole storyline is pretty camp and he fits in with the tone. I’d prefer a darker and grittier feel to the game, more Battlestar Galactica reboot than original series. Having said that dark and gritty has been the thing for years. Maybe it’s getting old now and Splitscreen have got it right.

You are accompanied by Admiral Hornblower and Tobias Planck to the meeting point on Lyris. Vicius promises to trade Rosebud for the Mizar Astrogation chip. Ethan obliges but The Mutilator does the dirty and takes off with the chip and Rosebud. You are then attacked by successive waves of Mantis. There are a lot of them but they’re only level 15s so easy meat really. I was in my Gemini Storm but I think any decent ship could manage.

After you’ve killed all of the attackers you get the message to chase Vicius to the Mizar system. According to this mission's wiki entry you will fail this mission if you fire upon Vicius, or if the Admiral or Tobias’s escape pod is destroyed. I found it quite easy but things can always go wrong.

After completing this I decided to check my achievements and found that one was to become a Lyris Sentinel Slayer. So before I took the following story mission I killed 50 Sentinels and moved up to 1,317 in the Pirate galaxy Hall Of Fame. While you’re there you may as well do the same, it’s very therapeutic.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

‘Escorting Bill’

If you want him, come and claim him
The preceding story mission was: ‘Pirate Raid’

Jake Rattenbury appears again, rubbing his hands together with greed. The Colonial Administration has tightened rationing again which is always good for black markets. Bill Darius is delivering some contraband and it’s your job to escort him safely to his delivery.

First you fly down to the surface and find your charge. Uncle Bill thanks you and reflects on how when you first met, he was escorting you. You can fondly reminisce if you like, or just get on with it. When I played this mission there were two Colonial Guards at the point that Bill and I met up so there was a brief fight, when you play there may be no enemy around.

Bill heads off to his delivery point with you covering him. If you are surprised when you get jumped by three Colonial ships, well then I just wish I was blessed with your wide-eyed innocence.

Then you are hailed by the number the lovely Major Ivanova. Another red-head, what is it with the artists in this game? You are going to get to know this young lady very well over the course of your career.

The Major puts you and Bill under arrest, but a fire fight breaks out. I’m not sure who fired the first shot, but make sure you fire the last one. The Major is in the big ship, but make sure you attack the two smaller ones. When you destroy them Ivanova flees, cursing you and saying that you don’t know the damage you are doing. .

In the middle of all this fun, Bill gets podded. Collect him and then go to orbit. Jake Rattenbury is not happy that the contraband was lost along with Bill’s ship and threatens to get rid of him. Bill is a nice guy though, and thanks you for saving him by giving you a Blueprint for a new and tougher ship, the AnIn-1450 Armoured Transport.

Now then, the 1450 has a shield, and according to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Pirate Galaxy, better armour. It’s a better ship than the 1300 you are in now, but you don’t have to buy it. You can carry on through the game in your existing ship and save the Cryonite that it would cost to buy and equip the 1450 for better ships that aren’t too far away.

This is the first real strategic decision you will have to make in PG and it’s totally up to you. My advice would be that if you have had trouble completing the missions up until now then buy the 1450. If you’ve been sailing through and haven’t even been podded yet, then hold on to your crystals and jump straight to ‘Smuggler’s Revenge’ and skip the tutorials. Don’t fret too much about it, because it’s not a decision that will severely hurt your progress if you make a ‘wrong’ choice.

For the sake of exploring all of the story missions I bought a 1450, but I’ll be attempting to continue in the 1300. I’ll keep you updated on how I manage.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

More Random Fun Stuff in Gemini Please

I laughed - but there's funnier captions.
Go and have a look at
The other day I was chipping away at the first White Blueprint (BP) missions on Baumar. This was so that I could earn Cryonite and increase the level of equipment that my Mizar tank would start with. Then, out of the blue, came the announcement that a Rare Mantis had been spotted on Baumar. I immediately had a flash-back to the old days and was filled with warm nostalgia.

Ah yes. I remember when Rare Mantis used to visit Vega and Antares. We’d all scurry about searching for the blighter so we could blast him and get the reward. You’d be looking everywhere, and then the message would appear ‘SomePirate has engaged the Rare Mantis’. You’d curse and get back to your mission while SomePirate crowed over his victory in the chat. That feeling of nostalgia made me realise that I hadn’t seen a rare Mantis in ages. It must have been a year or more.

Now then, have the Rare Mantis just made a welcome return, or is it just that they never come to Gemini where I’ve been hiding? No one else seemed surprised or asked what a Rare Mantis was. Fill me in on this one ‘cause I honestly don’t know.

I suspect that Gemini, and perhaps Antares too, are neglected. Mizar, Sol and Draconis seem to get invasion events but there was never anything in Gemini. Now I think about it, how often do you see a GM in Gemini? I saw more in my recent Mizar Story Mission trips to Vega than I did in the whole Gemini story line. There were three in orbit around Aurora for Pete’s sake. If I am right and Gemini is starved of attention, then why? Gemini is certainly sparsely populated so perhaps the GMs think it isn't worth the bother. Then again, maybe it's sparsely populated because there's no events or Rare Mantis to chase.

I think that all of the systems should get events and GM support in equal measure. Firstly because it's just fair, secondly because a player may get bored before they reach Mizar and drift from the game. After the initial novelty of the game wears off there has to be an incentive to keep playing. It's no good saying, 'just get through the next few systems and then there'll be more random fun stuff again.' Step it up Splitscreen.

On this occasion the Rare Mantis happened to be right next to me and it was a level 39 Paralyzor. Of course it was, I hate Paralyzors. Naturally I took it on, and was rewarded with the thrill of seeing 'Serig has engaged the Rare Mantis' appear across the screen. Nice. Unfortunately he was kicking my Gemini Storm backside so I fled, right into a swarm of level 36 Paralyzors.

The nostalgic glow was still with me even as I waited in my pod.

Monday, March 14, 2011

'Give Chase'

Officer Rosebud again - Can I kill him?
The preceding story mission was: 'Mutilator On Lustra'
The following story mission is: ‘Hostage Negotiation'

You pick this mission up in orbit around Lustra after Vicius has stolen an Astrogation Chip to the Vega system from the miners. You don't have to be a tactical genius to figure out where Natassia is going to send you. Once you do get to Vega you're told that the Mutilator is on Aurora.

From the Landing Zone (LZ) you have to catch up with Vicius who is still rampaging about in Ethan Copernicus's Freedom's Force. Ethan must still be in your ship somewhere becuase he pipes up that Vicius has worked out how to work the Afterburner. Maybe he's with Natassia. Hang on where is Natassia? How come she always knows where you are and what you're doing? How can she continually cut into your coms? Does anyone else but me wonder about such things?

Then Pirate Galaxy's comic relief makes a suprise reapperance. Officer Rosebud is on the case and moving to intercept the renegade mantis. Oh joy. Also involved are Admiral Hornblower and Tobias Planck who are trying to drive Vicius into a trap.

Get on your bike and chase up to the fight, but don't get your hopes up. As soon as you get there Vicius finds the controls for the rockets, pods Rosebud and captures him. You only learn this through the com signals. You see nothing, or at least I didn't. Natassia tells you to get to orbit so you can rescue Rosebud. That's it. You are a total spectator and again you need not fire a shot.

I was well cheesed off by this so responded by slaughtering 50 of the Auroran Marauders that were nibbling at me. Well, I was right in the middle of their spawning ground and it was one of the PVE Achievements. So when you get to the end of this mission you may as well do the same and become a Aurora Marauder Slayer if you're not already. It'll move you up the hall fo fame ladder a little. I now proudly sit in 1,317th position with 110 achievement points.

One more thing to mention. You should do the story missions from 'Explosive Information' to 'Back to Mizar' in one go. They are all fairly easy and take little time to complete. If you do one, then go back to Mizar to grind, then rejoin the story then you'll spend a lot of time and energy travelling betwen systems and planets. Whats more the story missions I mention give a total of 2,575 crystals, which you will need for your new Mizar ship. Very considerate of Splitscreen to give you them so easily at the start of the new system.

Friday, March 11, 2011

‘Pirate Raid’

A big fat target with no weapons. Lovely.
The preceding story mission was: ‘Intel Delivery’

The following story mission is: ‘Escorting Bill’

I like this mission. It introduces you to a new aspect of the game and there’s a decent fight.

In the old version of Vega, options such as going to orbit or pirate mode were unlocked once you reached a certain level. I liked this and it made you feel as if you were making progress other than just going up a level. The new Vega system unlocks things as you advance through story missions. This approach makes more sense regarding in-game logic and although I wasn’t keen at first I have to say I think it’s a better tactic.

Jake Rattenbury appears again and tells you he has a difficult mission. He takes you nice and clearly through how to create a squadron. He also feeds you useful information, such as pirates get an XP bonus for completing a mission in a squadron, and the bigger the squadron the bigger the bonus.

There are a few things about squadrons he doesn’t tell you. One is a spectacular omission in this particular context. Namely, you cannot join a squadron if it already has a mission assigned. This means that you can’t recruit squadron members in the midst of ‘Pirate Raid’, which is what it’s supposed to be teaching you. Oops! I only realised this when I later tried to join deathWINGMAN in completing his attempt at this mission.

The only way you can do it is to cancel the mission, form a squadron, recruit, and then start ‘Pirate Raid’ again. The reason for this restriction is to stop pirates joining a squadron half way through a mission and claiming a free-ride so to speak.

There are other rules about squadrons, but the game will tell you when they come up. For example you can only join or form a squadron in orbit, which might be obvious. Another is that not any player can join your squad, even if you set for open access. A pirate can’t join a squad if it is attempting a mission that they haven’t unlocked yet. For example you couldn’t join a squadron trying ‘The Flying Wedge’ if you were only on ‘Pirate Raid’.

Well onto the mission. Don’t worry, I completed ‘Pirate Raid’ solo first time and it isn’t hard. Just do it without any wingmen.

When you get to the surface Jake marks a Colonial Transporter on the map. Your task is to destroy it and take the intel it drops. The ship is armoured and has a Colonial Guard escort. Jake advises hit and run.

Fly to the transporter and start firing. The escort soon arrives but if you keep your rate of fire up, and have an upgraded blaster, then you can blow the transporter before you take much damage. The ship drops some intel which you pick up using your collector. Then you can Afterburn away or stay and kill a few of the Colonial Guard. It would be good for in-game logic if the Guards dropped a pod when destroyed, even if you couldn’t Collect them before they were beamed back to their base. Note that the Guards do have Repair Droids so they are a little tougher than they look. It does get the heart beating just a little when you are attacking a big ship and see yellow triangles closing in on you.

So now you are a fully qualified Squadron Leader and have more intel for the Mysterious Pilot. The game moves on.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

This and That

As advertised on

Which ship?

Thanks to all of you who voted in my poll asking ‘Which ship should I buy to start off in the Mizar system?’ The results were
  1. Tank 47%
  2. Storm 33%
  3. Tie between Engineer and Shock at 9%
Good job too because I’ve now paid for the Thermograde armour for my MST-FF2 tank. Just another 3,000 Cryonite for the Deluvian shell. The poll was fun so I may do some more when the right question comes up.

Level up

Just the other day I got promoted to level 39, which gives me a new energy cap of 4,750. It seems ages since I levelled up. This is probably because my level is getting too high for Gemini. The experience you earn for killing Mantis drops for each level higher you are than the victim. Eventually there’s no reward at all. Killing Gemini Mantis gives very little, if any, experience reward for me now.

Finishing off Gemini Whites

I have spent a lot of time trying to get all of the Gemini white missions completed. This is partly for the Achievement, but mostly because I’m just like that. I finished all of the Vega whites before the system was redesigned, but in Antares I went through the story as quickly as possible and left quite a few whites undone. Whenever I visit Antares, such as in the first Mizar missions like ‘Rise of Vendetta’, the unfinished missions taunt me. I cashed in my Antares storm to get my Gemini upgrade and so can’t do them. At least not until I have spare Cryonite to spend on a ship for two systems back.

I have just 3 white missions left in Gemini, at Technatoria, but I’m on the verge of giving up. One is a kill mission which I could do, but the other is to acquire Protector Blueprints (BPs) from Custodian Commanders. I’ve tried this mission about 5 times now. The last time I got one of the two BPs I needed with my first kill, and thought I was nearly home. Two and a half hours and a whole debris field of Mantis wreckage later, I went to bed cursing the new Loot System with the mission still undone. I even had help from a fellow Ghost Warrior in a Draconis ship for ten minutes who must have helped me kill a dozen Commanders, plus I used two mini-BP boosters. Still no second BP drop.

Now if I was grinding for Rares then I wouldn’t complain. However I’m not one of those saddos who like to crouch over their PCs for hours on end just to fully equip some swollen, ego-boosting, compensatory gun-platform. I’m one of those saddos who likes to tick all the items on the lists in his little black book. The drop rate for Commanders is too low. I believe Splitscreen made changes to improve this already, to the drop rates and/or the number of BPs needed from Commanders. They need to tweak again because finishing these tech missions is not challenging, it’s torture. I may try once more if I can get a squad together but I won’t enjoy it.

Steering System

Speaking of giving up, I’m reverting to the old relative steering system. I’ve given the new setting a good go and I’m comfortable with it, but I hate having to use the mouse to steer. The mouse is just for selecting targets in my book, and that’s only when the ‘end’ key won’t do it. As I’ve posted before, if the ‘a’ & ‘d’ keys were finer in their control I would stay with it. However I still can’t navigate through Technatoria’s hidden route just by using the keyboard. I’ve switched to Relative Steering already (you can find it in the settings panel) and yes it is hard to go back. However I’ll get the hang of it again quicker than I did the new system.

New players seem to like the new steering so it seems that Splitscreen has achieved what they wanted to. I think it’s to their credit that they left the old system available for us long service pirates.

Monday, March 7, 2011

‘Mutilator On Lustra’

Whiner the Miner
The preceding story mission was: ‘Explosive Information’

The following story mission is: ‘Give Chase’

You pick this one up in orbit around Terasa. Vicius the Mutilator has escaped from the Carl Sagan lab and hijacked the Mizar ship Freedom’s Force. He’s had it away on his toes so you have to follow him to Lustra. Incidentally, I watched The Human Centipede the other night and I’d bet that Vicius would be a big admirer of Dr Heiter. Give it a watch but make sure you’ve eaten before you do.

Anyway, get down to the surface and head for the marked location. It’s hard to resist the temptation of blasting the local mantis along the way. Actually you may as well since there’s no timer.

Once you get there you find the Freedom’s Force attacking the local miners. I was still in my Gemini Storm and chased him around with Blaster, Rockets and Thermo-blast. He’s in a well-armoured ship but the damage bar steadily turns red. There will be a few Lustra Mantis who have a go at you, but just ignore them. They don’t have the firepower to seriously hurt you, and Vicius is more interested in killing the miners than shooting at you.

The old miner then cries out in despair as the Mutilator steals their Astro-chip to the Vega system. After a little while Vicius turns on the buildings so keep blasting. Vicius gloats that he has what he came for and jumps to orbit, doubtless twirling his moustache as he does so, or whatever Mantis have in place of facial hair.

As long as at least one miner and one building survive then you will complete the mission. I did it comfortably in my Gemini Storm, and any Mizar ship would probably do the job. It’s an easy mission and earns you a reasonable sum of Cryonite that you’ll need to armour and equip your new kill-wagon.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

‘Intel Delivery’

He looks so cool

The preceding story mission was: ‘Mantis Exterminator’

The following story mission is: ‘Pirate Raid’

After unlocking the joys of white missions in ‘Mantis Exterminator’, you may have spent the last hour or two massacring Mantis across the surface of Axiom. If so then this sedate little mission may be a welcome breather, either that or a crashing downer. You may also have upgraded your ship, but I’m afraid you won’t get to put it through its paces here.

The atmosphere is well set up, with Jake Rattenbury telling you that this job requires discretion. You will be delivering the data on the Colonial Army that you traded for in ‘Facilitating Corruption’ to a ‘…person’. I wonder who or what that could be. Jake says that if you deviate from instructions then the buyer will leg it. Do as you’re told and you’ll both be rich.

At the surface you travel to a location and meet the ‘Unidentified Ship.’ Drop the Intel at the marked area as instructed. The unknown pilot then collects the data but refuses to pay up until more is delivered, then he leaves. You have been double-crossed. Jake is understandably upset but has a cunning plan. Get to orbit and select the next mission.

I finished this mission without spending a single joule of Energy. I almost felt ashamed, like I’d returning from a bombing raid with a full payload. To cheer myself up I went and murdered a few Scouts. Still, ‘Pirate Raid’ sounds like it should be fun. We shall see.