The Whiner's Guide To MOO3
Discomforted by Real-Time Combat? Miffed by the Mrrshan's getting cut? Fed up with IFPs? Then you're in the right place! Welcome to the Whiner's Guide To MOO3. Here we address the issues that many newcomers have with Master Of Orion 3's developement so far. You will also find answers from the point of view of some old-timers to MOO3 and people who have shared in it's developement.
Real-time space combat? I don't want another StarCraft, I want MOO!
I want my Mrrshans!
Real time combat is probably the biggest change in MOO3 from MOO2. But don't worry too much; virtually everyone (including some of the designers themselves) who found out about MOO3 switching to real-time combat was doubtfull or even angry about it, yet over time have come to realize it's a great idea after all. The designers have assured everyone that MOO3 combat will not look or play anything like Starcraft, for instance. The closest comparison they can draw is Harpoon, or a little more distantly, Shogun. Why the switch to real-time? No, it's not to get a piece of the RTS market pie. Imagine this: The limit for the number of ships on either side of a space battle is 768 individual ships, plus reinforcements, plus the other side's ships, and now you've got over 1500 ships to move, aim, shoot, move, aim, shoot, move, aim, shoot, ad nausium. While there are a few people who really dig that, most of us get annoyed with this sort of thing very fast. You now operate on a fleet admiral level, assigning broad strategies and orders, no longer specific, "you go here and shoot him" commands. You are still involved, just not the same way as in past MOOs.
So basically, the game runs itself and i just sit back and watch now?
And you can have them! Just pop in the ol' MOO2 CD and be magically whisked away to the Land of Nastalgia! Several of the older MOO races have been axed or transformed to go with the "less cheeze is better" design philosophy of MOO3. The designers, as well as the majority of fans think the old races were a bit "hokey" to say the least, but the new races are more serious and more alien aliens. While the old races looked like payed actors in suits, the new races are more plausable as out-of-this-world alien life forms. The cut races are dead and will not be resurrected by any amount of screaming from MOO2 fanatics. So please, let them rest in peace (or go play MOO2).
No Hotseat? That does it...
If that's how you plan to play Master of Orion 3, plan to lose, because you won't get far. While there are many AI nodes (previously known as "leaders") running every facet of your empire, you can't count on any of them to always make the right decisions for you (hey, just like real life...) Your active involvement is required. It's true though; if left alone, your empire will run itself in a way. The problem is it isn't a very good way. Your empire will bumble along a vague and hazy path towards... well, not victory. Leaders just run the place. Victory is your job.
There's too many changes. I don't want a whole new game, I want an upgrade for MOO2.
Why, you ask, is there no hotseat support? Imagine this scenario: You and a friend are playing MOO3. Your friend engages you in combat and it's your 347 Klackon Killers vs. his 292 Sakkra Stingers. The fight begins. You reach for the mouse...
"Gimme the mouse, dork!"
"Get your own mouse, jerk!"
"I'll kill you, stupid!"
"Like to see you try, mu..."
Fight ensues over mouse and/or keyboard...
Ready for Round 2?
Every game with "starlanes" was really stupid...
And that is a perfectly valid and reasonable desire. Unfortunately, the designers of Master of Orion 3 do not feel that same way. Like MOO2 was a complete overhaul of MOO1, MOO3 will likewise be a complete overhaul of MOO2 and MOO1. Please don't waste your time with the ol' "It's not MOO!" bit. Let's face it, if Master of Orion 3 isn't "MOO", then neither was the second one. Alan Emrich put it best with this comment: "Shoot for the stars, hit the trees. Shoot for the trees, hit the ground." While other games of recent have gone the tried and true route and flunked (*cough* civ3 *cough*), Master of Orion 3 hopes to break the mold and raise the bar for all strategy games.
The artwork looks dumb.
Many will agree with that. The designers of MOO3 would like to do the concept right, though. The idea of starlanes/spacelanes promotes a variety of strategies by encouraging you to take certain routes through space. Having certain "choke points" along the way will better help you to define and defend your borders, and the ability to either enter and exit "wide" or "narrow" provides further offense and defensive tactics. Basically, starlanes will make the game deeper. You can still travel through deep space however, so don't totally freak out.
The AI had better be good, or else.
And that's strictly your opinion. Some will agree with you, many will not. What more can we say?
Who's making this game? They must be morons!
Well yes, but no. The uber-AI (the top level AI that controls the other empires) will have to be top notch of course. But you are probably thinking about the heavy usage of [previously known as] leaders running your empire, right? They had better be good... but actually, no they shouldn't. Designer David Craft put it this way: Leaders are designed to do what they do. They are not designed to win the game for you by doing everything the way you would do it. If that were the case, then you really would be just watching the game instead of playing it. Leaders are designed to perform a specific task at a variable level of ability to that task. You might end up with a ship captain that will do exactly what you would do. You may also end up with a bumbling idiot. That's life. That's MOO3.
There are about 2 dozen people actively working on the Master of Orion 3 project, and that doesn't include all the volunteer developers. The lead designer was Alan Emrich, who in fact literally wrote the book on MOO (dig out your old Master of Orion strategy guide and take look at the authors. Now that was a strategy guide!). The designers are all avid wargamers and grognards who in other circles might be called "geeks." They are all MOO fans themselves. But do you want a MOO fan who's been making and playing war games for the last 30 years designing your MOO3, or some dorks who just bought the MOO3 license to make a quick buck? In fact MOO3 has been in developement for over two years now. We feel it's in good hands.