Perfect Ten: MMOs of the ‘internet spaceships’ genre

    
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A journey into complexity.

It’s at once the most important and most underserved genre in MMOs, aside from gigantic robots – it’s the valuable genre of internet spaceships. They’re games where you get to fly a spaceship. On the internet. Why would you want to be a boring human, an ethereal elf, or a squat and irritating designated short race when you could be a space human, or a space elf, or a space hobbit who still smells like peat bogs and breadcrumbs in a way that your ship’s air filter somehow doesn’t fix?

You’d think that this would be an extremely well-served genre, but for some reason it really isn’t. Star Control Online doesn’t exist, for example, and maybe we can blame that for our dearth of overall games about spaceships which are in fact extremely on the internet. Still, you aren’t devoid of options for games that let you put your spaceship on the internet, so let’s look at your internet spaceship options in list format. Spaceships.

spaaaaaaaaceship

1. Star Trek Online

Space. Not really much of a frontier after all in this game, since you are always going back to places that have always been explored in a prior series. These are the voyages of the starship USS Bonerfling. (You might have given your ship a better name, but you probably didn’t.) Its continuing mission: To explore familiar worlds voiced by established actors. To seek out the same old life in increasingly ornate post-television plots. To boldly continue adventures that a large number of other players have done before!

Also, to farm up so much reputation and spend money in the cash shop. I probably shouldn’t mock the spaceships of this game, though. Fans aren’t unhappy about these spaceships, they’re more unhappy about the fact that at some point you have to leave the spaceship and suffer through ground combat. Oh no.

Sometimes you may even see the spaceships.

2. EVE Online

If you’ve ever participated in any sort of large battle in EVE Online, you have probably zoomed out so far that everything is just dots colliding with one another. You are probably also primarily looking at your spreadsheet while you are playing. But here’s a fun life hack: you can actually zoom back in in the game and find out that rather than just really weird names for dragons and knights, you’re actually flying spaceships in this game!

That probably makes several other aspects of the game make a lot more sense! At least, until you zoom back out and head back to your spreadsheets. These markets aren’t going to corner themselves.

Ground spaceship.

3. Star Wars: The Old Republic

Look, I never promised all of these games were actually good at doing Spaceship’s Big Day on the Internet. Star Wars: The Old Republic mostly wants you to be on the ground having adventures as a space wizard with a laser sword. But it knew you needed some spaceships, and so it made Star Fox But They’re This Game’s Ships. That wasn’t well-received, so then they released whatever the heck the starfighter PvP system was. I could never queue into a match when I played, maybe it’s great.

Also, you have a personal ship that carries around the people you want to bang. This is a BioWare game, after all.

sky boats

4. Star Citizen

The entirety of Star Citizen’s business model is selling you pictures of spaceships that don’t exist in any playable form, but when they do, you’ll be able to have so much fun with these spaceships. These spaceships will do everything. You can mine with your spaceship, or fight in space with your spaceship, or blanket the area in radio static to prevent people from fighting. Or counter the people preventing people from fighting. Or probably even occupy a strange sort of space-borne pleasure barge, but for some reason that picture hasn’t actually been sold yet.

If you wait long enough, you may be able to take a walking tour of the spaceship you bought a picture of for $400. Theoretically, you might be able to fly that ship in a mode of gameplay sometime in 2028.

Safe!

5. Elite: Dangerous

Elite: Dangerous is like a version of Star Citizen that’s actually a game you can play, where you get a ship and then you can play the game and fly it right now.

Sure, it all worked out perfectly, great job.

6. No Man’s Sky

What always sticks with me about the spaceships in No Man’s Sky is the way that NPCs on space stations would offer to sell them to you. Like, someone pulls up in a nice cargo hauler on this tiny space station with no long-term stay amenities. You walk up like “hey, I like your ship.” The NPC responds “thanks, I’ll sell you my only means of transport off of this space station for a pittance!”

Then again, maybe they’re just as lonely as everyone else. This is a lonely dang game.

Low, low, low.

7. Prosperous Universe

Have you ever noticed that there seems to be a distinct overlap between internet spaceships and spreadsheets? I’m not sure why that is. Like, don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of advanced math involved in actually flying a spaceship, but I’m pretty sure most astronauts do not keep actual spreadsheets on hand when flying. And these spreadsheets would be about velocities and vector math, not about whether certain sorts of ore are selling better at one port or another.

If you’ve somehow missed it, Prosperous Universe definitely seems like the sort of game where you will be keeping those spreadsheets while you watch those majestic space boats fly around. Those beautiful, elegant space boats.

They're not attractive spaceships.

8. Star Wars Galaxies

There are definitely internet spaceships in this game. Heck, if you listen to the fans, there’s everything in this game, up to and including your father’s love and approval. I’ll never know that one.

Where was I? Oh, yeah, spaceships. Obviously this game is officially gone at this point, but I suspect you wouldn’t have much trouble tracking down some sort of rogue server if you were into it. Cough.

spaace is so big

9. Starbase

Do you like internet spaceships? I can only assume you do because otherwise why would you have read this much about them today. Do you like robots? I sure hope so because Starbase has both of those. Internet spaceships and robots! It’s a match made in a mechanical, robotic heaven with lots of flashing lights and stuff.

Of course, unlike many of the games on this list, you can’t really play much of Starbase yet. But it sure does have an ambitious look to it in terms of building your very own internet spaceships.

spaced

10. Dual Universe

Speaking of ambitious and letting you build your own internet spaceships, we oughtn’t forget about Dual Universe, which also has that! As well as a whole economy that’s going to be built around selling the plans for your own custom internet spaceship and then gathering the materials to make that nice new spaceship, competing with other people selling spaceship plans at the same time. It’s a whole new galaxy of internet spaceships.

In summary… these are games with internet spaceships. What? Not every one of these has to have some grand meaning beyond the presence of lovely spaceships flying in space blackness. Oh, my sweet internet spaceships.

Everyone likes a good list, and we are no different! Perfect Ten takes an MMO topic and divvies it up into 10 delicious, entertaining, and often informative segments for your snacking pleasure. Got a good idea for a list? Email us at justin@massivelyop.com or eliot@massivelyop.com with the subject line “Perfect Ten.”
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Grimmtooth

I think you meant to say all those nice things about Elite and that Star Citizen wanted to be like Elite but isn’t done yet.

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Joe Blobers

Except it is not and will never be. It is like saying EVE is better than ED and NMS because released 10 years before.

You missed the point of @Eliot’s comment in this very section: “it’s clearly the only game having fun poked at it here.”… because outside, in the real world, 200.000 new backers joined SC just in 2020 :)

Quote: “We are not trying to entertain the critics. I’ll take my chances with the public” (Walt Disney)

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EDangerous

No, not 200,000 backers. It is 200,000 new accounts, the majority of which do not turn into backers.

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Agony Aunt

Don’t confuse accounts with backers. I’m 2 of those accounts. Some will be alt accounts. Some will be people creating alt accounts to get make referrals to their main accounts, gaming the system.
CIG have no more than 1.2 million paying customers and i’m not even sure those are actually unique customers and i doubt whether CIG have that data either since its impossible to know.

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Joe Blobers

I did mention in others comments the fact some backers do have more than one account.

The number of new registered accounts between 1st Jan. of 2020 and 31st Dec 2020 is precisely: 444.241, not even 200.000

Here is the official comment from RSI on 23 Dec. 2020:
Quote:”In 2020, we had players from over 200 unique countries and territories around the world and from 56,340 unique cities play 26,576,364 hours of Star Citizen. This year, we had over 740,000 unique players play Star Citizen, and we still have another week and a half to go. Nearly half a million of them were returning or continually active players, and a quarter of a million were complete newcomers to the ‘verse that we welcomed to our community this year.

I doubt CR himself ignore the official number of +444K new registration but decided to mention only ‘a quarter of a million’ as complete newcomers to the verse.

We can turn and twist numbers in all direction to validate each of ours positions, such support of an alpha game is remarkable and point to one direction: support keep growing… not because of comment sections of various sites but because people are allowed to test/play latest version then do acknowledge and support the project by hundred thousands… or may decide to wait till specific gameplay or features are added.

Ironically in parallel: EA/Bioware decide to stop development on Anthem (after they screw it up badly at release then pretended they will rework it…), Blizzard is making a Diablo 2 Resurrected”, a remaster like most major publishers are now doing.
The common denominator is Zero ambition, no soul, just as much profit as possible with the less possible effort… all often sold for more $ than SC starter package. Pretty pathetic.

To put things in perspective. Revenues of EA and AB in 2020:
– EA: 5.54 Billions $
– Activision Blizzard: 8.09 Billions $

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Agony Aunt

You’re quite right, we can twist the number how we want, just like CIG do. Especially since we have no independent confirmation of those numbers.

Regardless, the joke about SC made by the article is in no way invalidated by any numbers. Furthermore, my own experiences in the recent free fly were not encouraging. Backers keep backing but the game is still firmly in alpha and will be for years yet.

Meanwhile, as has been the case for almost a decade, other games get produced, released, receive critical acclaim, and CR continues to focus on non-critical stuff and the roadmap is dire for the future.

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Joe Blobers

Regarding the joke about SC in this article, it is called sarcasm hence, have to be taken as such.
As I explained, demonstrated by anyone getting a starter package, all flyable ships can be bought with in game Credits. So yeah sarcasm are invalidated by facts and roadmap and it even does not matter… as sarcasm are not supposed to be facts :)

Quote: “Meanwhile, as has been the case for almost a decade, other games get produced, released, receive critical acclaim”:

Yes for sure but we get only few ambitious games on PC like RDR2 and to some extend CP2077, that will be fixed/improved over the next coming year.
Because producers who do care about their products are as much important than acclaimed games. NMS is the perfect example: poor release but very good follow up over years.

We can probably name a few others dedicated to specific genres that are also successful like “Half-Life: Alyx” or “The Last of Us Part II” but how many with current alpha SC gameplay+ features?

The count is pretty simple: none of the games released or in development have current SC Alpha and upcoming 2021 roadmap of new gameplay/features.

Also who stop anyone to play those acclaimed released games while playing current SC version or supporting the project?

I did back ED+SC and recently bought NMS for less than 15$, just to test it by myself as a space game fan. I stopped after roughly +30 hours. Good value for 15$ and I do encourage others to test/play them as well.

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Bruno Brito

up to and including your father’s love and approval. I’ll never know that one.

That hit close to home.

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Kickstarter Donor
Ken from Chicago

Not just internet spaceships but … Cyberspaceships! (Sorry, not sorry.)

1) Ironically, Star Trek is known almost as much for its spaceship’s bridge, yet STAR TREK ONLINE doesn’t let you fly a starship from the bridge. To be fair, STO is working with decade old tech that limit what the devs can do.

2) Spreadsheets iiiiinnnn spaaaace! When the autopilot tech is advanced enough, you don’t need to monitor vectors, trajectories, etc. Much like you can use modern computers without knowing how to code.

3) But can Star Fox do a barrel roll in an X-wing in SWTOR?

4) Ha ha, of course you have been able fly ships for years in STAR CITIZEN–for free this past week. Unless MJ and Chris were faking their livestreams. 😱✈🤣

5) Except for walking around inside your ship.

6) Maybe the NPC is secretly building their own cyberspaceship when you leave?

7) See 3 above.

8) Are people still interested in SWG? What next, COH?! As if. 🤣🤣🤣

9) Like chocolate and peanut butter. Reese’s Robot-covered Ships!

10) Look out for plans with exhaust ports! Those are really valuable. 🤣

Harry Koala
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Harry Koala

Damn! I’ve lost my copy of the rota. Whose turn is it to make fun of Star Citizen in the comments today? (or is it redundant since Eliot got a few good shots in)

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Bryan Correll

I lost my passion for making fun of Star Citizen years ago.

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BalsBigBrother

It’s too easy and kind of takes most of the fun out of it. Though I still try every so often for old times sake