Welcome to the War!
Welcome to Day 7 of the campaign to bring the online space combat game back. It's been a hell of a week! We can't express enough how humbled and amazed we are by the outpouring of support we've seen in this campaign! We had hoped that we would get a little response, but the backers of our project and the posters on the forums have far exceeded anything we could hope for: Be it the great suggestions and stories being shared on the forums or the over $10k you’ve already raised.
The stories and cries of support from you have been, to say the least, tear inducing. Space Combat games are the loves of our lives and it's an incredible experience to find so many of you out there that the feel the same. You're love for this genre can move mountains and we've already felt the first rumbles. It's an awesome experience in the true sense of the word and we're humbled to be part of it. We will do whatever we can to earn the support and trust you've shown us; you have my word.
As our first thank you we would like to share a high res desktop wallpaper of Squad Wars. We think it's pretty cool, feel free to share it far and wide and spread the word!
(direct download link: http://static.endgames.net/squadwars/SW-Desktop01.jpg)
So why don't we start earning some of that incredible support, right now? One of the questions we see a lot is "is this a MMO?" and that's an interesting question – we believe it is, but we're not really fond of the label "MMO" because it means different things to different people. In the case of Squad Wars though, the question is an exciting one, so I thought we could share what we were thinking about, a little bit.
One of our posters and backers made the point that it's the context of an epic space battle that provides the majority of the battle's "epic" – and we think the poster is totally right. I remember playing XvsT back in the day and I'd love flipping through the asteroids looking for rebel scum to blow up, but at the same time the game never struck home as thoroughly or as emotionally as the previous release, had. The fights were just as big, but they seemed to lack something that the fleet action battles of TF had; that something was context – TF isn't just a game about flying a Twin Ion star fighter; it was about exposing corruption at the heart of a massive galactic empire and restoring order – that stuff matters!
So, if you're not WoW in space, how do you get that same sort of epic, that sort of context? The answer is you let the players write their stories in the stars, but to do that you need more than just arena combat: That combat has to have a reason to be there. Context again. For Squad Wars, that's where the star map comes into play.
Imagine the swirling disc of the Milky Way; a billion billion stars whirling around the naked singularities at the center – each point of light representing the potential for vast wealth, each one a valuable treasure in its own right. Now, imagine that you're a hotshot pilot staring at the same thing in the holo-display of the war room in your squad's Mobile Command Carrier (MCC). Capable of storing the fighters for your squad and mounting factory, refining and mining modules, the MCC represents the strategic heart of your squad: Where it's positioned in the galaxy determines the range of your influence – the distance your fighters can go and the systems they can fight for. Want to build a new engine booster for a Plasma Expansion Drive? You’re going to need Thorium and that means moving the MCC to a system where it can mine some… and then protecting it while it does its job.
Every star in the galaxy map (sadly we can't make you a billion billion systems, but we'll try to get as close as we can!) represents a different set of resources and advantages that can be exploited by your MCC, but when you move your MCC into a wild system, you're putting it at risk to be attacked and damaged, forcing you to repair it before you can use its resources again.
A "wild" system has no law – no guarantees you can't be attacked and no recourse other than to defend yourself, if you are. How wild a sector is depends on the distance of the sector (the number of jumps) from the consortium controlled space where all new pilots start their career. The jump distances also act as something like a control lattice – a ship is limited in where it can fight by the number of jumps it can make from its MCC which means that at any given time only a certain number of sectors are available to a squad to choose from, but of course – the more wild the sector, the better the rewards for taking missions there, so even a merc unit is going to have to put their MCC at risk, if they want the big bucks.
More often than not, a mission takes the form of a scenario battle in that sector, with each side populated by the squads with an interest in that sector, but the outcomes of those scenarios immediately feed back into the state of the galaxy map and of the squad's MCC. Who controls a sector depends on the success and failure of missions, the tactical assets the squads have in sector and state of any active battles in a sector. Of course, a squad can opt to "Lock down" a sector for their exclusive use, but the effort of doing so can be great and of course, nothing lasts forever.
The MCC isn't just a strategic asset in the military sense, though. It's also the economic heart of the squad. How you outfit your MCC is, to some degree, up to you and your squad – every module that isn't loaded for military use is a module you could use to hold mining gear, an ore refinery or a nano-fabrication factory. You can even devote it all to cargo -- there's no reason it couldn't be the heart of your shipping empire, as long as you're willing to put it at risk of being intercepted and attacked.
But, one thing at a time – you have to earn an MCC; at first you'll be hitching rides on board the conglomerate's MCCs (massive Dreadnaughts) until you can afford to buy a franchise license and your squad's first MCC. After that though? It's a new game on a whole other level.
There's a downside, too – all these MCC's moving around make tempting targets, especially when they make their position known by deploying to some purpose (mining, fabricating, patrolling, locking down jump gates, etc.). Sometimes an MCC being in a sector means you can't use the sector the way you want – if you're looking for Thorium, but Squad X is already there doing the same, you're going to have to jump their claim and fight them off of it before you can deploy your own mining gear. Then you're going to have to deploy that gear and mine, protecting your gear through the process lest someone else come and the exact same thing.
The trick is, this stuff only happens to you when you're there – an MCC not deployed at some task is essentially invisible to all but the squad, while it's idle. (think of it as hiding at the edge off the system way off the ecliptic so it's hanging in the dark, all alone) you might run the risk of deploying your MCC with no escorts, but that just means that when a claim jumper decides to go for it, his squad is jumping in to a system empty of everything but some fish… in this barrel. An MCC is your home away from home… you really shouldn't let anyone shoot at it, if you can avoid it.
So, we hope that helped to answer the question of is the game an MMO or not, but even if it didn't, hopefully it will help to bring to light how we aim to provide some of the context, some of the world of what a hardcore player might call an MMO. Why don't you head over to our forums and let us know what you think?
One small note, we have added a few smaller pledge levels by request for those looking to just be a part of what we are creating with Squad Wars.
Thanks again to everyone who has so generously pledged to this project, it's very exciting to see others as passionate about the space combat as we are!
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Every dollar counts in the quest for putting our dreams into tangible form. Thank you so much!Estimated delivery:
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- Exclusive wallpaper featuring one of your favourite ship designs. - Your name listed as a Kickstarter on our official development blog.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $10 or moreYou selected
RECRUIT LEVEL gets you: access to the Beta; a Founder's Recruit In-Game Badge, $20 worth of in game credits at launch; you get 1 vote on deciding our first scenario; and our sincere appreciation!Estimated delivery:
Pledge $25 or moreYou selected
STICK JOCKEY LEVEL gets you: Beta access; a Founder's Stick Jockey In-Game Badge; one month of free XP boost; 1 day headstart at launch; a total of 2 first scenario votes; and a total of $50 worth of in game credits at launchEstimated delivery:
Pledge $50 or moreYou selected
FLYBOY LEVEL gets you: Beta access; a Founder's Flyboy In-Game Badge; three months of free XP boost; 1 day headstart at launch; Early registration to reserve your callsign; Access to behind the scene development forums; a total of 5 first scenario votes; a total of $100 worth of in game credits at launch; and a "Special Thanks" development creditEstimated delivery:
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ACE LEVEL gets you: game access during Alpha stages; a Founder's Ace In-Game Badge; permanent XP boost; 2 day headstart at launch; Early callsign registration; Access to VIP development forums; Special limited edition ship paint jobs; a total of 10 first scenario votes; a total of $225 worth of in game credits; and a "Founder" development creditEstimated delivery:
Pledge $250 or moreYou selected
WING COMMANDER LEVEL gets you Ace level rewards PLUS: a Founder's Wing Commander In-Game Badge; Early squad name registration; A poster autographed by the development team; a total of 25 first scenario votes; a total of $600 worth of in game credits; and a "Backer" development creditEstimated delivery:
Pledge $500 or moreYou selected
CAPTAIN LEVEL gets you Wing Commander level rewards PLUS: a Founder's Captain In-Game Badge; An autographed piece of original concept art; An art book showcasing visuals and design concepts; a total of 50 first scenario votes;a total of $1200 worth of in game credits; and a "Patron" development creditEstimated delivery:
Pledge $1,000 or moreYou selected
1 backer Limited (49 left of 50)
ADMIRAL LEVEL gets you Captain level rewards PLUS: a Founder's Admiral In-Game Badge; You name an item or ship in the game; Custom designed squad graphic: our artists will create your squad's logo to your specifications (within game limitations); An exclusive launch party invite (must be able to travel to event venue on your own); a total of 100 first scenario votes;a total of $2500 worth of in game credits; a Squad Council seat, giving you 1 VIP vote on influencing future content and feature directions; and an "Associate Producer" development creditEstimated delivery:
Pledge $5,000 or moreYou selected
0 backers Limited (20 left of 20)
LEGEND LEVEL gets you Admiral level rewards PLUS: a Founder's Legend In-Game Badge for you; an exclusive Legendary In-Game Badge for your entire squad; You name a sector in the game; a VIP invite to the launch party (must be able to travel to event venue on your own); a total of 500 first scenario votes;a total of $13,000 worth of in game credits; five Squad Council seats, giving you 5 VIP votes on influencing future content and feature directions; a "Co-Producer" development creditEstimated delivery:
Pledge $10,000 or moreYou selected
0 backers Limited (10 left of 10)
SPACE DEITY LEVEL gets you Legend level rewards PLUS: a Founder's Space Deity In-Game Badge; Your character is written into game lore; 2 VIP invites to the launch party and 1 night hotel stay (must be able to travel to event venue on your own); A private, tasty lunch or dinner with END Games studio heads; a total of 1000 first scenario votes;a total of $25,000 worth of in game credits; ten Squad Council seats, giving you 10 VIP votes on influencing future content and feature directions; a "Co-Executive Producer" development creditEstimated delivery:
Pledge $10,000 or moreYou selected
Gets you Legend Level rewards PLUS: Your permanent ad displayed in the map of your choosing as a floating billboard. You supply the ad (so long as it meets the games rating and technical requirements) and we run it. You can change it whenever you would like as well. It will be part of the game for as long as the game is live.Estimated delivery:
- (30 days)