Seeing banners and general media surrounding this game about this brand new IP launched by Wargaming really didn’t prepare me for the pleasant blindside. It’s my personal blunder, perhaps, due to my age, and I didn’t realize this wasn’t exactly a new IP. A reboot of the Old 4X genre Master of Orion games – though I’m told this revolves more around the first – but remastered for the modern age. For those not familiar, 4X stands for: “eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate”.
The best known 4X game of our current time is Civilization. Some might be aware of Civilizations’ Beyond Earth title and its rather unsuccessful launch (and still shaky foundation). Others are fans of Galactic Civ 2 & 3. Master of Orion is essentially a similar fabrication… The original “Civilization in Space”; and I’m quite ashamed to not have known it before now.
Although the market is getting more and more saturated the more big name titles are released, I believe Master of Orion, under WG Labs, has a competitive edge for several reasons. As compared to Beyond Earth, it feels more like Civilization game than Beyond Earth itself. Now maybe I shouldn’t compare it directly as the both derive from their own equally old and original source material, but Civilization is what I know. It capitalizes on it’s win conditions quite well, it innovates on the user interface more than Beyond Earth really bothered to do, and it generally looks and plays better. Compared to Galactic Civilization, it is… simpler, yet, still more complex. To remove ambiguity: Galactic Civilization really enables players to fabricate their own world, and in Galactic Civilization 3 (practically a better looking Galactic Civ 2) the customization is ridiculously complex. You can make anything. I mean >anything<. Your own worlds, remakes of your favorite source material (Star Trek, Mass Effect, Star Wars), every single ship in your fleet. You end up spending 50% of time in the editors crafting your world. This is not a problem, but it does distract from the already really immense game. Master of Orion doesn’t bog you down with tons of customization, it simplifies the transfer of data from the game to the player’s face. But the strategy is just as complex and immense.
All in all, however, this is just from the brief discussion (on and off camera) we had with the Wargaming Producers, looking in from the outside. But they’ve invited me to come play test the game so I’ll be getting a in depth look at some of the mechanics and I’ll bring you guys what I find. So take a look at what we have for you today and be sure to stay tuned for our follow-up!