23 Apr 2014

Warspace: Starship Duels

Author: Kripto | Filed under: Games, Povesti subiective

This is a review of what i claim to be the best online mobile game i have encountered ever since i came into contact with Smart phones and Tablets. So, if you don’t like games, feel free to skip to any other article you may like on my website.

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The story begins with me receiving a new Smart phone from work. I already had a collection of e-books, so, as any person who spends a lot of time in public transportation, i looked for a good game. Warspace – Starship Duels came into my attentions as i was looking for turn-based strategy games. Little did i know it was actually just a couple of weeks old, still in development.

All i noticed was that THIS was the game i was looking for.

At first glance, the 3D graphics and environment reminded me a lot of the only 3D Strategy game i love – Homeworld. Warspace – Starship Duels doesn’t have 3D movement, but the game play is still immersive and fun, especially since you get to play against other players.

What i really like about it is that it made use of the classical Rock-Paper-Scissors system, made popular by Starcraft. Of course, it has some tweaks, but this only makes the game more interesting.

What is the game about? Simple PvP strategy, concentrated around one upgradeable ship. Of course, if you want, you can unlock the other 2 ship slots and have yourself a bang.

Here are the main details you should know about the game.

First of all, this is not a pay-2-win game! You can buy almost anything with in-game earnings, called Eonars.

Eonars are earned at the end of every battle. Don’t worry if you lose at first – you’ll still win some Eonars. The calculations for your winnings are based on 3 variables: fight ending (x3 Win, x2 Draw, x1 Lose), ship class (based on the two ships weight) and comparing status of the 2 opponents (the tougher the opponent, the more money you get).

You begin by choosing a ship. First you have access the lowest class (see Ships 1 to 5). After you manage to take some awards, you’ll be able to buy a new ship, but not all at once (Ships 6 to 10). If you want and have the cash, you can choose to buy, using real money, one of the top tier ships (11 to 15).

Each ship has it’s own bonuses. The lower and higher tiers of ships have a relatively equilibrated (between them) set of bonuses, while the medium tier, the ships that you get by wining achievements, are more spread out. For example, the best free ship is Trench 9. But be very careful,  since choosing a ship from the lower and top tiers must be based on the kind of strategy you’re going for!

The strategy is based on both the map type and obstacles and the upgrades.

Upgrades are very easy to understand. As i said earlier, the fighting is based mainly on a rock-paper-scissors system, but also on some real turn-based strategy.

First you have your weapons: Lasers (for close combat), Canons (for medium-range combat) and Missiles (for long range combat). Each of the weapons has an optimal damage distance. Don’t worry, inside the planning phase of the duel you’ll see where you should move to use the full power of the weapon. Just remember – no enemy is stationary, so you’ll also have to predict their movements!

Second, you have the defenses. These are: Shields (will stop ALL Laser damage), Armor (against Canon damage) and Point Defenses (you guessed it, great against Missiles). But these are not unlimited. You have to upgrade their stopping power. Or else, if, for example, you defend with 10 points of Shield against someone who inflicts 15 points of Laser damage, you’ll still receive 5 points of Hull damage. Or, if you have 10 points of Shield and get hit by a Laser that does 7 points of damage, you’ll only remain with 3 points of shield. In short, the defenses deplete as they absorb damage. But, if you defend with Armor or Point Defenses against the 7 points Laser,  you’ll receive full damage.

One more fact about Defenses: they are bi-directional. This means they defend your front and back separately. If your front Defenses are depleted, you can still avoid damage by turning the proverbial “other cheek” and not take any damage.

Damage out of what? Well, let’s go to Systems.

Third upgrade tab is Systems. It contains Hull, Engine and Thrusters upgrades.

The Hull is your ship’s life. When you take damage (either through defense’s depletion or choosing the wrong defense), your life goes down.

Engines are the ones who let you move around the battlefield. These push the total mass of your ship around, so, the higher your weight, the more you need to upgrade the Engines. We’ll be talking about weight shortly, so just bare with me.

Thrusters dictate the angle at which the ship can turn. As with Engines, Thrusters must be upgraded to keep up with your ship’s weight.

The ship’s weight increases with each upgrade. There are several markers that put your ship in a new category each time you reach it, up to a maximum of 250 tons. There are some players that played the game since before the maximum tonnage was implemented, so they are not bound by it, since they already went over that weight. I owned a Super Dreadnaught, but then “i took an arrow to the knee” and decided the game wasn’t interesting with it, so i scrapped it. Of course, i made good use of the 30% return in cash and built another ship. Back on track now…

Weapons upgrades are the most expensive. They cost you 2 tons for each point. The hull costs you 1 ton for each upgrade point. All the other upgrades (Shields, Armor, Point Defenses, Engines and Thrusters) cost 1/3rd of a ton.

Why are the last 2 ones important? Well, let’s just say i won a lot of games against players with have Hull and Weapons, but couldn’t move around. This meant i kept moving around, hiding behind obstacles, changing which side they hit and getting way out of their weapon range (which significantly lowers the damage they inflict).

Oh, great, now you’re going to ask about obstacles…

Well… let’s start with the maps. You have four maps on which you can move almost freely. The main difference between them is that you have 3 that give you bonus to each kind of weapon and one where all weapons do normal damage. So, if you favor a certain weapon and you end up on the map that favors it, you inflict 15% more damage with that particular weapon. Just watch the info on the loading screen and you’ll see it.

Each map has obstacles. Sometimes you get one, sometimes you get a lot more. The obstacles have two main characteristics: they halve a certain weapon’s damage (if it stands between the two opponents) and you can’t pass through them. You have the asteroids that affect Canons, the Red Clouds that halve the damage of Lasers and the Blue Clouds that, of course, make Missiles ineffective. One thing i noticed is that, if you are spawned inside a cloud, all your weapon damages are going to be cut in half, BUT you can move out of it in any direction.

Because of obstacles, it’s a must to ALLWAYS have your Thrusters and Engines maxed out. They can be used as they were meant to, but this doesn’t mean they can’t be useful to also “herd” the enemy in a “killing zone” (if you know how and have the appropriate upgrades).

There is one more tab to the upgrades section, but you needed to know all of this data to be able to understand all of what comes next. It contains Abilities.

The abilities are weight-free and consumable additions to the fight. They are unlock by increasing your ship’s weight. These are as follows: Deep Scan, Airstrikes, Dense Regeneration, Microjumps, Disruptors and Repair Bots.

Deep Scans, once activated, reveal details about your opponent’s ship (defenses and weapons), which you can use to adapt your tactics.

Airstrikes are “the desperate man’s weapon”. You can use them ONCE in a battle, but can make the difference between a loss and a draw. They can be stopped by the appropriate Defense, but Obstacles do not affect them, so be prepared to receive a full hit.

Defense Regeneration does exactly this – whenever you get to the planning phase, a percentage of your dense, if it got depleted, is going to regenerate up to 30% of its net value. From what i’ve seen, it actually regenerates 1/3rd of your defense’s net value.

Microjumps allow you to move at ANY POINT inside a 2000 meters radius, ignoring obstacles and, most of all, at a full 360 degrees radius. Good for surprising your enemy and hiding behind obstacles.

Disruptors, when used, disable a weapon of choice in the opponent’s arsenal. This helps you regenerate the shield and maybe get that spare time you needed  to win the fight.

Repair Bots work just like Defense Regenerations, but on your hull. The limit is of maximum 10% repaired, so is of use especially when your hull is well upgraded.

In my opinion, using Scanners and Airstrikes at lower levels is extremely ineffective, since they cost much more than one battle’s winnings. At medium levels, even Microjumps and Disruptors have become ineffective, so i rarely use them. Defense Regeneration and Repair Bots are the MUST HAVE of the Abilities, but only combined with a ship configuration that takes full advantage of them.

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This is it about the ships and. You’ll learn ship building while playing.

Speaking of playing, you have here some photos of what the battles consist of.  First you start the fight, then wait for an opponent to be available. Before the fight, you’re able to see a comparison between the player’s stats. Then comes the planning phase, where you chose the position, weapon and defense. Then the fight animation, where each of you can see the damage dealt and received. If you’re both still alive, there is going to be another planning phase, until one or both of you die. At the end, you’ll see the Eonars calculation (the last value shows you how much or less powerful the enemy was), and afterwards the points earned in the Global League.

Honestly, the “Skill” points are calculated by a system so flawed, i stopped taking notice and concentrated ONLY on the Global League and Eonars.

Final conclusions about Warspace – Starship Duels:

Great game to play! Easy to understand and handle by almost anyone who likes turn based strategy (Heroes Saga included) and isn’t enthusiastic only at the sight of flashy animations (you know you’ve seen them in too many games). You have to have a strategic and adaptive mind all the way or… you’ll end up putting the game aside.

TRY IT! Just have a fully charged battery when you start playing.

Kripto out.

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