Thursday, April 21st, 2011
I’ve never cared much for Battlestar Galactica. It felt like more of a Star Trek/Babylon 5 thing to me, and I’ve always considered myself to be more on the Star Wars/Firefly side of the fence with all the other ‘nerd, but not too nerd’ nerds, choosing to spend my weekends on more productive things like smoking behind the bike shed and flirting with that girl in my World of Warcraft guild ‘on vent’.
Of course, that was until they turned it into a game, and said game attracted more than a million players in its first 6 weeks of beta. That’s when it started to pique my interest; that’s when I learned that it was Free-to-Play. I had to give it a shot.
Battlestar Galactica Online (BGO) is a 3D Sci-Fi MMORPG that places you firmly in the space-boots of a star-bound fighter-pilot, allowing you to experience the entire universe of Battlestar Galactica and live out the epic, action-packed war between the Colonial Humans and the ruthless Cylons without ever having to sit through 400 or so hours of B-Grade science fiction TV.
What’s more, it’s a browser game, so you can begin playing immediately without the need for a large download or install, giving you access to first-class strategic space battles, planet-side exploration missions, epic Player-vs-Player (PvP) space wars and cooperative multiplayer adventures to the bitter reaches of the galaxies without ever needing to Alt-Tab to check your Facebook.
Normally, this isn’t a good thing. The convenience of playing through a browser is almost always outweighed by the sacrifices made to the gameplay and visuals; however, as the images strewn around this page will likely show, this is not the case in BGO. In fact, BGO looks better than most of the download FTP MMO titles, and it handles better than most of them, too.
Additionally, and also unlike the vast majority of the MMORPG genre, BGO offers some high-class innovation in the quest and mission department. While in many other MMORPG titles questing bears no real impact on the world around you, in BGO your actions will change the course of the Universe; your story is your own, as you shape the course of your adventure.
You begin playing Battlestar Galactica Online in traditional MMORPG fashion: by choosing your faction from either the Colonial Humans or the Cylons. The faction with the least amount of players will be given a 50% bonus to their experience gain for the first 5 levels, to help offer incentive for new players to choose the less popular faction.
After selecting a faction you begin playing amidst some type of space-battle tutorial mission designed to give you a grasp on the fundamentals of ship combat. You learn how to manoeuvre your ship, how to select weapons, how to destroy opponent ships, and how to follow basic orders to achieve your goal.
Once completed, you’re given the chance to customize your character, choose your first space fighter and experience life on the ground.
After a few small ‘talk to the NPC’ quests you learn how to equip new items, purchase new ships, and finally, how to take on missions and explore the known Universe. It’s a very traditional beginning for an MMORPG; though, before long you’ll find yourself more than familiar with the majority of BGOs fundamental elements, and well on your way to conquering the universe though faction-based PvP and story-centric, multiplayer missions.
In the world of 3D, Browser-Based, Science Fiction MMORPGs, BGO has no rival; though, by offering a solid and enjoyable experience with innovative and unique gameplay features, it finds itself up there with some of the best MMORPG titles on the market today. Did I mention it was free?