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Legacy Worlds Beta 6 Milestone 1 is open

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Legacy Worlds Beta 6 Milestone 1 is now open for registration. The game will actually begin on the 15th of July, with 18 players already registered.

To read about the new game, check out my preview, or head over the the Legacy Worlds Blog to see an introduction to the game, the announcement, a post showing off the administration interface and in a few days an explanation of the software Milestone 1 is running on and some insight into some of the decisions made in it’s creation.

To sign up, head over to http://b6m.legacyworlds.com.

Legacy Worlds: Beta 6 Milestone 1

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Legacy Worlds has changed dramatically since I started playing in Beta 4 about 5 years ago. Since then the much improved Beta 5 has been released, greatly enjoyed but sadly forgotten. Over the coming months several milestone releases of the long awaited Beta 6 will be released for play and testing in a new development model described in this post.
As TSeeker’s post explains, Milestone 1 (M1) “will include a basic, Beta 4-like game”, which sees some of the features introduced in Beta 5 left out in the place of simplicity, but also includes some fundamental differences and upgrades to the way the game is played.

Milestone 1's Overview screen. Click to Enlarge.

One change noticeable immediately when you sign into M1 is the much simpler interface; gone is the full-screen navigation bar with its drop-down menus and quick-access icons which has been replaced by a much smaller window displaying much of what is to be seen of the game. All of the games pages are accessible by using the large buttons to the left, although more content can be shown on each pages by using the ‘tabs’ shown at the top. This interface is obviously just a basic version of what is to come in later milestones, but it remains clean and well-designed making it easy to read and use.

Before I get into the changes that have been made to the actual game, I’ll quickly go through the major features that have been included in M1 as well as those that did not make it into this release. Firstly, most of the basic gameplay elements familiar to Legacy Worlds players are back including very recognisable Fleets, Map, Alliance and Enemy List pages as well as the usual happiness system (which has been tweaked significantly since B5). While the planet page has been changed slightly, players will be able to pick it up quickly using a similar Build/Destroy buildings system as well as a shipyard used to build, well, ships. This early release of the game however does leave out some features including the in-game forums, the marketplace, hyperspace beacons, rankings, trusted allies and donations as well as a little percentage I’m sure many of us won’t be too upset to miss; corruption.

While M1 has been primarily built to test the game engine with a basic version of the game, several improvements have found their way into the milestone including Battle Intensity, the Battle Viewer, Notifications and changes to the building process. In short Battle Intensity is a background feature that influences battle computations by slowly building up intensity as the battle starts; battles start at about 25% intensity and build up to 100% over the course of half an hour.
The battle viewer is a very useful tool new to Milestone 1, providing a detailed overview of all forces at each stage of the battle, even allowing you to look at the history of the battle as it took place. The viewer also gives a written history of the battle in which it explains the fleet movements of all empires involved as well as who switched status’ (Attack and Defence) giving a tool to spot traitors in a way that battle reports have never been able to do. One of the best parts of the battle viewer is that it allows you to retroactively view any battle that you have been involved in giving an insight into the tactics players and alliances have used in the past.

A very simple battle shown in the Battle Viewer. Click to Enlarge.

Notification are a quick and easy way to keep up with the game without needing to log into the game, also providing a useful warning to get back into the game if something is going on. Simply put, notifications come in two main customisable flavours; instant and daily. In M1, there are 4 different conditions and three options. For each of Admin Messages, Alliance Messages, Internal Messages and Alliance Messages you can specify whether you would like to send you an email instantly, to bundle all of the information into your daily recap, or to not notify you at all.

Finally, there is a slight change in the way that the building infrastructure works in the game. Rather than the conventional ‘pay for ships/factories, see them in the build queue, they come out’, you pay for them as they build instead. One way to look at it is you commission the creation of new ships and the game will tell you how much this will cost in total; your investment. Then as the ships are created, you will pay for them piece by piece until your investment is gone and your ships are built. Another slight change in the building system is that when you build or destroy factories, they must actually be constructed or deconstructed. That is, they do not just appear or disappear from your planet, but rather take time to build/destroy just as they would in the real world. Another nice addition is the inclusion of a ‘Jobs’ field in building descriptions which shows how many jobs the new building will produce, allowing you to compare your employment numbers with your total population.

The last significant change to mention is the movement away from ticks. Anyone who has played Legacy Worlds or any similar game would understand the concept of ticks, special times during the day when certain actions take place, say battles computations, income payments or planet control changes. In M1 and in fact in LWB6, ticks have been completely redesigned. Instead, a ‘tick’ occurs every minute in which all of the games calculations are made, just on a much smaller scale. This gives the game a more realistic atmosphere as the game updates in almost real time, also allowing you to make changes that take effect immediately rather than, for example, 7 hours later at the next cash tick.

All in all, despite the drawbacks of this only being the first of many milestone releases including a limited technology tree, excluded features and possibly the occasional bug (that’s what the bug tracker is for!), Milestone 1 seems to be a very solid core of what promises to grow into a complex “online intergalactic war game”.

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