263: How I Gained and Lost an Empire

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How I Gained and Lost an Empire

Strategy games don't always lend themselves to playing a specific role, yet Alex Donks tells the story of his tyrannical empire's rise and fall in Master of Orion II, all due to the hubris of its leader.

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"Master of Orion II, even more than most 4X (explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate)"

I take it people were too embarrassed to tell the guy that came up with that that each word begins with an 'E'.

Great article by the way.

An excellent article, and certainly one that I can commiserate with - though I simply haven't lost those sort of games. I have wasted many an hour on Emperor of the Fading Suns - a similar game.

though, the AI has always been AWFUL in EFS, the game is still fun.

I love MoO II and enjoy playing it every now and then .. but I actually never thought about building a race that is Creative AND Telepathic .. must have slipped my mind ^^

Wow that sounds awesome... I want to play it now!

Thank you, another game to look out for and try myself. I am all in for this!

Damn you! I must re-install this now! Well, that's my afternoon gone....

EDIT - Success! And as for Creative being broken? Try Creative, Unification, and Telepathic - it's almost too easy...

Extremely well-written article, and it makes that game sound stupendously awesome. How well has it aged? Are there any sequels or whatnot?

Ah, Moo2! Brings me back. I must see if I can get it to work on my netbook.

Nice article, it was a great read. I need to look out for this game.

dannymc18:
Extremely well-written article, and it makes that game sound stupendously awesome. How well has it aged? Are there any sequels or whatnot?

The game is still playable if you can live with 640 x 480 resolution but getting hold of a legal copy is next to impossible. There was a squeal MoO3 but is was just plain bad. The game suffered from terrible enemy A.I, a horrible interface, game killing bugs and missed half the features that made MoO2 good.

This made me miss MoO2 so, so much...

I think my copy is laying around, somewhere...

masters of orion? Put a donk on it

MoO II had me waste a large number of hours of my younger years but I was never really good at it, always got crushed.... Time to see if age has brought greater wisdom with it.

Also epic article, loved the way it was written, really sucked me into the narrative.

albino boo:

dannymc18:
Extremely well-written article, and it makes that game sound stupendously awesome. How well has it aged? Are there any sequels or whatnot?

The game is still playable if you can live with 640 x 480 resolution but getting hold of a legal copy is next to impossible. There was a squeal MoO3 but is was just plain bad. The game suffered from terrible enemy A.I, a horrible interface, game killing bugs and missed half the features that made MoO3 good.

The easiest place to get it from is here:

http://www.gog.com/en/gamecard/master_of_orion_1_2

Very cool, reminds me of some gal civ 2 games.

I haven't quite enjoyed a good 4x since "Acendancy" on DOS

man I miss that game, it was super old school!

I loved Master of Orion--must have played dozens of games in both original and MoO2 versions. Usually my fledgling empire was crushed way too early, but occasionally I would find the right combination of research and diplomacy to bring victory. One time I filled a notebook with a year by year, turn by turn account of the rise and fall of the Terran Empire. Great article, Alex!

Really good article, but now I feel terribly ashamed that I have never played this game.

Very great article. It reminds me of my old Civilization playthroughs. Where I would build a giant army, get cocky, and attack everyone. Eventually I would be brought down.

Then I learned about choosing my battles, and preparing a defense in case anyone attacked while my army was doing their thing.

Great article, I'll have to check out this game.

Enjoyed this article as well. There is something to be said about staying true to your character and going down in epic, glorious flames. Unfortunately, I usually just get frustrated and give in to the temptation to reload the game.

The Total War series generates lots of "lost cause" battles where your small garrisons of soldiers unsuccessfully attempt to defend castles from hordes of invading enemies. It's sometimes character building to just swallow your pride and accept the glorious defeat.

Nice article. I was even younger when I first played MoO 2, so I didn't grasp too many of the complexities of the game at the time (such as using spies, being proactive with treaty making and like you, how invading rather than just nuking from orbit is a really good idea) but it's been a favourite of mine for a long time.

I recently re-bought MoO 2 through GoG.com, along with MoO 1 which I've never played. I love MoO 2 so much, and I think it's a game that's aged incredibly well. The interface is fairly straight forward for a game with MoO 2's depth and the graphics and art look fine, since it mainly consists of gorgeous 2D artwork and some pretty nice pre-rendered cinematics (such as when you blow up a planet with a Stellar Converter *insert cackling*)

Also, you're totally right about Creative being broken... I never make a race without it.

Would highly recommend this game to strategy game fans, graphics might not look so hot nowdays but then the game-play more than makes up for it. As someone pointed out, legit copies are able to be purchased and downloaded from Good Old Games www.gog.com (not affiliated with them, just a satisfied customer).

What a fantastic article, thank you for writing that. Master of Orion massacred as many hours of my life as WoW has, and I think back fondly on every single one of them.

I also was thoroughly disappointed by the third installment, the concept was neat, but they tried to make it much, much more of a 'deep' game, but they really did not realize that MoO2 really had the balance figured out, and ruined it for themselves. Bugs didn't help either, it was like they gave up on it.

Personally I think that if a developer took MoO2 (and even the original) and did a 15th anniversary edition next year, and do nothing but graphics development, I would think that there would be a lot of people who would be more than willing to pay 30-40 for the game, heck I'd buy it for as much for my son to be able to experience the awesomness that was MoO as for myself! An updated version of Master of Magic would be fantastic as well.

If people are interested, the Galactic Civilizations line of games from Stardock are kind of spiritual successors to the Master of Orion games. I can't speak for any of your interests, but I know I've spent massive amounts of time playing GalCiv II with the expansions.

LOL, I think your article pretty well nails exactly what made MoO][ the best of the series. MoO]|[, ignoring the brokenness of the thing never did anything to pull me inside the game quite like 2 did.

I usually play the game with one hand behind my back using some of the more useless abilities, you know, just to give the AI a fighting chance -_^

I still play MOO2 every now and then. It is a great game.

If you've got Windows 7 there is a stupid trick that you must use or the game colors are all messed up. You have to start the game, alt-tab out, start a Task Manager, use that to kill Explorer, then go back to MOO-2 and the colors will be fixed. After you finish playing you can use Task Manager to restart Explorer.

Dumb but works.

MOO2 is probably my favorite game of all time. I was in college when it was released and I spent many a lazy Sunday afternoon conquering the universe. I still play it from time to time.

Protips: if you're playing the unpatched version, go for Plasma Cannons ASAP. They're really, really OP. You can also transfer captured Sakkra population to your planets and they'll gain the Sakkra's Subterranean Population bonus.

MOO1 is pretty fun too.

Alex Donks:
...Your advisors address you directly, personally...

- MOO2 has advisors?

Rogue 9:
Also, you're totally right about Creative being broken... I never make a race without it.

- Creative is not broken. It costs 8 picks, and that is alot. I think subterranean (+50% population), population growth and unification are more powerful, which is reflected in my games, where the Psilons are almost always weak and the Sakkra and Klackons dominate.

- The other reason why creative isn't that good is that you won't trade techs as you will eventually get them all. However trading techs is one of the best ways to improve relations.

- MoO2 is the almost perfect galactic empire game. I wish we could forget the blunder that was MoO3 and someone would make a truly worthy sequel to the franchise.

Tohron:
If people are interested, the Galactic Civilizations line of games from Stardock are kind of spiritual successors to the Master of Orion games. I can't speak for any of your interests, but I know I've spent massive amounts of time playing GalCiv II with the expansions.

- Galactic Civilizations is "ok" but I don't like it half as much. The "comedy style" of GalCiv and civilization leaders making comments about programming, your PC hardware and game mechanics totally spoils the atmosphere.

Sounds kinda like some of my Civ 4 games.

awesometastic job on the article my lord!

sounds kinda like my/yahtzees/others sim city games

Never played the game, but your article was a masterpiece, sir! I congratulate you!

amazing article bings back so many good memories
now i shall have to go play it again though

I too have found myself in sticky situations in this type of game (Kinights of Honor or Sins of a Solar Empire). However when I play a tyrant who only want to destroy ones foes I tend to build a choke point to protect my core worlds/lands. In KoH I like to use islands such as the UK. But I do know that feeling of attacking the wrong team and seeing death come twords me.

Wonderful read.

Nice article, and I can say that anytime there is a game like that, I will also be the tyrant.

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