Video Game: Astro Empires

Describe Astro Empires here.

Okay, let's see: Astro Empires is a Massive Multiplayer Online Game. It's a sort of a 4X strategy game, but with a Facebook-game like long term style, designed to be run in the background. Most of the gameplay is basically clicking on things and waiting a while (like, a long while) for them to do things. Structures to do perform various tasks, Technologies to unlock new Structures, Technologies, Units, and Defenses, Defenses to protect your bases, and Units to fight battles for you. Said battles involve sending fleets towards each other, while both sides losses are automatically calculated based on the size and composition of each fleet.

Okay, it sounds really dull when you describe it that way, but there's actually a surprising amount of strategy involved, with the variety of ships and defenses, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, managing resources across a variety of planet types that can be colonized, and managing relations with other players, be it through trade, diplomacy, or war. It can be quite fun to watch your pitiful little base grow into a Kardashev Scale-abusing interstellar empire, even if it does take frigging ages.

Astro Empires contains examples of:

  • Abusing the Kardashev Scale for Fun and Profit: Your Empire can reach quite a high level, doing things like urbanising entire planets, building planet-encircling superstructures, and fielding thousands of gigantic ships.
  • Allegedly Free Game: Not quite as bad as some other MMOs. Non-Upgraded accounts can only build Advanced Structures up to level 5, and only have two Queue slots. This doesn't seem bad, but since an important part of the game is Queuing up things to build/research automatically while you're off doing something else, the limited Queue nearly cripples the game. Non-Upgraded accounts can also only have 9 Bases, but since you start off Upgraded for one week, if you're fast and lucky you can grab 10 before the Upgrade expires. They also have to put up with a lot of ads.
  • All Planets Are Earthlike: Averted. Earthlike Astros (Earthly, Oceanic, Gaian) are quite rare. Most Astros are lifeless rocks (Rocky, Cratered, Metallic, Crystalline) or borderline Death Worlds (Glacial, Arid, Volcanic, Lava, Toxic, Radioactive).
  • Asteroid Miners: Pretty much the only thing Asteroids are good for, since they have minuscule Area but high Metal, and are the only Astros other than Crystalline with significant amounts of Crystals.
  • Asteroid Thicket: Inverted, oddly enough. Each Asteroid Belt only has one colonizable Asteroid in it (if any). But then again, in Real Life there are only a few asteroids in the Asteroid Belt that could support major settlements.
  • Awesome but Impractical: Pretty much all late-game things. What do you want? Planet-destroying superships? Your own personal Portal Network? A giant ring around your planet? Well, have fun getting all the necessary resources and waiting days for all that to build.
    • You would also think colonizing an Earthly or Oceanic Astro would be a good idea. Well, while their high Fertility makes for good Research Bases, their low resources and Area makes them impractical for anything else. Ironically, this means that the desolate rocks (Rocky, Cratered, Metallic) actually make the ideal bases while the earthlike Astros are nearly worthless.
  • The Battlestar: Carriers, Fleet Carriers, and Frigates.
  • Big Dumb Object: Planetary Rings (basically the Torus Aeternal). Some of the biggest ships in the game could count as mobile Big Dumb Objects.
  • Casual Interplanetary Travel: All Units have InterDrive, which allows them to hop between planets fairly easily. However, they can't travel between solar systems.
  • Casual Interstellar Travel: For that, you need Stellar Drive, which can travel interstellar distances but is quite slow. Warp Drive can make the trip much faster, and Warp Units can even travel between Galaxies.
  • City Planet: This is what happens if you run out of Area on an Astro. You definitely want to avoid it, though, since this means you can't build anything more on them. Can be somewhat helped by application of Terraforming, Multi-Level Platforms, Orbital Bases, and Biosphere Modification.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: If you try to fight the United Colonies, you will lose. The best you can hope to do is not to lose badly.
  • Death World: Volcanic, Lava, Toxic, and Radioactive Astros. From a gameplay perspective too, since their low Fertility makes them difficult to colonize.
  • Faster-Than-Light Travel: Two types: Warp Drive allows ships to travel between stars, albeit fairly slowly, while Jump Gates will speed up any ship that passes through them by 100%.
  • The Federation: The United Colonies seem to be meant to evoke this, if their logo is anything to go by.
  • Glass Cannon: Bombers. Heavy Bombers and Ion Bombers even more so.
  • Insistent Terminology: They're not "Planets" or "Worlds" they're "Astros".
    • Justified, since "Astro" refers to planets, moons, and asteroids, and there's no real short term for all of those. ("Celestial Object" is a bit unwieldy)
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: Frigates, Ion Frigates, Cruisers, and Heavy Cruisers.
  • Layered Metropolis: This is what Multi-Level Platforms allow you to do. Quite useful for saving Area.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Destroyers.
  • Metagame: There's quite a significant one, with each server having its own internal politics among the Guilds, with new Alliances, Trade, and interstellar (and occasionally intergalactic) wars happening practically every hour.
  • Mile-Long Ship: Dreadnoughts are the biggest, meanest ships around (Word of God says they're 3217 meters long). Except Titans, which are bigger. And Leviathans are bigger than that. And Death Stars are even bigger.
    • Let's put this in perspective: All Capital Ships require Orbital Shipyards to build, because they're too big to get off the planet's surface. Leviathans and Death Stars are so big that they give defence bonuses to the entire fleet. Death Stars are so big that they can't fit through Jump Gates.
  • The Milky Way Is the Only Way: Narrowly averted, intergalactic travel is possible, but very difficult.
  • Planet Spaceship: Death Stars. A single one can easily wipe out a planet, and they're so big they can't fit through Jump Gates.
  • Planetville: Justified: Astros have to have limited Area to keep bases at a manageable size and encourage expansion.
  • Portal Network: Jump Gates are a surprising aversion. Rather than being portals, they actually just speed up Fleets that pass them.
  • Ringworld Planet: Planetary Rings ("P-Rings", "Prings" or "Pringles" in fan speak) are miniature versions of this that encircle Astros.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: Each server is divided into 60 "Galaxies" each of which has about 100-200 stars in it. As opposed to, you know, 200 billion stars.
  • Single-Biome Planet: Almost all of them.
  • So Last Season / Can't Catch Up: Defenses have a problem with becoming obsolete fast: Most people will advise you to skip Barracks, Laser Turrets and Missile Turrets entirely and jump straight to Plasma Turrets. You should then try to get Ion Turrets as fast as possible and scrap the Plasmas, then move straight on to Photon Turrets, then to Disruptor Turrets and Deflection Shields. Of course, all that becomes moot once you get Planetary Shields and Planetary Rings.
  • Space Fighter: Fighters. Cheap, fast, drop like flies, only effective en masse. They also don't have Warp capability, and so need to be transported in Carriers between systems.
  • Standard Human Spaceship: All the ships in the game, according to the art.
  • Standard Sci-Fi Fleet: The various ships mostly fit, see the page for more details.
  • Subspace Ansible: Tachyon Communications.
  • Terraform: You can do this to a Astro to raise the Area. Biosphere Modification, which raises Fertility, also counts.
  • Unobtanium: Crystals. Crystalline Astros are so rare and precious that players will actually buy and sell them on the forums.
  • We Will Spend Credits in the Future: Credits are the in-game currency/resource.
  • You Require More Vespene Gas: Credits are money, Metal helps you build, Population, Energy, and Area are used up as you build, Solar and Gas determines how much Energy you get from building power plants, Fertility determines how much Population you get from Urban Structures, Crystals give you more money.
  • Zerg Rush: Pretty much the only thing Fighters are good for.