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Video Game / Pardus

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A browser based space MMORPG created by Bayer & Szell OG, set far into the future. Players are all pilots, and are one of 4 races (Humans, Ska'ari, Rashkir, or Keldon) in the game. It's unique in the aspect that although there are 3 backstory-heavy factions (The Empire, The Federation and the Union,) as well as minor ones, ALL politics involved are completely player run, with the developers taking a very hands-off approach to activities that happen in the game.

The game, being browser based, has not much in the way of graphics(although it did get an overhaul recently, it's still 2d and will remain that way likely forever), however it has a charm to it as it is very much a sandbox game; anything you can do by the game mechanics you can do, and your only opposition will be other players. There are no NPC police anywhere, and 99% of space is PVP open season year round.note 

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This game provides examples of:

  • Abnormal Ammo: Organic weapons mountable on ships.
  • Allegedly Free Game: Although more free than most. Paying gets you the option to go to a cluster exclusively for premium users, grab (at high risk and cost of in-game currency as well as a certain commodity) special weapons that actually aren't that special, stronger armor that fades after a while, and unique enemies, as well as a more interesting experience during faction war. It's quite possible to match anybody in the game without paying a dime.
  • The Alliance: The closest thing to The Union, it was (backstory) formed by a group of people that wanted nothing to do with the Federation or the Empire. Eventually it grew into a legitimate faction to rival the other two.
    • Not The Mafia IN SPACE? After all, they started as a crime group, and a lot of the ranks are mob-related (the unseen leader is The Don, rank 13 is Godfather), and a lot of their equipment is illegal in the territory of other factions.
  • Anti Poop-Socking / Play Every Day: Players regenerate 24 action points per 6 minutes (that's 5760 per day), and can hold a normal maximum of 5000 at a time. The only non-random way to gain more Action Points besides waiting is to consume expensive drugs or stim chips, and those have Diminishing Returns for Balance. Action Points are required for every meaningful action in the game except chat and forum use. Therefore, players can't do more than two twenty minute periods per day of Stat Grinding, to balance adults with jobs and families and students with classes against people with too much free time. However, see Can't Catch Up.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: You can do anything, so long as you can kick ass and survive the retaliatory asskicking.
    • Unfortunately, most of the asskicking is in the hands of those who firmly abide by Status Quo Is God, or at least oppose anything that hinders or reverses their progress.
  • Asteroid Miners: You can fit mining lasers on your ship. Hardly anyone uses them for actual mining though...
  • Attack Drone: The Z-series and X-993 NPCs.
  • Author Avatar: The developers of the game. They make up the "Galactic Council" and fly in golden cube ships.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: While not always true, most of the really respected characters have at least fought in a war at some point.
    • Also, as you go up in rank, you get access to cooler equipment, bigger guns, and significantly better ships.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: You are a high-skilled pilot and your ship only has one single crew slot. Who do you put there? The baddest legendary crew member you can find.
  • Badass Crew: Legendary crew members, although sadly only one of them can be on a ship at any given time. You can however complete the ensemble by having the rest of your battleship's crew as level 5 standard crew in addition to having high skills yourself.
  • Badass Normal: Very rarely a previously unknown pilot will rise to prominence following the destruction of a mass slew of enemy starbases by his or her hand, earning a mass amount of points for his or her faction during a war and possibly earning conquests. Not knowing who it is, their enemies may one day ambush this person, and find to their shock that the pilot is a low-ranking newbie in a Babel that they just vaporized in two rounds. Now just wait for this guy to get a real ship and some skills...
    • The reason that the low-skilled pilot had "the destruction of a mass slew of enemy starbases by his or her hand" is that he/she hired NPC fighter/bomber squadrons to do just that.
  • Beam Spam: The concept behind a Doomstar or War Nova with the maximum of five Very Large Pulse Cannons.
  • BFG: The Empire loves this trope. Their biggest gun, the 60 MW Plasma, weighs 54t and does 345 damage per shot. The biggest gun available to everyone else? 210.
  • Bounty Hunter: With bounties both set by factions for breaking rules and also set by players. Whether one considers one or both to be legit is up to the individual holding the gun. Some players make a career out of this, but the chance of retaliation turns away most.
  • Casual Interstellar Travel
  • Can't Catch Up: Because of the Anti Poop-Socking system, it is virtually impossible to equal or surpass anyone who started playing before you did.
  • Church of Happyology: The description of Keldon Brains, an illegal commodity:
"The 'Cyantology' movement - which consists mainly of unqualified scientists and quack doctors outside of Keldon space - believes to have found the essence of immortality in Keldon brains. They pay good money for their freaky experiments. This highly illegal contraband can not be bought in normal places."
  • Cool Spaceship: While all of them are far superior to what we have in real life, not all of them are considered cool, at least relative to the better ones.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Keep at least one hull point, and you're good to go. Lose it: boom. Naturally, more than one person has survived an attack by another with just one hull point left.
  • Deflector Shields: Optional, highly recommended if you can fit it. The Union has many different types.
  • Diminishing Returns for Balance: Drugs and stim chips grant less extra AP the more you use in succession, with the diminishing returns regenerating by one level every hour.
    • Not entirely true. Stim chips always provide the same amount of AP, at least until a certain point. After that, you get literally Zero gains.
  • An Economy Is You: Literally. The entire economy (which is vast and confusing as heck) is player run.
  • Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors: The majority of weapons and the easiest to obtain armours are all Conventional type, which is normal against itself but slightly weak against both Organic and Electromagnetic weapons/armour, which are in turn both resistant to themselves and weak against each other. Premium players can purchase weapons and armour of the Pardus element, but this is not as severe a case of Bribing Your Way to Victory as most setups like this, because the Pardus weapons have sub-par base stats and degrade fast, the Pardus armours eventually revert to a normal armour type, and both require payment in an extremely expensive (in in-game money) commodity to obtain.
  • The Empire: The faction of the same name. Once the big rival of the Federation, due to roleplaying differences and backstory, even today there is still some animosity between the two groups. Notable as on one server (Orion), the Empire has NEVER officially lost a faction war, particularly so when you realize that of the seven completed and scored wars, the Empire fought in six of them.
  • Escape Pod: You can buy and install one on your ship so you have less of a penalty if your ship is destroyed.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: There are three types of illegal building: slave camps, which are socially acceptable; drug stations, which consume slaves to produce drugs, and are socially acceptable; and dark domes, which consume slaves to produce body parts. A dark dome has apparently never lasted longer than a week. The reason is simple; slaves are needed to make drugs, and drugs provide extra action point regeneration, thus enabling a character to do more per day. Necessity trumps RP morality. Body parts, on the other hand, are good for nothing much except selling (for a low amount), and take away from the slave supply.
  • Evil Pays Better: Drugs are simply more efficient than their good counterpart, stim chips. Also, TSS missions tend to pay large amounts of money compared to conventional missions (though they are more difficult and will earn result in retribution for the ones that cause actual damage).
  • Evil Weapon: The looks and descriptions of the TSS ships.
  • Experience Points: Needed to unlock neutral ships, and more building slots. Also prevents one from 'overskilling', the case where one's skills drop because they are too high for one's experience amount(explained in-game as learning new techniques so fast you can't remember everything you've learned)
  • Extra Turn: Drugs provide extra action points, although they're illegal (in-game) to sell, not that most people care. The recent introduction of stim chips provide a legal alternative but are not as effective.
    • Paying for the game gives you a 10% increase in your AP 'Cap'
  • Face–Heel Turn: More than one pirate has ranked up to get good stuff and then started shooting anything that moves.
  • The Federation: The faction of the same name. Plays this trope pretty straight. Mostly humans? Check. Somewhat corrupt? Check. ISO Standard Human Spaceships? Big check. What makes this interesting, though, is that the Federation is comprised completely of players (along with the other two factions, the Empire and the Union).
  • Game-Breaking Bug: One player managed to take all of the money in an NPC starbase somehow, which was enough to put him into the top 20 richest players instantly. He did report the bug and willingly returned the money, but not before taking a screenshot.
    • There was another glitch which literally made a player starbase invincible, fixed almost immediately upon discovery. Generally all bugs of this nature are very quickly fixed.
  • Glass Cannon: The Mooncrusher, which can do obscene amounts of damage due to its large hull capacity and Empire weapons, but is large and somewhat underarmored as an endgame ship. Also the Chitin, at lower levels.
    • Potentially averted with the Chitin, as a recent update has upped its armour value and lowered its size (thus making it more survivable).
  • Healing Potion: Robots can be carried on your ship and consumed to replenish your armor.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Hard to pull off without retiring, although doable with some work. Although not everybody will forgive you.
  • High-Speed Missile Dodge: The bigger and faster your engine, the higher your skills and the smaller your ship, the easier it is to dodge weapons fire, including missiles.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: Averted. There is no universally best set of equipment. At least, not in a general sense. There are nearly 'best' setups for a given role, but even those are highly debated by the players as to one being better than another.
  • Insane Troll Logic: The Devs
    • Baldur: We can say with 100% certainty that we never can say anything with 100% certainty.
    • (This was posted to seemingly reply to the questions about an NPC nobody has ever encountered before. Note the space at the end for extra pain.) Bladefist: The Scorpion Fighter is
  • Jack of All Stats: While it doesn't really apply to the ships in general, if you had to pick a combat ship, it would probably be the Nighthawk Deluxe. Absolutely nothing special in any way, but has very good all-around performance. The Phantom Advanced Stealth Craft also qualifies.
  • Lightning Bruiser: For the midgame, the Vulcan, maybe. Has size similar to the Nighthawk Deluxe (read: fairly small), but enough space to fit a strong mix of weapons, engine and a shield. It's a bit expensive and might be outclassed by something bigger by the time you're eligible for it though.
  • Lord British Postulate: The premium-only sectors are protected by Lucidi Military Outposts, which are Nigh-Invulnerable due to the ridiculous stats on their defense turrets. A player once somehow managed to damage one - not destroy, ''damage'' - and the developers responded by inflating their stats even more.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Generally considered the best way to kill high skilled pilots and NPCs, because your guns just won't hit them unless your Hit Accuracy skill is equally high. Missiles, on the other hand, aren't affected nearly to the same degree by either pilot's skills. Even newbies could potentially hit the highest skilled pilots in the universe with missiles, that is if they aren't shredded by the high skilled pilot's guns before they can even get a missile off.
    • The War Nova can carry up to 25 missiles, the highest of any ship. For perspective, the Mooncrusher has the next highest capacity at 16.
  • Mighty Glacier: While not actually slower than any other ship, the War Nova fits this the closest, being that it is HUGE and as such cannot dodge in combat well, but has tons of armor and weapons.
  • The Moral Alternative: In-universe, stim chips are these to drugs. Naturally, they're less effective.
  • Multiple Life Bars: Three layers, from first to last to take damage:
    • Shields: Only available if you purchase a shield generator, which takes up some of your ship's cargo space. As such, they're rarely seen on trading ships. They are the only layer that does not have a value specific to each ship; rather, each shield generator has a different maximum health capacity. They cannot be repaired normally, but they regenerate a bit every 6 minutes and can be recharged at an Energy Well building. The Union has access to better ones with higher capacity and faster recharge rate, but even these don't count for much.
    • Armour: Only available if you purchase armour, which doesn't take up any cargo space. It makes up the bulk of a ship's hit points, and is subject to Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors. Its value is based on the innate armour value of each ship, subject to a multipiler (x1 through x5, with x6 in the weakest and strongest elements available to the Union) based on the grade of the armour item. Higher-grade armour still shows up with the same armour value, but divides incoming damage by the correct ratio (e.g. a shot that deals 60 damage would remove 12 points from x5 armour).
    • Hull: Without either of the above items, this is your ship's only life bar. Like the shield, it doesn't count for much, but traders and capital ships tend to have higher values for it than fighter ships. Wormhole damage, including explosives detonated due to wormhole damage, will always damage hull directly, regardless of armour or shields, which matters because this is the bar that causes Critical Existence Failure when it hits 0.
  • News Travels Fast: When something big happens, often at the hands of another player, forum threads tend to pop up like weeds. When almost anything that could possibly be considered big happens, the automated news system generates a message about it.
    • This is lampshaded when a player dies in a wormhole accident; the resulting explosion is described as visible from light-years away.
    • A more amusing example - deleting your character is explained in universe as 'retiring'; it used to actually be explained as 'committing suicide'.
  • Nintendo Hard: Killing a Lucidi Mothership with any ship but a War Nova, which is the only ship that has enough armor to consistently survive its Ultimate Redeemer missile. Scorpions and Doomstars can take one missile with ample preparation. The Empire has no ship capable of surviving a hit from this missile under any known circumstances.
    • Before players developed incredibly high skills, Preywinders and Glowprawns were also arguably this.
  • Non-Mammal Mammaries: The Keldon and Rashkir species have breasts due to the main artist and a game developer's obsession(need to be logged in) with them.
  • Noodle Incident: Don't mention broccoli in the Union. Mentioning it in the Empire will get a rousing round of laughter from the old crew, but they Don't Explain the Joke.
  • One-Hit Kill: Happens sometimes to low class NPCs or newbie pilots who think they can attack high-skilled Doomstars for just one round and get away with it. The Lucidi Mothership also generally kills nearly any ship regardless of the pilot's skills with just a single hit of its missile.
    • Recently made scarily true in PvP between high-skilled pilots when engaging each other on Offensive Combat. A King Kraak missile appears to be able to one hit kill some faction battleships if it hits and scores a critical hit in these circumstances, though very high weaponry skill is assumed to be a necessity.
  • Organ Theft: There are four illegal commodities (Human intestines, Ska'ari limbs, Keldon brains, and Rashkir bones) that can be traded in the Dark Corner sections of Black Markets.
  • Our Wormholes Are Different: The standard wormholes are found in every sector, and act as the gates to other sectors. In addition to these, there are the somewhat rarer x-holes that allow travel to any other x-hole in the game, as well as several y-holes in the premium-only Pardus sector that allow one-way travel to any x-hole. All of these have a small chance to cause "wormhole damage" to the hulls of ships that pass through them.
  • Pacifist Run: Possible; you can trade, manage buildings, and do package missions instead. The Lanner (ship) is for these kinds of players; in-universe, a pacifist designed it.
  • Pinned Down: Doable with the right skills and some luck, although the enemy can return fire still.
  • Punctuation Shaker: The Ska'ari race. The apostrophe is often ignored by players.
  • Resurrective Immortality: Every player gets cloned and resurrected back at their homeworld if they are killed, though getting killed is pretty hard: Escape Pods have a 100% success rate, but are single use and weight 5t. Therefore a pilot only gets killed if they forget (or decide not) to equip a new one.
  • Science Marches On: Not so much the science of the real world but the science of the game. Over the years new features have been introduced that have, at times, radically changed some aspect of the game. As a result, a lot of old tactics and even old truths no longer are, and, since not everything is in the manual, often pilots rely on data gathered by other pilots which may or may not now be outdated. Notable examples include the Phantom's Badass Decay, the fact that skilling used to be possible by shooting at other pilots, and the way ambush retreating works. In a way it's very literal, as often it's a new technology that appears.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: Since all cargo on your ship is measured in tons, this results in missions that involve transporting VIPs that weigh a ton as well as you being able to consume several tons of drugs/stim chips.
  • Serial Escalation: The War Nova, when it first came out.
    • Same thing goes for the Royal Redeemer and 60 MW Plasma to a slightly lesser degree. Still, they are the highest damage output missile and gun respectively in the game, and incidentally were released at the same time as the War Nova.
    • Even more recently, the Leviathan, the biggest ship produced thus far.
  • Silicon-Based Life: One of the playable races, the Ska'ari, is stated to be this. They are the only non-humanoids of the four races, and their homeworld Ska is the capital of the Empire.
  • Space Fighter: Many examples, such as the Hawk, Phantom Advanced Stealth Craft, Marauder, and more.
  • Space Station: Starbases.
  • Spikes of Villainy: The default depiction of the Sudden Death (spaceship).
  • Stat Grinding: Oh dear god is there grinding to be had (known as skilling).
  • Stealth in Space: Any ship can do it in theory, and some equipment can help it. The larger ones tend to have trouble though.
    • The Empire has two ships that are specifically said to be stealth craft. This gives no unique quality, other than the two ships happen to be smaller in size than other ships with equivalent stats and requirements at the cost of having a paper-thin hull that actually makes wormhole damage a serious concern.
  • Stone Wall: The Union endgame ship, the Scorpion. Able to take or evade very very high damage due to it's relatively small size, strong shields and other defensive equipment.
  • Storming the Castle: Attacking a Military Outpost or Starbase.
  • More Dakka: The primary tenant of the Empire, and any ship with five gun slots.
  • The Syndicate: The Shadow Syndicate. Drug production, illegal equipment, piracy, smuggling, and terrorism in one package.
    • Also, there's the good guy counterpart called the Esteemed Pilots Syndicate.
  • Shout-Out: Quite a few. One called "Mad" Max Shepard basically formed the Union from the ground up. There's also traces of Elite, as mentioned in the rank names.
    • Pardus itself is named for one of the developers' cats.
  • Space Friction: It takes the same amount of real-world time to go through any given space (that is, the length of a page refresh), but the contents of that space (empty, asteroids, nebula, etc) determine how many action points you spend to get through it.
  • Space Is an Ocean: Sectors are two-dimensional and bordered by impassable walls of energy. Travel between sectors is achieved through [1] wormholes.
  • Space Pirate: Naturally, the common target of bounty hunters. Present in both NPC and PVP form. Most who start being a pirate from the beginning don't make it. Those who do tend to become infamous.
  • Status Quo Is God: Do anything that overtly interferes with someone else's Stat Grinding or that the community otherwise considers "wrong", and you'll likely find yourself repeatedly killed by older players with higher stats. Short of sitting motionless on a planet for the rest of your ingame career and/or retiring (that is, deleting your character) and returning without letting anyone know who you were, there is no way to avoid this retribution.
  • Sufficiently Advanced Alien: The Lucidi appear to be this.
  • Used Future: A few ship designs are quite old and rusty, the Rustclaw being the most obvious.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: This can be the result of two online pilots meeting in a dogfight because of how quickly combat is resolved and how easy it is for one opponent to retreat. It becomes a quick match of attempting to bait your opponent into fighting first, then making sure that when you do bait them you win. Squadron combat is also all about this, though the aggressor frequently has all the time in the world, while the defender has only seconds to react to his opponent's move.
  • War Is Hell: Namedropped in all war-related automated news reports.
  • We Will All Be History Buffs in the Future: Players who choose to roleplay often do this.
  • We Will Spend Credits in the Future: Just guess what the currency is called.