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Space Based MMO musings

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First to note, This is a mental creativity experiment, I have neither the resources, nor the programing skills to execute this idea, so if you don't want to waste your time commenting on something that WILL NOT be developed, stop NOW. Otherwise, please feel free to make comments where appropriate. Please if you do, make a quote of what you’re commenting on. This game is set in the future…and is mainly a space combat MMO with some RPG elements. It is NOT however a space based RPG like EVE or Earth and beyond. Its designed to be a combination of action and strategy. A war rages across the cosmos. It started when the Valkier empire made an invasion into Terran space. The war has been raging for about 150 years both sides are about equal in territory controlled. Then from out of nowhere a new group, the Laredo, have started harsh attacks on both sides and seem intent on wiping them both out of galactic existence. Teams. Terran Alliance- An alliance of many races (decidable at character creation) formed under the ideals of American philosophy Player guilds are known as Corporations. Valkier Empire- A warrior empire made up of the Valkier. The empire grows by making constant war. Player guilds are known as Sects. Laredo- A new entry into the war, but not truly new to the area. At the beginning of the war a large battle between the Terrans and the Valkier nearly wiped out the population on a small world. The survivors left to uncharted space where they ran across the remnants of an ancient empire. Using technology found there, they have rebuilt themselves as an army bent on revenge. Player guilds are known as Clans. Nuetrals- In a war like this true neutrals are not existent. Nuetrals in this game are not fence sitters, but are out casts from each of the teams and form up a fourth group of people that are free to roam around the galaxy as they see fit, acting as merchants that can run between empires, mercenaries that can be hired by any of them, Pirates, or even spies. Player guilds are called whatever they want. Nuetrals are not a team in and of themselves. J Travel Travel is made by way of jump gates. Jump gates are used extensively by all groups to make instantaneous travel between sectors of the galaxy. Rumors also exist of worm holes that have unsteady starting and stopping points….if you find one take it at your own risk. Local semiwarp drives allow for fast travel inside sectors. Large capital ships are the only ships capable of making warp jumps into other sectors without help of jump gates or worm holes. Guilds This game is run by guilds. Guilds are able to make warfare on each other inside of a team, but they gain NO money from it. People only gain money from warring with either neutrals who attack them first or from fighting enemy teams or from completing sales of merchandise (neutrals only). Nuetral guilds are able to fight whoever they want for xp. Large guilds of 200 plus people on one of the three teams are able to purchase capital ships for large scale assaults. Smaller guilds and nuetrals must make due with fighters. Guilds are able to place stations to help secure the area they control. Money in the game all goes to the guild, the guild uses it to purchase ships and maintain bases, and to buy enemy technology off of neutrals. Bases and Stations_(deployables) Deployment bases- These are the only bases that can guilds can buy ships from. Also available here are the matter-energy bots that can be used to build other bases. Each empire has one main deployment base that all players can purchase ships from. It only sells up to mid level ships. Deployment bases provide small weak snub fighters for free. (Think tie fighter) Player bought deployment bases must be placed near a planet and. Sensor bases- Sensor bases provide scanning ability in a sector and will sound a system wide alarm when it picks up enemy ships. Upgrades to this base increase the scanning range of the base. Repair bases- Though ships can land at any base to log out, they can only repair their ships at repair bases. These become important staging grounds from which to launch attacks. Upgrades to this base provide more docks for repair and faster repairs to ships. Weapons platforms- Weapons platforms can be placed near bases to provide extra protection from attacks. They can also provide protection around the entrances to jump gates. Upgrades to this deployable increase their firepower and armor. These require no supplies to maintain if deployed within a certain distance of either a station or a gate. However if deployed at say the entrance to a path through a mine field then they do require supplies of batteries to maintain. Mine Layer- Mine Layers are robotic ships that will mine an area with mines. Players choose the density and area to mine and then purchase the number layers required to place the mines. There are no upgrades. Requires no supplies to maintain. Scientific research stations- Scientific research stations are required to obtain the ability to upgrade other installations past a certain point. No upgrades. Capital Shipyard- Required for building a capital ship. No upgrades. Storage Depot- Holds large amounts of imported supplies. Upgrades to the storage depot increase its storage capacity. All stations require an influx of supplies from the home base of each team. The only exception to this is the deployment station which gets all the supplies it needs from the planet it is stationed by. If a station becomes unsupplied it will simply cease functioning. Combat Combat is real time action. Controls are done either by mouse or by joystick in combination with the joystick. Fast and furious combat is the rule, as you try to steer your ship better than the other person to get off either your lasers or your missiles. Each of the three teams has an advantage over the others guns and shields however can be bought off of neutrals. Each team also has a technological secret that cannot be bought. Terrans- Terrans weapons have a higher rate of firepower, but lack any real punch. They do however have holographic technology that will create a holographic ship next to them that confuses enemy sensors thus giving them an apparent advantage in numbers, and enemies an extra target to shoot at. Higher level ships provide more targets. Valkier- Valkier weapons are all power. Their guns have a low rate of fire but are the most powerful of the three races. Their ships come equipped with a cloak that allows them to sneak up on enemy fighters and then unload their firepower. Higher level ships provide a longer duration cloak and a faster cloak recharge. Laredo- Laredo have weapons that are in the middle of the road. Not as powerful as the Valkier, and not as fast as the Terrans. What they do have though is powerful shields. Shields of the Laredo are in high demand as they are at least half again as strong as either the Valkier or the Terrans. Laredo ships come equipped with a short range teleportation device which allows them to instantaneously move between two spots. If a target is selected that is in range of the teleportation the Laredo is able to actually teleport directly behind it. Higher level ships increase the range of the teleportation. There are two types of fighters in the game, two types of freighter, and two types of capitol ships, and one type of assault ship. Ships come in different levels that allow for stronger guns, shields and armor. Higher levels are faster and more maneuverable than lower level ones. However they do cost more. Capitol ships come in one level only. Fighters Light Fighter- Weak shields, low armor, 2-3 guns, 1 missile launcher, High speed and maneuverability. Heavy Fighter- Strong shields, good armor, 4-6 guns, 2 missile launchers, lower Speed and maneuverability. Freighters Intersystem- Large cargo space, capable of capable of semi-warp speed. Intersystem freighters can only dock with depot stations. Local- Local freighters have less cargo space than intersystem. Can only go ½ semi-warp. It can dock with any station. Capitol ships Carrier- Carriers are capable of holding 20 fighters and 5 torpedo ships. Capable of creating own jump hole. Battleship- Battleships have 12 anti snub fighter guns, and 3 large cannons able to lay waste to anything in its path. Each gun must be manned by a player, and has limited range of movement. Assault Torpedo boats- Torpedo boats are the only ships capable of launching powerful torpedoes. They are usually a little larger than a heavy fighter. They have low speed, low maneuverability, and no forms of self defense. As a final note, neutrals can only build deployment stations, weapons platforms and sensor stations. They have no unique ships but are able to buy ship plans from other teams. These come unequipped with the specials of each race. Gameplay This game is at its core a space dog-fighting game along the lines of Wing Commander. Its sort of Wing-Commander-meets-Planetside. Players can either go out and randomly kill the enemy as solo or group players. Or as I picture this game being primarily run by the guilds in the game, who have the power to build the bases, lay claim to territory and build capital ships, this game could actually turn into some high player space battles. Controls Controls can be done trough a joystick or a mouse and the keyboard. And can be fully customizable. Learning Curve/New vs Old player balance The learning curve in this game, as far as controls go is fairly linear. As a new player you start out with access to ships that do not use as many of the features as the more advanced ships. I.E. No power management, Comand and Control system access, and such. As players progress new ships you gain access to have more advance features, more hard points and more weapons. Higher level ships ARE more powerful than the ships that a new player has, but Balance should be that a new player still has a decent chance against a seasoned veteran if the skills are close to the same. Command features. This game has two levels of command features, the first is at the wing level, Allowing the wing leader to place waypoints, (hey space is big) designate targets, and the such. The second level of command is at the guild (or strategic) level. Allowing guild officers to build up and draw out battle plans for the rest of the guild to see and follow. Communications The communications system in this game is very robust in this game. The channels in this game are as follows. Open - Just a broadcast in the local area, open to all players, enemy and player alike. (this is the only player – enemy comms in the game) Wing - Chat to your wing of fighters. Outfit – Chat to your outfit. Secure – This is the most robust part of the comms system in the game. This allows you to open up a secure channel to one – ten people. This can be done via a command such as /tell [name]; [name]; [name] <text> or through a series of button clicks. (Free mouse mode for clicking on menus and such) The button clicks are done by either pulling up a menu of local players in area and either clicking, or shift+ / ctrl + clicking on their names to select them and hitting open channel, or by simply targeting their ships and hitting open channel. Also available is the option to click on a squad leader, and then hitting a squad button, and opening up a channel to the entire squad. (reply’s can be done to a channel opened this way to either the originating player, or the originating players squad.) Now the one thing I envision here, and it can either be done with an outside program, like TeamSpeak, or through an in game system is that anything listed above through the normal chat window can be done via voice chat. I know this causes lag in a lot of games due to the amount of data that has to go through the game server. So I am open to ideas in this field.

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Interesting concept. Its unfortunate that you don't have the resources to actually produce this. I know I would enjoy playing it =P. I'd just have to say though, that why are you allowing waring between guilds in the same empire but not allowing the gaining xp/money for it? Is there some special reason why guilds can war?

Otherwise well thought out and sounds like fun.

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Guilds can war within an empire for attempts to solidify control of an area within an empire. However, any gains from directly killing an ally, is not supposed to be worthwhile. This prevents personal gain from griefing. Personal gain is to be made from killing enemy fighters, not from your ally. However, sometimes your guild does need something that your ally guilds will not give you.

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The only problem I can see would be that if you allow it people will intentionally grief even though there is no real benefit to it... well that's how it would seem to me.

For example, when playing Wolfenstien ET my friend on a server that allows for ally damage will intentionally kill his team mates for no other reason than to kill the team mate. And, he isn't overly discrimenatory about who he kills.

Now putting aside that example, what if you implimented a system that would reward guilds for diplomatic agreements and such, rather than discouraging but allowing guilds within the same empire to kill eachother. I think that might give players a reason to co-operate. Just sort of putting out ideas for you.

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Part of the problem is that you will always have griefers... In this situation I would like to take the unpopular decision that SWG did and only allow one character per server. Shadowbane had the idea that Griefers would end up getting Policed by the other players. What, in reality, happened was that people ended up with two characters. One for serious play, and one for grief play. Though of course no one would admit to having a griefer character. This ended up in anonymous griefers that would log as soon as thier griefing is done, with the main character's play uninterupted.

In this game (especially with only one available character per server) a character is unable to get beyond a starter ship without the help of a guild. (they must re-aquire a ship after destruction) This makes griefing anyone but new character's difficult. Also, should a guild decide to start griefing, other guilds can group together and destroy the assets of such a griefing guild. This could very easily destroy the griefing guilds on one server.

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I would like to go a little more indepth into the nuetrality aspect of the game.

As I said Neutrals are NOT fence sitters, and have free ability to interact with members of any of the empires without appearing as enemy ships. The fact that they can go anywhere, and do anything may seem like it is a great aspect that could be overwhelming, I would like to note the restrictions posted on nuetral guilds.

First, neutral guilds CANNOT develop new technolgies, such as advanced ships/shipyards, they must be acquired through the other nations. A nuetral guild is able to set up a deployment bases and mining settlements only, however, they are NOT able to upgrade them on thier own. They must, like everything else, purchase the upgrades from empires. Nuetrals do have the ability to acquire upgrades and technologies from destroyed outposts and ships, however, these upgrades are not permanent. A nuetral may come across a new gun, but it does not open up the gun to all of the guild, merely allows that gun to be placed onto ONE ship.

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The only one character per server isn't a bad idea, as long as you have enough content for the players who have played for long perids of time, so that it won't get boring.

As for the policing that's also not a bad idea, as long as the griefing guild isn't the most powerful one. Even in that case they may have a hard time getting away with it, but...

Also, just throwing this idea out but what about capturing ships? Could a guild from one empire storm another empire/guild's ship (larger than fighter) and take control of it? I really do like this idea, and I am just really curious.

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I don't think I mentioned it, but I do intend for capital ships and frieghters to be captured. These ships have individual targets on them that can be destroyed (engines, turrets, etc) and eliminating all of them, without destroying the ship in the process (not easy in the case of capital ships) will allow you to capture them. Frieghters can either be captured and taken, or just looted for resources, though it would probably be easier to just loot a frieghter.

Though it is possible to capture a capital ship, doing so should be a costly operation. First you have to attack, and disable the ship, which is difficult to do in the first place (It must be out of dock to capture) and then the ship must be repaired, (this is not cheap, though repairing the engines will be enough to get the ship back to your home territory) and large amounts of resources must be used to bring the ship back to operational status.

Torpedo boats, fighters, and other stations may not be captured, they must be destroyed...though it is possible to loot the storage depots.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Hi peeps
This game idea sounds really interesting.
But if u say thats something approaching ps in concept (i play ps 5h a day this times) why not having internal structure for greater ships so u can capture them by boarding em.
Exemple: a battle is going on over a planetary facility.
A capital ship is trying to destroy its orbital defences, but theres a group of heavy fighters just warping to defend the base.
Hopefully main weapons of the capital ship have been destroyed and the engines are damaged so he cant flee from above facility.
Defending guild leaders then order to charge ion cannons to wipe out the intruder. One second later a mate with good command rank
enter in the operating room screaming not to fire ions cannons.
Obviously hes got another idea...
He and his mates have a boarding ship with full assault squad ready to fight. Leaders decide to let him do, and the crew of the capital ship dont show hard resistance against properly trained and equipped marines. The command room is shortly taken and the ship goes to the defending guild.

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I am not currently willing to do a FPS part of this game. The focus on this game is the dogfighting when it comes to action. Not that I have anything agains Planetside, I play that myself, and it gave me the idea that a constant pvp action environment would be fun. But I was wanting to try a different type of game than PS. Though a FPS type game with this same empire concept could be fun aswell.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
There are some pb anyway with this game design:
Many peeps will be needed to crew a capital ship.
Why not then have just one mothership for each guilds, with launching bays for fighters. This ship could be evolutive in the way modules can be added to it, so bigger guilds have mothership with many modules so the ship is enormous.
We could also add ground vehicules for facility assault, so a base with too much orbital def could be taken without too much losses.
But i didnt understood how ressource gestion will work.

I have a good modeling skill in 3dsmax and btw i love doing spaceships. So if u believe what u saw in your mind to be really fun why not trying to find some good programmers and so on?
I can do things for ya if youre have motivation...
Just mail me at Cobalt4@msn.com

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Guest Anonymous Poster
I think ure wrong with this:
Certainly space op this game should be oriented to be interesting but:
How will the crew of a ship go into a facility?
Will there be an avatar for players or not?

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Its by combining different game experiences that u can make ppl addict to ure game. Only dogfighting in the space wont be attractive too long for players.
But if u can have for example:
-enginers that can repair ships from inside and outside(dangerous when fighting so great honor doing that task
-assault troops as i said before
-strategists that choose wich refinery to defend or so on
-pilots team for big ships (one at throttle, another for energy gestion, and so on)
-gun turrets pilots for big ships.
Imagine a mothership just under attack, all crew going to its positions running in ship raws... could be fun

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The large amounts of people that are required to effectively run a capital ship is by design. Capital Ships are designed to be high end guild item. Sort of like Aircraft Carriers in the real world. Not every country has an Aircraft carrier, and it requires alot of work to get one to be effective.

As for resources. Resources are designed to ad depth to the game... The Real Time Strategy part of the game is designed to increase depth beyond what is in Planetside. One problem I have with planetside is the lack of any reason to actually fight a base. The concept here is to expand your guilds territory and gather resources to increase your fighting capability. If you've ever played Hero's of Might and Magic they have the same game design I'm kinda looking at (combination of gathering resources, building an empire, and then entering combat)

The tricky part in the game is creating a resource system that actually allows guilds to get more powerful as they increase in territory size, but also where it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain a big empire as resources get stretched...

Planetside is a pointless endless combat system...not that this is bad...but it is not what I'm looking for in this game. I would like for you to be able to log in and actually have the feeeling that you've accomplished something. This is something that doesn't happen in Planetside, as every day it seems that nothing has really changed...reguardless of how well your side fought that day.

I would like for the game to actually have it possible to be conqured by one side/guild...possible, but not probable...and in this instance I would like that conquring to actually MEAN something.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
I'm working on a revised, and updated version of the above...when I get it finished I'll repost the whole Idea....(it will be a lot more flushed out)

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Quote:
Now the one thing I envision here, and it can either be done with an outside program, like TeamSpeak, or through an in game system is that anything listed above through the normal chat window can be done via voice chat. I know this causes lag in a lot of games due to the amount of data that has to go through the game server. So I am open to ideas in this field.
One possible way to accomplish this would be to have 2 servers per fight instead of one. The first server would do all of the normal things you were talking about minus chat. The other server would handle all communications.
The only neccesary information that would need to be passed between the servers would be a notice when a pilot was killed. This would be one way information from the fight server to the chat server. Since you would be removing all chat from the fight server as well, you may actually improve lag problems that most games currently exhibit.

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Quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster
Its by combining different game experiences that u can make ppl addict to ure game. Only dogfighting in the space wont be attractive too long for players.
But if u can have for example:
-enginers that can repair ships from inside and outside(dangerous when fighting so great honor doing that task
-assault troops as i said before
-strategists that choose wich refinery to defend or so on
-pilots team for big ships (one at throttle, another for energy gestion, and so on)
-gun turrets pilots for big ships.
Imagine a mothership just under attack, all crew going to its positions running in ship raws... could be fun


Didn't see this post so I'll reply now.
There is alot more to this idea than just space dogfighting. And I do intend for there to be differen't playstyles. However, I do want to limit the main role of the game to two main spots.

Space Combat
This is through fighters and capital ships. I guess i forgot to mention it...(part of the reason for asking for feedback...i'm not sure what gaps I'm forgetting to add in writing.) Captial ships are manned by multiple people. 1 person for each cannon and/or gun (or gun set) and one pilot. Carriers will also have one man for each craft being transported on the ship.

Empire Building
A combination of resource management, Real Time Strategy, and conquest. Included in this is trade, spies, mercenaries, exploration, etc.

With these two together I think its a pretty good idea. Keep in mind this is NOT an MMORPG, Its a pure PVP game. I don't like the Idea of First Person shooter combined with this one as the two do not mesh into one solid game. It works with planetside since there is a land mass to fight on. But in this game its really not what I'm aiming for. Also since they are almost two completely different games, balancing is a bigger nightmare
than it is alone.

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http://www.freeallegiance.org/

someone gave me this link on another site....first time i'd heard of the game....but you might want to take a look, it seems from the surface to be what I was striving at only on a small scale.

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Robert's requested that this topic is reopened so that he can continue the discussion. So.. bump.




Quote:
Original post by MikeyO
This concept sounds similar to Microsoft Allegiance. Except Allegiance didn't end up being an MMPORPG (although it was originally intended to be one).

It is a good concept if there is enough of a playerbase to support a game like this. Because of the huge variety of gameplay, if done right, ANY gamer could get something out of this game.

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Someone mentioned that to me a long time ago...but the reality of it was that this game idea came from the following sources. :)

Planetside - Its never ending war based on twitch reflexes.
Shadowbane - Its guild based system and concept of empire building.
RTS Games - From tthier resource trees and other such concepts.

I'd like to delve a bit into the resource system for the game since i think that it is rather unique.

Instead of having a multitude of different types of resources (i.e. wood, stone, water, food, glue, thumbtacks etc) I want to have primarily one or two categories of building materials that have multiple tiers. This is honestly a very different system IMO than the ones that are already out there.

You have Resource A with its different tiers (matter)
A
A+1
A+2
A+3
etc
And Resource B with its different tiers (energy)
B
B+1
B+2
B+3
etc.

As you use better tiers of Matter you make items stronger, though you still consume the same amount of resources. The amount and type of higher tier resources used upgrades the ship by varying degrees. This can be armor, weapons, manuverability (gforces) etc.

When you use higher tiers of Energy you have the choice of either increasing efficency (B+1 can be used for 2B energy units) or by increasing Power. If its used to increase power, then you may NOT mix components of energy.


The matter resource is built up by different mining operations the guild has around the game, while Energy is built up using varying methods from solar power, to matter consumation. Management of these two resources is critical to having an effective guild.


Also, I would like people to be able to design ships and weapons. What this translates into is not being able to design the look of the ship (though you can select different hulls), but to build a design schematic that lays out the type of power source, how its used, and how much of what tier of matter to put in the ship, and what it will affect.

I.E. B+2 Power system used as B+1 power (giving better fuel economy), Resource A 100% into armor (no change), Resources A/A+1 60%/40% into structural integrity (Better handling) and resources A/A+2/A+3 60%/30%/10% into the launch system (able to hold stronger missiles). When this is done, its saved into the guilds system for anyone to be able to pull up. This can be done for any type of structure, ship, or weapon that is being built. Everything from Missiles to Carriers.

Guilds of course can set up different rules for design and such. They can set (by rank) people who can have access to different designs, be able to utilize different resources, and so on and so forth.

This should add alot to the game in my opinion. I hope this type of simple(?) system adds enough complexity to the game without being to difficult to handle from the get go... I want it to be like chess, easy to learn, difficult to master.

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I remember allegiance, with the "Investor" and the people taking orders from him, the game seemed to fail to give incentive to units to follow orders effectively (or maybe its just the nature of FPS's?).

In any event, a thought occured to me. It would be really cool if you had one large ship where people can interact, talk, and do all sorts of things, logging on and off onboard, and generally maintaining and living on the ship. Most games i've ever played revolve around players flying their own ships solo or having 4-5 people, tops, flying a 'Capitol' ship. I think it would be pretty fun to interact on an ARC, or Clan ship, with the clan leaders guiding where the whole group of people goes. You could also allow people to pilot short range fighters, but they would have to return to the ship to refuel and travel between sectors. Sort of like BattleStar Galactica, with 1 large capitol ship being controled by an entire clan, and repairs, fighters, and all other aspects being done by all the clan members onboard to keep it running.

It would kind of make things abit more interesting and fun. ;D

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Not a bad idea, However, i'm not sure if it would work well in an MMO setting.

I'm not too worried about people going about doing thier own thing. This is perfectly acceptable, of course, it won't help the guild out any. Without sound management, and following of orders, an organized guild will easily wipe the floor with your guild. They target your supply lines, and all of a sudden your fighters that are killed can only respawn in basic snub fighters.

If you spend 20 min moving into the heart of enemy territory and die, then you go back to the nearest Deployment base, Which unless your guild is organized may not have the resources available to give you another good new ship. Especially if it is on the outer fringes of your empires supply lines.

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