50 MMOs in 50 Days #6: Battlestar Galactica Online

Last played: 2011
Experience: Very Minimal

Bigpoint Interactive has a less-than-stellar reputation among gamers. They’re the only game F2P game company to whom I’ve ever asked the question, “Are you pay-to-win?” and received an answer other than an unequivocal “no.” (This was during a conversation about their vaporware Game of Thrones MMO at GDC 2012.)

Despite this, I was a big enough fan of the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica TV series that I decided to give the game a try. And you know what? I kinda liked it.

I chose to play a cylon, since the human side was severely overpopulated. The game took place between seasons one and two of the show, when the human-cylon war was at its peak, and players fought over various regions of space in a giant interconnected map. Nearer to your home base, you’d mostly just have to deal with NPC ships, but the farther out you got – the closer to the front – you’d run into other players, both friendly and not-so-friendly.

BSGOThe combat itself wasn’t bad, standard space flight-sim stuff, though I do recall being pleasantly impressed with the graphics. BSGO is browser-based, as are all of Bigpoint’s games, back when “browser-based” was generally considered a synonym for “piece of crap.” Technically, the game performed quite well. If BSGO accomplished nothing else, it helped remove my reluctance to try such games.

I don’t recall that I advanced past my initial tiny cylon raider ship, but there were a variety of other, larger, ships available for purchase as well as all sorts of modifications that you could make to your ship. The cost to do so? Well, let’s just say you were steered toward the cash shop pretty quickly.

After a little time spent in my tiny raider on the fringes of battle, I went for it and jumped into one of the busier sectors. I actually felt somewhat worthwhile, darting and weaving as best I could to get my shots in on ships bigger than me. I even recall contributing to a kill on a massive human ship and flying right through the explosion – oh yeah, the explosions were pretty, too – right after getting the kill.

I wasn’t always so lucky. Getting farmed repeatedly by someone with a bigger ship is never fun, especially when you wonder if he “earned” that ship or just bought it with cash. And there was no attempt at any kind of scaling in PvP, which honestly makes sense in this kind of game; a cylon raider shouldn’t be on the same footing as a battlestar.

Eventually, the climb to improve without spending got to me, and I abandoned the game. I actually thought it had shut down, but nope, it’s still out there. If you don’t mind struggling for a long time against superior foes, I’d give it a semi-recommendation.

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3 Responses to 50 MMOs in 50 Days #6: Battlestar Galactica Online

  1. zax19taken says:

    My experience was that the engine was terrible, so were the controls and “space combat”. Having to load up the game in the browser every time was really annoying. So far the best experience with BSG in games were only mods, for example one for Freelancer.

    • jasonwinter says:

      Loading a game in a browser is about 10x quicker than loading it in a client, so I’ve never had an issue with that.

      You might be right with the controls. As I’ve said (or am about to say? I forget what I’ve written and what I’ve published), I get BSGO a little confused with Black Prophecy. I thought I remembered struggling a bit with the controls on one of them, but I couldn’t definitively say which one, so I left it out.

      • zax19taken says:

        With loading the issue is that the browser memory usage blows up and it’s re-downloading a ton of assets. If you ever played a browser game like Lords of Ultima you might have noticed it there too – it completely slows down the other browser tabs and logging in for just a moment is always messy. I’m definitely for local clients, it’s not like people have issues with hard drive space now…(but they do with memory leaks, bandwidth speed, download caps)

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