Review | Ogame
Ogame is an older space theme browser game where players colonize different planets, build up empires, and attack other players.
While the game is starting to get rather old since it came out in 2002 there are still a couple of hundred active players at any time on the region I was connecting to. They have had a number of people create clones or draw inspiration from over the years. The game has solar systems where players have to make a choice depending on their needs were in it to colonize with your first planet being picked for you. From there you are building up mines for more resources, researching different tech and fighting it out with NPCs or players.
Clones and Inspirations
The game itself has a number of clones, and inspired games based off it over the years. I thought it would be fun to revisit this cult classic of a browser game and see how things have shaped up. It has been forever since I’ve played Ogame from Gamefroge themselves.
As far as games similar or based on it that I have played before. You have something like Steemnova that is being played on the Steem blockchain that rewards players based on how the alliance they are in is doing. It is based on the open source of the game itself to some extent but it’s been a while since I’ve played. More recently you have NextColony that draws some inspiration from it but is really a different game from so many different accepts from how skilling works to space itself.
There have been lots more over the years. You really start to see elements in this game in others that came after it. There also were a few flat out knockoffs since there is an open source of the game somewhere as well.
Every couple of months a new server opens up for players to join in for a fresh game if they like. You can still play on the older ones if you like. They have different rates and try to cater to a few different playstyles depending on how the server was set up. They also keep them open for quite some time for alliances to fight over control.
I really love the idea of having a fresh start if things did not go so great for you. Nothing worse than joining in on a war game like this just to get utterly crushed by some guy who's been playing a year and has the best of everything. Meanwhile, you might as well try tossing rocks in a space game at the guys Deathstars as you won’t be doing anything to hurt them. Thankfully the game does have some rating system to provide safety to lower scoring players.
This also gives the player the opportunity to join an older server and learn more about the game before joining a higher population fresher one. At least in the region portal, I’m using the server that was almost a year old has many a dozen players while the one that less than two months old had over a hundred active at any given time.
The server I ended up playing on has about three times rates and is marked as “aggressive play” over the most recent “peaceful” play. Where it just takes longer to build up resources and send fleets out to attack and farm other players. Which I like the option since I did not want to wait around hours to send out a single fleet and days for a skill to finish either at the early stages of the game.
Solar Systems And Planets
The game has a bunch of solar systems that make up the galaxy you are playing in. There were 15 visible planets to colonize if you have the skill for them in each one. They each have their own pros and cons for taking that slot in the system. It’s also not just yours as with the case my starting planet had three other players starting in that system as well.
One thing that controls the number of resources a planet could have is how far it is from the sun. While there is a bit of an RNG involved within a range you really won’t know till you send out a colony Ship and acquire it. Planets closer to the sun can take advantage of using solar satellites for power. While once furthest away tend to have a lot more of the resource Deuterium and use that to fuel Fusion reactors. Planets in the middle tend to have the highest amount of planet space.
I have found this really lets me give a planet a purpose. Some of them are more set up for crystal or deuterium mines. While others I’ll level up higher level skills needed for ship production and research.
Research And Buildings
For the really basic stuff in the game like building mines to farm resources or power there no need to research them. For the far higher end stuff from building ships to something like espionage, you end up researching them.
Unless you happen to have the Commander running from the microtransaction store you don’t have access to building or research queues. Early game or running on a higher rate server that can be a bit of an issue since a lot of things might take less than a minute or two for the first couple of days. You can only have one active building construction going on a planet.
At least the shipyard let you queue up a bunch of the same unit all at once. As I think that would be quite annoying if I had to sit there and click on building a single rocket launcher one at a time every minute. Towards the more end game stuff like a Deathstar it takes three days but there are building to build to reduce that time. I myself won’t be getting one of these ships as they take millions of resources and a lot of research
Finally, you have Research, while it has a global effect and does not need to be trained on each planet, it does consume an entire slot across all planets so you can only research one thing at a time. There is a more advanced skill that allows all the research labs to work together to decrease the time overall. It is, however, an interesting limitation to have. As this tends to be a very heavy area of spending resource on to progress further and not one you can just start another planet to get around easily.
A bit part of this game is combat. While you don’t control each ship individual you do send fleets off into battle and then get a report back on how things went. This can be done from a pvp standpoint of raiding another player’s planet. Along with a PvE which is going on expeditions.
The game itself uses an in-game mail system where you get a message when it comes to fleet movement. This could be as simple as your cargo fleet has delivered resources to one of your planets. Someone sending spy probes on you to try and uncover what your defense look like depending on your skills and there’s. Finally, you have the battle reports themselves where you can see losses on both sides if any resource was looted and other information.
You can also build up a planet's defense with structures. This could be rocket launchers that are mostly used as fodder to protect more expensive things. anti-ballistic missiles to protect it from an attack launcher missiles from their planet to take out some of your defense before their main fleet arrives. Along with shields that actually render low skilled player and low-level ships useless they don’t have high enough threshold to even do damage to the shields. Along being absorbing damage until they are defeated. You could even just build up a massive fleet and use that as a defense but all these things create derby fields where a certain amount of the resources they cost to make are out there for the player to take.
The game does have an honor system and even depending on the server there could be a wide difference in who can even attack who depending on how high their score is from buildings, ships, and research among other things. There is also a bashing rule where you can’t hit the same player more than five times in a day. At that point however you are kind of dead and smashed to bits anyway open to be farmed daily.
Once a player has gone inactive there planets will be deleted after some time has passed. Till that happens they are open season for anyone to farm them and there is no honor gained or lost for doing so. I myself have noticed where I started on my server the other three players I share a system with have not been on gaining a higher score. If that keeps up they will get an “I” next to their name and I’ll be farming them if I am still playing.
You also have an honorable attack where you can gain honor for winning and you get the most resources possible from attacking people who are in a similar range of yourself. Granted at the later stages that range is so high that there can be a massive difference between the two that one guy could have no chance at all. At least there is something in place to try and make things a little more even. Sometimes that just were joining an alliance comes into play as people rather target the solo player then risk getting smashed by an alliance member.
You can also gain negative honor where those fights yield a lower percent of resources plunder due to the unbalanced nature of the two players. They can even cause you to go red where you are open season for anyone and do not get to enjoy the protections the honor system provides.
All in all, I have enjoyed the honor system. It has kept me from farming lower people who have no chance at all. It has also kept the couple of higher levels that are still active from bashing my face into the ground and taking all my loot with zero effort.
For PvE content that is just sending fleets out once you have the required skills Astrophysics on these expeditions. You tend to take with you cargo ships and depending on how high your skill is a number of combat ships and probes for them to scout. These missions can be an hour or longer with a higher level skill where they can find more challenges.
If they survive pirate attacks, black holes and what other stuff that can happen on these. They tend to bring back most of the time some metal or crystal or deuterium. You can also get ships depending on the types you sent and RNG. The real reward chase for most in doing them is getting Dark matter. The game will even run special events where you could, for instance, get nine times more o Dark Matter for a certain amount of days. Which can help you buy some microtransactions from the store for free.
Since this game is a f2p browser game there is a store to buy the premium resource called Dark Matter. Thankfully you can earn small amounts from going on expeditions at random or through other end game means in the game. Dark Matter is also something that can’t be looted.
As I have stated before the game has officers in it that you can recruit for a week to three months’ time. Each one does something a little different and there are five on the server I am playing. From having a queue for building, an extra slot for fleets, 2% mine production. While they do provide some bonus they are not crazy OP. If this was all that was for sale I would not really mind it.
You can also buy boosters that range from 10 to 30% on your resources (metal, crystal, and deuterium). They last a week and each one bought can only be applied to a single planet. They are rather cheap for a30% one-week booster to a single planet and resource costs around $2.50. If you had a lot of planets and wanted to boost all three resource that could start to add up. Since a miner focused player would have one planet that was mostly focused on a single resource I don’t see most buying all three boosters for a planet.
They also have very pay to win options of just flat out buying resources which are based on your storage capacity. Since they have other ways to generate revenue I wish this was not an option. At least they still have to wait around for timers on things to build.
In the early game, these buying options can be quite powerful for giving someone a head start on a new world. Once you start heading into mid to late game technology wise you can start to earn Dark Matter. While I’ve never been an end game player myself I can see those players generating more than enough to cover at least officers prices and maybe some boosters.
It was fun for a couple of weeks but beyond that, it’s just not a game I’m looking to consume part of my day needing to log in and manage things. At some point, you need to think about trying to safeguard your fleets and resources you need to storage for higher level upgrades. Having to remember to log in to fleet dodge by sending your ships out at slower speeds and be back again to do it again. Along with a lot of other stuff that tends to be day to day.
While you could play it only a couple of times a week you’re going really struggle when people notice you’re not a very active player and they were able to take out planet defense systems. With the smaller populations remaining that might not be as big of an issue as it used to be. There is also that p2w aspect while I don’t see many players spending a lot someone could at any point in time. This does take some of the fun out of the game in my eyes. It was at least great to see again how these stacks up to more modern stuff like NextColony.
Another Game Post
While NextColony is inspired by this game is quite different. For instance, you need to go out and explore tiles in hopes of finding another planet than just having a set amount in your solar system. It is also considered a much slower game to play and still in development with many needed features to come out this year.