Over the last week I had some time to checkout the recently launched NA version of Black Prophecy and as far as first impressions go, it’s not a good one. Starting off with the installation, I knew it wasn’t going to be a smooth ride as Gamigo required you to download 6 separate files, one of which was a broken link, so I had to wait a few hrs for them to notice and fix it.
Once installed I logged in, created my character and was ready to go. The game begins with you taking the role of a random crew mate on a ship that is attacked and you have to man the turrets. The tutorial is meant as an introduction to the games weapon systems and normally I would gloss over something like this, however this is where I ran into my first bug.
Upon completing the turret tutorial, the game looped back to the beginning and I was forced to redo the whole thing. While not a huge problem, it wasn’t that long, the reason I’m pointing it out is because this was a bug from the European launch 4 months ago. Quite embarrassing and pathetic to have such a simple bug not fixed 4 months later for the NA launch.
However this seems to be the theme with the NA launch of BP as I heard players complaining in the chat channels of other bugs from the EU version that are still not fixed. Aside from bugs, I’ve had multiple game crashes and freezes, even today 10 mins ago when I logged in to take a few screenshots. There was also a big lag issue the first few days that seems to have been resolved now.
Once you complete the intro tutorial you’re taken to a hub station where the ships commander, being impressed with you, offers you a spot in his flight crew. You then proceed to complete more missions which are just more tutorials to help you learn the aspects of the game.
Once you complete all the tutorial and prologue missions you’re given the option to select which of the two races you want to become, the Tyi or Genides. The basic difference between the two races are that Tyi are cybernetically altered humans while Genides are genetically altered, and obviously they have different ships types. Once you select your faction the real game begins.
You start off in your faction’s hub station where you’re greeted by their ambassador who has a few missions for you. At this point of the game, there have only been 2 types of missions that I’ve come across. Missions you receive from contacting NPC’s in the hub stations or other stations, which tend to be storyline missions, or Terminal missions you get from inside the hub station.
Picking up a mission from the terminal is basically like playing a single player game, they’re all instanced missions and they start as soon as you accept it. They have both solo and group missions, but there is no direct connection with these missions and the Black Prophecy universe. It feels like you’re in a training simulator rather than a thriving, active galaxy.
The NPC missions you get from hub stations are a little better. They provide some backstory, require you to travel to locations and complete some sort of objective. On these type of missions you’ll definitely run into other players doing their own thing and since it’s open PvP you’ll also run into many opposing faction players who will kill you constantly.
Which brings me to the weapons systems and ships. Being a noob, I was under the impression that shields were useful, however after being killed oh, lets say 100 times and only getting a few kills in return, I decided to do some research in the BP forums.
Well it appears that shields and energy weapons are useless in the lower levels. There are 3 weapon types available, energy, mechanical or explosive. Energy weapons are good against shields, but deal little to no hull damage and mechanical and explosive do hull damage only. To kill someone, you only need to do get their hull to zero, shields don’t matter.
Now you would think that since there are shields in the game, you would have to get rid of them first before doing any hull damage. If you ever played any of the X-Wing games this is how it worked, but not in BP. Shields only block a percentage of the damage with everything else going through dealing hull damage. Early on shields only block a very small percentage of damage, 10-20%, so using energy weapons is a waste since your only hurting shields and causing little hull damage.
If you use the strategy of using mechanical or explosive weapons only, you’ll deal a ton more damage with only a small fraction being absorbed by the shields. I was using 2 energy weapons and 2 mechanical, so basically I had 2 weapons that did shit. Once I learned shields don’t matter and changed to 4 mechanical guns, my kill-death ration switched to positive.
From what I read, even at the end levels shields only block 60-70% of hull damage so it seems they might never be useful.
Despite that and the bugs, the game is actually ok so far. The biggest plus are it’s graphics, which are absolutely beautiful, some of the views are breathtaking. While it’s a bit of a grind, what I’m really looking forward to is getting into some clan battles. In later levels clans can construct their own hub stations and take over resource hubs in other areas, which sounds like good old fashion PvP fun.