WG Labs announced last year that they will bring Master of Orion (Dutch article) back to life. And for those who don’t know WG Labs, it stands for WarGaming Labs, and everybody knows about Wargaming and their World of-games. For everybody who knows these games (World of Tanks, World of Warplanes and World of Warships), they also knows that they are free to play. Everything looks the same, but this is the part where Master of Orion different from the Wargaming games, you actually need to go out there and buy this revamped classic. Next to that you can now also choose between two Master of Orion Editions. You can get the Standard Edition or the Collector’s Edition.
The Master of Orion Collector’s Edition is all about bringing it with a wealth of content set to enhance any player embarking on their galactic quest. The prestige package includes the first three genre-defining Master of Orion titles, a beautifully detailed digital art book, the modernized orchestral soundtrack, a special retro art style graphic motif, and an exclusive Race only available with the Collector’s Edition: the Terran Khanate. Players can also begin their campaign ahead of the fleet with Early Access, when available.
The blueprint for the iconic 4X strategy genre of eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate that served as the inspiration of WG Lab’s reimagining, the Collector’s Edition brings the first three Master of Orion games for you to relive. To complement previous entries, the digital art book showcases the game’s deep and intricate artwork. For the modernized orchestral soundtrack, Dave Govett, composer for the original Master of Orion, returns to score the next epic installment.
In the special pixelated ships mode, players can give their game a retro vibe. Finally, a unique race, exclusively for Collector’s Edition holders, the Terran Khanate. This new race is an aggressive and threatening model of a future humanity that mirrors the Human Federation but with a warlike bent, giving players a new way to conquer the stars.
With the Collector’s Edition, players, new and old, can see where the iconic 4X strategy genre started whilst playing WG Lab’s modern reimagining of this critically acclaimed sci-fi strategy game.
But what is Master of Orion?
Master of Orion plays out on a vast galactic stage which means, naturally, you’re going to cross paths with different races, who all believe they should rule Orion. In your quest to conquer the stars, many will stand in your way. Some will become allies; some will carve out a place in the universe by themselves; and some only live to destroy: in Master of Orion, this mantle falls to the Terran Khanate.
The Terran Khanate is the twisted reflection of the noble Human race. They are ambitious, persistent, and cunning. Yet, they were forged from blood and war, leaving them unable to move past the traumas of their development. All they see is war. All they know is power, destruction, and ruthless manipulation. They see the Galaxy as a lawless space ruined by social freedoms, leading other races to weakness and decay.
The Khanate was born in a time of great struggle, during the era when Humanity was suffering through domestic conflict, losing millions. The first of the Khans was a merciless and calculating individual who operated from the shadows, and rose to power in this time of chaos. Dire circumstances called for radical solutions in the eyes of the Khan, as he ordered bloody purges to stem the tide of deviancy, corruption, and greed. Castes were established and dissidents were hushed. All roots of humanity were burned away—leaving the newly formed Terran people to rise from the ashes.
The Terrans, warped by their once Human instinct for survival, now seek to guarantee their position of authority in the galaxy. They intend to use their power to guide the errant races to the path of strength, or the will of the Khan, by forcefully removing their weakest aspects so the strong may thrive.
The Terrans, bred and trained to believe that aggression and power are the only means of control in a galaxy of chaos, favor war or battle as a way to resolve conflicts. Weakness is seen as a fatal flaw in Terran society, and crushing the weak is seen as the only moral option to ensure the Terran thrive.
The Terran Khanate is ruled by a Khan, and is a military dictatorship. The only way to become a ruler or politician in Terran society is to serve in the military and rise up through the ranks. The Khan oversees the Khanate on an Empire-wide scale; they are not concerned with the day-to-day actions of the government or the creation of municipal laws. The Khan is a truly militaristic role. Each planet in the empire has a lesser Khan who oversees domestic issues, and each planet has Regional Directors that are more closely involved in the lives of soldiers and civilians.
The military is the core of Terran society. They are the representation of the Terran people’s ambitions, ideals, and values. If the Terran Khanate was on the verge of bankruptcy, the last group to lose funding would be the military. Serving in the military is also a prerequisite for any position of power in the Terran government. Those who do not serve in the military are seen as cowards.
In many ways, the Terrans are not that different than their Human brothers. They are brave, courageous, and bold. They refuse to back down in the face of adversity. And most of all, never bet against the Terrans when they are the underdogs in a fight. If the Terran mentality can be summed up in a single statement, it is that the Terran value hard work and resolve above all else (for these are the virtues of strength).
Which is the Master race in Master of Orion?
In total there will be 10 races, and one bonus race (Terran) if you pre-order the Collector’s Edition. There is a lot to tell about these races, but this is waht we know this for. We posted everything we know at the moment, which comes down to 4 races; Bulrathi, Psilon, Alkari, and Mrrshan. And now we take a closer look at these races..
FIGHT FOR THE MEET, CRUSH THE WEAK
Stout, hulking warriors, Bulrathi are full of contradiction. Driven equally by their aggressive nature and their desire to protect the defenseless, their attempts to reconcile these two aspects often get them into trouble across the galaxy. Bulrathi only respect those who can truly match them in battle and who do not back away from adversity. While the Bulrathi strive to move beyond their hostile nature, don’t be surprised if your intergalactic summit turns into a fistfight courtesy of some harsh exchanges with the Darlocks, Mrrshan or Meklar.
The Bulrathi homeworld, Ursa, was a planet ravaged by warfare and disastrous environmental change due to the Bulrathi’s industrial waste. However, a small band of Bulrathi scientists devoted their lives to developing machines that could breathe life back into their planet – thus beginning the first terraforming process on the Bulrathi homeworld.
Ursus, the capital of Ursa, is a densely packed urban area. The citizens of Ursus often work in the various arms of the military. Ursus is the city where the Emperor and many high ranking officials reside and work.
The Bulrathi aren’t the most technologically focused race in the galaxy, but they more than make up with it with their destructive capabilities. This is an asset when playing as the Bulrathi and can rush your opponents. However, the fact that they lack technological prowess means that an explorer will want to make sure they devote some of their time and resources to levelling up their tech-based skills. Also, as we know that the Bulrathi like a galactic punch-up, a cunning explorer may be able to persuade another race to occupy their time…
LOGIC AND REASON ABOVE ALL
Psilons are an intellectual and peaceful race who hunger to know and understand the secrets of the galaxy. Knowledge is valued above all else, absolutely. The Psilon priority on research and education has been so internalized that it is at the core of their physical evolution. Psilons used to be similar in shape to Humans (but much taller—reaching heights of eight feet) many thousands of years ago. However, decades and generations of atrophy and minimal physical activity began to take a toll on their physical forms.
Mentar is a remarkably mild planet with year round soft rains and constant rolling hills. It is populated by docile wildlife—leading some academics to believe that something in Mentar’s atmosphere repressed aggression in the domestic fauna (including Psilons).
Hadron is a sprawling city which continues outward until Hadron’s borders bleed with other, distant communities. Hadron is the home of the Emperor and many of the largest research corporations and facilities have representative branches in Hadron. The largest of these research factions is the Chiral Cooperative.
As we know, the Psilons’ giant craniums are not just for show—their intelligence has led to a robust economy, which gives them a bonus to their Research. They can also be quite a sneaky bunch and possess excellent spies, as well as spend a great deal of time and credits on internal security. However, the focus on technology may well be the Psilons’ downfall. They put so much effort in becoming as advanced as possible that they are vulnerable to attack. Psilons are not a race an explorer can simply sit back and watch blossom.
ONE FAMILY UNDER THE GODS
The Alkari refer to themselves as one family under the guidance of a family of Gods. The “one family, under the Gods” mentality permeates all levels of their culture. They desire to be the greatest warriors in the galaxy, bringing pride and honor to their family. However, an increasing amount of galactic conflicts stretch Alkari resources and troops thin and their warrior ways often get them into trouble.
The homeworld of the Alkari, Altair, is an artifact world due to the ancient and well-documented history of the Alkari. It has a diverse and varied landscape, but is dominated by low-lying swamplands and high, rocky areas. The cities of Alkari are often surrounded by wide-open spaces and plenty of space between buildings which facilitate the Alkari’s natural flight abilities.
Skraa is located atop a high, rocky plateau which is surrounded by water. This is where the Emperor and his family reside, along with most high-ranking government officials. The battle of Skraa is a legend in Alkari culture, as it was the site of the historic battle which unified the Alkari and where the first Emperor was crowned. Skraa is not completely open to outsiders, as any non-Alkari must always be accompanied by an Alkari escort. The patron God of Skraa is the God of Sky.
The Alkari are a militaristic race at their core, which is where they excel. Their good relationship with Humans means good trade and negotiations work both ways—and can be very profitable. However, if you’re a Darlock, Klackon, or Sakkra, then be sure to tiptoe around the Alkari—you’re not on the best of terms. If you’re Mrrshan, then you may be best avoiding them completely. Cats and birds are mortal enemies, remember?
However, when the Alkari strike up a deal, they keep it. Their loyalty to battle, on the hand, is to their detriment, and they will readily expend troops fighting often needless battles. The Alkari have something to boast about, because their military craft rule the roost.
TO FALL IN BATTLE IS THE GREATEST HONOR
Mrrshan are elegant, rebellious, and independent creatures. They are proud and honorable, but also secretive and ruthless. Mrrshans have a relatively short natural lifespan in the galaxy (only longer than that of the Sakkra). They value freedom from religious, creative, political, and personal oppression. While they are a feudal government, nothing about their laws or policies is oppressive. If the populace want to try their hand at new skills, they are encouraged. They believe in living as they please, loving whoever they want, and above all being fearless in battle.
Fieras is a flowering, sunny planet with lush landscapes and large, still-seeming seas. The cities are usually located in the spacious plains, covered in tall amber grasses and spiraling trees. The jungles are dark and densely populated with all manner of threats. Fieras also has the largest amount of unique flowering plants in the galaxy.
Jasana, the capital city of Fieras, was named after the Supreme which oversaw the construction of the Royal Palace. Her family had amassed great wealth through somewhat dubious means, which she used to construct the Palace. Jasana is where many of the Ladies of communities will keep a second home (to be close to the Supreme), so the houses of this area are extravagant and covered in beautiful runes. Jasana is a sacred area to the Mrrshan and aliens are rarely permitted inside the city.
“This kitty has claws” seems like an apt in-game quote to describe the Mrrshan. They’re ruthless and have a keen eye with weapons, possessing some powerful fighters. However, they are man’s best (and only) friend in the galaxy. The Mrrshan have tense relations with everyone (aside from Humans), and we already know that the Alkari are their mortal enemies. If an explorer is trying to negotiate with them, it may not always end well. While they have the fighters, it’s the Mrrshan’s industrial and defense capabilities that could well use up all of their nine lives.
We’ve covered just a few of the diverse races explorers can control in the upcoming reboot of Master of Orion.
And in which universe can we enjoy this game?
In your quest to conquer the stars, an intrepid explorer needs to know their galaxies and planetary systems so they can lay the foundations for greatness. We’re here to breakdown what types of planets you’ll discover in your journey.
THE BIGGER THE BETTER, RIGHT?
There are a variety of planet sizes scattered around Master of Orion’s many galaxies, varying in size. However, size isn’t everything, which you’ll discover later.
Huge: The biggest astrological bodies revolving around a star. An explorer won’t find any bigger or better out there. These should always capture your interest.
Giant: Not as big as Huge, but a good find nonetheless.
Large: Third in the list. It’s big. Not as big as Giant. Generally around the size of Earth.
Medium: Explorers should be getting the hang of this now.
Small: The smallest of the bunch, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t rich in resources.
Biome is, basically, the makeup of a planet—what’s there worth taking.
Gas Giant: Full of, you guessed it, gas.
Class A: “Gaia” — the motherlode, El Dorado—rare worlds with extraordinary rich ecosystems. These should always be your first port of call.
Class B: “Ocean” – planets whose surfaces are mostly covered with large bodies of water.
“Terran” – You’ll find abundant flora, fauna and water supplies here.
Class C: “Swamp” – Heavily layered with dense, jungle-like vegetation.
“Tundra” – frigid environments featuring permafrost and harsh weather.
Class D: “Arid” – Rocky terrain and sparse vegetation not to be confused with…
“Desert” – Harsh weather conditions and very little water are their most common features.
Class F: “Arid” — Barren lands with a basic breathable atmosphere.
“Radiated” – They do not have atmosphere due to their star’s emissions.
“Toxic” – Totally inhospitable environments. Not a place you want to vacation.
He who controls the minerals controls the universe. Harnessing the power of minerals allows explorers to increase Production and kick their campaign into hyperspace.
Ultra Rich – Rare and overflowing with useful deposits (++Production)
Rich – they include a lithosphere rich in minerals (+ production)
Abundant – They have an average amount of valuable minerals
Poor – they have some mineral content, but not enough to make them really attractive (- Production)
Ultra Poor – very low density of heavy minerals (– Production)
What also affects the rates of production is gravity, so always weigh the risks and rewards. There are 3 types—normal, high, and low—and this can reduce production up to 50%.
Keeping You Grounded
Another vital statistic to bear in mind before colonization is the planet’s gravity. The gravity of a planet can be low, normal or high, with normal being preferable. This characteristic can result in your production being reduced by 50%, which no trepid explorer wants.
The planets of Master of Orion can contain special resources which can help your progress during the fight to become the Orion’s overlord. Keep an eye out for any of the following resources on the planets you find.
For example, Gold can affect your income for the better by giving you extra credits while an artifact will boost the research for the colony.
During your explorations, you will notice that there will be asteroid fields; be wary though, these might be the home to many a pirate, who is looking for any opportunity to loot you.
Money makes the galaxy go round
As in everyday life, credits make the galaxy go round. The BC (Billion Credit) is the foundation of Master of Orion’s economy. Your income has to be watched and managed just as closely as you manage your planetary resources. Each planet generates BCs at a rate that can vary over time as a planet grows, trade treaties are signed, and taxation levels change. These credits are the lifeblood of your empire; they are needed to maintain structures and fleets, provide bribes for other races, and rapidly advance production when required. Today, we will break down some of the factors affecting BC generation and explain your options for spending those piles of credits sitting in your imperial vaults.
Taxes affect all colonies in your empire at the same rate. You may set the tax rate from 0% up to 50%. Tax rates are set on your Empire Management screen. As you adjust the tax rate, you can see how the new rate will affect your overall per-turn credit generation as well as how each planet will be affected. Be careful, because setting the tax rate too high will upset your population, leading them to go on strike (which then reduces your planet’s ability to generate resources).
Numerous technologies in the research tree can help boost your economy. These technologies are located mainly on the top technology line and can be easily identified by their yellow symbol. They can also be viewed by using the “Highlight” dropdown menu in the upper left corner and selecting “Economy”; all other technologies will grey out.
Technologies help your economy by providing simple credit boosts, reductions to the cost of structure and ship buy-outs, increases in tax revenues, and, at the highest stage, a 100% increase to credits generated by your entire empire!
When your empire begins to meet other races, one option in your diplomatic relations is a Trade Treaty. These treaties usually last 20 turns, with your empire receiving credits every turn. Once the treaty runs out your advisor will provide a report indicating how many BCs in total were generated—which can run into the thousands! Be careful though; the other race is also receiving credits (and if war is declared all treaties are immediately canceled).
Another way to generate credits is to put some colonists to work producing trade goods! Under your Build pop-up screen, choose “Projects” and then “Trade Goods”. Your colonists will then begin to build consumer items that others will buy. The effect will turn 50% of the planet’s production value into credits (which is much better than letting that production sit idle).
Virtually every structure and ship within your empire costs credits to maintain. Of these, your ships will probably be the most costly, especially as more technology is added that increases their maintenance cost. A large fleet sitting idle will rapidly become a drain on your economy. This maintenance is automatic, requiring no decisions on your part. However, if your economy goes into the negative, your advisor will begin to scrap ships and structures that cannot be supported (you will be told when this occurs and what was scrapped). The best way to avoid this is to maintain both a positive income each turn and a credit reserve. Such actions will help you make it through periods of high maintenance costs but low production, such as when you are sending a large combat fleet a long distance to attack an opponent.
If you decide that you need that new ship or structure NOW instead of 12 turns from now, you can spend credits to speed things up. The item currently being produced in the production queue can simply be bought if you have the credits available. Once bought out, the structure or ship will be available the following turn. This is an all-or-nothing action—you may not partially pay for the item to decrease its production time by a few turns.
To buy out something in the production queue, simply grab the item and drag and drop it on the “BC BUY” button. If the buy-out number is in red you do not have enough credits to pay for the item. Note that as your colonists build the item the buy-out price will drop each turn.
Sometimes in diplomatic negotiations the other side will request BCs to agree to your propositions. Having a pile of credits can help grease these diplomatic wheels if what you desire is worth the price being asked. This decision must be weighed against the fact that the other empire will receive those credits. You will have no way of knowing what the credits will be used for: to buy out some toxic condensers or build that Titan that will spearhead the attack on your empire.
Keeping Track of Your Economy
Your empire is generating and spending credits but how do you check the overall health of the economy? In two places in the Master of Orion interface you can get both a quick answer to this question and a more detailed report. One place is on the main screen and the other is in the Empire management screen; in both areas the same information is provided.
On the main screen in the upper left corner, next to the yellow BC symbol, is the overall state of your economy. The first number is the amount of available credits at that moment. The number in parentheses is how many credits you are generating per turn through taxes, treaties, etc. If the second number is negative (displayed in red), that is how many credits will be deducted from your available balance at the start of the next turn.
If you hover your cursor over the basic BC information, a much more detailed report on the state of your economy will pop up. This report breaks down credits received and deducted through taxes, treaties, upkeep, fleet costs, and so on. All of this data will be of great value, helping ensure your empire maintains a healthy economic foundation while you conquer the galaxy!
Hopefully this guide will help you on your way to become the greatest dictator Orion has ever seen.
For more information on Master of Orion and the Collector’s Edition, visit:
- www.masteroforion.com (North America)
- www.masteroforion.eu (Europe)