First CE Online Game: “Eh.”

May 29th, 2003  |  Published in Uncategorized

I just finished my first Cosmic Encounter Online game. It went something like this:

Getting into a game was easy enough: I went to an empty “room” in the “lobby” and signed up for a game against three bots. I was assigned Zombie (not a favorite power, but it’ll do) and found myself against Philanthropist, Empath, and Pacifist. Not an all-star lineup of powers, really, though Empath and Pacifist are good in the hands of obstructionist players.

On my 500Mhz iBook, the game was a little slow to respond. It also wasn’t very clear on what interactions were expected to move the game along: mouse or key presses seemed to randomly cause it to get to the outcome of an action or move along to the next turn. That aside, it was easy enough for a veteran of the game to figure out what was going on, and the graphics were cute but not intrusive.

Since I was up against bots, I should have expected that it wouldn’t be particularly clever, but I was shocked, shocked to note that it was letting me get away with the classic “leaching victory” maneuver, where I just offered to ally with every player on the offensive. It took me all of one round of play to achieve a “double victory” with the Philanthropist simply from tagging along on each attack. In a game of humans, this would not have stood: the last planet in a game is always a veritable Ragnarok of finger biting and cursing. Online, against dull-witted computers, it was simply a matter of tagging along for the ride and racking up a win while the bots stood idly by.

I’m betting with humans it’s a better experience, so I’ll tag an addendum when I have the time to play against a few.

Initial impression: More fun around a table of friends who aren’t afraid to tell you how much you suck when you steal victory and engage in an appropriate but abusive amount of gloating.

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