The slow and methodical MMORTS Starborne is getting a new “lightning fast” game mode, Dead Zone. This takes the same style of gameplay from the regular game mode, but shrinks the vast galactic battles down so that they last just 4 hours. Sure, that’s still a long time, but it’s just 3% the length of a typical 10 week game of Starborne!
Solid Clouds will be previewing the mode this weekend with a tournament that lets the winners contribute to the game’s lore.
The new mode shrinks the map size down dramatically, with just 25 starting locations for players. There’s also four new playable factions to choose from – Nightcorps, Les Apaches, Surpasum, Gatos Fritos. To tweak the game to work in this context, new Cards have been introduced with an overhaul of the entire pool, new Station Planner with new buildings and organisations, and there’s special hexes on the map that will give your empire bonuses, not to mention radiation pools that will need to be contained.
The excellently named Stefan Gunnarsson, CEO and Lead Designer on Starborne said, “We have been playing Dead Zone a lot in the office and we are incredibly excited about its potential. We have spent the last few years building up our own framework to make large-scale strategy games and Dead Zone is a showcase of how powerful that framework is becoming. Our community has been the cornerstone behind our success so we are excited to reward the victors of this first Dead Zone Tournament with a unique opportunity to contribute to the history of the Starborne universe.”
The main game is, to put it mildly, a bit of a time sink, with each match taking place over the course of ten weeks. Thousands of players can sign up during a server’s first week, claiming a star system and racing to build up their little empire in the game’s early days. This eventually turns to alliance and federation building, with the ultimate goal being to capture and build up a Dyson Sphere or be more complete than your rivals in other parts of the galaxy. We dove into the game back in August, and you can check out the preview here, but a lot has been modified since it entered Open Beta in April.
While the main game stretches out over the course of months, it makes it an idle game that you can dip into occasionally to do some quick empire management. I’m sure that Solid Clouds will be hoping that Dead Zone will appeal as a more immediate game mode that could actually be played alongside the main Starbourne.
Source: press release