Distant Worlds: The Price Conundrum (Polls Included!)

Ships in Distant Worlds - Legends
How Much Is This Awesomeness Worth To You?

On several forums I frequent, including Matrix Games’ own forum, there has been more and more discussion about Distant Worlds, namely its current pricing model. Basically, if you want the original Distant Worldsas well as its two expansions, The Return of the Shakturi and Legends, you need to fork over around $90 ($39.99+$24.99+$24.99, respectfully) for what is considered the “complete package”, since both expansions add so much to the game.

Whenever I talk to people about Distant Worlds — especially after my review of Legends — I gush and gush about how amazing the game is, trying to get them to buy it. However, price keeps coming up as the main reason people can’t pull the trigger, mainly because they can’t try it first and also because it’s now ultimately a two year old game. Now, I’m not privy to the pricing practices at Matrix games, so they may have a very legitimate reason for keeping the price as it is, but I feel doing so is cutting people off from one of the best 4X games made in the last decade, if not ever.

Now, in talking to people whom I’ve tried to convince, I’ve encountered two main issues/barriers:

The Price is Too High

I honestly think this is a valid argument. Again, while I’m unaware of Matrix’s pricing practices, many believe that a two year old game should drop in price as it ages. This is the cases for most games, yet Matrix still retains their high price. This might be to appear as a “boutique” of niche gaming, which I would totally understand, but to people who don’t own the game, this is a major barrier. Sure, the base game is $40, but to experience the full joy of Distant Worlds, one should have the game and the expansions, which totals around $90, as previously stated. That’s a LOT for a video game in the age of Steam sales and $0.99 iPhone games.

Sure, Distant Worlds is deeper than nearly any game in its class — or most other games period — and has really long legs due to its variety, moddability and so on, but does that mean it should retain its new-game price? I don’t mean to be too critical here, but lowering prices can be good for sales. Look at Jeff Vogel and Spiderweb Software. They sold their excellent RPG’s at $25 or more for many years, as they began in the age of shareware in the mid 90s and prices like that made sense. Eventually, however, they came around, and now all of their games will be cheaper due to heightened sales. Why couldn’t Matrix do something similar, I wonder? Another problem with this pricing is that buying the game is mostly based on faith, since folks can’t try it beforehand, which brings me to the other problem…

There’s No Way to Try Before You Buy

I think having a demo of Distant Worlds — which might a difficult game to encapsulate in a demo, granted — would really help people get over the sheepishness caused by the high price. I mean, Distant Worlds isn’t just a game, it’s honestly an investment in months if not years of wonderful 4X gameplay, but without a demo, people only have the word of people like me and other fans to even try to overcome the price barrier mentioned above.

Letting people try even a small, limited portion of the game before they plunked down their hard-earned money for it would also likely generate more sales and interest, once people saw what an amazing game it was. It would help fans like myself go “Here, try this!” when we tell people how wonderful the game is, so they can spend some time with it themselves and find out on their own if the game is right for them. Without a demo, all people have is faith in the word of fans like me, reviews, articles and the marketing blurbs on Matrix’s own site. Sadly, this might not be enough, and doesn’t seem to be in many cases.

Sure, I Could Be Wrong…

I mean, this is mostly optimistic speculation on my part, but I’ve seen examples — beyond just Spiderweb Software mentioned above — of developers noticing a jump in sales when the prices of their game are lowered dramatically for a sale or even permanently. I know I’ve purchased many games I might not have considered otherwise when the price was low enough. I therefore honestly feel that if Matrix lowered their bundled price of Distant Worlds and its expansions to maybe, $50 let’s say, that sales would like take a dramatic jump.

Again, I’m not trying to be critical of Matrix Games or the developers at Code Force because, again, I don’t know all the factors involved in their pricing. Despite that, hell, I WANT Distant Worlds to be a smashing success for everyone involved. It just honestly saddens me to see such a wonderful, truly marvelous game be passed over due to its current price and/or the lack of a demo. I would LOVE to see more people playing Distant Worlds and experience the sheer joy of exploration and discovery that few games have been able to capture (Starflight comes to mind of course), but with these two barriers still in place, I worry that Distant Worlds will remain a niche product within a small niche genre, never getting the full attention or audience it deserves. This, I feel, would be a crime against gaming, and one I would love to see solved sooner rather than later, if at all.

Welp, now that I’ve spoken my peace, what do you guys and gals think? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments, and you can also vote in the polls below for a more concrete measure of opinion over this matter.

Thanks for reading and for your time! Have a great day! :)

55 comments on Distant Worlds: The Price Conundrum (Polls Included!)

  1. Well, Brian, you know my stance on the issue. I agree wholeheartedly with what you say. What is more disconcerting to me is when one gets berated for mentioning pricing, particularly on the Matrix forum. The fact that it’s a single-player game should make clear that there are no ulterior motives, but purely a desire to make DW as successful as possible. Matrix/Code Force has, for the most part, done an excellent job supporting the game. But all who enjoy the game would benefit from their expanded success in the form of further support, expansions, or sequels to of one our favorite franchises.

    A demo would also be a tremendous benefit. I bought DW with RotS for a buddy on his birthday last year and he really didn’t care for it, despite his love of 4X games. So I fully understand that gamers can be a finicky group and it’s not unreasonable to expect a “try before you buy” in today’s world.

    D-

    1. Welcome to the blog D-Man777! And yeah, Matrix and Code Force should be wholeheartedly rewarded for their game, in terms of sales and exposure, but I fear that the high price point is preventing that. Sorry your buddy didn’t like it, but good on you for gifting it to him. :)

  2. Any game that cannot be tried at least in part before spending any amount of cash over 25$ is shooting themselves in the foot. Most people can scrape together 20$ and not feel bummed if it turned out to be wasted.

    I’ve also never figured out why people think they need to charge so much for games. Especially when you have expansions. Give away the original game for free at that point (or a quarter the price at most), and charge roughly half the original price for the expansion. That way you get A LOT of new players on the original who then might get hooked and shell out for the new content.

  3. Wow, $90? That’s unheard of. Considering how comparable games are usually $20 or less, it borders on the insane. Overpricing is a fine argument. No one but the fanatic will buy a game for $90 when you can get others for a fraction of the price or even free. At such a high price, I doubt Matrix Games even really wants to sell their game. The only other game I know of with this purchase model is Dominions 3, which has a $50 price tag six years after it’s launch. It seems to me anyone crazy enough to buy the game would have done it by now. They won’t sell anything unless they lower their price, which leads me to believe the companies have just moved on without trying to get their game to a broader audience.

  4. Completely agree with the pricing sentiment espoused by Brian and others here, and I’m speaking not only from the perspective of a prospective user but also from the experience of being party to many business discussions within the industry in the past ten years.

    Try before you buy has become a personal mantra of mine for purchasing games, and frankly I typically wait for a new boxed game drifts down from US$50-60 into the $25 range before I obtain it – which also lends plenty of time for learning from reviews or trusted friends if the thing is buggy, unpolished, or worth buying. It also allows opportunity for public patches to be released to solve such problems. As a dev, I’ve been in many discussions about the tradeoffs of adjusting price points, though in my case it was for MMO subscriptions, and included issues like what were at the time “alternative” pricing methods that have become today’s common and lucrative freemium and microtransaction models.

    Matrix Games needs to understand about the Long Tail phenomenon that the internet fosters, and re-price their product. Even in a boutique niche (as Brian put it very well), lowering the bar translates to numerically more sales. The only logic behind not lowering the price is if they literally have reason to believe the increase in buyers will fail to be proportionate to the adjustment (i.e. 50% price reduction results in fewer than 2x more buyers per unit time thereafter). Long Tail suggests quite the opposite.

  5. Matrix needs to stop self publishing, put their games on Steam/Gamestop/Gamersgate, let those companies decide pricing and call it a day.

      1. Remember that publishers use Steam and Gamersgate all the time. It leaves them with the important task of finding and developing new games. It gives them a much closer relationship than they have now to their potential customers. Assuming Steam and the others will take their games, I can’t see a downside. But as usual, many business decisions are made on a totally emotional basis and this seems like one of those.

  6. They’re bringing out a boxed version of the base game, at what seems (based on the one retailer I’ve seen it listed for pre-order at) to be a lower price point, but even factoring that in the full package is still going for as-near-as-makes-no-difference $80. And they won’t even allow you to add the boxed version to your Matrix Games account so you can download it should something happen to the disc!
    I’m going to be buying an expansion a pay for the next few pays after the Steam sale, simply because I’ve heard so much about the series, but at a lower price point I’d be able to buy the whole thing in one shot, letting me play it that much sooner (as I’m not going to play the before I get both expansions) without massive guilt.
    The $90 price tag is what has been getting me. With a demo I’d be more likely to have already bought it, as I’ve put it off a number of times in favour of things I know beforehand I’ll enjoy, but the sticker shock is the big obstacle it’s had.
    I’ve had my eye on Distant Worlds since sometime last year, and when Matrix Games had their sale over Christmas I just wish I had’ve had the money, because the package was at a somewhat saner price.

    1. Welcome to the blog RecklessPrudence! I didn’t know they were bringing out a boxed version, but I have to ask myself why? If it’s not a bundle nor a significantly discounted version, what’s the point of it? Sigh.

  7. I’ve avoided buying games from Matrix due to the high prices and/or lack of demos.

    I wonder where Matrix and the hardcore strategy genre will be in 5, 10 years. Their target demographic isn’t getting any younger, and the new bloods either don’t know about Matrix, or are put off by the absurdly high prices. (Consider that for ~$100 I could probably buy Sins of a Solar Empire, GalCiv2, Endless Space, and a few other strategy games during an awesome Steam sale.) If I were a dev, I’d consider publishing my game through an organization that has a clue.

    When Steam Greenlight launches next month, us grognards should push games like Unity of Command that were, for some bizarre reason, rejected by Valve the first time around. I’d love for hardcore 4x and war games to have more of a showing on Steam; with the right exposure and price point, I think many of these games could do quite well. As it stands, though, a lot of “recent” PC gamers probably have minimal exposure to this wonderful part of PC gaming.

    And on a related note, I think Paradox (quality control issues notwithstanding) has the right idea: release weirdly hardcore grand strategy games at competitive prices on all the major digital distribution sites and watch the sales roll in. (Paradox runs its own digital download service, but still releases its stuff on Steam. Could Matrix do the same?) I’m really surprised at the popularity of Crusader Kings II, which I see referenced on sites and forums that I’d never guess had an interest in those sorts of games.

    1. Welcome to the blog Rich_P! Paradox does seem to have a good thing going, as they’re all over the place and sell quirky niche titles like Matrix, but I bet more folks know Paradox over Matrix, for example, for many of the reasons we’ve been discussing here. I would KILL to see Distant Worlds affordably priced on Steam so more people could enjoy its awesomeness, but for some reason there’s resistance there, and I still don’t fully understand why.

  8. Psycho Society says: “No one but the fanatic will buy a game for $90 when you can get others for a fraction of the price or even free.”

    Well Psycho (neat sig by the way) Im one of the “fanatic” you mention in your comment above. Oh well, I’ve supported Matrix for many years since first finding the site in 2006 and buying Panzer Command The Winter Storm (great TB game by the way) so it makes since to me to fork out tons of mula for my “fix” but I have always wondered why their prices were sooo high not just with the DW series but with most of their hit titles. It was explained over and over again to me that they were in fact a “nich” game maker or publisher as they work with more and more developers selling their games on the Matrix site but to be honest I felt like it was more of a excuse to over charge rather than a valid point. Sure these games are nich but so are many on Steam and other distributer sites. I even mentioned recentlyin their forum if a certain game Matrix recently released from the developer Slitherine was worth the money and there was not comment and the “silence” does not present a valid argument to me neither.

    If Matrix needs to over charge to stay in business then maybe someone over-there – the founder mayber? needs to re-position the company to offer more for the masses rather than the few? Just a thought..

    1. Welcome to the blog Jay! No one is questioning anyone’s desire to pay more for high-priced games if they’re awesome, but please tell me, what’s WRONG with appealing to the masses if it gets your game more exposure and more sales?

    2. Steam has done some research lately in to their weirdly disproportionate sale numbers.
      Proper theories say that if you reduce the price by 5% you get 5% bonus in sales, steam has proven that wrong every single time. Reduce by 15% get a 250% sale increase. However they also have a very very big crowd of people to advertise to, and who generally want the advertisement. People get excited over steam sales, they want to know about the next one. Most advertising companies would kill for that kind of response.

      Anyway, my point is, games tend to sell a lot better and a lot more at a lower price point. 15$-25$ is probably the best all around price pscyhologically speaking. as i said before, most people can happily shell out 20$ for a game without much guilt. Meaning that game gets more tries, more exposure. And will sell a lot more (as long as the exposure is good, and the game is good :P No price justifies a shit game.) Then on top of that, add a very public temporary sale, say 20% off of a 20$ game, you get good will AND a huge profit bump.

  9. I also believe that if Matrix followed Paradox by packaging their own digital distribution through Steam, Gamersgate, or even GameStop (stardock) that the response would overwhelm them. Simple business practices should inform them of all the potential gain from such a move. I have used digital downloads for almost all of my purchases (MMO/Collectors excluded) for well over 5 years. Its convenient, links me to hundreds of similar games that have been reviewed by hundreds, if not thousands, of people, and those “people” are what makes Steam so important for the Developers. I would know nothing of Distant Worlds if it wasn’t for the Steam forums and other people asking about a suggestion for new game to check out while I was reading the SotS forum on Steam. Word-of-mouth is the best advertisement that any business can have and today that extends online more than ever. I cant believe that any game developer today, other than those developing titles specifically for consoles or titles affiliated with Sony (PS3 specially) or Microsoft, would not use this resource??? I understand the “WAL-MART effect” that could deter many company’s from considering this kind of partnership, but we’re not talking about selling toilet paper. The bottom line should be developing a product your proud of and reaching the largest audience possible if you endeavor to develop games for the PC. Most PC developers excel at one genre… they appeal to the shopper who loves to play games associated with that genre… and those shoppers that love to play games of that genre really love talking about the games they play… in that genre…. and that happens over at places like Steam or Gamersgate all day. If you haven’t experienced the power of Steam having a sale I now encourage you to go check it out. In the top 20 sellers for their summer sale, going on as I type, I see 9 collections, Most of the games were released well over a year ago, and if you look over to the right… the tab declaring 6 FLASH SALE titles with timers…. Rayman , Back to the Future!!! both in the top 20…. products that have completed for years still making relevant money. What excuse could Matrix have for not offering QUALITY games like Distant Worlds through Steam??? I’m perplexed. 90×10 = 900 but 40×1000 = 40000.

    1. Welcome to the blog OverlordC! And yeah, what you say makes perfect sense to me, leaving both of us perplexed. ;)

  10. I’ve bought all the expansions within the first month of release of DW on hardcopy. They send you a nicely pressed dvd with your name on it through the mail! They all play wonderfull (dispite the first few game tweaks that is required to run smoothly) and has a high replay value! But it does really cost a lot of money to buy them all at once. It would be very nice if more ppl could play this game because it is a really solid game and a broader fanbase would ensure a possible sequel.

  11. $50 is still too much without a demo for a hit or miss game. $40 without a demo would be more reasonable, or $50 with a demo.

  12. Hello! I was on the fence for DW for a long time. After reading the review over at Space Sector again, I just bought it. It was really a tough decision. I never bought a game for 80€ and probably won’t ever again. So it better be that good I’m reading all over the place.
    I don’t understand that pricing policy too. For like 40€ for the complete package I woul’ve bought it months ago. Also I really woul like to try WITP AE, but not for 70€.
    Also I’d be very interested in a official statement on that topic.

    And yeah…hello to the blog! ;-)

    1. Welcome to the blog Kuschelwampe! And you got it after reading the Space Sector review and not mine?! ;) Seriously though, I know you’ll enjoy it, but yeah, some official notion of the pricing policies might help us all understand what’s going on.

      1. Ah well, seems I bought another game you like and reviewed, and are deeply in love with, without reading your words first ;-)
        If I would, I wouldn’t have hesitated that long.
        I promise to improve! ;-)

  13. A brilliant military tactician and political genius once said, “These are people who hate freedom.” That concise, divisive, and massively well-thought-out statement just about encapsulates how I feel about Matrix Games sometimes: “These are people who hate money.”

    I don’t actually believe a single word of what I just wrote above, but sometimes, it really seems like Matrix prices themselves into a corner that must attract just enough fanatical dudes with money to keep them from taking the leap into the wonderful world of moderate, non-boutique pricing.

  14. I don’t mind spending $50-60 for a bundle but $90 is way too much. It’s crazy. I really would like to own the game as I own just about every other similar game but wow, just wow.

  15. You may have missed this discount

    From Matrix’s newsletter
    After the holiday sale and discounted pricing ends, Distant Worlds will return to its price of $39.99 Download / $49.99 Physical and Return of the Shakturi and Legends will return to their normal price of $24.99, but both expansions will also be available for $19.99 if purchased together with another Distant Worlds title as a bundle.

      1. Maybe it was the holiday sale from December 2011, where “A huge selection of Matrix Games products are now on sale at up to 30% off or more, but act fast because this sale will end Midnight on January 8th!”

        Aw, that’s a shame.

  16. I am one of those people on MatrixGame’s forum that has been arguing for a price drop. I really would like to get the game but I have read enough to know that I really don’t want to get the base game without the xpacs. But even with the small discount they give for buying the bundles with the core game, I still can’t justify $80. I would happily pay $50 but not a penny more. I own SotS1&2, SINS, GalCiv2, and a dozen other similar games but considering that I didn’t pay over $40 for any of them (granted most I got on steam sale) I just can’t see paying double for that. It’s not that I don’t want to spend money, I spent a couple hundred over the steam sale alone. It’s just that I find it poor practice for them to keep the price point they are at currently given that for $80 I could buy at least three or four games (most of which I could at least demo).

    I still say that Stardock did it best with how they do SINS. Expandware so to speak that includes prior content.

    Considering that for $80 right now someone could get both Endless Space & preorder Legends of Pegasus or buy SINS:Rebellion and still have some change left over, there is just something wrong with Matrix pricing scheme. Like I said on their forums, I would gladly pay $50 for a bundle but those who try to justify their high prices based on “niche market” are deluded as there are plenty of similar games out there for a fraction of the cost.

    I think it is poor business strategy to price it the way they want to. Nothing else they have lost my money until they price it reasonably. Might be the best game ever but for $80 for me at least it just isn’t going to happen.

    1. Welcome to the blog, Neuronomad, and thanks for your comments. :) I’d say more, but I am slaaaaaaaaaaaammed right now. :) Thanks for visiting. :)

  17. I’ve expressed my opinion many times on the official forum, the current pricing is a bit of a joke and breaks all the rules and trends of the PC game market. It WILL be hurting sales and it IS a major barrier for new players.

    I’m a massive fan of the game, I paid full price near launch, but charging full price after all this time for the original DW which is flawed and needs the expansions to get the most out of it, is a farce.

    I’ll quote myself now:

    “The biggest driving force for a sale of a game is price, from a survey of over 1,000 UK gamers nearly 40% said they made a purchase only when the price fell below the RRP and not on the release at full price. The second most important element was what their fellow gamers recommended and not particularly the opinions of publications/reviewers.

    On one hand DW has it covered with great user reviews and a loyal, but small, fanbase. Yet on the other hand it has a throttling pricing structure that doesn’t budge and doesn’t do anything to entice new players to the fold.

    “But Bleek you already have the game, what do you care!!!”

    Why do I care? Because the more people that buy DW, the more development it gets, the longer it stays around and the more we get to enjoy it. It also means a DW2 could be better funded and improve on an already stellar game to produce something awesome.

    So for me, appropriate pricing and fresh blood is very important (dare I say critical) to my long term involvement with DW and yours too!”

  18. Matrix always overprices their games, which is quite a shame as there’s a few hardcore strategy games they publish that I would love to try but for the price. I always hear the argument that the prices of their games (and for some other hardcore, grognard war games publishers) are so high because of the tiny market and the need to make money, but when your games mostly cost £40 upwards and have user interfaces that look like they come from the 1990s is there any wonder the market is so tiny? It’s good you mentioned Spiderweb as they also make niche games, old school RPGs that look quite dated, they used to have higher prices but as you mentioned the lower price points of the games he’s selling on Steam ended up netting him more cash due to more sales overall.

    I doubt this will change much as I’ve been complaining about the pricing model of Matrix and similar companies for years, as long as the games are highly priced and there is a tiny but vocal group of loyal fans willing to shell out the ridiculous prices for their nice products I doubt this will change much for years to come. I hope Code Force looks into other options if they develop future space strategy games.

    1. Welcome to the blog waitaha, and thanks for your awesome comments! I’ll respond more when I can. :) Thanks for visiting!

  19. I really want to buy DW and the expansions all together. I wish i knew about the title before i bought Endless Space from Steam which in my personal opinion its not a great game since its not deep enough (yet)…but giving 80 euros is way too much. I’ll just have to wait for the next holidays sale…

  20. Howdy Brian & everyone! I wanted to chime in on DW and it’s pricing as well.

    Welps, the past 2-3 weeks I’ve been scouring the interwebs researching for a 4x Turn-based Strategy SPACE game to give me that same euphoric feeling of playing Master of Orion 1 & 2 (MoO 3 is a whole ‘nother story isnt it :x ) like it did back in the day. And to see the choices in the genre of late is just amazing with a few titles to look forward to that are in development.

    I’ve read some great reviews on DW with each expansion strengthening the base game with the latest Distant Worlds: Legends getting high marks on how a 4x TBS Space Game is supposed to run/feel like. The game reminds me a lot like Stars! (released back in the mid-90s) and how it would look like evolved in today’s PC requirements.

    So I was about to fork over what I was going to assume was maybe a $20-50 spot on the game since it’s been out for awhile when I too was taken aback at the price of the requirement to have to pay total of $90 for the base +2EPs. Then taking a look at some of the discourse about the pricing on many boards (incl the Matrix boards), I said “no f**king way”. I sure hope some of DW’s game developers make their way to your blog and read what many of us consumers think about it all. I probably would of bought several copies for myself, friends, and family but at that price rate? Not a chance.

    To put it plainly, I’m disappointed in the attitudes/reasoning towards DW’s pricing. Can I afford it? Sure & absolutely. But if I’m to fork out that much moolah, why cant I try it out in a demo first? I dont find that unreasonable. Anywho, I look forward to it being bundled in a sale hopefully for the winter holiday season. If not, then I’ll find other alternatives as I’m having a blast with Endless Space—it’s a lot better than I thought it would be! I’m glad there’s blogs/discussions like this to voice/vent about our frustrations on a genre we feel super passionate about—great work by the way and thanks!

    1. Howdy PhatFuel, and welcome to the blog! :) I’m sorry you’re as frustrated with the pricing of DW as many of us are. I’m sure Matrix and CodeForce have their reasons, but it’s just MADDENING to me to know how wonderful this game is and not be able to share the joy of it due to the price putting people such as yourself off, and I TOTALLY understand being put off by it. I am hoping/PRAYING that they have a sale this holiday season on the entire bundle, including the new expansion pack, to help people gain access to what is probably one of the best, if not THE best, 4X I’ve ever played.

  21. Holy phukin shyte. I just looked up the price, and for me it charges me 606 NOK, or one hundred and fuckety six dollars. And that’s including the discount. Are you serious!? I wanted to support this, but it’s time to head for the more carribean-esque waters of the internet.

    1. Hahaha, welcome to the blog and the comments XartaX! Your post is awesome, yet I totally get your frustration. :/

      1. I actually did buy it, but I probably broke half a dozen laws in the process – but hey, better than piracy at least. I installed TOR and bought it via it so it appears that I’m not from Norway. Stupid taxes and non-accurate price-exchange rates. Ended up at 80 dollars including the discount ($5 each).

        Thanks, I was wondering if I’d get moderated out since my post was kinda obnoxious, but I seriously couldn’t do anything but slowly open my mouth going “what. the. fuck.” when I saw the price (106!?).

        1. Well I’m glad you bought it at least. And no worries at all, your first post was not only in-line with the attitudes shared by many others, but it was also damned funny. :)

          1. Having fun so far, except for a single weird issue: AI automation of ship design refuses to put armor/shields/weapons on my ships, which is.. not optimal, hah.

              1. Yep. Manually updating the schematics works, though. If I had one problem with the game itself it’s that it’s ridiculously easy. I don’t think it’s possible to lose even if I’d go to war with the entire galaxy at the same time by myself… Many millions of cashflow and in general I can just buy whatever I want :f

                  1. I don’t know :F The only thing that is reasonably challenging so far has been when those planet destroying guys appear. Kinda hard to defend against those things warping in and instantly annihilating your planets… Best defense seems to be offense in this case. The rest of the galaxy seems to throw all their money at me as well, regardless of if they love me or hate me. I guess having roughly 100x their military strength kinda scares them… Maybe I should ramp up the difficulty from normal, heh.

                    1. Well, this is sad. My computer is built from components worth $5800, and it can’t even run this game in a 15×15 grid after the shakturi appears. The frame rate drops to like 0.5 frames per second :/ Zooming in and out takes like 10 seconds to accomplish.

                      Also super annoying: I tell several fleets to guard Utopia, and when the planet destroyer appears, they’re suddenly all on vacation ~.~

                      Game has a good core, but it has too many issues for me, so it was definitely not worth the money:
                      1) difficulty. It’s either super easy with enemy civilizations, or balls-hard with shakturi. And not because they’re smart or anything, just because they throw planet destroyers at you. If it wasn’t for the next issue, I’d try to ramp up the difficulty and disable shakturi and see if that helped.
                      2) performance issues as mentioned above, which is unacceptable on a rig like I have for a game of this low graphical fidelity.
                      3) the AI seems completely borked. Except for scripted wars (shakturi vs the world, etc.) the enemy never seems to declare war upon me even if I camp inside their territory with giant fleets and they whine all day. The worst I’ve had was them blockading one of my planets after I embargoed them.

                      If these issues were fixed the game would be awesome (I’ll never get around to trying to fix 1) myself due to 2)).

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