Stellar Emperor is an online 4X (explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate) MMORTS strategy game of conflict. It maintains a periodically (usually 4 weeks) persistent universe in which a player colonizes planets and forms teams to compete against others real players. You Explore the galaxy to find planets to manage and build your resources, form teams or alliances to help further your survival, gather intelligence on your enemies, and use your resources to defend yourself or to weaken or eliminate your enemies.
There are several elements that make Stellar Emperor a fun and unique gaming experience, which include:
- You only play against other real people, no NPCs to waste time on grinding.
- A periodically persistent universe.
- All events occur in real-time, whether you are online or not, no waiting for turns.
- The world has a strict time limit in which you have to earn your way to winning any of the various titles.
- All players start each war on an even basis. The game can only become uneven for the duration of an individual war, not eternally.
- You command several planets to do your bidding.
- You can build for growth and score, or you can build for war to take from others.
- Build ships or supplies to defend yourself, attack others, or gain an advantage in combat.
- You can win a specific title in a war.
- Emperor - Leader of the winning team.
- President - Player with the highest planetary score.
- Warlord - The player with the best overall adjusted combat score.
- Ravager - The player most successful and attacking other player's planets.
Combined, these elements create an environment where players must work together to achieve their goals and overcome adversities presented by the other players vying for the same goals, winning the game! You will see expansive battles, strategy execution, conflict, and teamwork as all players battle their way for the top spots.
Stellar Emperor was shutdown by Gamestorm, a gaming service operated by Kesmai, in June of 2000. Mega Wars III, Stellar Emperor's predecessor, what shut down by CompuServe in November of 1999.
Both games were shelved by their respective holders with no intention of being brought back into production.
There are a number of core differences between Stellar Emperor and Mega Wars III, including but not limited to:
- Ships are not customizable, they come in pre-determined configurations (though the ability to have new pre-determined ships/configurations per war has been added).
- Ships, aside from imperial supplied scout ships, must be pre-built.
- Imperial planets only supply free scout ships, no resources are bought or sold at imperial bases.
- There are no taxes, bureaucrats maintain a constant 10% presence on each planet.
- Fighters do not defend, they are only an offensive weapon.
- A special offenseless ship class, called a Transport, exists to shuttle guns (and other goods) between planets.
- A player can control engineering (basic industry) focus in planetary management. The same industries can be overloaded, but it will not effect job creation.
- Probes can be redirected from star to star, and can also survey planets, and scan for nearby ships in hyperspace.
- Teammates can coordinate by transferring command to combine efforts to increase planetary attack effectiveness.
- Stellar Emperor has a larger galaxy, with more stars, more planets, and wormholes which alter galactic travel.
- Probes can be launched from starspace, but not while in orbit of a planet. They can be redirected while orbiting a planet.
- Ships can repair while in combat at their own base or bases open to their team. Drydock does not take you out of space.
- You can lock lasers while in orbit of a planet.
- Additional positioning commands exist. PRT, FOR, STB, and AFT will position you towards a ship, including while in orbit of a planet without leaving orbit.
- Ships in Radio Room are visible from the user list with a distinction of their state.
Everything has been kept as close to the original as possible, but a few things have been changed:
- IMP & WAR directions are stabilized. @0 is north, positive values go clockwise, negative values go counter-clockwise.
- Probes have been given a '+' indicator instead of a '-' as SE allowed both probes and missiles in space.
- Abandoning a planet will not clear hydroponics capacity (bug fix).
- Many things have been improved or expanded, see improvements below.
There are numerous small improvements which may go unmentioned, some of the more major changes so far include:
- Planet growth and ship configurations are fully customizable per war, including the ability for new ship classes.
- Client will maintain navigation paths while changing speeds.
- Survey is now built into the client in the form of Planet Library, and will automatically save historic survey information.
- Ability to map a player's star locations based on client's most recent survey information.
- Color lists now include custom colors and teams for easier management, as well as a built-in manager.
- Planetary Management can now be done from a web browser as well as the game client.
- Added ability to send personal (direct ship to ship) text messages, not just numbers.
- Ability to use different handles per galaxy with global handle protection.
- There will be multiple levels for team management, meaning the team leader can assign roles to other team members.
- Number of channels and channel numbers is configurable per war.
- Ability to capture the screen to a file is built-in.
- Planned expansion for a Research & Design economy.
Stellar Emperor is currently in the beta phase. This means things should be fairly stable, and most features are complete, but the game may still have bugs. In the beta stage, a player may have as many accounts as they like in the concept of making sure the game is fully tested from all aspects.
Once the beta processes has completed, account restrictions will be enforced, including designated war instances where a real person may only have one account. It is currently undecided if this game will have a commercial goal (subscription fees), but at the time of initial release, will be a free-to-play game.
Currently, there are two areas of focus for this game to become successful.
- Help test - this is the first step towards making a stable, playable game.
- Help with documentation - many aspects of the game are driven by opinion and strategy, official guides will not cover everything a player might want to know. This could range from strategy guides to combat training videos.
- Spread the word! The more people that know about the game and how to play, the better the game will become!
The core aspect of this game is strategy and competition. The game is built to be balanced and as a result, is not a lightening fast game. All elements are focused on the gameplay, which results in a game where the excitement comes more from the experience of competing against other players and strategies than from the user interface itself. As the game progresses, the game will become more fluid in visuals, but will always remain a top-down 2d game with a somewhat slower pace than many action games.