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I have been playing Star Sonata now for about 7 years. I am the leader of one of the largest and most powerful teams in the game. I have played or have solid knowledge of virtually every aspect of the game. This information isn't to pat myself on the back, but to put my comments in context that I know what I'm talking about.
Star Sonata recently (October 2011) released Client 2, which is a pseudo-3D engine. I say "pseudo" not because it is poor quality, but because it was designed to not fully give up the top down feel of the game. The ship and environment graphics are very nice, especially to the 2D sprites of Client 1. There are 8 different zoom levels from basically seeing only your ship to seeing entire areas (which we call galaxies in the game). You also have the ability of changing your camera angle from top down to about a 45 degree side on view. You cannot rotate the camera around your ship currently. The new client also came with GUI upgrades which have made the UI totally customizable where you can open and close different maps, windows, and menus as you need them or don't need them while you play. You can move the different windows to any place on the screen as well. Or, you can close them all and have tons of room to see your environment.
They also added RTS controls which make managing slaves and drones easier while fighting. Transferring items between ships or between bases and ships is also much easier with the new interface controls.
I've been playing for 7 years, and have gotten a lot of stuff and have built a very strong and prosperous team, but even I have tons of things I could still do to make my characters better or do more missions, or build more items, or conquer other teams and players if I had the mind to do it. There are people who claim to get bored with the game, but they are mostly people who develop only 1 character and don't want to do any PvAI. Each account comes with 5 characters which can all have different classes, or skills (Damage dealers, healers, support skills, etc). Most develop several if not all of their characters, and some even have more than one account. I personally have two, and I know of a few who have many (7-8+)
So that is some of the good, but there is also some bad. The largest problem with SS is the size of the playerbase. SS is an indy game with limited means for advertisement and a somewhat slower development schedule compared to a large game like EvE for instance. I would love to see many many more players flood in and add more uncertainty to the universe and rejuvenate the playerbase, which pretty much all know eachother. This is "good" in the sense that most people are fairly nice, but bad because when people know each other, they act differently than if they were a stranger.
There are certain resources and areas of the universe where there could and most likely would be more conflict over them if there were more people playing from several different teams who might not know each other and wouldn't have "friends" on the other team preventing brutal destruction or merciless killing to obtain whatever resource they were after.
A large part of the game is ownership of galaxies where you build space bases which are platforms for defense or offense, mining operations, trade, and building colonies. For those who build and own galaxies this is an enormous investment and is integral to their gaming experience. Destruction of these bases by other players can be a pretty severe blow. This concept has limited PvP in Star Sonata. So far, there have been few great ideas on how to solve this problem.
All in all, the game is a lot of fun and has plenty of depth and breadth to always give players something to do. There are plenty of players who will give words of advice to new players to help new comers get the hang of the game. The new player area named "The Nexus" was also totally redone to help new players get a strong start and learn how to play the game.
Director of Traders