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Atomic torch | Official Site
RPG | Genre:Sci-Fi | Status:Beta Testing  (est.rel N/A)  | Pub:Atomic torch
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VoidExpanse Previews: Build Your Own Galaxy & Your Path to Glory

By Jeffrey Lerman on May 09, 2014

If you're looking for an open world space Action RPG, look no further, Void Expanse has you covered! Atomic Torch allows you to build your own procedurally generated galaxy and make your own path to glory. What makes Void Expanse fun is that it has a large world for you to explore full of encounters of all sorts. Better yet, it's up to you whether you play alone, with friends, or hundreds of other random people. You can go join a server and create chaos or work together with people. That decision is up to you. Join one of the four factions, the militaristic Order, independent Freedom faction, Fanatics cult, or even a become a Pirate! This world is yours to explore and make a name for yourself in.

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What Class Suits You?

There are six different classes to choose from when customizing your character. We've got the Adventurer which is your basic class that starts you with a clean slate. There aren't any advantages but there also aren't any disadvantages. So it tends to go hand in hand if you're not sure what you want to do and want to keep your options open. Next is the Engineer class that specializes in combat support and high tech equipment. Afterward is the Fighter which I think you should be able to figure out. The Fighter is the guy you see show up with a giant ship and tons of guns to back it up. While they're not agile, they're deadly for taking down foes! The alternative to the Fighter while is the Scout. The Scout class is maneuverable unlike the Fighter but doesn't have nearly as much armor and weapons.

So you don't want to focus on just shooting down ships? Well then the last two classes may be worthwhile for you. The Prospector lives a tedious life but a wealthy one. As the Prospector you're tasked with mining asteroids for minerals that you can sell from station to station around the galaxy. Although everyone has the ability to mine, the Prospector is specialized for it. Last, but of course not least is the Trader. The Trader can also tend to be a bit boring, although it doesn't hurt if you're traveling often anyway. Simply put, the Trader delivers packages from station to station for a hefty reward depending on the distance. While reading up on the forums I saw a developer saying that they'd like to see people escorting Traders to their destination. If you find yourself going the Trader route you'll either want a super duper fast ship that will get you where you need to go quick while evading pirates. Or you'll want to get essentially a dump truck in ship form. It's slow but has a ginormous carrying load for minerals which also goes hand in hand with Prospectors. In this case you'll need some escorts, which can be either players or NPCs. I could see someone paying a mercenary at the station they get the mission from to help them along escorting them. Although if I was a player defending them, you know I'd want to get paid as well!

Currently there's no death penalty as it's in alpha and they're deciding what to do there. Off the bat I would think losing experience, dropping a crate with your items, reviving with a damaged ship and needing to repair, etc. The reason I'm bringing this up is because when we get to a Void Expanse multiplayer server with hundreds of players, you're going to have players who just want to watch the world burn. In the alpha state you only have the ability to join the righteous Order, although I'd imagine you'll eventually be able to join the Pirate faction as well. This connects to one of the features planned for down the road, an advanced economic system. While it doesn't directly interfere with it, I can picture a Trader cruising from area to area eventually being intercepted by a group of player pirates. Would these pirates benefit from attacking a Trader, would they get some money, take the package for themselves, etc. The Trader missions in right now aren't like deliver these specific items. Rather it's more so here's a “package” item to deliver. Personally I want to see how the world plays out when players get their hands on this in large numbers in the same server.

At the current time the classes don't slam you into one way of playing from what I understand. While choosing the Prospector class may set you up with a few lasers for mining right off the bat, it's not like now you can't buy a Fighter ship and hunt down some pirates. You're welcome to mix it up as much as you want as you play. I found myself choosing the Trader and only doing a few delivery missions. While jumping from ship to ship I gave myself a general feel for the whole game. I took on a Fighter ship and ran down pirates and even some aliens from the mysterious Xengatarn faction. I even had the chance to destroy two hives cleansing a location. Then I decided hey, let's buy a civilian mining device and go tear apart some asteroids. While things may change down the road, right now you're given the option to play the way the Adventurer class is, all the time. A certain class might give you a shove in the right direction without a doubt.

After giving the forum a quick skim looking for what players are saying as well as anything important from the developers I noticed they've been very responsive to their community. This is always a pleasure to see in the development of a game. We're in alpha and players are already giving feedback, suggesting features, ways to tweak things, and overall supporting Void Expanse. How great is it to see a developer poking their head into every topic gladly accepting constructive criticism and even asking for it. This is what gives this game potential, it's not just something they're throwing together and putting out there. They're listening to the community for as much help in making the game an enjoyable experience while ironing out all those pesky bugs.

What's the Plan?

While at the main menu for the game I stumbled over to an area that has some of the features planned in development. The first was the advanced economic system I mentioned briefly earlier. I'd like to see how this comes into play as right now it doesn't seem like there's anything fancy. After speaking to a Miner NPC they did tell me though that stations that need a certain mineral will pay more for it. That goes to show there's a supply and demand system in play.

Crafting is in the works which right off the bat sounds like a sound plan. It'd be nice to have the opportunity to take all the resources I'm mining and throw together anything really. A new weapon, a ship, device, etc. Along with this goes the weapon and equipment upgrading planned.

As one would expect they plan to add more quest lines that will have fully fleshed out stories. At the current state there are only basic quests to get you some money for further progress. I'd like to see specific quest lines for each faction to add some lore and progress with that faction over time. A few other briefly mentioned features are more items, ships, and continuing to make the multiplayer allow more players simultaneously.

Jeffrey Lerman / Jeff can be found playing games 99% of the time, with the 1% being writing about them. Feel free to follow his banter on Twitter @Snakester95.

Jeffrey Lerman / Just a gamer trying to make a name.

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