Category Archives: Vega Conflict

Vega Conflict: From Zero to Hero

I’ve been playing this game for some years now. My base is mature; nothing needs upgrading or refitting, I have all ships and tech. Things have gotten a little slow; I am sort of in maintenance mode, except for the acquisition of new technology.

So, in the small hours of October 23rd , 2019, I created a second account – an “Alt”, in game parlance – to see how the game has changed for beginners in the past four years. To show my derision for the publishers, along with my talent for punnery, I gave this account the imaginative name of “KixArse”.

One thing that I did not see the first time round was that new players get a massive “Startup Bonus” for the first fifteen days:

The first couple of hours were spent playing tutorials and introductory missions. I had not intended to spend any money, but an introductory offer for 500 coins for $2 was too good to pass up. One thing to note here is that this offer is not available for long; this offer could be redeemed twice, but when I looked back a day later, it was gone, replaced by different offers. That’s a shame, as the second one would have given me a Commerce Module, which produces coins. Ah well…

The other big mistake that I made was to redeem the rewards for the initial missions, which included ship build, refit and repair tokens. These expired before I could use them, since the starting bonus made most of these operations instantaneous. Nevertheless, it was annoying to watch as scores of time tokens vanished in a puff of logic. Lesson learned…

Campaigns:

To help with the massive effort required to reach the higher tech in the game, Kixeye have designed a series of Campaigns.

  • Each Campaign introduces the player to a new Faction: Rebel, Vega, VSec, Iron Star, Demon Corps, and Xeno Division.
  • Each Campaign consists of four missions, which must be completed within 24 hours.
  • Mission 1 gives you a resource fill-up, so it is best to start when you are low on resources. Sometimes it upgrades various modules in your base.
  • Mission 2 gives you access to all of the ships in that faction.
  • Mission 3 gives you a pre-built fleet of ships from that faction.
  • Mission 4 gives you access to all of the tech in that faction.
  • Missions 1-3 are relatively easy. Mission 4 is much harder than the other 3, but can be handily done with the fleet you got at the end of Mission 3.

Two months on, I have the following advice:

  • Purchase both of the $2 introductory offers right away. They may not be there later. The coins will allow you to fill up storage which will save you farming times, along with unlocking the commerce module. This is probably the best value you will ever get for $4.
  • Do the missions, but do NOT redeem the ones that reward you with Time Tokens until you need them. This will be after the introductory speed-up bonus wears off.
  • Research basic Genesis Cruiser, Cargo V, Rancor Battleship, and Revelation Cruiser as soon as possible.
  • Set up a farming fleet. A fleet of Ospreys with 3xCargo V can haul away 8M at a time. A fleet of Exterminators with 3x Armored Cargo Hold III can haul 40.4M. A “Cargo Peg” Pegasus with 5x Armored Cargo Hold III
  • DO THE CAMPAIGNS! You will get massive rewards and shortcuts that will save you MONTHS of grinding.
  • Be careful what ships you research and build. Because the campaigns catapult you all the way to Xeno Division, a lot of the lower-end ships will become obsolete very quickly indeed.

I was luckier than most; from time to time Kixeye gives away free ships, and I was fortunate enough to receive Five Manticore Battlecruisers, Five Trojan Cruisers, and one Gargoyle Carrier (all pre-fitted) which helped massively.

To coin, or not to coin?

In gaming parlance, a “coiner” is a player who has amassed a large number of coins from in-game purchases (or cheating), and uses those coins to dominate over by other players by instant-repairing their fleets and returning to battle. This is generally looked down upon by “free” players and, as a result, “coiner” is something of a derogatory term.

Having said that, game developers cannot survive without money, and any game that cannot attract dollars from the player community will ultimately fail. So my philosophy is to slip the developers of good games a few dollars when they offer good value, but don’t use coins to dominate over other players. My in-game purchases thus far have been as follows:

  • Introductory $2 purchase of 600 coins (good value)
  • $5 purchase of a ship upgrade (a mistake, as I could easily have farmed it)
  • $10 “max-out” upgrade which saved me months of farming and upgrading, as well as giving me a fleet of six Bastion cruisers, which came in *very* useful for farming.

  • 10 for a pre-fitted Manticore Mk III Battlecruiser (not really necessary, but a nice-to-have for completing my free fleet of five Mk I Manticores)
  • $10 for a pre-fitted sovereign (Definitely worth the money in terms of time saved, as you only need one and do not need to farm to unlock the ship)
  • $10 for two pre-fitted Paragons (useful but not necessary)
  • $10 to upgrade the free Gargoyle to Mk V. (saves me having to build out a fleet of Ogres and upgrade them to Mk IV+, then farm the parts) — definitely worthwhile, though I wish they had included the Elite upgrade in this offer

Recommended ships:

It is not recommend that you build any Rebel, Vega, VSec, Iron Star, or Demon Corps ships, unless you need to build them to complete missions. The reason for this is because you are progressing through the game so fast that these ships will become obsolescent within a matter of days as better ships and tech are becoming available every couple of days. Even Xeno ships are of limited use once you have unlocked the equivalent AXIS hull. The one exception to this is the suppressor, which retains its usefulness as an anti-swarm/carrier-defense ship. Another is a fleet or two of Exterminators, but for combat they are outclassed by Liberators.

  • Altairian: Get Bastions, Zeuses and a Sovereign Carrier. Not sure about Ajax.
  • Umbra: You need Valrayvn, Ogres, Medusa, Wraiths, Gargoyle Carrier.
  • Pharmakon: This is still in the air, as Pharmakon recently got nerfed, but I would recommend Operator, Daemon Battleships, Plexus Carrier and Omega.

The good news is that you can get deep into the game very very quickly. In a few short weeks I have been able to gain access to ships and tech that took years on my first account. The bad news is that you miss out on a lot of the enjoyment that came with taking the scenic route, such as Frigate fun (before the Great Rebalance™) and Co-op missions against Aliens using Manifold Missiles.

The future?

This account is for low-end fun; I do not see myself getting any dreadnoughts on this account; the amount of farming necessary to get one is prohibitive, let alone upgrading them to the point where they become useful. But who can tell?

See you out there in the Big Black™

Vega Conflict: Time Off

Recently. Kixeye introduced a new feature, called Time Tokens. These are usually given as prizes for events. They some in many shapes, flavors, and sizes:

Shapes: They are divided into ship and module tokens. The module tokens are divided into upgrade and refit tokens. They are rare. The ship tokens are divided into Build and Refit tokens. Refit tokens are rare. Most of the ones offered thus far have been ship build, which is of no help whatsoever to players who have empty hulls lying around.

Flavors: Ship tokens are then further divided by faction. There are tokens for Vega, VSec, Iron Star, Demon Corps, Xeno Division and A.X.I.S. Vega and VSec tokens are usually offered in Planet Strike events, Iron Star and Demon Corps tokens are usually available in Sector Strike, and Xeno and A.X.I.S. are usually available in Monthly and Alien events.

Sizes: Time tokens are currently available in the following sizes:

  • 1 hour
  • 4 hours
  • 8 hours
    12 hours
  • 24 hours (base only)

What’s wrong with Time Tokens?

  • All tokens have an expiry date: this can be as long as four days (for a 12-hour token) and as short as One Day (off a one-hour token). It is this last point that is most irksome. Too many ship build tokens expire because they were awarded in the middle of a multi-day refit.
  • Time tokens are excessively specialized: There are so many different “shapes” and “flavors” available that the chances of getting a particular type of token when you can actually use it is slim.

Taking all of the above into account, it is fairly obvious that unless you are about to build a specific ship, Time Tokens are next to useless. If you are in the middle of the wrong build or refit, your tokens will likely expire before you can use them.

Having said all that, here are a few tips to make Time Tokens more usable:

  • Keep your refits small: most items can be fitted in three days or less (one glaring exception is JumpDrives, which can take up to ten days to fit). Small refits lessen the possibility of having your Ship Factory tied up when a Build or Refit discount becomes available.
  • Build your ships “naked”: most ships can be built within a week (Exception: Carriers). the only time you should not build your ships naked is if there is a discount, or your tokens are enough to cover the extra items.
  • Check the Calendar and make sure that your ship factory is ready when the tokens are available.
  • Redeem your time tokens as late as possible: Most event stores close a day after the event ends. This will extend the time that your tokens can be used by up to an extra day, which is critical with the shorter-duration tokens.

Using Time Tokens properly

  • Calculate the total time tokens you have for a build. For a typical event, getting all the tokens for one ship will give you sixty hours – 2.5 days.
  • Calculate the time required for your build. Go into your Ship Factory and calculate the number of hours. Take off 10% for alliance help, and take off any discounts that may be on offer.
  • From the above two figures, you can calculate the amount of time you will need to complete the build after discounts, alliance help and Time Tokens have been used. If the build time is less than the tokens available, (for instance, a Condor or an Eagle), and you’re not going to use the tokens afterwards, add extra weapons/armor/specials until you have used up the tokens.#Start the build, but do not use the tokens yet! Once you have used the tokens you will not get them back if you cancel the build.
  • Wait until you have full alliance help, add your time tokens. Remember, once you have spent a time token it is gone.

Vega Conflict: Ship and Tech Guide, Middle Game

Tier 5: Iron Star and Demon Corps Ships and Technology.

The mid-game features the introduction of the heavy-hitters. They outclass their VSec counterparts, and paradoxically are often quicker to build and easier to mark up (which is why so many VSec ships are on the “avoid” list). ISC ships are generally more heavily-armored and durable, while DC hulls have less armor but pack more of a wallop, particularly when paired with the Infernal weapons (Gatling, Wave and Vector Torpedo) that are unique to Demon Corps.

As a general rule, ISC are better for farming and DC are better for PvP. As a general rule, you should outfit your DC ships with basic weapons (Nova/Manifold/Siege) initially, then upgrade to Infernal weapons on a piecemeal basis, as each level-III Infernal weapon takes 1-3 days to equip (exception: when you have a build discount, then you should build out as much as you possibly can).

From here on out, all of ships have high mass limits. From now on, you should only bother researching/farming the highest-caliber version of each technology (usually “III”), and don’t bother with I and II, unless you have leftover points or plan on retro-fitting them on your smaller ships.

Must-have ships:

  • Vigilante: Tough and resilient, this is the best mid-level farming Battleship in the game. Equip it with Nova Rays or Manifold missiles, and add Skirmish Armor III for best results.
  • Machete: While the stock “MaShitty” is no better than a Lance, marking up this baby gives you a shield and an extra weapon slot as well as a resistance slot. Once upgraded to Mk IV this is a very powerful and tough destroyer indeed. Siege Drivers and Binary Thrusters are best for basing, but Neutron Drivers are good all-rounders. Deflector shields are best for basing and farming.
  • Hellfire: Not as tough as the Vigilante, but far more dangerous in battle when flown with care. Pair with Infernal Weapons for added killing power.
  • Python: Since cutters are designed for close-in brawling, the ability to stay in the fight and soak up damage is paramount. If you are into cutters, this is the one. Equip with Nova Ray or Manifold Missiles, Metaphase III shielding… and as much Skirmish Armor as you can for survivability.
  • Heretic: Most high-level Cruisers have two shield slots, but not the Heretic; the designers sacrificed one of the shield slots for two extra armor slots, resulting in an incredibly tough hull. The downside is insane repair times; a fully-upgraded Mk V Heretic maxed out with Skirmish Armor III requires nearly five hours to repair, which means more than a day of repairs for a fleet.
  • Damocles: When equipped with iWaves and Iridium magnets, these are lethal against bases, and pretty good in PvP. Shame that this hull is so fragile when compared to the Machete.
  • Dominion: Far better than the Freyja, this was the primo Carrier for the better part of a year until the Paladin showed up.

Ships to avoid:

  • Basilisk: not as survivable as the Python cutter, and it is harder to mark-up.
  • Legion: A poorly-thought-out design that does not seem to have any real-world use. Part under-powered battleship, part under-powered carrier, this hull excels at neither.
  • Freyja: There is absolutely no reason to build one if you have the Dominion as the DC hull outclasses the Freyja in every way..
  • Tornado: Ostensibly the best Frigate in the game. Build them only if you love frigates, otherwise the Hurricane is good enough.

Must-have Tech:

  • Infernal weapons. Infernal Wave (iWave), Infernal Gatling(iGat) and Infernal Vector Torpedo (iVec) are amazing weapons. The downside is that they take ages to equip – up to three days for a iWave III. That’s twelve days to fully arm a Mk IV Damocles Destroyer.
  • Skirmish Armor is useful for Iron Star Hulls.
  • Armored Thrusters: Demon Corps ships have plenty of firepower, but sacrifice shielding. This helps to right that wrong.
  • Volatile Fuel is useful on battleships when using explosive weapons.

Tech to avoid:

  • Unstable Reactor: Also known as the “Suicide Drive”, this engine causes a massive explosion, equivalent to the ship’s armor when the ship is destroyed, which made it great for taking about enemy Bridges and Alien Harvesters. It was great when it first came out — particularly on Heretics, which carried an insane amount of armor and hence generated an equally insane explosion — then Kixeye nerfed it, reducing the power of the explosion… and it became a pointless waste of time:
  • Raider Squadron: High damage, but short range makes it useless as a carrier weapon.
  • Strike Shield: Recharging shields on cutters is a really bad idea unless you are really really good at micromanagement.
  • Targeting Computer: This allows battleships to engage multiple targets simultaneously. Ostensibly useful as an anti-squadron measure, it requires the battleship to be upgraded to at least Mk IV unless you want to sacrifice the engine, which is a really bad idea.
  • Electric Rails: Frigate only, Adds 40% weapon weight. Adds a stasis element. Of limited use.
  • Blister Rounds – use Volatile Fuel where possible instead.

Vega Conflict: Ship and Tech Guide, Early Game

With the bewildering array of ships, armor, weapons and specials that are available to beginners, it is sometimes difficult to know where to start, and, more importantly, which technologies can be safely ignored. So I put together this short guide to help new players along the way. I have divided the guide into three parts. Early Game (Tier 1 to 4; Rebel/Vega/VSec), Mid-Game (Tier 5 ISC/DC) and Late-Game (Tier 6 Xeno/A.X.I.S.)

Part I: Early Game ships and Technologies

 Must-have Tech:

  • Gladius Driver (I and II) Needed for Glad Rancs
  • Fusion Thrusters (I and III): needed for all
  • Binary Thrusters: Good on Destroyers and Frigates, where the ability to strafe is of paramount importance.
  • Thermal Beam: The base-level laser weapon. Hard-hitting and to the point.
  • Hydra Missile: The best low-level explosive weapon in the game.
  • Impulse Beam II and III: The next step up from Thermal Beams, and a must-have for Insta-Broads and Cutters
  • Aurora Ray (II and III) — All round, the most versatile weapon in the early game. Only Hydra missiles are better against squadrons in the early game.
  • Metaphase Shields: The best all-round shields in the game, due to their being good against all three kinds of weapons. Put Meta I on Gladius Rancors and Impulse Broadswords. Put II on Venoms, and put III on all the big (Tier 4+) ships.
  • Siege Driver: The primo Destroyer weapon for basing in early and mid-game. Longer range than anything else in the game (only Precision Gauss Driver has longer range, but it lacks the punch that the Siege Driver delivers)
  • Vector Torpedo: Replaces Hydra missiles.
  • Burst Ray: This “Energy Shotgun” works best at close range,m which makes it a great weapon for cutters, but pretty much useless for anything else. And don’t even think about putting Burst Ray Turrets on your base.
  • Capacitive Plates: The best base armor until you unlock Talonite and Tungsten plates.
  • Armored Hold

Tech to avoid:

The following items are less useful; research them if you have to, but bear in mind that they are of limited use. The weapons are of limited use, the specials became less useful when shields were nerfed and became mess significant in the game.

  • Gemini Driver
  • Bayonet Missile
  • Brimstone Torpedo
  • Arc Missile
  • Phased Magnets
  • Spectral Warheads
  • Ionized Optics

Must-have ships:

  • Genesis: Quick to build and upgrade, this is only useful as a combat vessel in the earliest stages of the game, after which they can be refitted as cargo haulers.
  • Rancor: The early-game workhorse, and the first battleship in the game. “Glad Rancs”: with Gladius Driver I and II, Spectral shields (upgrade to Metaphase I when you can), Iridium Magnets and NO armor (for instant repair). This allows you to farm Vega and VSec up to about level 35. Can be refitted as a cargo carrier in later stages of the game.
  • Broadsword: These are are the primary low-level glass-cannon heavy hitters.Cheap to build, easy to mark up, “Impulse-Broads”: Broadsword Mk III with Impulse Beam 3&2. A fleet of these can take down TWO Artillery 37 Crafting Fleets on auto with instant repair. This is important because this is the lowest-level fleet that drops Tier-4 patterns and parts.
  • Venom: Lovely early farming ship, but don’t build too many, as they are of limited use in the later game.
  • Dread: When it first came out, it was the most powerful ship in the game. After being nerfed in the great rebalance and supplanted by the Zeal, then outclassed by both the Vigilante and Hellfire battleships, this ship has been relegated to the mid-game. It is, however, a mandatory workhorse for the acquisition of all better technologies, so this ship is a must-have. Partner with Ragnarok Carrier.
  • Lance: The primo early-game destroyer. Add recharging Repulsor shields, Binary thrusters and Siege Drivers for basing wonderfulness.
  • Taipan: Quick to build and easy to mark-up, the “Tai-Spam” is an excellent idea for covering fleets, harassing enemies, and generally causing mayhem.. Equip it with Manifold Missiles or Nova Rays for best results.
  • Gharial: Tougher than the Taipan, and more versatile. More of the same.
  • Midgard:Not much use as a combat carrier, the Midgard comes equipped with the same Agility Support Field as the Ragnarok, but in a hull that only takes half the time to build and repair.
  • Ragnarok: Generally regarded as the best all-round Carrier in the early game due to its agility Support Field as well as long-range drones. The Midgard has the same field, but only half the drone range. This ship is the difference between grinding your way through events to taking down high-level fleets for big points. Partner with Dread Battleships.
  • Revelation and Apocrypha: Two excellent dual-shield workhorses, best used as tanks.

Ships to avoid:

Exodus, Trident, Corinthian, Fury, Zeal, Nexus, Rapture, Komodo, Valhalla, Valkyrie. Nothing wrong with these ships, but there are often better alternatives available, or they can be skipped. Research them if you must, build only what you need to. VEGA ships are generally almost as capable as their VSec counterparts, but are far easier to mark up. And in many case their  Tier-5 equivalents ships take about the same time to build.
This article is an excerpt from the forthcoming update to my Game Guide, over a hundred and ninety pages of hints, tips, tricks and tactics that will help you get to grips with the finer points of the game, all for a paltry $3.99. However, if you use this link, you can get it for $1 off. Make me smile – buy my book!
Part II: Mid-Game (Tier 5 ISC/DC) Coming soon!

Vega Conflict – Afore Ye Go

Ten things that Kixeye should do before Tier 7

  1. Coin spend confirmation. Yes, I know that you’ve already decided that this is somehow “good for the players” (i.e., good for Kixeye), but I respectfully disagree. To put this into perspective, I haven’t purchased any coins in nearly a year. This is the reason why.
  2. Rebalance I: Reduce the “price” of Tier 4 items. Particularly VSec, which is currently more expensive than Xeno. Wassup wid dat?
  3. Rebalance II: Reduce refit times or implement a refit bay. Three days to install a single I-wave (Infernal Wave Driver) III which is hopelessly outclassed by Xeno everything? Ten days to install a top-end drive to a Javelin Jumpship? Are you joking me? Five days to build a naked Xeno ship is not bad, but up to two weeks to put weapons on it is a little bit much, don’t you think?
  4. Rebalance III: The pattern drop rate of Xeno Crafting is a joke. When you have more than a hundred cores and no patterns, something is obviously rotten in the state of Vega.
  5. Bug-fix I: Fix the “to-the-bottom” bug. Start the game. Remove a ship and put it back in, then try to add a ship to any other fleet. Once the “Recent Hulls” list is empty, you end up at the bottom of the “all hulls” list. This is a major pain on mobile, since we don’t have a scroll bar and have to manually scroll all the way back to the top.
  6. Bug-fix II: Fix the “No-avatar-on-Mobile” bug. Every time I play on mobile, my avatar gets reset to generic. It can only be reset on Steam…
  7. Bug-fix III: Fix the sort-order-faction bug. Sometimes the sort order of the hull selector gets changed to “Factions”. This was introduced when “sort-by-Faction” became an option.
  8. Fix the Black Market: The BM was once the most exciting part of the game; proceed to a planet, often running a blockade, to dock with a station, where you could trade your hard-earned Blood Amber for some excellent deals, including instant Mk II upgrade tokens. While you’re at it, make all resistors reusable. We paid dearly in Blood (Amber) for them, we shouldn’t lose them when we refit because Kixeye changed the Meta of the game (as they have already done, at least twice). These days, it is more of the “Coin Market” and the content hasn’t changed much in the past year; Dread/Komodo/Venom again? Give me a break…
  9. Make Blood Amber Great Again: Over the past year, the value of Blood Amber has been reduced. There is nothing that Blood Amber can buy that Coins can’t buy more cheaply. Kixeye values your Daily Missions at about ten cents.That’s how much Kixeye values the players; think about that.
  10. New daily missions: Same old, same old. Nuff said.

Vega Conflict: Rebalance this!

I’ve been playing VC for more than two years. I have been a lone wolf, an alliance leader, officer and soldier. To some, that makes me one of the ancients, to others, a rank Newbie. But it is long enough to say that I know my way around the game. So here are a few suggestions for improvements.
  • Ship construction times are unbalanced: A Tier-4 Corinthian Cruiser hull takes longer to build than a Tier-6 Punisher Cruiser, for Heaven’s sake!
  • Give us a damn refit bay! It is bad enough having to wait a week or more for a ship, but having to wait another week or more to put special weapons on it is a joke. A refit bay would solve this problem – or giving a big (50%) discount on all stuff built with the ship.
  • Revise crafting times. One ridiculous side-effect of the recent introduction of Tier-5 and -6 ships is that crafting a mark-upgrade for a lower-level ship may actually take longer than the same mark-upgrade for a higher-level ship. For instance, a Valkyrie Carrier takes 39 hours per mark upgrade, compared to 13 for Freyja and 26 for a Dominion. Similarly, the Zeal Battleship is 33 hours, Vigilante 32, Hellfire 25. Hellfire is the cheapest, Zeal is the most expensive.
  • Gold Spend confirmation – “Are you sure?” when spending more than 100 credits. This one has been done to death on the forums, and Kix have made it clear that they absolutely refuse to do it. But this is the reason why I generally buy $5 tranches at a time instead of $50. It is also the reason that I haven’t spent serious money on this game — about $37 in total over two years, though I would be happy to throw $20/month into the pot if it wasn’t too easy to accidentally spend it all. I know you want us to coin, but this is costing you money, at least in my case. And no, a “one-off courtesy” and an admonition to “be careful out there” does not cut it. Put in a confirmation screen and give your Customer Service peeps a rest.
  • Meaningful notice – from time to time there are discounted refits, builds and repairs. Most of us are sick and tired of seeing a six-hour warning for “20% discount for refit/rebuild” when they are in the middle of a fourteen-day build. This is the only online game I have ever played where the players have no in-game advance notice of when important stuff is happening. Give us a week’s notice. It’s. Not. That. Hard.
  • Earn or Wait – pick one. A credit that was earned in an event should be immediately usable without having to wait hours or days. Adding 7x Infernal Wave Driver III to a Hellfire battleship should not take three weeks! Having farmed for parts to buy a\n improved Javelin Jump Drive, you should not have to wait for two weeks to have it fitted. The principle is this: if you bought or unlocked the blueprint, it is reasonable that you should have to wait for it to be fitted; if you bought, won or earned the item it is not.
  • Resistors should be reusable. The new ones introduced for Xeno Division are re-usable. Make the older ones re-usable as well.
  • Omni. Bus. Your Javelin should be able to carry all of your fleets, not just those within five levels of theirs.
  • Design a Black Market that doesn’t suck: I would like to congratulate Kixeye for reducing the Black Market from “the coolest part of the game” to “almost useless”, in a matter of months. Replacing quick-and-easy Mk II Black Market Credits with the endless and tedious Crafting system was not a smart move. Make the BM cool again. You know you want to…

Vega Conflict – Two Years On

January 16th is a special day for me.

Two years ago today I discovered Vega Conflict. To some of you, that makes me a rank newcomer. To others, I am one of the Old Great Ones™. Today is a day for me to stop and reflect on how far the game has come in those two years.

When I started, the pre-eminent ship in the game was the Dread Battleship; a powerful and feared beast that lived up to its name, took two weeks to build, and was well-nigh unstoppable. Now it is merely average; the middle of a line-up of seven battleships that range from the humble Rancor to the mighty Hellfire, and it takes only five days to build one. Since then we have seen the introduction of Carriers, Blood Amber, Cutters, The Black Market, Iron Star Company, Demon Corps, and Strange Green Creatures from Alpha Centauri… ohhh, the screams, the screams..!

Where was I? Oh yes… once upon a time, projectile weapons were the bees knees. Then, with the introduction of Impulse Beam and Aurora Ray, Beam weapons came to the fore. Current Flavor of the month are explosive weapons, with the Manifold Missile occupying the top spot. But watch this space…

One would think that I am wildly happy with the way that things have turned out, but I am not. I love this game. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t still be here. I love it enough to have written a book about it. But a combination of bad decisions by Kixeye – and good ones deliberately not made – have turned this wonderful game into something that more and more resembles an abusive relationship with a capricious partner who punishes swiftly, rewards rarely, vanishes unpredictably, appears unexpectedly, promises much, but never seems to quite deliver the joy that the relationship once had.

My biggest gripe is that the game has become totally pay-to-win. Coiners can steamroll the opposition with two-hundred-dollar fleets of Mk V ships that take the rest of us mere mortals weeks or months to build. The idea that people will spend what is essentially a modest car payment for what is essentially a box of bits is, to me, laughable. I say this not as an envious kid who wishes he had a Credit Card, but as a middle-aged IT professional with a higher-than-average income. I have spent about $50 on this game over the past two years – mostly in the first six months. I do not begrudge Kixeye the money; good work deserves money. But these coin offers are ridiculous.

There are numerous other gripes that come to mind:

  • The decline and fall of the Black Market: The Space Station-in-orbit-of-a-random-planet thing was a lot of fun before that Scar-faced-Barstud crash-landed on a planet near you and set up shop in what is now more of a “Coin Market” then a “Black Market”.
  • The devaluing of Blood Amber: Want a Valkyrie Pattern Box? You will need some Blood Amber, some VSec Parts… oh, and Twelve incredibly-hard to get T4 Carrier Cores. Or… hey! You could just COIN IT!
  • The absolute refusal to implement a Coin confirm button (this is the reason that I will not purchase large amounts of coins; too easy to accidentally spend them).
  • The lack of a Refit Bay: I remember LXC saying that a refit bay would “unbalance the game”… right before Kixeye rebalanced/unbalanced the crap out of the game, robbing ships like the Rapture, Nexus and Eagle of their unique and enjoyable idiosyncrasies… and still no Refit Bay. Bah.
  • Crappy support: When a supply run that ended with the enemy dying with the clock at 0:00 resulted in no strongbox being dropped, I shot off a message to support. They asked for proof, lectured me, and generally made it clear that I wasn’t getting anything off of them. Willingness to lose a customer over a single strongbox: Zero out of ten.
  • Power Creep: If I was starting the game now, I would look at the year-plus building curve that a non-coiner would have to endure to reach Tier 5… and quit.#I could go on, but you’ve heard it all before; when faced with the choice between making things right and putting the fun back into the game or introducing a new hundred-dollar coin offer. Kixeye would apparently prefer to get to work on the latter.
  • Kixeye has also had a nasty habit of changing the behavior of enemy fleets in the middle of an event – and never to the players’ advantage. Contrast this with Star Trek: Timelines, which routinely apologizes by giving out tranches of resources to players when things go wrong.
screenshot_2016-12-30-20-50-00We messed up. We’re sorry. Here’s free stuff.

The fact is that the game is no longer as fun as it once was, and it’s not a game that I can recommend to others. Since the Great Rebalance, I have been:

  • Doing events and grabbing all of the tech that I can
  • Killing aliens (perhaps the only truly fun part left in the game)
  • Killing supply run fleets (or you could wait for the appropriate “Materials” market event and COIN IT!).
  • Avoiding Civil Wars (the prizes are crap and I have never used any of the “extended” weapons).
  • The odd fight: Five minutes of combat, five hours of repair… or hey, you can COIN IT!

At this point, I’m holding on, hanging in there, farming and grinding, hoping for things to change, but too many disappointments have made me cynical. But in the interest of helpfulness, I have a few suggestions for Kixeye to continue ignoring:

  • Create an exchange to convert useless parts (Scythe parts, anyone?) into useful stuff.
  • Offer something worthwhile for Blood Amber that isn’t bloody useless or bloody expensive.
  • Coin Confirmation Button (unless you really don’t want my money).
  • Quit putting lower-class cores in Strongboxes! There are few bigger annoyances in the game than engaging a 65 Demon Corps Contingent or Harasser Supply Run fleet, bringing home a damaged or half-dead fleet, opening the strongbox and finding a Tier-4 core for your trouble. The same core that you can get from an Artillery 37 using an insta-rep fleet. As Dilbert would put it: “Gaaaah”.
screenshot_2017-01-16-21-57-50An hour’s work. Six battles. 1xT4 Core. 5xT3 Cores. No Patterns. Gaaah.
  • Either equalize pattern drop chances (so the likelihood of a Mk II pattern is the same as the Mk V), or provide a mechanism to fuse patterns into better ones. Or drop generic upgrade patterns that can be used to mark-upgrade any level of that ship. Anything is better than seventeen Mk II tokens and no Mk IV or V. (Or hey, you can coin it!!)
  • Concentrate on $5/$10/$20 coin deals that actually offer something worth having; I believe that it is easier to get $10 out of fifty players than to get $200 out of one high-roller.
  • Design a monthly subscription arrangement that offers bonuses every month.

I understand that Kixeye needs to make money, but one life lesson that I have learned is that when you pursue joy, money often follows. But when you pursue money, joy is rare.

Bottom Line: Concentrate on delighting the players, and they will bring their friends. Concentrate on coins and they will join their friends.

Pay-To-Win will kill this game

Vega Conflict – Blueprints Redux

Recently, the brains behind Vega Conflict revised the blueprint system. As a result, many items that were previously available only available in events were moved into blueprints. This included much of the must-have tech items, such as Fusion Thrusters, Gladius Drivers and Siege Drivers. The new Blueprint layout is as follows:

Vega Cargo 20/25

  • Blast Shield I
  • Repulsor Shield
  • Convoy Formation
  • Diffuser Shield I
  • Thermal Beam I
  • Hydra Missile I
  • Capacitive Plates I
  • Tachyon Beam Turret I
  • Metaphase Field I
  • Gladius Driver I
  • Blast Shield II
  • Diffuser Shield II
  • Destiny Cruiser

Vega Cargo 27/30/33

  • Thermal Beam II
  • Hydra Missile II
  • Chicane Formation
  • Capacitive Plates II
  • Metaphase Field II*
  • Repulsor Shield II
  • Taipan Cutter
  • Arrestor Beam Turret I*
  • Siege Driver I*
  • Metaphase Shield I*+
  • Armored Hold I*
  • Fusion Thrusters I*
  • Creeper Torpedo I
  • Condor Frigate*

Vega Cargo 35/37

  • Tachyon Bean Turret II
  • Gladius Driver II
  • Diffuser Shield III
  • Blast Shield III
  • Hydra Missile III
  • Siege Driver I*+
  • Siege Driver II*
  • Metaphase Shield I
  • Metaphase Shield II
  • Armored Hold I*
  • Armored Hold II*
  • Fusion Thrusters I*
  • Fusion Thrusters II*
  • Creeper Torpedo I
  • Creeper Torpedo II
  • Condor Frigate
  • Gharial Cutter*

Vega Cargo 40/45

  • Repulsor Shield III
  • Tachyon Beam Turret III
  • Capacitive Plates III
  • Scythe Destroyer
  • Metaphase Field III
  • Thermal Beam III
  • Gladius Driver III
  • Apocrypha Cruiser III
  • Siege Driver II*+
  • Siege Driver III*
  • Arrestor Beam Turret II
  • Arrestor Beam Turret III
  • Metaphase Shield II*
  • Metaphase Shield III*
  • Armored Hold II*+
  • Armored Hold III*
  • Fusion Thrusters II*
  • Fusion Thrusters III*
  • Creeper Torpedo II
  • Creeper Torpedo III+
  • Gharial Cutter*+
  • Dread Battleship*

Vega Elite Cargo 50/53/55

  • Siege Driver III*+
  • Arrestor Beam Turret III+
  • Metaphase Shield III+
  • Armored Hold III
  • Fusion Thrusters III+
  • Creeper Torpedo III+
  • Dread Battleship*+

VSec 27

  • Pentagon Formation*
  • Creeper Torpedo Turret I*
  • Gladius Driver Turret I*
  • SICO Missile I
  • Creeper Torpedo Turret II*
  • Gladius Driver Turret II*
  • SICO Missile II*
  • Eagle Frigate

VSec 30/33/35

  • Creeper Torpedo Turret III*
  • AP Driver II*
  • NET Torpedo II*
  • Midgard Carrier
  • Gladius Driver III*
  • Echo Ray II*
  • SICO Missile III*
  • Echo Ray Turret I*
  • Echo Ray Turret II*
  • Burst Ray I*
  • Burst Ray II*
  • SICO Missile Turret I*
  • SICO Missile Turret II*
  • Wave Driver I*
  • Wave Driver II*
  • AP Driver Turret I*
  • AP Driver Turret II*
  • Vector Torpedo I*
  • Vector Torpedo II*

VSec 37/40/45

  • Echo Ray III*
  • AP Driver III*
  • Echo Ray Turret II*+
  • Echo Ray Turret III*
  • Burst Ray II*+
  • Burst Ray III*
  • SICO Missile Turret II*+
  • SICO Missile Turret III*
  • Wave Driver II*+
  • Wave Driver III*
  • AP Driver Turret II*+
  • AP Driver Turret III*
  • Vector Torpedo II*+
  • Vector Torpedo III*
  • Komodo Cutter*

VSec 50/53/55

  • Echo Ray Turret III*+
  • Burst Ray III*+
  • SICO Missile Turret III*+
  • Wave Driver III*+
  • Zeal Battleship*
  • AP Driver Turret III*+
  • Vector Torpedo III*+
  • Lance Destroyer*

* This blueprint item was previously an event item.
+ This blueprint is also available at a lower tier, which may be easier to farm.

This article is an excerpt from my recently-updated Game Guide, over a hundred and seventy pages of hints, tips, tricks and tactics that will help you get to grips with the finer points of the game, all for a paltry $3.99. However, if you use this link, you can get it for $1 off. Make me smile – buy my book!

Vega Conflict: Timing is Everything

Vega Conflict is not a game for the impatient. Ships take days, or even weeks, to build. You can only build or refit one ship at a time. High-level fleets can take months to put together. Most of the top players have been in the game for years.

Similarly, base modules take time, and you can only build or upgrade one module at a time. Fortunately you can also equip another module at the same time. None of these items can be queued; new build/upgrade/refit operations have to be queued manually.

Fleet Bay 11-12.png

Planning is crucial. Here are a few hints and tips to help you:

  • While one ship is being built, no other ships can be refitted. Make sure that you have all refits done before starting a long build. It would be a shame to waste time and resources by stopping a ship build in order to do a quick refit.
  • Always plan ship builds and refits so that they end when you can quickly start off another one.
  • Always know the next thing that you are going to do with your fleet bay, and time builds and refits so that they end at a time when you will be in the game.
  • All operations but ship repairs will have a 10% alliance help reduction; if you are in an alliance,
  • Watch for Ship build/refit/repair “discounts”. These are usually found during events and civil wars, and usually only last for a short period of time, sometimes only hours. Any operations started during that period usually get the discount until they are finished or canceled. For instance, if there is a 25% discount on ship builds, a ship that takes ten days to build will only take 7.5 days. The 10% Alliance Help discount will then knock off another 18 hours, bringing it down to 6 days 18 hours. Saving you more than three days time on the build. This is the one time when building a ship fully-fitted is a good idea, as you will get the discount on the whole lot, while subsequent refitting will lose you the 25%, as it will not be available when you refit.
  • Set an alarm if necessary.

Vega Conflict – Alien Invasion

No folks, this is not yet another screed about Illegals crossing our southern border, rather a new quasi-faction in the game. They are not a true faction, as you cannot build any alien ships, nor is this expected at the current time.

  • The Aliens first appeared in the “Incursion” event in September 2016. They were a total surprise, and were completely unexpected.
  • Unstable (one-way) wormholes appeared in every sector, and started disgorging alien fleets at regular intervals. These fleets would then head to regular wormholes and disappear.
  • Initially they would aggressively pursue and attack rebel fleets within ten levels of their own.
  • They initially came in Level 50, 55, 60, 65 and 70 variants.
  • After a couple of months, they modified their attack strategy to only pursue fleets in extra-solar space (i.e., they would not attack within solar systems).
  • Soon after that, Level 40 and 45 variants started to appear, and it became possible for two players to engage one alien fleet
  • Only alliance members and players you have designated as “friendly” may assist in engaging an alien fleet.
  • As well as loot or intel, destroying an alien fleet yields “unknown objects”, which remain in the player’s inventory. Nobody knows what they are or what they are for.
alien-hunting

Hunting for Aliens with my good buddy Crescent Wind

Rules of engagement

  • An alien fleet typically consists of three carriers known as hives; usually one heavy and two light.
  • They launch waves of drones at the player fleet. Originally armed with beam weapons, these drones are currently a mixture of beam and explosive weapons.
  • Originally, the three carriers would spawn in different corners of the battlefield. Later variants spawned together, and later still they arrived in a tight formation, which made is difficult to engage them individually.
aliens2

When the going gets tough…

Battle tactics

  • Initially, Aurora rays did high damage to the aliens, but as they modified their weapons and tactics, explosive weapons, such as Creeper torpedoes with Volatile Fuel, became more effective. Currently the most effective weapon is the Manifold missile.
  • Current combat wisdom is to use a heavy carrier such as Ragnarok, Valkyrie or Valhalla. Freyja works too, but has lower range.
  • The carrier has to be protected. Heavy cruisers work well, but battleships appear to be best. Battleships in line formation protect each other and have the double-broadside ability to engage enemies on both sides simultaneously.
  • When using battleships, they may be arranged in a line in front of the carrier, or the carrier may be in the middle of the line.
  • Keep your ships in tight formation for mutual support; any ship that gets out of formation will be targeted and swiftly killed by the alien drones. “the nail that sticks out gets hammered”.
  • If you group them together they will all move and turn at the same rate.
  • When playing co-up, keep carriers together to double the damage.
  • The initial maneuver should be diagonally off to one side, in order to engage one of the hives while minimizing exposure to the other two.
  • You get the same number of points whether you engage a fleet solo or co-op with another player. However, two fleets deal out more damage than one, and take less damage. So co-op is generally better.
  • Successful co-op engagements yield two “corpses” of resources, each of which may be freed up by one of the players.

This article is an excerpt from my recently-updated Game Guide, over a hundred and sixty pages of hints, tips, tricks and tactics that will help you get to grips with the finer points of the game, all for a paltry $3.99. However, if you use this link, you can get it for $1 off. Make me smile – buy my book!