In 1999, Cold Fire Studios released Space: Glory Through Conquest, and for the last ten years the company has fostered the game, watching it grow to become one of the largest browser-based, free MMORPG’s on the internet. Their stewardship at long last has come to an end as “Space” has been sold to Zero Sum Games.
For the last few years, Cold Fire Studios had been too busy working on other projects to continue to develop Space, but instead worked only to maintain the game. Zero Sums Games has purchased the MMORPG promising to revamp the game and bring it to a new level of prominence. Those that play the game say they have already seen significant improvements since the new company took over in August of last year and say that membership is on the rise.
In the standard galaxy mode, players are given the choice to play as one of 10 different species each in possession of different economies, species-related abilities and ships. Each galaxy, comprised of 3,000 stars, plays host to a hundred and fifty players each given a randomly generated home world. The players must build their economies while exploring the galaxy to collected uninhabited systems, and once the need arises, construct powerful fleets to subdue their adversaries.
Each player is allowed to form an alliance with up to three other players, which will increase a player’s military strength while presenting them with the opportunity to reap the benefits of whatever species their teammates bring to the table. Each galaxy continues only so long as it takes the top five alliances to get 2600 stars under their control or until there are only 20 active accounts. Players are awarded “stars” for their performance in each galaxy and carry these “stars” into each subsequent galaxy. The number of “stars” a player possesses has no bearing on their strength in any new galaxy, but serves instead as an indicator of the player’s skills increasing their chances of getting invited into a strong alliance or enticing experienced players into one of their own.
The game also features a Death Match mode which pits 60 players against each other. In the alternate mode, players start with 50 planets, an advance tech-tree, and 800,000 ore, production and credits, shifting the game’s focus from economics to military for those gamers that prefer conquest to all else.
Joe Olinger, Space’s administrator, had this to say about the game and the company:
“Zero Sum Games was formed by players of the game to fix it, improve it, and help it grow when CFS was no longer interested in maintaining it. Space remains one of the deepest space empire games on the internet. You have wide latitude designing ships. Battle is complex, with tactical and strategic facets. Different species bring different advantages and limitations to the table. Play with honor, or betray your allies. Space has something for everyone.”
So if you are looking for a new MMO and do not want to pay the costly monthly fees that games like WoW carry, perhaps Space: Glory Through Conquest is the challenge you’ve been waiting for.
Special thanks to Joe Olinger for his comments and to the players I talked to while writing this article.