Battlestar Galactica Online Beta Impressions – Cylon Faction

I’ll admit, when I first heard of Battlestar Galactica, thoughts of an ultra-nerdy show in the likes of Star Trek came to mind.  I always heard Howard Stern and crew talking about how great of a show the re-imagined series was, which ran from 2003-2009, but I still couldn’t motivate myself to watch it.  I’ll be the first one to admit that I was being a stuck up geek in the matter.  I felt that BSG was even too geeky for me, and I’m someone that eats, breaths, and lives in the Sci-Fi universe for my preferred entertainment.

Thanks to the invention of Netflix and the Instant Stream, my opinions on BSG were changed.  This past Fall while looking for something to fill some time in my entertainment schedule (rough life), I decided to add the first season of BSG to my queue.  I fired up the first available episode, and I can honestly say I was hooked.  From there I peeled through all 4.5 seasons and the 3 feature length TV movies, plus the webisodes.  In 2 months I had soaked in 5 years of BSG greatness, and it now sits within my top 3 best TV series of all-time.  It’s one of those sci-fi franchises that completely engaged the geek part of my brain, and completely pulled me into the fiction.  If you need a great TV series to watch, and you like sci-fi themes, I promise you that you’ll enjoy the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica series.

I’ve strayed from my initial point with this article, which is my impressions of the BSG Online Beta that I was invited to participate in after filling out some crazy form.  BSG Online is a browser-based MMO set in the BSG universe from the recent TV series.  This is the first time I’ve ever touched a MMO style game, and for that’s on purpose.  I’ve always feared MMO’s because deep down I knew I’d end up getting addicted to them, and I’d end up being one of those sad stories about a gamer dying in his/her chair with sh*t filled pants and a nasty case of rigamortis.  After spending some time d*cking around with the BSG Online Beta, my assumptions about how dangerous this style of game could be for me became clear.  I found myself spending retarded amounts of time tricking out my Cylon pilot, and executing mundane tasks such as mining asteroids for resources like it was one of the most engaging forms of gameplay in the Universe.

In the BSG Online Beta you have to choose to be part of the Colonies, or part of the Cylon faction to begin the game.  From there you have to perform a tutorial space combat mission, and once that is completed you’re taking to your faction’s outpost so you can customize your in-game character.  I chose Cylons as the race to use in my time with the Beta, because they look like bada*s terminators, and killer robots are just plain awesome.  Once your character is customized your free to roam around the outpost to get new missions assigned to you, buy improvements for your ship, or leave for another mission in your ship.  That makes up the bulk of the gameplay when you’re not flying around in space performing various assignments.  Your time on outposts is mainly for upgrading your ship, and getting new missions.  It doesn’t really have any other purpose than that.  It’s not necessarily boring because you get to pimp your ride with some enhancements for the space combat part of the game, but don’t expect to be blown away by innovative gameplay while on an outpost.

The meat of the game is centered in space flight.  This is where the real action takes place in Battlestar Galactica Online.  You more or less fly around systems completing the missions that were given to you on the outpost ship.  These can include resource gathering, dog fighting, and more.  The controls are pretty intuitive with the mouse playing a large role in your navigation.  Basically, you can use the left button on the  mouse to choose your targets, while the right button is used to steer your ship.  It sounds clunky, but it works pretty well once you get used to it.  Once I got the controls down I found myself just enjoying flying my Cylon Raider around various systems looking for a fight.

Fights can encompass battling computer controlled ships, drones, and other human players from the opposite faction.  You never know when another player may jump into your system, so you always have to be on the look out for some d*ck flying in and taking pot shots at you while you’re mining for some resources.  The dog fights themselves are quite entertaining if you have some piloting skills.  Although, if you don’t have a fairly beefy graphics card, I found the game to struggle with lag when battling in space.  At times I felt like the battles were a little clunky with the AI controlled ships more or less flying circles around you while you’re trying to target them.  Eventually you always catch up to them, but it feels repetitive in nature.  It’s much more fun to battle another human as is the case with most multiplayer games.

The thing that amazes me the most about the BSG Online MMO, is the fact that it runs right in your browser using the Unity Player plug-in.  There’s nothing to install, so you can pick up and play your character on any PC that has a connection to the Internet, and a browser with the Unity plug-in installed.  I was amazed at how well the game looked considering it doesn’t install any files to your PC.  I don’t do much PC gaming, but it looks pretty crisp and similar to other PC games that I’ve installed on my rig.  I had a few issues running the game at the highest graphic setting on my craptop, but even toggling the graphics down didn’t alter the look of the game too much.  Overall, it looks great for a browser game, and it provides a promising look at how PC gaming may take place in the future.  I think the browser-based model is very innovative, and it opens up the game to a broader audience who may not be too keen on installing a bunch of games to their HDD.

When it’s all said and done my time with the BSG Online Beta has been positive.  I think this game is a perfect foray into my first go around with an MMO.  The Universe it is set in is an interesting one, especially if you’re a fanboy of the TV series.  The overall package is amazing considering it is delivered via a browser.  I would have no issues playing another browser based game after playing BSG Online.  It provides an easy to use interface that only requires you to know how to use your browser.  The gameplay is addicting, especially if you get hooked into upgrading your character and their ship.  The space combat is where the most fun takes place, and I imagine once this game hits the public it’ll be even more engaging, because you can form Wing groups (think posse) with some pals and wreak havoc on the Universe.  I plan to upload some gameplay footage later this week, so if you’re interested in how this game looks make sure to keep stopping bye.

Depending on how this game is priced out I may continue to play it post beta, and really spread my wings in the MMO space.  If you don’t hear from me for awhile you might as well consider me lost to the cause.  Just make sure to swing by E.B. HQ and pry my rigamortis as* from my seat with a crowbar, so my cat doesn’t start eating my eyes out.  You’ve been considering giving the re-imagined BSG series a shot…

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Matt Heywood

The author Matt Heywood

Matt Heywood is the founder and EIC of where he strives to make you a better geek, one post at a time! When he’s not scouring the Internet for interesting nuggets of awesomeness he can be found in his secret lair enjoying the latest and greatest video games, taking pictures of toys, or talking Star Wars on EB’s Star Wars Time podcast show.