Ironclad Games' Sins of a Solar Empire came out in 2008, and the space-faring real-time strategy game has since had three expansions—the last of which was Rebellion in 2012. Its newest DLC is a much smaller affair, but still adds new content for only a little bit of money.
The MOBA/ARPG genre is exploding. From indie devs to mid-sized studios in international markets, the subgenre that began as a WarCraft III custom map is gaining traction and diversity. Over the last few weeks, we've taken a look at a fair few upcoming challengers in the arena. From a modern military MOBA/top-down shooter hybrid to a licensed effort with steampunk Batman, we've broken down where each one fits in, and what makes it different from what's already out there.
Ironclad brought us Sins of a Solar Empire in 2008, and we enjoyed its space-based mixture of RTS and 4X. Its next project, Sins of a Dark Age, pivots the developer's focus to the expanding MOBA genre, and it seems part of the reason for the change comes from Ironclad's belief that RTS games are "very niche," as Director Blair Fraser describes it in an interview with RPS.
Ironclad hopes its mixture of RPG with RTS in its MOBA Sins of a Dark Age will help it stand out from competitors such as League of Legends and Dota 2. The crux of this approach are Realm Quests, optional side-tasks which players can complete for team-wide boons and powerful items. In an explanatory trailer, Ironclad Producer Blair Fraser describes how Realm Quests work and how they influence the Hero-on-Hero clashes on the battlefield.
When we first got a look at Ironclad’s Sins of a Dark Age, the developer underscored its intent to distinguish itself from competitors League of Legends and Dota 2 with by integrating an RTS role into its MOBA—Commander Mode. It was an insane idea, but we liked the thought of a game coming to the genre with a different focus, and we were confident Ironclad's experience making one of our favorite strategy games ever would help them pull it off.
I knew the moment the tide had turned. It was 15 hours into my first XCOM: Enemy Unknown campaign, and I’d just outfitted my squad’s psychic soldier with psi armour. I’d only discovered Major Tom’s latent mindbending abilities a few missions before, but he’d already proved himself a devastating anti-alien defence in the field. Kitted out in this gear, he was near unstoppable.
Spaceborn mega-RTS Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion has just released its 1.1 patch. The update adds a massive amount of changes, including over forty new maps. No that was not a typo, I really meant forty, four-zero. Given the average length of a Sins game, I estimate the time it would take you to learn all these new maps as slightly longer than than the lifespan of the universe.
While we wait for a dedicated team of modders to recreate the epic space battles of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, we'll have to make do with this ambitious, and very likely cease-and-desistable, Sins of a Solar Empire mod, based on the space operatics of Mass Effect. As briefly mentioned yesterday, Mass Effect: Dawn of the Reapers will feature three factions - the Council, Cerberus, and the Reapers - with "asymmetrical gameplay unique to each race." That presumably means the robotic death-gods will be as all-powerful as they were in BioWare's original trilogy.
Yes, in this week's Silly Legal Challenge (though one that looks like it was actually filed a couple of months ago, and is only now being noticed), Rebellion is trying to get control of the word... well... Rebellion - no doubt helped by the fact that it has never, everbeenused before.
If you pre-ordered Sins of a Solar Empire's upcoming standalone Rebellion expansion, you'll be able to play the beta right now through Steam. Rebellion gives Sin's starships a visual spit and polish and adds even bigger ones to build. The new Titan class battlecruisers will be able to take on enemy fleets with hardly any backup, letting you terrorise the universe with even bigger lasers.
The beta will let players jump into singleplayer and multiplayer as TEC Loyalists or Rebels. There's lots more information over on the Sins of a Solar Empire forums, including system requirements and a full list of beta features. The developer diary above shows off some of those graphical upgrades, but if you're after more stationary, majestic shots of those new spaceships, check out these five new screenshots.
Rebellion will be the first standalone expansion for the marvellous 4X space strategy, Sins of a Solar Empire. It'll split the universe into two factions, loyalists and rebels. You can join one side or the other to gain access to new tech trees and alternative versions of each faction's most powerful vessels.
The expansion will also add jumbo sized battlecraft called Titans. These monsters will be even bigger than capital ships and will be able to take on enemy fleets single-handedly. They'll get to dissolve incoming pirate raids with new giant laser beams, prettified by a new lighting engine. See Titans and their pet lasers in action in these new screenshots.