Nicolaus Copernicus told us to look beyond the earth and consider the rest of the universe in its own right. In this new game, named Copernicus, you will explore a galaxy of nearly endless possibilities.
Everything in this game is based on the number 5.
Copernicus is an MMORPG that takes place on thousands of planets throughout the Copernicus Galaxy. While you are in space, it acts like a single-player game, where your actions do not affect any other players. But once you land, on a planet, the multiplayer aspect kicks in. A few planets will be huge open-world hubs that can hold up to 10,000 players at a time. But most planets will be small combat arenas that can accomodate only 10-20 players. This is where small multiplayer skirmishes will take place.
What makes this game great is that your character can be not just anyone, but any THING. You get to customize your species, using a set of guidelines. Serpent? Werewolf? Man-eating Lobster? All of the above? You name it, it's possible. Even with 100,000 people playing, they will all look extremely different.
You can also be human, but other than that, there are no pre-set "races."
Your species design will affect many aspects of the game. For example, being a cold-blooded reptile might make you able to regenerate health quickly, but will slow you down in cold environments. Being a bird will give you limited flight, but will make your bones fragile. Different species will have scores in five "natural points" categories:
- Strength points (melee attack)
- Health points (total health, regen rate)
- Hand points (weapon skills)
- Body Points (speed, flight, agility, and stamina)
- Intellect points (tech skills)
At the start of the game, once you've customized your character, you can also customize your starship. Starships come in 5 different classes:
- Cruiser: fastest travel time, average weapons, average capacity, average armor.
- Tanker: slowest travel time, average weapons, high capacity, high armor.
- Raider: average travel time, good weapons, weak armor, low capacity.
- Scouter: fast travel time, weak weapons, average armor, average capacity.
- Mothership: slow travel time, highest capacity, good weapons, average armor.
Within each class, your ship can be customized to look like whatever you want. However, you will have a starting budget that you cannot go over. As you gain money and minerals throughout the game, you can upgrade your ship with new gadgets and fortifications.
The Copernicus Galaxy is filled with glory, and filled with danger. In space, non-playable pirate fleets will attack players at any moment, engaging them in space combat. The Galaxy will be an enormous map that contains wormholes that transport you from one solar system to the next.
The Galaxy will be divided into 5 regions called Belts - the Storm Belt, the Fire Belt, the Light Belt, the Rock Belt, and the Dark Belt. Each Belt will be divided into 1000 or so solar systems. Each solar system will have an average of 5 playable planets.
That makes 25,000 planets.
The planets will be randomly generated. Sure, some of them will be pretty much identical copies of others, but you'll never know. There will be at least 50 different "themes" for arena planets. Themes could be something like desert, jungle, ocean, fire pit, ice world, metropolis, etc.
And there will be five hub worlds, one in each rim:
- Celestos is located in the Light Belt. It consists of a floating city where the sun shines brightly and players can challenge each other to starship races in the vast skies. Celestos has a commercial theme, where the citizens are carefully watched by NPCs and fighting is punishable by permanent exile.
- Nyotheron is located in the Dark Belt. This planet of eternal night consists of high-rise apartments with mile-long bridges, as well as an expansive cave system. Nyotheron has a criminal theme, where authority is loose and murder, theft, and gambling are frequent sights.
- Tosoka is located in the Storm Belt. The primary city is situated on a large island in the middle of a deadly ocean. Tosoka has a scientific theme, where weapons and vehicles can be upgraded, and the powers of the storms can be harnessed to craft new technology.
- Grakkos is located in the Rock Belt. High in the mountains, a giant fortress of steel and stone towers over the barren landscape. On this military-themed planet, NPC guards patrol the hallways constantly to break up any fights - but they can also provide valuable combat training.
- Hratekor is located in the Fire Belt. On this planet, buildings are made out of organic material that grows out of the soft terrain. Inside, the buildings have a religious theme, where deities of all races can be worshipped. Outside, wild animals and fire storms are common sights.
Anyone can go to a hub whenever they want. If they have to wait in a lobby first, then the wait will be short. Combat in hubs is highly discouraged. Save that for the arena planets. Hubs are for trading, conversing, and leveling up.
Combat will occur mostly on arena planets, where the rules can be set before entering a game. You can have a rumble pit free-for-all, or a team match where points are deducted for betrayals. Since this game has five of everthing, there will be five main weapon types:
- Grenades: come in varieties such as basic, flash, smoke, dark matter, or ice.
- Assault Rifles: fire rapid bursts of ammo, can hold 25-50 bullets per clip. Special ammo can be equipped.
- Shotguns: fire 1 shell per second, can hold 5 shells max. Shells can be upgraded.
- Sniper Rifles: on an arena world, can hit anywhere on the map from anywhere else. Clips hold 5.
- Staffs: a close-combat weapon that needs energy instead of ammo. Comes in fire, ice, or dark varieties.
In each fight, you can bring 2 weapons with you. You can pick up other weapons and ammo during the fight. Some arenas will be stacked with ammo, money, and useful tools. Others will be barren with nothing at all.
Each fight will last 10 minutes. Players get unlimited respawns. Before each fight, players will vote on the "wager," or how much the fight is worth. Can be anywhere from 1 to 5. This number will multiply the "bounty" or "penalty" each player receives for their combat. Players will also receive experience points based on their performance.
Important: Even if your team wins, you can still lose money due to your bad performance.
Like almost everything else, tech comes in 5 categories. Each will have a tech tree, which can be accessed at labs throughout the game. Players with the highest "intellect" rating (See Character Design) will advance through each tech tree faster. Tech trees influence all areas of the game. You should try to specialize in one of the five areas.
- Weapon Tech: Advancing in this tech tree will require mining resources, welding plates, and testing your strength through combat. You can also create super-weapons that have limited firepower.
- Bio Tech: In this field, you will harvest the traits of non-sentient animals you find throughout the galaxy. Learn how to inflict diseases on your enemies, or train plants and animals to fight for you.
- Computer Tech: This field involves hacking into security systems and making your opponent's weapons malfunction against them. Advancing in this tech tree will require long hours of research.
- Shield Tech: You can use this tech tree to create bullet-proof barriers around yourself. These can be very strong, and specialized to stop different kinds of ammo. Shields cost lots of energy and can be hacked.
- Dark Tech: The most mysterious of the tech trees, Dark Tech involves the manipulation of Dark Matter, which can found throughout the game. You can use Dark Tech to teleport, slow time, and make a vortex.
Dark matter is a special substance that does not abide by the normal laws of physics. It has several critical functions in this game. First, you must have sufficient dark matter in your ships tank to travel through a wormhole. Travelling through wormholes is the only way to reach other solar systems. Dark matter can also allow you to use Dark Tech powers such as teleportation and creating a vortex. Finally, dark matter can be used to enhance many weapons. Dark matter grenades implode rather than exploding. Staffs full of dark matter can suspend gravity for a few seconds, or deliver devastating force.
You can harvest dark matter by exploring nebulas, which you'll find throughout the galaxy. Be careful, because many nebulas are guarded by pirates. You can also purchase dark matter at garages and hubs, but it can be quite expensive. You'll also find trace amounts of dark matter on certain arena worlds.
You'll be able to pick up a variety of objects as you travel between hubs and arenas, not just weapons and armor. There will be a maximum inventory capacity of 100-150 pounds, depending on your character's body type. That being said, you'll have to choose carefully what you want to carry because armor takes up a good bit of that weight.
- Light Armor: 5-10 pounds
- Medium Armor: 15-20 pounds
- Heavy Armor: 35-40 Pounds
- Assault Rifles: 10 Pounds
- Shotguns: 20 Pounds
- Sniper Rifles: 15 Pounds
- Staffs: 15 Pounds
- Grenades: 2 Pounds
- Compact Grenades: 1 Pound
- Assault Rifle Ammo: 20 Pounds
- Shotgun Shells: 20 Pounds
- Dark Matter Capsules: 1 Pound
- Energy Crystals: 2 Pounds
- Medpacs: 1 Pound (extremely rare and expensive)
- Shield Generator: 5 Pounds
- Hacking Device: 5 Pounds
- Staff of Might (Superweapon): 25 Pounds
- Laser Rifle (Superweapon): 25 Pounds
- Atomic Launcher (Superweapon): 50 Pounds
Death and Respawning
Respawning depends on what situation you're in when you die. If you die during combat in an arena world, no problem. You'll respawn after about 10 seconds and continue the fight.
If you die in a hub world (very unlikely, because hubs are not for fighting) then you'll respawn in your starship, which will still be docked on that same hub. You will not lose any posessions or experience points for dying. The game will return to single-player mode until you decide to re-enter the hub. But don't go around killing people in hubs, because this can get you banned forever.
If you die in space - aka your starship is destroyed by NPC pirates during single-player mode - then you will restart from the last saved game in single-player mode. You can save the game any time in space, but ONLY in space. If you stop playing while you areon a planet, whether hub or arena, you will instantly disappear from MMO. The next time you load, you will respawn in your spaceship.
Notes on NPCs
NPCs will be found throughout the game, both in hub worlds and in space, to add challenges and maintain stability.
- All NPCs found in hub worlds, such as guards or shopkeepers, are human.
- In arena worlds, if enough players do not joint the lobby after a certain waiting period, the match will be filled out with NPCs.
- As captain of your private starship, you have a crew of NPCs working for you. They will all be of the same customized species as your character. These NPCs are at your command and will fight for you if the ship is boarded by pirates.
- In space, pirate NPCs are members of a special race called the Gutha. They resemble red-skinned snake-scorpion hybrids. You cannot place as one of the Gutha.
By connecting two computers two the same username, or using two controllers on one console, it is possible to have a "party" or "split-screen" aspect to this game, but it gets very tricky. No more than 2 players allowed in one party. These two players will be co-captains of one starship. They will each get to customize their own character, but each of them will have to approve the other's decisions about what the starship looks like and where it should travel. This permission system makes the whole thing cumbersome, but it has its rewards.
- In space, one player can navigate the galaxy while the other commands the weapon systems.
- In hubs, they can team up and be an intimidating pair of thugs, or they can split up and have a massive game of hide-and-seek.
- In arenas, they must join the lobby together, and are automatically placed on the same team. (With the exception of rumble pit.)
I know this is a lot of information, but try to take it all in. I look forward to seeing a game like this on the shelves someday.