I wanted to start with my best Colonel Tigh “frakkin’ Cylons!”
impression, but Cylons get bonus XP in Battlestar Galactica Online,
so I joined the Toasters. If that sentence didn’t make sense to
you…don’t worry. If you like blowing stuff up in space, you don’t
need to know much about the TV show’s complex and often
Quick Battlestar Galactica summary: Cylons are sentient robots
who rebelled against their human masters; the surviving humans are
fleeing through space; both sides shoot at each other a lot. This
game sets aside the series’ complex interpersonal dramas,
philosophical and moral debates, and ruminations on the soul to
focus on things going kablooey.
The first mission sets up the premise for BSG Online. A large
chunk of the Cylon and Colonial fleets is sucked into an unstable
sector of space, where they must establish bases, mine for ore and
fuel, and blow each other up. It’s a decent way to wedge the
necessities of an MMORPG into the show’s storyline. Other tutorial
missions show you the basics of targeting, combat, and mining.
Well, sort of. The tutorials could use another pass at polish; I
usually figured out what I was supposed to do, but much of that was
by hovering over buttons until I got a popup. Other parts of the
game, such as the purchase and upgrade system, I just stumbled
Purchase? Oh, yes. You need to buy advanced weapons, armor, and
other systems, as well as better ships, which offer different
combat options (speed, firepower, survivability). You buy your
upgrades and new ships with currency you earn during missions, such
as tylium ore. It’s a necessary game mechanic, and getting new gear
is always a drive in persistent world games.
Battlestar Galactica Online’s skill system which owes more than
a little to EVE
Online, in that you improve skills solely by expending
time–click a skill book, and wait several minutes, and, ding!
You’re better at shooting guns, even if all you did was wander
around the hangar bay. It is not necessary to pay real cash simply
to advance your character, though that is an available
You can take on missions from various characters, or you can
just jump into space, bring up the map, and jump to a nearby
system. BSG Online players can mine asteroids, establish bases, and
otherwise seek to expand their side’s territory at the expense of
the other. You can also upgrade beyond fighters, to escorts and
even larger vessels, all explained via the game’s backstory of
finding “unknown” ships in this sector of space.
Battlestar Galatica Online has some rough edges. Some item names
are bugged, so you see something like “Weapon_Object_Ranged_5”
instead of “Kill-O-Zap Blaster.” Humanoid animations are basic.
There’s no voiceover from the series characters (at least not so
Battlestar Galactica Online offers a rich experience, especially
for a browser-based game, but it will need to add content quickly
to avoid becoming stale and repetitive. Space is a dull
environment, no matter how many glowing clouds you add to the
screen. EVE Online thrives due to its cutthroat PVP and deep
economic and crafting models. BSG Online is probably not trying to
clone EVE, but it needs to add similar depth.
Battlestar Galactica Online is free, though, so there’s no risk
in playing it until you get bored. There is a cash store, and while
I did not play long enough to need to use it, cash stores and PVP
are a dangerous mix, as they can allow victory to go to the deepest
pockets, not the fastest guns. This, too, is something to watch. In
the meanwhile, hop into your Raider or Viper and go blow someone
Note: This link takes you to the vendor’s site,
where you can use this browser-based software.