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Spore And The Space Stage (spoilers?)


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Has anyone else gotten to the Space Stage of Spore and... basically been disappointed? My problem isn't with the idea, but rather the implementation.


I was doing fine, following the subtle storyline they dropped in. I had a nice planet all to myself and managed to even start colonizing an adjacent star system. Soon, I had an ally and trade partner and began stockpiling spice and money for new items. Cheery and happy was my way, and it worked for me...



A nearby star system threatened war unless I grant them money. I had no problems staving off war, since I would rather grow than fight. I looked at my remaining spice funds, realizing I had plunged a good deal down the pooper for some new colonization tools. Having no choice but to decline, my measly star systems looked shamefully at the 6 other star systems that this foreign war species acquired. Within a few minutes both my planets were under attack. I quickly rushed to my main system and slaughtered their ships, noticing that they had, basically, fleets of ships.


As soon as I had left my first planet, I took a look around for the line signifying my adjacent star system. It had vanished and their system grew one star bigger. I thought that this was unsurprising considering my colony was so small on that other star. I had a desire to reclaim it, figuring that it would be so easy to do if I could amass a fleet of my own fighters like they had previously done on my home planet.


I began flipping through help sections and FAQs to find somewhere that this was possible, noting only the ability to borrow ships from planets you had alliances with. I was dumbfounded by the fact that during their first raid on my planet, my once incredibly powerful army from the Civilization phase took to... doing nothing, basically disappearing from existence. My ships, my planes, my tanks, all took to mindlessly collecting spice while my cities were under siege. Not only this, but I had to go back and fix the buildings that were destroyed, which took quite some time.


I went back to trading... I collected the spice from my home city and sold it to my trade partner for a decent price. All of the sudden, my home planet was again being decimated by enemy ships. I rushed in and took care of the problem after my ship exploded. Yet again, I had to buy new buildings and turrets. This time a whole colony was destroyed. The only way I saw to re-build one was by purchasing a 150,000 colonization pack. I was stuck with 90,000 spices and even slower spice return.


At this point, I thought it was best to befriend more allies. I found another set of nearby friendlies and created a trade line with them. This time I had to do a mission for them to have confidence enough to be allies. They quested me to collect one of each species on an adjacent star system's planet. In the middle of the timed (I had roughly 3 minutes) task, messages appeared stating my home planet was under attack and that my other ally needed help killing off infected animals.


I snarled in frustration at this moment and said outloud, "Well, what the **** are my allies busy doing?! Why can't they help me?!" I rushed to finish my quest, securing my alliance. I grabbed an allied helper ship, rushed to my ally's planet, killed the infected animals, rushed to my planet, fended off the invasion, re-built my stuff, fixed up my ship, and went to go find more artifacts so I could at least score some money. I talked to my allies, hoping they could provide assistance like they EXPECT me to, finding out that they only will attack specific planets and for a fee! I stared awkwardly at my screen saying "What the **** am I supposed to do?" The allies don't pay me to protect them, either. My only options for money were: sell spice or find artifacts.


I collected enough money to buy some more weapons and went to reclaim my lost star system. Come to find out that strong enemy ships inhabit the **** thing and are frustratingly annoying to fight off. No ships like this can inhabit my planet, and I cannot place them there, so why does the enemy get this upper-hand? Through all this, I manage to destroy the colony and retake the planet. Trade flourishes for about 4 minutes until another wave of enemies attack both of my star systems simultaneously. I decide to help my little planet first, realizing that my health and energy were low. I had no money to repair at an ally and while my planets are being attacked, they refuse to heal me. Again, my ship goes down and a few more expletives squeeze from my mouth. I place my palm to my face and continue on. My new ship was placed on my home planet, so I fought the incoming ships that were there. My cities were badly damaged and I rushed out to see that my other star system was under enemy control AGAIN. I fixed up my original planet and sold the spice it managed to bring in.


At this time I got a radio call talking about expanding my presence. Apparently, I need to claim 7 star systems to finish the next main mission. I stare at my lone planet and finally decide to put down the mouse and calm myself. I kept repeating the phrases, "What do I do?", "How can I make money if I'm always busy with fighting and helping allies?", "How can I fight back?"


I came back and soon got attacked by pirates. These were easy to fight off, but I noticed then that the turrets on my home planet's colonies are almost completely useless against attackers. Moving into enemy star systems caused enemy ships to always pounce after me. The auto cannon I bought would shoot at them, but I found it increasingly annoying that I could not target them in space, but they could do so to me. I tried the whole, "attack this planet for me" dealio. It worked, but the star system was under enemy control again within 10 minutes - 50,000 spice down the crapper.


During all of this, I'm earning medals that open up new tools. Unfortunately, I'm unable to purchase any of them because between buying new buildings, healing, buying colonization tools, and ect.


So now, I have no additional cash. I decided to take a break and come here to rant about my frustrations so far, all the while brandishing my pipe.




More has happened than this that I am not elaborating on, but the fun hasn't made up for the frustration in this final stage.

Here is a list of what I like and don't like about the Space Stage:


Spice trade is very streamlined

Unique species spice up the alliance system

Artifacts are fun to collect and see

Borrowing ships is helpful but...


The enemy's fleet system is better and simply doesn't exist for the player

The alliance system is broken, never have I seen such apathetic and un-self-sufficient allies

The frequency of attacks is so great that there isn't any time to enjoy the fun pass-times

The frequency of attacks is so great that there isn't any time to get money

The scope of the enemy's resources is mind-boggling

The enemy has an upper hand in space combat

The enemy has an upper hand in planet combat

Edited by Jhester

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Got my copy a few days early(GOGO friend who's a gamestop manager!) and in one 5-hour win session I went from tiny organism to colonizing the cosmos. My level of satisfaction with the game could be plotted as a bell curve for all the reasons you listed. The most fun thing for me was just making the enterprise as my space ship(Devs must have been hardcore trekies because I made Klingon, Ferengi and Romulan ships with ease) and just flying around and exploring planets. Everything else in the Space stage just feels half-assedly thrown together...

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I got to the space stage and after the same kind of frustration gave up on it. Granted the game has a LOT of depth...but when I can get to the end-game that isn't all that satisfying inside of 5 hours I lose a lot of the enthusiasm needed to want to play it again.

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I'm almost glad some others were experiencing my frustrations.

As an update, I have to say that things have very slowly turned around. After my experiences, I went back and decided to recapture that first planet. By a COMPLETE stroke of luck, the enemy surrendered and was no longer at war with me (I have no idea why). I took this time to build and thrive. I took an uninhabited, unwanted star system with a spice color that my allies didn't have. After building it up and fending of another species warring with me, things looked up. I had a rare spice racking me in some dough, and was able to buy superior technology. I finally launched a counter attack against a warring nation, completely taking out its star systems and assimilating them one by one. It was quite exhilarating.

This seems almost a fluke though. I feel there are still problems in the design discerning the difference between what's challenging and what is frustrating in the final Space Stage. I've taken to ignoring my allies' request for help with war unless it is by a small nation I am already at war with (because defending your allies against attackers seems to force those attackers to war with you) and respond mainly to the "Kill the infected animal" missions. One thing I desire more than anything is a little variety in the ally missions and ally timed-missions.


I've done little artifact searching, it's not as effective for making money unless you're in the beginning. I will do more later for badges.

Edited by Jhester

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