While Star Conflict—produced by Star Gem and Gaijin Entertainment—bills itself as an action MMO, it isn’t. However, that may be a good thing, given the recent track record of MMOs. No, Star Conflict is instead a sci-fi multiplayer space shooter that feels a bit like the love child of World of Tanks and EVE Online. It features fast paced combat in all three dimensions (though the physics aren’t exactly accurate to space) and a huge selection of ships, each divided into tiers and spread amongst three different factions.
The beauty of the game is that, from the moment you’ve completed your download (and requisite patching, if necessary), you can throw yourself into combat. Unlike EVE Online, there is no long lead time of training or researching necessary. There are, however, some things you can do to help ease your transition into space. Here is a quick rundown of things you’ll need to know.
In Star Conflict, you can pilot one of three different ship classes: Interceptor, Fighter and Frigate.
Interceptors fill a role very similar to that of the interceptor in EVE Online - they are fast, hard to hit, and typically a pain to deal with due to their tackling abilities. However, they are also soft targets on the battlefield. Their HP is the lowest of the three classes, and they take real skill to pilot without running headlong into death.
Fighters are the workhorse of Star Conflict. Not as fast as an Interceptor, but faster than a Frigate, these ships typically see use as a sort of ‘general infantry’ in space. They make for excellent learning platforms as they handle a little more solidly than Interceptors, but are more agile than Frigates. In higher tier play they fill either the role of heavy tackle or command ship (giving out buffs to your teammates).
Frigates are essentially the sniping platforms in Star Conflict. While each faction has a particular flavor of sniping mechanism, all Frigates boast large pools of HP, low agility and maneuverability, and little hope of ever planting a bomb or taking a beacon (more on that later). In the hands of a marksman, Frigates can provide excellent cover for advancing Fighters on the battlefield, while in the hands of madmen they make for tanking ships providing close range support.
You can choose to make a character from one of three factions: Empire, Federation or Jericho. Like EVE Online, what you choose doesn’t have much long lasting impact, as all characters have access to all ships in the long run - however it can have some short term impact. To switch to another faction there is a cost in credits which the new player will probably not be able to afford. Thus, it makes sense to go into things with a half decent idea of what faction to pick.
The Empire leans towards the armor spectrum of the tanking divide. As in EVE, armor means slowness - their fighters are a significant step back in speed from the Federation and Jericho variants. However, their special abilities are some of the best for all three classes.
Empire Interceptors feature the Microwarp Engine special. The Microwarp actually functions a lot like EVE Online’s Micro Jump Drive modules; they fling the Interceptor forward long distances nearly instantaneously. While excellent for snatching up bombs or snagging uncovered beacons, the MWD feature of these Interceptors can also result in comedic death should a pilot plow into a rock, beacon, or even another ship at high speed.
Empire Fighters feature the Overdrive ability, which massively boosts the fighter’s agility and rate of fire. This ability is great for both offense and defense: On offense it can give you the edge you need in a close fight against one or more opponents, while on defense it can give you the quickness and agility to slip away from your attackers.
The Empire’s line of Frigates boast, arguably, the best sniping platforms in the game. The Disintegrator ability is essentially a scoped laser rifle that can deal death up to 12 kilometers away (a fairly long distance in Star Conflict). The Disintegrator also scales upwards in damage based on whatever main weapon system you equip, meaning you can (in early tiers anyways, before everyone bulks up on resist) hit for over 3000 damage a pop. Against an Interceptor that has only 4-5k HP total, this system can prove frightfully deadly for the enemy.