Master of Orion 3 - anybody have it?

After nearly a year of delays… htf is this thing?

Is everybody who has it so busy playing that they don’t have time to tell the teeming millions about it?

I went into a CompUSA yesterday to buy it and it wasn’t on the shelf. Of course since it was CompUSA, the staff was less than useless and I still don’t have the game I have been waiting for since MoO2.

Well, I bought it. It’s in my briefcase. When I get home, fun will ensue. I hope.

I bought it Thursday afternoon and have spent about 20 hours playing it so far. It’s awesome, though the first 8-10 hours can be confusing. I can give tips to anyone who needs them.

Badtz, please give tips. Many tips. I’m totally lost.

For one thing - how do I change the name of a system?

For another - how the hell do I play this game?

I’ve heard the AI in dipomacy isn’t all they’re cracked up to be. Any comments? True? False? And that the auto-build sucks?

I can actually live with that. It’d be Civ II again:

France: “We are declaring WAR! You will be destroyed! DIE!”

20 Turns later, they’ve sent one obsolete unit over near the border and… destroyed a road.

France: “This war has gone on long enough. Lets end the conflict and sign a peace treaty!”

20 turns later, it starts all over again…

Can’t change the name of a system, at least not without editing files. I miss it too.

As to how the hell you play the game…well, that’s a pretty vague question. Try the link below for the forums where I learned some of what I know.


Uhhh… Why the hell did they leave THAT out? That’s… ominous.

Perhaps you could explain how to control planetary production in a simpler way than either the game manual (useless) or stategy guide (just okay) do, because it has me at a loss.

I picked this game up yesterday (and had an actual intelligent conversation with the clerks!), and I’ve been trying to teach myself how to play. The manual gives out great discriptions: “This is the screen from which you do (a),” and I’m shouting “Yes, but how the blazing hell do I do it?”

Thank you for that link, Badtz.

Now lobotomizing the AI and cutting off his “change military spending” gland is tops on my list.

I followed the development of this game since somebody mentioned it in a thread somewhere on here in 2001. I’ve been reading the MOO3 message boards (first the old Delphi board, now the new INA board) since that time. I had followed the development about as closely as possible short of being a beta tester.

I wanted so badly for this to be the best game I’d ever played. I’ve been playing Master of Orion 1 & 2 for about seven years (I’m not astoundingly great, but I love the games). I’ve been waiting for MOO3 since MOO2 came out. When EB released the game on the 26th, I grabbed the last copy on the shelves. I got home, loaded the game, and started a new game.

And I was lost. I read the manual. I got a better idea of what was going on, but I still couldn’t really see cause-effect relationships. It sounds really simple when I’m reading about it on the boards, but in practice, I can’t make the AI do what I want it to do. I end up just hitting turn to try to get something to happen. Yeah, I know there’s a steep learning curve, but I realized that even once I know exactly how to get things going exactly as I want them, I won’t care. There’s no sense of accomplishment in anything that happens. Take the research system, for example. There’s no decision-making involved, beyond changing allocation of RPs a bit. You don’t have to choose between options; you get them all. Despite that, technology has less tangible effect than in the previous two games; there’s no sense of change when a new tech is introduced (hell, some of the buildings can ONLY be produced by the AI.) The rest of my problems with the game are more or less covered in the more coherent criticisms found on the MOO3 board.

So, after two years of waiting, I ended up returning Master of Orion 3 and picking up Icewind Dale II and . . . a new copy of Master of Orion 2; my old copy had become too scratched to reliably use after six years of play.

I gotta admit, I’m close to bringing mine back. After hours of effort, I’m in Catalyst’s camp; this is the second game this year now that feels more like work than play, with little payoff. (the first one is SimCity 4, although unlike that game, Moo3 has the benefit of being smoothly playable on PCs below the speed of a Cray supercomputer.) I’ll keep trying, but so far, the game seems to be playing itself. I have tried, to no avail, to do SOMETHING to the planets that actually affects what’s going on. The screens are just hideously cluttered with mystical icons; nothing’s intuitive. Like Brahesilver, I cannot seem to get beyond just finding the screens and into actually clicking controls to cause things to happen. It took me ten goddamned minutes to figure out how to colonize a planet after the colony ship had arrived… inexplicably, and unlike MOO2, the game doesn’t just tell you “A colony ship has arrived. Colonize a planet?” The game is wayyyy more complex than it has to be.

And I still can’t figure out all the controls. The manual is just useless; it’s not even printed well. I’ll give it a few more days, since I have two weeks before the EB return policy expires, but at this point I cannot see myself keeping a game that does not actually seem to provide actual entertainment. I’ve been playing PC games for 20 years; it’s not like I suck at this sort of thing.

I ended up finally just switching it off in frustration and going back to “Europa Universalis II.”

Aha. Six hours later (no, I didn’t spend all of them in front of the computer) and I think I have a basic grasp of just what the heck’s going on. It seems to me that there are some things that only the computer can do (building gov’t buildings), which just sounds stupid to me. The income sliders don’t work all that well; the number doesn’t change until you let go of the mouse button, which automatically adjusts all the other figures. Apparently I can’t get the helpful tooltips unless I want to see the “Master Notes” on every screen I click on.

Some problems I’d had were solved by later discoveries. Example: built ships won’t appear if they were built by any system except your home. This was a big problem, because I’d find a system with 3 or 4 good planets, send off one colony to settle and build some more ships to expand - and these other ships wouldn’t show up on my counts. Solution: the “mobilization point” tech is what allows task forces to be deployed. Even one ship by itself couns as a task force, so I can’t send single ships (even scouts) until I build the tech that allows al my ships to gatherWhy I can’t tell them ‘hey, see that planet there? Be on your way.’ when they get built in the same system is beyond me, but at least I’ve found out what’s gone wrong.

Nitpick: I start with ships capable of faster-than-light travel. It took my top minds over fifty years to discover the very concept that putting ground troops in a big box with wheels lets them go faster. (“Fusion cannons are available for use. Mobile infantry tech is now visible.”) To be fair, I’m playing a race of intelligent squid, but the idea of the circle doesn’t sound that difficult, guys.

I like it a fair bit.

But if you’re into micromanagement you will go insane. The game is not designed for it and there are a number of things you truly can’t do at all ( like build government buildings ). You must let the computer do the bulk of the micromanagement. Your job is to train spies and deploy them, work on diplomacy ( which is partly broken, but not completely, I think ), plan and set expansion, feverishly ( I mean VERY FREQUENTLY ) update and obsolesce your ship designs ( one bit of extreme micromanagement ), deploy space/ground forces and manage campaigns, and finally subtly tweak your empire with your development plans.

The game plays totally different from MOO and MOO2 and approaching it with the same mindset will produce nothing but heartache ;).

It does need a patch and far superior manual, but I’m hoping many of the information shortfalls will be addressed in time. However one thing I’ve heard which was true for me - It grows on you after many hours of gameplay. Slowly, but insidiously :).

  • Tamerlane