Join Nate, Troy and Mark as they discuss the new Master of Orion game and its DLC content. We discuss what was left on the cutting-room floor and where this game is headed. Come and listen to what we think about Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars!

Music by Mangadrive for eXplorminate


  1. Have to agree with the general assessment. MOO:CtS is a solid 4X with great production values, and I still get it out from time to time for a game. Multiplayer is solid and the AI knows how to play the game.

    Where they innovated, they didn’t quite go far enough — I’m fine with the change to RTS combat, for example, but it would have been *so* much more enjoyable if they’d just given us a bit more flexibility and input into ship roles. Not that you can even view combats in multiplayer.. that was a more serious omission.

    Overall, how much more excited am I for the constant craziness coming out of Paradox? Ringworlds? Dyson spheres? Orbital habitats? Cranky ancient empires? Detailed social engineering? There’s really no comparison.

    Always an enjoyable listen, thanks guys!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I agree with the part near the conclusion where you discuss the need to innovate, and the conservative nature of the genre.

    But I think that part of what keeps the genre so conservative is in part fan communities like this one. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve read or heard you guys discussing how a 4x game “ought” to have this or that feature simply because its one of the things that a 4x “ought” to have. But I think we’ve seen recently that we just plain don’t need those things unless they actually serve the game’s needs.

    Diplomacy is a big offender here. If a game hasn’t got diplomacy… maybe it doesn’t NEED diplomacy? Maybe it only needs a bare minimum diplomatic system to get it through the day so that the player can get back to what the game is actually good at?

    There’s a tendency of 4x expansions to add systems. But… we don’t NEED all of those systems sometimes.

    If a game knows what its good at, it can just do that. And if no one can describe what it is that a game is good at, it probably isn’t a good game.


      • I’m not blaming explorminate alone, but even here virtually every discussion of a new or in development 4x involves a listing of the genre tropes the game includes, and a comment indicating a hope that it will include others in the future.

        Thea I’ll give you, but Endless Legends is one of the bigger offenders. Its expansion cycle has been a long stream of updated and added features that exist to fill out the genre tropes of a classical 4x, motivated, as far as I can tell, by fans who requested these features because for all they may have liked it’s innovations, its traditionalisms were what everyone understood. Further, most of its innovations are classical 4x tropes and subsystems turned up to 11, built on a very traditional chassis… and the DLC cycle has left the game less divergent from the norm rather than more.

        I’m glad it exists because someone had to scream “4x doesn’t have to only be space, tolkienesque, or historical!” and maybe a truly innovative 4x wouldn’t have been able to send that message. But its core gameplay loop is not innovative at all, and it’s a mark of the genres conservatism that Endless Legend is considered a great innovator.


      • Patrick, I disagree. Innovation does not need to be all at once. Endless Legend does a lot different than other 4X titles. So much so, that others, like Civilization 6 and Stars Beyond Reach, lifted components of it.

        This is indeed an interesting discussion, and one that we will be analyzing to death a lot, but there are plenty of innovative 4X games that died before release, or shortly thereafter.

        Stars Beyond Reach and Star Ruler 2.

        As much as people want innovation, they want tradition too. Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars is a perfect example of that.

        This particular experiment is playing out as we speak: Lord of Rigel, Stars in Shadow, Dawn of Andromeda, Dominos Galaxia and others. These are all games that take their roots from the original Master of Orion and it’s only sequel, Master of Orion 2.

        We will see how it all plays out over the next year or so.


  3. No mention to the awful population and transport mechanics? This completely killed the game for me. The list design errors in order of importance accordingi to my judgement are:

    1. Population and transport mechanics. Yeah, like a heavy micromanagement game needs another extra layer of micromanagement. Well done designers.

    2. Tech is boooring. As you well said, everyone has more or less the same tech all the time which practially renders diplomacy and espionage useless as well, beyond the ussual trade and science pact abuse. Oh and what’s with that “funny” music you get when something new is researched? It drives me crazy :p

    3. Combat. I don’t like it, I don’t understand it, I have no interest in understanding it (it is not like they took much of an effor in explaining to you how to combat anyway)… autocombat for me please. This of course has the side effect of making ship design much less interesting.

    4. Dull samey races. From my experience they do all play more or less the same. And I’m not comparing to Endless Legend different here, but the original MOO 2 different.

    5. Espionage. The first implementation was soooo terrible. Another extra layer of micromanagement like in point 1. I’ve heard that the new implementation is better, though I didn’t play it, and I’m quite confident that it will be worse than how it use to work on the original.

    All in all I disagree with the opinion that the problem with this game is that they haven’t attempted to create something new. It is the other way around actually. We won’t know what would have happened in that case, but we have some hints in that in everything they kind of “innovated”, they providived a worse system than in the original. Actually, if you get the game and fix the 5 points I wrote down by just copying the original mechanics, we would actually get a much better game IMO. Of course it would be quite a copy from the original, but that’s what most people was asking for, and it is not like they did something so much different anyway.



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