StarPeace is Multiplayer Mayhem

What would you do with a hundred million dollars? Hmmm, let’s see. First things first: one might tell your power-hungry boss to take this job, turn it side ways and stick it straight"well, you get the idea!

Then one might proceed to the car dealership and trade in their chitty-chitty-bang-bang for a brand new ride to match their newfound riches. Then one might decide to never set foot in or ever ride by their former "rent-a-home," but instead drive straight over to the neighborhood of the "rich and famous" and set themselves up in the most luxurious of bachelor/bachelorett pads.

Afterwards, the only right thing to do would be to make significant contributions to the American society as any good citizen would do. You know, like buy all the electoral votes in Florida in favor of Gore, making MTV a local channel, and personally seeing to it that all those Playstation 2 reserves are filled immediately. You know. Things like that.

But if I could be serious for a moment(not), let’s face it, you’d probably be filing for bankruptcy in less than a week’s time with a life-style like that. Instead what if you were given an opportunity to turn your new found millions into zillions? Sound good? If so then next to winning the lottery, Monte Cristo’s "StarPeace – Rise of the Tycoons" could be just up your alley.

StarPeace is a massively multiplayer online real-time city builder strategy game set in the future where players control, collaborate and compete against each other to build up their own corporations. Sounds like good ole fashion American business eh? Let me further explain.

The IFEL or International Foundation for Extraterrestrial Life is looking for a few good entrepreneurs. You seem to fit the script, or so time will tell. You are presented a nice fat check from the IFEL in the lump sum of 100 million dollars. Now this is an incredible amount of money if you were to spend it on personal needs and pleasures, like food or a tour of the moon. However, being the great potential entrepreneur IFEL thinks you are, you’re expected to invest this money and make it grow.

At the same time you have the opportunity to invoke a highly respected reputation among society, which could lead to the bigger doors of success in the future. Think you’re up to the challenge? We’ll see.

So how do I become a zillionaire you ask? Simple. The $100 million dollars given to you by the IFEL is your starting catalyst. With this insane amount of money you can build over 300 kinds of economic and public facilities including offices, hotels, bars, etc., or even launch your own political campaign for Mayor or President against other online players. The object of the game is what you make it. You can build huge companies or small and stable companies. You can have a political career, be a Mayor, a Minister and a President and see your name in the headlines of StarPeace newspapers. The actions you take will ultimately decide your success or failure. With that said let us get down to the nitty-gritty.

There are so many elements to this game that it is almost impossible to explain them all to you in just one review. So instead we’ll focus on the main point: making money. Money makes the world go round my friend. No matter what path you choose to follow, money will always be the common denominator that decides it all. I will briefly attempt to explain and help you better understand the economy of Star Peace and hopefully help make you lots and lots of money.

The economy of Star Peace is very realistic. As in real life, everything is connected. Every action you perform will start a series of reactions. The ultimate consequences are sometimes hard to predict. The economy has to be balanced and expanded with care, otherwise the world would suffer from one crisis to another. Let us reflect on the key points of a well-run economy.

We start with Population. Population is the key to understanding the economy. There are three social classes in Star Peace. They are high, middle, and low. Each class has their own ideas and concepts on the way a society should be ran. You’ll find that the greatest challenge by far in this game is meeting the needs of the general population. Here are just a few examples of how complex it is to maintain a good population count.

For instance, citizens of the high class structure will not work a salary job for less than $50/hr. Citizens of the middle class structure will not work a salary job for less than $20/hr while citizens of the lower class structure will work a salary job for as little as $5/hr. On the subject of unemployment, higher-class citizens will not move to the city without a job offer. However, middle class citizens will move to prosperous and secure cities even without a job offer, while lower class citizens will move to the city without a job offer, unless life is too expensive and unemployment is high.

Each class also has their own set of high demand goods. The higher class loves nice cars, fancy restaurants, and fresh food. The middle class has a love for household appliances, movies and food while the lower class is satisfied with processed food, clothing on their backs, and a good bar to drink their troubles away. Crime is not to be left out of this equation either. Higher-class citizens almost never generate crime and middle class citizens generate only lower levels of crime. However, the lower class citizens will steal the clothes off your back if the social conditions are not favorable.

As you can see, meeting the needs of the people will require your full attention and should by no means ever be taken lightly.

Now, onto to buildings and structures. Factories have supplies and they create production. They also provide work for the general population. Some factories process raw materials for other factories. Others produce the goods that are sold in stores. Owning factories is simple, as long as you can secure clients for your products.

Warehouses store goods and raw materials. They are critical to overcome the winter when farms cannot produce and several industries have to rely on what is stored. Warehouses play a key role in keeping your company organized.

Civic buildings are facilities that do not produce any profit, but they give important services to the population. Hospitals, schools, police, and fire stations belong to this group. They are usually run by Mayors, or Ministers, or by players with some political interest. Finally we have real estate. This is where people live. Investors like you create the buildings, and then people move into them and will pay you rent.

Ultimately the only way to succeed in the game is to make the right decisions. Making good use of your resources at the right time in the right place with the right people will keep your cities populated, your businesses out of the red zone, your reputation blemish free, and most importantly your pockets full.

Let me add a few final tips to making money. First off, minimize your salaries. Salary is a big sink of money. Secondly, don’t buy things you don’t want. In particular unneeded buildings and structures. Also make generous use of your demolish button. Don’t sink your money into a factory no one wants to buy from. And then finally, have patience. Before you manage to be successful you will no doubt experience much failure. But its all part of the game and brings even more meaning to the phrase, "Only the strong survive."

Well that about wraps it up for this one. A great game with some serious depth and realism, StarPeace is undoubtedly a mental challenge for all you Wall Street junkies out there. And the addition of all those other players will really keep you on edge. There is always someone willing to chip your empire away if you are not careful. This game gets the thumbs up and is easily worth 4 out of 5 possible GiN gems.

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