Thursday, June 25, 2009

Game Moments: Privateer

The Rampant Coyote has done a couple of blog posts on what he calls "game moments". Moments in a game where a spontaneous narrative emerge, if you've ever experienced one, you'll know what I'm talking about, they can be quite fun to relate. I wanted to share one that I had a couple of years ago while playing the game Wing Commander: Privateer.

I was tooling around in either the Rygannon or New Constantinople systems, trying to earn a little more cash before continuing my investigation of the Steltek artifact. I had by this point bought myself a very nice Centurion class ship. It was the most lethal ship available to civilians, and I just about had it outfitted just how I wanted. This run would get me the cash to finally finish upgrading all of its systems.

I liked to do batches of missions all at once. As I mentioned, my ship was more than a match for almost anything I came across, so I would take several missions where the objectives overlapped. One employer wants me to patrol all of the waypoints, while another wants me to check out some possible pirate activity at nav point three, and yet another wants me to look into a possible Kilrathi sighting at point five. Either way I've got to visit all of the points, and it saves me a lot of time.

This particular outing I was on a patrol, and also investigating some pirate activity within an asteroid field. Normally I don't like messing with asteroid fields, you have to slow down, lest you pummel yourself to death on the rocks. My ship was built for speed, and that's how I liked to dogfight, moving so fast that no one could catch me, swooping in for the kill and disappearing before they could react. An asteroid field put a serious damper on that sort of activity. But they were paying well, and I was confident in both my skills, and my hardware.

The patrol went well, I took down a couple of stray Kilrathi, but only took light damage. I had used probably half of my supply of missles, but I only had a few nav points left before heading home to collect my pay. After checking on a planet, I turned my ships nose towards the final nav point, the asteroid field. I put the ship on autopilot, and after a bit the proximity warning lit up letting me know that we had arrived at the nav point. I dropped my speed to avoid any collisions, and went to check my radar.

"Dump your cargo before you blow, will ya?" The sneering face of a pirate was on my com screen, hurling insults at me. Well, that's to be expected, typically they don't ask you to check on a nav point unless there is something to see. After responding to the pirate with a witty retort, I check my radar, and see that there are six pirates.

Okay, two or three I can handle without a sweat four it more difficult, but six, in an asteroid field? Deciding I'd better not mess around I quickly get a missle lock and fire off a salvo of two missiles at the lead pirate, then switch to guns and pummel another one as we shoot past each other. I bank around to finish off the one I'd started shooting. My missiles hit, taking one of the pirates out. An asteroid hits the one I had been tracking with my guns. The other four pirates are taking potshots at my tail, so I flip around to scare them off. As I do, I hit an asteroid, which knocks out my entire right shield, some of my armor, and one of my right guns. This is why I hate asteroids.

I fire off another salvo of missiles, one hits an asteroid, but the other scores a hit on the pirate, unfortunately it's only enough to damage him. Fortunately it's enough for me to finish him with my guns. Three down, three left. Two of them are on my tail, and my rear shields are just about done, they've also managed to score a few more hits on my right side, taking down the remaining gun, and putting the right missile tube out of commission. I decide to take a risk and hit the afterburner for a moment, just enough to put some distance between myself and the pirates.   The gamble paid off as I was able to come about and put my stronger front shields and armor between myself and the pirates.  We strafe each other as we pass, and I'm able to take down another pirate.

My shields and armor are just about gone by now, all the weapons on my right side are down, my engines are failing, and the radar is acting up.  There are two pirates left by now, the one that was further off has almost rejoined the battle, so I'm in a hurry to finish off his wingmate before he gets here.  The nearer pirate turns about and comes at me head on, we exchange fire and he explodes, but not before knocking out my engines and almost taking out my manuvering jets.

At the point I'm dead in space, stuck in one spot.  I can roll counterclockwise, and yaw to the left, slowly, but that's it.  I have one gun that barely shoots, and one missile tube.  The last pirate makes his way back, and I know it's all over.  I ineffectually try to keep him in my sights as he circles me like a vulture.

Then a stroke of fortune, and a meteor, strikes.  The pirate runs headlong into a passing meteor, but it's not quite enough to take him down.  He closes and starts pummeling me with fire.  This is really it.  I'm having trouble tracking him because my ship is moving so slowly.  Then he moves into my field of view and comes at me for another run.  This is more than I could have hoped for, with the pirate in my field of view and flying right at me I'm able to line him up and get a missile lock.  I fire my last two missiles, and hope.

The pirate was overconfident by now, and so focused on taking me down that he doesn't even notice the missiles, and explodes in a fireball.  Breathing a sigh of relief I shut down everything, and let my repair droid get to work on the ship systems.  A while later my engines come back online, and I start limping back to port.  Hours later I arrive, and land at the mining colony.  The money from the jobs doesn't quite cover the repairs, but at least I'm still alive.

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At July 6, 2009 at 1:46 PM , Blogger Shelley said...

That is a good story!

At August 31, 2009 at 4:34 PM , Anonymous Tesh said...

Privateer was such a great game. I had similar moments in the original MechWarrior as well. Nothing like taking on two BattleMaster 'Mechs with a Jenner and coming out ahead. (Short version: Snipe at those great big heads, preferably from behind.)

At September 15, 2009 at 1:32 PM , Blogger Ross said...

Haha, reminds me of a good read from the Rouge Squadron series.


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