I Remember Planets


I've been playing TDZK for a long time now. I've been lucky enough to have the chance to lead a wonderful alliance, fortunate enough to have been able to be involved of many of the interesting events in the game, and I’ve accumulated quite a few memories of TDZK over the years. And of the things that most stand out in my mind when I think about my experiences in this game, a great deal of them involve planets.

I remember that the very reason I joined the alliance that would shape my TDZK career in 2.0 was because Malhavoc said, “We own two planets” in his recruitment spam – something which seemed inherently important to a person new to the game. I remember how dismaying it was when our planets were raided. I remember how exciting it was when we raided one back.

I remember fighting SH alongside STS in 2.1, and our attempt to take SH’s planets. I remember the anger I felt when Artur’s multis shut down all secondary reloads. I remember our being forced to gamble with roulette raiders, and how EVERY SHOT counted. The tension was incredible.

I remember watching GTG/Discordia attack a SH planet in 2.2, and lower the population enough that we were able to throw together an opportunistic raid on the rock in twelve hours notice, before the population was able to recover. I remember how thrilling it was to be able to pull that off. I remember how this started the main war of the round: Fury/Renegades/FF against SH/HH/HC/CC/TPx/PRU.

I remember one of the worst days of my TDZK career, logging on to find out that, due to incredible carelessness and stupidity on our part, our prize planet had been stolen by a malevolent newbie. I remember the op we threw together to raid it back, scraping together five raiders and a couple cover and somehow managing to power drain it without being jumped.

I remember the six hours of desperate, constant restocking against three SH/PM raid teams as they brought Asgard to within an inch of its life. I remember the recklessness with which dronestockers threw themselves at the sector to near certain pods. I remember how the issue exploded into hot debate on the webboards.

I remember the hours spent designing and brainstorming as we plotted how to take down Tyr, the most expensive and intimidating planet in the game. And I remember the difficult, ugly, but ultimately satisfying raid as we slowly overcame restockers on the main PM planet after we became involved in a war with them and switched the planned Tyr op to them.

I remember being up late, watching with bated breath as GTG and KAOS made their attempt on Tyr in the dead hours of the morning. I remember the astonishment I felt at IA’s nonexistent attempts to defend. I remember the awe I felt when they popped the planet and needed what felt like hours to kill all of the ejectees.

I remember hearing the reverence with which 1.0 veterans spoke of Bubblegum, the 1.0 planet of TDZK legend. And then I experienced our modern-day Bubblegum – the three day battle of 8002, the largest battle in the history of the game. I remember the monstrous effort of alliances on all sides. I remember #fury having the most people it’s ever had, all eager to defend the rock. I remember the furious jumps against terrible odds, the enormous, lag ridden battles, the desperate restocking, the frenzied raiding, the thousands of shots fired, the chaos as the planet finally fell.

I skipped classes during that, skipped meals, barely slept. By the end of it, I was a wreck, exhausted physically and mentally, having seen our plans for the round falter in a colossal gangbang, and yet I had never felt so involved and engaged in the game or passionate and proud of my alliance.

And these are just some of my memories, and only Fury memories. I also remember watching the prolonged battle as UF/DR fought over Hell and the ridiculous number of pods when that rock finally feel. I remember raiding planets and getting planets raided from us. I remember desperately restocking and overcoming desperate restocking. I remember being glued to the screen while we drone-raided, refreshing madly, poised to trigger on anything that come IS because we COULD NOT let a restocker dock on the planet. I remember political drama caused by alliances hiding members of other alliances on their planets.

Obviously, these are rosy memories. Planets had their problems, no doubt. They were not always useful or exciting. Perhaps they DID favor the bigger, better organized alliances.  But I was still dismayed when the initial discussion about 3.0 revealed that planets were going to be removed. I wrote a long post then, explaining my thoughts on the issue. I expressed my concerns to the admins. And then I grudgingly accepted that the decision would not be changed and waited to see how things would turn out.

And now, we’re finally in Nomad. We don’t have planets; we have outposts. They are, as far as I can tell, completely useless. They’re bland and soulless, they provide almost no useful advantages to the owners, and they seem more decorative than anything else. It is impossible to imagine outposts having an significant effect on a round, or being centers of conflict, or motivation for competition. They cannot be restocked, which completely kills any potential they have as fortresses. You will never see dozens of pods pop out of an outpost, or desperate effort made to defend one, for this reason. They cannot even be captured, merely destroyed.

Why? Why have planets been removed and replaced with these wimpy, useless player-owned ports? What mechanic in Nomad is going to produce the same drama, the same conflict between alliances, the same passion and excitement? I don’t mean this as a rhetorical question; I actually want an answer. I want to know what people are going to fight over and care about when nothing matters.  Planets had their flaws, but they were nevertheless responsible for some of the most critical, wonderful moments the game has ever offered, the moments that made TDZK worth playing, the moments that we cherish years later. Now they’re gone, and I’m not seeing why this was a good thing. Please tell me Nomad can offer something comparable.