Every game has its own rhythm. In games like EverQuest or Ultima Online, you have to perform all the actions by yourself. If you are not logged on to the game, your character is frozen. Once you are logged in, you can start playing and the game's world will come to life again, from your perspective at least.
In Starpeace Online every entity has a life of its own and as a result, they continue evolving even when you are not connected to the game. Starpeace Online game-play is very unique. You don't need to be in the game to enable your enterprises to continue evolving. You can enter the Starpeace Online worlds from time to time to check how your businesses are doing, and only spend more time in the game when you need to do carry out major reforms or expansions in your companies. You can check the status of your companies from the Starpeace Online web site. This is very useful, especially if your boss is not too fond of online fun, you can still keep tabs on your companies and Starpeace Online happenings without actually needing to be in the game.
It terms of game success, it's your mind that counts most. You will spend more time thinking (probably while taking a shower or driving) than actually doing.
The beauty of Starpeace Online is that it's designed to suit your personality. If you are a very meticulous manager, you will find plenty of micro-management to do. If, on the contrary, you are a singled-minded Empire builder, you will find ways to manage your empire in a more global manner. Both approaches bring you success; the idea is for you to have fun in the way you like the most or maybe experiment.
The growth of your ventures in the game resembles real life. If you decide not to take risks, you will probably never go bankrupt, but you will probably have to wait a bit longer for big things to start happening. It's ultimately up to you; you pick the rhythm of game-play.
The best way to speed up your game is to get loans.
You will find banks in the game. Some of them will be operated by players, and some by NPCs. A loan is probably the best way to boost your companies. Players afraid of taking risks prefer to wait until their profits provide them with a comfortable investment margin. But, if you are not very profitable, this tactic could entail a lot of waiting. So it might be a good idea to get a loan, build the stuff you want and pay the loan back with the extra profit you will generate.
This approach will make your companies more dynamic and allow you to quickly respond to the changing needs of the market. Imagine you just discovered a new food processing plant is needed in the city, but you simply don't have the money to build one. Instead of waiting until you have enough money to build it, (with the imminent danger of another player coming to the same realization and building the plant before you) you could get the money from the bank.
Now, banks won't lend you a single dime if they don't think you can pay them back. You must earn their trust. How do you do that? You have to be profitable. When you ask for the loan, they will examine your company to determine whether you can pay the loan or not. This is why turning a profit as soon as possible is so important (check the previous section for some hints on that).
There is a limit on the amount of money you can borrow from the IFEL bank. 500 millions for every level you achieved (500 at Apprentice, 1 billion at Entrepeneur and so on...).
Loans do have some inherent risks. Although the bank will study your company in order to set a ceiling on how much you can borrow, sometimes this ceiling can be rather high. If you borrow too much money, and if for some reason you don't invest the loan's money properly, then you could be in trouble.
Loans are always re-paid in yearly installments, with the interest calculated on the remaining of the principal debt. So, for example, if you take out a loan of 100 million at 2% interest over ten years, you will pay 12 million the first year (10 million plus the 2% of 100 million), then 11.8 million the second year (10 millions plus the 2% of the remaining 90 million), and so on.
It's important to know that it's possible to pay back loans in way that will save you quite a bit in interest. If the money you borrowed helps you get a faster return than you thought, you should consider repaying the loan sooner, rather than later.
Don't get discouraged by your debt load. Again, this is the stuff the game is made of, just like in the real world. Achieving the right balance is part of the challenge: it is your job to try and do it.
As an investor you can achieve six different investor levels in each world. At any time, it's possible for you to apply to advance to the next level. At the end of the year, the IFEL will check the minimal requirements needed. In fact, in order to move one level up, you must meet certain criteria, like having a minimum amount of Prestige Points and a minimum profit per hour ratio.
Please note that the profit per hour ratio is calculated based on the net profit of the previous year. This means that even if your ratio was almost always over the requested amount, but you spent a lot of money on construction or researches, you may not qualify for the advancement. Also, you are required to pay hefty sums of money to the IFEL.
The first level is called Apprentice. At this level you are somewhat protected. For instance, when you demolish a building, you will receive a complete refund on the building cost, provided that you bought the construction materials from the Trade Center. At the end of the year, the IFEL will refund half of the money you have spent on researches and you will have priority over players from higher levels on supply and client lists. However, you will be strictly limited in the number of buildings you can have. You will not be able to own more than 50, not counting upgrades. In order to build more it's necessary for you to move on to the next level.
The second level is Entrepreneur. To become Entrepreneur you must have an average profit ratio greater than $1000/h. It is also necessary that you pay back the original debt to the IFEL.remember that $100 million you got at the beginning? At this level you will lose some of your protection, but you will gain access to some very cool technologies. If you demolish a building 2/3s of the cost is refunded (again only of the portion of construction materials you bought from the Trade Center). At the end of the year 30% of the money you have spent on researches is refunded. You cannot own more than 100 buildings.
Aha, now it's time to show your stuff. this is the real deal. To have reached this level, you had to have had an average profit ratio greater than $5000/h and have paid back $500 million to the IFEL. For the payback, the IFEL will give you 100 Prestige Points. The Trade Center won't sell to you anymore, so you need to have established your supplies network during your Entrepreneur stage. You will be a step ahead in technological terms and you will have a building limit of 200.
Next comes Master. Here you will have access to even cooler cutting edge technologies and industry types however, the prerequisites to achieve this level are much steeper. To get here you have to have an average profit ratio greater than $50,000/h, and have paid back $2 billion to the IFEL and have a minimum 3,000 Prestige Points. Once you reach this level you automatically receive 200 Prestige Points. Your building limit is set at 350.
The fifth level is Paradigm. This is a critical milestone in your evolution as an investor, since you will have access to the Magna Seal for the first time unless you managed to accumulate 100 Nobility Points earlier (another requisite for accessing the Magna Seal). This Seal allows you to build huge residential structures, which will not only boost your business, but also your prestige. This the first level in which you can consider Transcending. See next chapter for a detailed explanation on Transcendence and Nobility Points. The prerequisites to reach Paradigm are an average profit ratio greater than $100,000/h and a minimum of 5,000 Prestige Points. Your payback to the IFEL is $20 billion and you will receive 400 Prestige Points. Your building limit is set at 500.
Next is Legend. Reaching this level means you will be consecrated as a living example of excellence, because it most certainly is not easy. In fact, you'll need an average profit ratio greater than $500,000/h and at least 15,000 Prestige Points and your IFEL payment will be a whopping $40 billion. You will receive 800 Prestige Points and your building limits is 501.
Next is Life After Legend and the levels here are Beyond Legend I, II, III, and so on.
Leveling will work in the exact same way: if you click on the checkbox, at the end of the year your request will be processed. If you meet the criteria in terms of Profit, Prestige and money to pay you will advance. Once you advance, you the next level will appear on the right, with the new requisites. There is no limit to the number of levels; you can keep leveling as long as you can.
The requisites are designed in such a way that the money per hour per facility increases all the time, so it will be harder and harder to meet them. There's only one exception, there is no need to get new Prestige, as long as you keep it above the Legend requisite (15000).
Here is the hardest part: if at the end of the year, you don't meet the requisite of the level you are currently in than you will drop to the previous level. In the process of dropping a level, you will also lose one and a half prestige points of what you gained upon having reached that level. Moreover, the money you spent to level won't be refunded, so be sure to level only if you are certain that you can keep your income levels at the new level.
This will happen only at new levels, so you won't go back to Paradigm if you are at Legend, but you won't have the income per hour anymore. You can transcend at any time in the Beyond Legend levels.
Now, your game-play should not turn into a single-minded race to achieve the highest level possible. This usually has pretty bad consequences. It's like developing a mature mind in a 3-year-old child's body, or like trying to skip puberty. You need to reap the maximum benefits from each level in order to see your companies develop in a healthy fashion. As a result of this so-called more cautious approach, you'll probably reach Legend status faster than those who are saving every dime to pay the next level's fee.
Transcendence and Nobility Points
What happens after you have achieved Legend status? Is the game over? Not a chance. Now you will be introduced to the Nobility of Starpeace Online. At the top two levels: Paradigm and Legend and at the Beyond Legend ones, you will have had the option to Transcend.
What does that mean? Simply put, you have decided your experience as a Tycoon has come to an end. You've decided to look for new challenges; a new line of business, or maybe even a move to a new planet, in the Starpeace Online Universe, is in order. To transcend you will have to build a Mausoleum, a special facility that is available only at the last two levels. If the construction of the Mausoleum is complete one year after the start of its construction, you will be able to transcend.
Transcending results in the destruction of all your buildings (in that particular world), your company will disappear, and you will be back to exactly the same place you were at, at the start of your adventure on that world. The only thing left on the world to testify to your legacy will be the Mausoleum, on which you can inscribe your words of wisdom. Be careful though, once the one year construction period has elapsed on the Mausoleum, there's no turning back. If you are not sure about transcending, destroy the Mausoleum before it's too late.
The act of transcending gives you a certain amount of Nobility Points. If you do it at Paradigm, you will get 50 Nobility Points, at Legend 100 Nobility Points. Beyond Legend you will get 50 extra Nobility points for every level you have reached at the moment of the transcendence (if you are at Beyond Legend I, you will get 100, II 150, III 200 and so on).. The amount of Nobility Points you have will establish the number of worlds you can play at the same time: from 0 to 199 Nobility Points translates into only 1 world, from 200 to 399, 2 worlds, from 400 to 799, 3 worlds etc.
When you transcend you don't just receive Nobility Points, Prestige Points: 1,000 at Legend and 800 at Paradigm. Remember that Prestige Points are applicable locally, to each world, so you will receive these points only if you decide to rejoin the world again, after the Transcendence.
Moreover, some facilities are only available to players with a certain amount of Nobility Points. For example to build Movie Studio you need at least 50 Nobility Points. Another advantage of having Nobility Points is the possibility of creating Magna companies at the Apprentice Level; you need to have at least 100 Nobility Points.
When you restart after transcending, you can also get a little more money. The IFEL will calculate the amount of money they give you by converting your Nobility Points into millions or $100,000,000.00 as usual, whichever amount is larger.