Empyrion is arguably the best game of its genre. Even though this game is only in Alpha Early Access it doesn't play like it; the detail is rich and the possibilities are endless. The following story is one of my greatest gaming memories and it's the reason I fell in love with this game. I've been playing computer games since I was 8 years old, some day I'll tell that story. All I'll say for now is that was over forty years ago and I've not given up gaming since. I hope you enjoy my story and I hope it compels you to experience this universe for yourself!
We were on a routine resource-gathering mission aboard one of the best asteroid mining vessels ever made. Nearing the end of our mining run, we carried massive amounts of ore, wood, and organic raw materials only found on the most distant planets within the galaxy we played on. While exploring I must have entered the atmosphere of over a hundred and fifty planets, however one stands out in my memory. I had never seen a planet quite like this, it was hued a quite beautiful baby blue across the entire planet. From orbit we could see no sign of water or life. The planet was barren. Normally we would have bypassed such a planet, however the scans revealed that the planet was rich with nearly every ore including gold! Our ship had plenty of cargo space, how could we pass this up? I ordered our pilot to enter the atmosphere. I was already crunching the numbers we would rake-in once our hover miners were unleashed on this planet. I couldn't believe that a planet so close to our home had so many ore depots! That should have been my first clue, but I was about to be rich and had little time for such things. As you might imagine, this did not bode well.
Entering the Planet Atmosphere
We descended into the atmosphere and the pilot took us in slowly. Suddenly I hear our pilot through my headset, "Umm, we're going down." Still counting all those birds in the bush, I paid little attention. His next statement has the tone of great concern, "we're going down!!" You see, what I thought was a slow decent was actually our pilot doing everything he could to pull up; he was fighting the controls. Quickly, I pulled up the scans of the planet, to which I said, "Oh Shit!" I discovered we were landing on a planet with about six times Earth's gravity; it wasn't hard to understand why our pilot was struggling. Again an alarmed voice sounded over Discord, "I can't control where we're going to land!"
Into the Nest
Of all the open places we could have landed, somehow fate conspired for us to land in the middle of four enemy faction bases. Outside, you could hear the sounds of our auto-cannons and mini-guns returning fire, and the sound of explosions of enemy rounds impacting our ship. Thinking quickly, our pilot made his way from the bridge four decks down and to the middle of the ship. It was an impossible task but our only hope was docked in the pedestal hanger bay. We had to get our hover tank out and surgically remove the guns attacking our ship.
The distance from the main elevator to the pedestal bay was perhaps a hundred meters. With the ship being on unleveled ground, and six g's gravity, I have no idea how he did it. Then, the stairs? Simply move the wrong way and you break your leg. Falling meant certain death! Surely you could re-spawn, but then you are sent back to the medical bay's clone chamber and you would have to make the long trek again. All the while our ship was being blown to bits. Some how be made it though and got that hover tank fired up then out the doors and successfully neutralized the enemy guns.
Catching our Breath
Finally having a lull in the excitement, the real danger started to set in; gravity was only part of the problem. The temperature outside was 300 degrees Celsius in daylight and around a -200 degrees at night. Our equipment could handle the cold but, we could not survive the heat. We were now stuck between a rock and a hard place, we couldn't get the ship to budge, and we couldn't survive outside of the vessel for very long with the temperature as high as it was. There was only one way we were going to get off this rock, we had to add thrusters to the ship. With a weekend of asteroid mining we had tons of resources. There wasn't anything we couldn't build right there!
We needed a lot of thrusters, and we could only place them outside the ship during the night. You had to time it just right because as dawn arose, you could end up with heatstroke before you knew it. Working through nightfall, we redesigned the the ship while during the day we worked the constructors from inside the ship. Over one hundred and seventy thrusters later, we could finally get the ship to budge. Even with all of our efforts, we still could only just barely get the ship to move. Given we only added enough thrusters to get slight lift the surrounding terrain was going to prevent us from gaining altitude. Being in a valley, there was only one thing to do; we had to build a runway. We had serious doubts if we could make this happen, however we did have a weekend's worth of loot. How could we abandon all of that? The runway was our only chance!
Out came the T2 mining drills, and we began to flatten the terrain to create our runway. When we finally thought we had enough of a runway, about 4 hours had elapsed from the time we first entered the atmosphere. What an incredible adventure! Even then, we didn't know if we could actually fly the old girl off the planet and to her freedom. What seemed like forever but likely took about 10 minutes we used the upward thrust in conjunction with the directionals, we finally got our ship lined up on the runway. We collectively held our breaths as we tried to get enough momentum. Just prior to running out of runway we got off the ground! We could only get a one to two percent incline before the ship would start rolling backwards! What usually took only a few seconds of straight upward flight now required five minutes of careful maneuvering, however before long we breached the atmosphere and made our way to freedom.
What an amazing adventure! It was truthfully facing the real loss of a weekend's worth of work. Our reward was the feeling you get when you face what seems like insurmountable odds, only to overcome them in the end! I have never played another game that has given me the same experience since. I instantly fell in love with the Empyrion, and I still play it today. One thing needs to be said about all my gaming experience; no matter the game, my game-play has always been enhanced by playing within a community of players. The story I just shared with you wouldn't have been nearly as fun if I had been playing alone. I encourage you to try out the community I belong to! Providing you like the game, it has a good chance of changing the way you think of gaming, too! (Learn about our Community)