Star Valor achieves Escape Velocity

After four years (not a typo) in Early Access, Star Valor released earlier this month. This is a top-down, sandboxy action rpg where you can be a pirate, trader, miner, etc. As with the forerunners in this genre, you start with a small ship and have to earn money to buy bigger ships and upgrades for them. I’m about thirty hours in and having a blast.

For those of you that love mining like I do (all two of you), be warned that the mining start is REALLY slow. But the reason is pretty damned cool. You see, the materials you recover are much less dependent on where you are mining than on your geology skill, which is a slow process to level up. So until you can mine Silver, income is pretty awful. Not to mention, early on I was too slow to run from anything and too weak to fight (I was killed dozens of times).However, from that point on, it starts to take off and before you know it, you are clearing entire asteroid fields with ease and raking in money hand over fist from gold, platinum, iridium, etc.

There are six classes of ships, from shuttles and yachts to cruisers and dreadnaughts. Each faction has their own versions of these and there are also independent ships to acquire. Each ship class has bonuses (e.g. the bigger ships have increased weapon range), as do the specific style of ship (e.g. carriers have fleet bonuses), and the faction (proxima mining ships have better mining speed and cheaper repairs).

Each ship variant has a certain amount of space for weapons, equipment, and cargo, but how you fill that space is entirely up to you, which makes kitting out your ship a lot of fun. Want more boosters? Just make sure you have enough reactors to power them. Add shields, armor, batteries, asteroid analyzers, scanners, cloaking devices, energy capacitors, heat sinks, towing arrays, repair drones, and more. Weapons and equipment have a Diablo-style rarity system, so you might buy a white variant and upgrade it to purple (I was 5-10 hours in before I realized I should be making much more use of this feature). You can even custom craft weapons, though I haven’t seen the need.

I’d love to tell you about the story, but… I haven’t touched it beyond the intro mission. I think I will have to soon, though, because of some equipment I want. There are plenty of bog-standard mission terminal requests to do, but no sign of any quest chains aside from the main quest (unless those are only available after doing more of the main quest).

The Galaxy is created when you start your game. You can set the Galaxy size, but I don’t think there’s a ton of control over other details. That’s one thing I find unfortunate. I’d like for there to be much broader clusters dominated by particular factions, like the maps used to be in Escape Velocity, rather than this area is controlled by Venghi, the next jump over is PMC, and the next one is syndicate.

Captain Hector says don’t forget to register!

I’d forgotten that! But I’m still using the same player name I always used in EV.

Glad this game is getting some love. It deserves it.

Brian, any idea how much story content there is?

Not a clue, I only toyed with it during early access and have been waiting for 1.0 to dive back in.

Hey, this one’s been on my wish list for a long-ass time. Like I can’t even remember how long.

I have found a co-pilot during the tutorial who is also a gunner. How do I add him to my ship? It looks like he is on a ship that is docked at a space station. My two options are to launch him or dock him. I have room on my ship for a co-pilot. So far I have not located a manual for the game.

The interface is a bit weird in spots. If he is on the station, you click the little head icon above your inventory list in the hangar menu. Click his name and click assign (a list of positions will pop up). If he is on a ship in your fleet, you’d have to unassign them first.

When you want to move your character to a new ship, you will click the ship in your inventory and click Swap. That doesn’t move any gear over.

Okay thank you

If there is any, I didn’t find it in about 5 hours of playing. Mostly the same few missions over and over while exploring to see if anything interesting existed.

You should have a level 10 mission in your quest log. You have to reach honored with one of two factions. Then there are a couple of quests that follow, but apparently not a huge amount.

As it turns out, there are a couple of perks acquired during play that lock you out of that quest line, because you can no longer reach honored with either faction. I have one of those.

On the plus side, new plays let you start with ships and perks you have unlocked, so things will go faster.

This game would really benefit from mods adding story content, though it sounds like it isn’t super Mod friendly. Also, just found this:

What WILL be added after launch (Out of Early Access):

  • More ships and mechanics with diverse content.
  • Remaining ship roles: Fighter, Racing, Passenger.
  • Storyline development
  • Faction Wars part 2 - Station capture/rebuild by AI factions
  • Station management (Probably as a DLC)
  • Mega-structures - Big alien bases to enter, explore and loot.
  • Economy patch - Market stock replenish, each item can be imported/exported/neutral, and more.
  • Local co-op - Have a friend control your fleet ships with a joystick.

What MAY be added in the future

  • Multiplayer support, with option for private servers with custom galaxies.
  • Enemy ship capture - Some sort of disabling ships to capture them.
  • Interaction with planets - something like station interaction.

What was considered at first and will NOT be added

  • Getting out of the ship and explore big asteroids, planets and stuff.
  • Food and oxygen system.

So there will be more story coming. The faction wars stuff will be really nice. Currently, bases can be destroyed and sector ownership can be lost, but the possibility for a new base and different sector ownership isn’t there yet.

New question. I am playing with mouse and keyboard. And I must have pressed a button I shouldn’t have because now I can’t steer my ship using the mouse, only WASD. Anyone know what I might have done and how to restore steering with mouse? I checked settings and controls and restored to default settings but that did not resolve the issue.

Yeah, it’s a button on screen on the left side, mid-high. I did the same thing once and was really confused. Really dumb UI, imo.

Is it my imagination or does this have a Star Control II vibe?

Yes I see it just above the Energy Control section called Steer Mode: Mouse. I accidentally clicked on it and now it says “Keyboard” but a click restored it to Mouse. Thanks @Misguided

I love this type of game but I’m struggling to find a hook that keeps me playing this one. I’m quite possibly missing something, but for me the gameplay is too tilted towards the “sandbox” end of the scale.

The main driver seems to be customizing and upgrading your ship. But in similar games, you’re doing that to do something with the ship. Like in Starsector I’m trying to build a new faction, in Star Control or Escape Velocity I’m trying to advance the story.

In Star Valor I feel like I’m just improving my ship to get better at improving my ship.

Accurate. Having said that, I think the moment to moment gameplay is great. The structure is there. I’d love to see them add more to it. A “take over the Galaxy” mode might be fun

No disagreement from me. Though I will say that my favorite thing in space games is exploration and I like the way this is handled in Star Valor. The crafting bit could be interesting, I haven’t progressed that far. Customization plays a big part, too.

But to your ‘to what end’ point, for me I’m having fun trying to hold my own in dog fights as a bounty hunter.

Oh absolutely! And don’t wait to mess with the crafting, particularly making upgrade kits (look for the recipes to make green and blue kits)