Deepolis is an interesting browser MMORPG that takes place below the ocean. In the dystopian future of Deepolis, human civilization is driven under the sea where three factions have sprung up and vie for domination. While there are plenty of quests to complete, Deepolis is very much an open-ended game with a strong emphasis on player interaction, particularly through the open PvP environment. It’s no secret that BigPoint borrowed heavily from previous titles (particularly Dark Orbit and SeaFight) when fashioning Deepolis, but the game does have many unique features including the ability to dive deeper underwater on a ‘z’ axis. The three available factions in Deepolis are:
Nauts - The descendants of Artic researchers, the Nauts are a neutral faction who have the ability to freely trade at the stations of rival factions. Their submarines are the most well-balanced in Deepolis.
Scion - The Scion are known for their advanced defensive systems. Their subs have more room for armor plating than the vessels of other factions. While Scion pilots can navigate near Nauts stations, the Jafnhar will fire on sight.
Jafnhar - The most militarized faction in Deepolis, their ships have plenty of storage space to accommodate Sonic Cannons. Jafnhar vessels are not welcome at Scion stations but can trade freely with the neutral Nauts. Jafnhar members trace their ancestry back to Russian and Japanese military officials.
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Deepolis Full Review
By Erhan Altay
Deepolis is the latest browser game by BigPoint, a large European publisher of mainly web-based MMORPGs. Deepolis is very similar Dark Orbit but set under the ocean rather than in space. This unique theme, accompanied by a short back story, give the game a different taste than previous titles, including Sea Fight – an earlier nautical browser MMO by the same publisher. Like previous titles, Deepolis has already found a large audience. Thousands of players can be found online even though the game is relatively new and currently supports only two servers.
Freedom of the Web
The most alluring feature of browser MMOs is their accessibility. Downloading large files and installing new programs can be frustrating or may not even be possible at certain locations such as work or school. For this reason, web based MMORPGs are rapidly increasing in popularity. While most of the games available in this genre are slow paced or contain text & images only, Deepolis offers real time combat in a large persistent world supported by a 2D graphic interface. The graphics on display here are very basic; they don’t compare to more advanced browser based games like Fusion Fall, but are around the same quality as those in games like Gladius 2 or XBlaster. Account creation is a simple process that can be done either on the game’s main page or on BigPoint’s homepage. There is no character creation but players must choose between three rival factions before entering the game. The factions are Nauts, Scion, and Jafnhar. Each has a different line-up of submarines and a different backstory which can be read during selection. The popularity of each faction is displayed under its name with a percentage but new players shouldn’t think too hard on their faction since it can be freely changed until level 5.
This Seems Familiar…
After choosing a faction, players are lead to an overview page. Like previous BigPoint games, some parts of Deepolis are done on the website such as auctions, shopping, clan searches, and viewing your info page. The actual gameplay is done on another browser screen that opens when you click ‘play game.’ Once you’ve entered the game, you’ll find yourself in the middle of the ocean in a blue haze with various fish-monsters roaming around. The loading screen displays the controls which are generally very simple. The mouse is used to move and fire while hitting ‘space’ brings your vessel to a halt. Besides just moving horizontally and vertically, players can move in a third axis, depth. Since the graphics are decidedly two dimensional, Deepolis pulls off the depth effect by making objects larger the further you dive and smaller as you rise. All submarines, including the starting one, have two weapon types; torpedoes and sonic cannons. There are four tiers of ammo for each weapon, with level one ammo being the weakest and cheapest and level four being the most powerful and expensive. New players start with several level four torpedoes but should think twice before wasting them.
Deep Sea Stations
The local sea monsters in the starting area shouldn’t pose much of a challenge. They range in level from 5-15 but are all easily defeated by one or two level one torpedoes. Killing them rewards both experience and salvageable cargo. Players level up quite fast during the early game, especially with the assistance of quests which reward players with cash and bonus experience. As of June 2009 there is no level cap and some players have already passed level 100 so expect an eventual cap to be upwards of that number. Eventually, players will run out of ammo or fill their cargo space (or both) and will need to head to the local station to offload their booty and rearm. Manually moving around looking for a station is rather difficult, but luckily a menu on the right of the screen lists important objects in the area you’re in. The first item on this list should always be ‘Nearest Station’ – click it to activate auto-pilot and travel to your destination. Stations serve as safe harbors in the otherwise dangerous world of Deepolis. Here, players are protected from enemy attack, but remember that each station belongs to one of the three factions so some may be off limits to you. To see which stations are open to members of a certain faction, check out the overview page.
Cel and Helix
There are two currencies in the game, Cel and Helix. Cel is the more common of the two and is used to purchase most ammo and equipment. Helix is the premium currency, similar to uridium in Dark Orbit. Helix is much harder to earn in-game but is conveniently available at the premium shop, labeled as the bank. Besides four levels of ammo for each of the weapon types, there are several other pieces of equipment for sale at the shop including decoys, mines and depth charges each with three tiers. Each faction currently has nine submarines, several of which are premium types that can only be purchased with Helix. There are five tiers of sonic cannon for sale, as well as three tiers of hull armor and four types of turbines. These equipment options may seem impressive when listed all at once, but in reality there is very limited customization, especially for a game with such a high level cap.
Hit the Jackpot at the Marina
Deepolis shares the same auction and jackpot features found in previous BigPoint titles. Both are a bit strange, especially the auction system which is labeled the Marina. Here, players bid on items that are available from time to time. The confusing part is that all bidders lose their money when the auction ends but only the top bidder receives the item. Many disgruntled players have said this operates more like a casino than auction house but it obviously hasn’t caused much concern in the community. Jackpot points are a more positive attraction and offer players a chance to win real money by playing the game. Of course, the chances are slim – players must win huge battle royals that take place each month to earn cash equal to the number of jackpot points they have accumulated. I’m sure large clans will dominate these jackpot events but it still makes an attractive addition.
Final Verdict: Fair
Deepolis offers many of the same gameplay features you’ve come to expect from BigPoint but in a new and unique setting. Several new features (such as the ability to travel in three dimensions) are interesting but aren’t enough to significantly improve the core mechanics.