Vendetta Online Review


There have been plenty of MMORPGs set in fantasy realms that have tried to match the success of EverQuest, but when it comes to games set in space there is a pretty big void. Eve Online has not set any sales records and Earth and Beyond is now defunct entirely. Is the lack of space-based MMORPGs a huge oversight or an indicator of a general lack of interest in the genre? A new MMORPG from Strategy First titled Vendetta Online is banking on the former…

Vendetta Online (VO) is a game that gives you a ship and a star to steer her by. Or rather many stars. The VO universe features numerous star systems which are further broken down into even more numerous sectors – there’s a lot of space out there … and it takes a lot of time to see it, but more on that later. Normally I would write about a game’s background story at this point in the review, but I’m not going to do that in this case. It’s not that VO doesn’t have a background story, it’s just that it has so much of one I can’t possibly cover it all here. There is so much background story that the game’s voluminous manual has about five pages of game instructions with the rest of the 60 plus pages dedicated to the storyline. Basically the game takes place 2000 years in the future at a time when humanity is divided into three factions after being separated from the Earth by a wormhole. These factions fall roughly in line with the divisions between explorers, warriors, and merchants, with the warrior faction at war with the explorers.

The story is probably richer than you’ll find with any other MMORPG at its launch, but as of now the game does not really do that much with it. Sure, you pick a starting faction and that determines your starting location, but that’s about all you’ll see of the story. I joined the warrior race and expected to receive a ship bristling with weaponry, a starbase that resembled a flying fortress, and missions of war and conquest. Instead I got a ship that resembles a minivan and came equipped with a peashooter of a laser, I started at a starbase that was all menus on the inside and resembled an antenna-covered cigar on the outside, and missions that asked me to scan asteroids for minerals or hunt robot-controlled ships that look and fly like, well, minivans. Being a space warrior was not all that it was cracked up to be.

OK, I wasn’t going to conquer the universe for quite a while so I put my dreams on hold and set about embarking on my busywork missions. To launch yourself into space you click on the launch button, you watch your minivan pull out of dock, and then you are out in open space. Controlling your ship is easy enough – you use the mouse to steer by moving an onscreen cursor to point your ship’s nose in the direction that you want to go and you use the W and S keys as your throttle. The tab key is used to provide a short-term turbo boost to your speed and the mouse keys fire your weapons. That’s about it, like I said control is simple. In VO the downside of space travel is that there is a lot of space to travel. To leave a sector you must be well clear of any objects and this alone can take several minutes of travel. When clear you can jump to another sector in the system, but once there you’ll more than likely have to toodle along for a bit to get to where you’re going. If you want to move to a new system, you’ll need to jump to a sector with a wormhole, fly to the wormhole, move to a clear area, and then finally jump to your destination sector. If you find that you traveled all that time only to get yourself killed off right away, you’ll be respawned in the starbase that you started off from – minus a few credits for a ship replacement, of course – with the same long trek awaiting you all over again. You may want to keep a book by your computer to pass the time on those long voyages…