Xeno Cosmos Online

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Welcome to Xeno Cosmos Online, the world's most popular science fiction MMO.

From the great cities of old Terra, to the gleaming citadels of the Makarni Empress. From the deep blue oceans of Tehtys to the endless sea of stars at the galactic rim. Xeno Cosmos online is the largest virtual world ever created. A full galaxy of over a trillion stars to be explored, colonized and fought over. Explore an infinite universe of science fiction adventure, a game so real that you'll never want to return to reality again.

Warning. Xeno Cosmos Online is meant for mature audiences, and is not for the faint hearted.

Background

Released in 20XX, by the previously unknown game studio Dharma Creative, Xeno Cosmos Online has long been the world's most recognizable science fiction MMO, and has managed to make the jump from traditional markets like America, Korea, Europe and Japan into emerging markets such as India, Vietnam, Brazil and Indonesia. Central to the game's success was its leveraging of new VR and neural interface technology to allow for an impressive full body experience, in which you are actively immersed into the world of the game. This is combined with an ultra-realistic style in which every working part of the universe is fully realized, from freight shipment to the politics between PC and NPC factions.

Xeno Cosmos Online is also known for having large amounts of procedurally generated and player generated content, with whole areas of the galaxy given over to players to shape. This content was allowed to spread back into main areas of the game by developers, to somewhat mixed effect. It did however allow them to fill large amounts of the galaxy with content.

The game is also famous for its often toxic userbase, who take the game entirely too seriously, and are known to commit vast amounts of time to the game. Online and offline espionage, skullduggery and even use of real world methods to disrupt in game enemies have all been tried by player groups within XCO, and much of the game holds grudges going back a full twenty years.

Twenty years into its cycle, Xeno Cosmos Online is experiencing a resurgence in player count bought about by the massive wars taking place across several sections of the map, and interest bought on by its twentieth anniversary, and a series of new upgrades that have been bought out for it. The current player count is said to approach one hundred million, and the developers believe it may pass over the one hundred million mark for the first time ever on the twentieth anniversary day.

Lore and the structure of the Xeno Cosmos Universe

Xeno Cosmos online is set many thousands of years into the future, after an ancient race of advanced aliens, the Sorsoi, uplifted humanity from Earth and allowed them to roam the wider galaxy. Humanity has since split into six great NPC empires, who divide the centre of human space between them. At the start of the game, now nearly twenty years ago, the galaxy had just been riven by a massive war, which it was only just recovering from, creating chaos and missions for PCs. After twenty years, this storyline is all but forgotten, with the main thrust of the game's story being based around combat between the various human empires, and a hostile alien block, known as the Word.

Aesthetically, Xeno Cosmos Online is a place of sleek lines and stark colours. Most planets seem to have unusually perfect weather. Stations gleam against space, great silver, blue and red castles against the knight, itself shot through with bright nebula, gas giants and sparkling asteroids. Technology is sleek, shiny and with clean lines. Clothes tend to be fashionable looking and well fitted, often tight fitting to the character model, but can include various forms of goggles, horns and back pack sensors.

These aesthetics are somewhat compromised by player generated content in some areas. The most popular aesthetics for this include darker, more industrial looking star ships based on early twenty first century science fiction, and the perennially popular "Korea" style MMO clothing. These often grant excellent stats, but are rather embarrassing to wear, and many players cover them with other clothing.

Mechanics

Xeno Cosmos Online is a heavily realistic space sim, with the player flying ships as they would be flown and performing other actions as they would be performed. Skill is, however, only one part of the game, as aspects of build, and what equipment you're using also can have a great effect on your survival. The game includes technological and psychokinetic abilities that resemble magic for use in personal conflict, and many ships have amazing abilities to tank certain types of damage, or rapidly heal nearby ships.

Stations

The focus of the game world is stations. These include the massive, neutral Sorsoi Stations, which are fitted with ancient devices which deactivate all weapons around themselves, and provide a safe zone, and the various NPC and player controlled stations, which have various services (mission hubs, equipment vendors, crafting and ship construction stations), and secure docking. Warning: apart from Sorsoi stations, no area of space is completely secure. NPC stations will be patrolled by police and warships, but these are only as effective as the AI crews running them. Truly skilled raiders may still be able to raid you.

Death and Resurrection

Xeno Cosmos Online does not include permdeath. If you die, you are resurrected at a pre-chosen Soros life temple, but lose your ship, any equipment you were carrying or implants in your body. In practice, this means that there is a bellcurve in death consequences. Death means almost nothing to new players, who have only free starting equipment, or to veterans with near infinite amount of in game money.

Ships and Combat

Most player controlled combat craft are fast, maneuverable fighters and fighter bombers, extremely responsive and equipped with light forward firing weapons and missiles. More advanced ships tend to be larger ships, torpedo boats, frigates, cruisers, and battleships. They are armed with a usual list of science fiction weapons, such as lasers, mass drivers, particle beams and various types of missile and torpedo.

The game is balanced so that enough fighters can defeat a capital ship, to allow new players to always have a say in how combat is decided. However it rewards skill, and knowledge of game mechanics, so elite PVP teams still have a large advantage. Other enhancements include automatic bits and small AI controlled subcraft,

On a more personal level, vanilla ground or boarding combat revolves around realistic style infantry fighting. However, as the game has advanced, various other options have developed, including the deployment of robotic "Combat Frames", AI controlled drones, laser swords and "rush shields" which allow various alternate boarding tactics. Psychokinetic and tech powers add to ground combat which has moved a long way from its quasi-realistic roots.

Many skilled PVP groups have their own boarding teams which they launch into close proximity to enemy ships, as they're able to rapidly destroy or capture even the strongest enemy ships by destroying vital sections or killing the crew.

Ships move around between systems using jump routes, which link between one system and another, and jump gates, which link any system on the map. Jump gates are often used to link to player created content.

Another late added feature is the jump beacon, which allows ships to jump in from nearby systems to a friendly beacon. It is widely used by pirates and military forces as a tool for ambushes.

Content Types

One of the most important skills in XCO is to recognize what type of content you're dealing with. This can be the difference between life and death.

Developer Generated

This is directly generated content put in by the developer. It is easy to recognize due to its artistic finish and great degree of polish. In general, Developer Generated content still makes up the majority (barely) of content in the game, including most starships, weapons, powers etc. It can be recognized because it looks the best, fits easily with the rest of the game aesthetically, and because of the well balanced bonuses it gives.

Procedural Generated

Procedural Generated Content is the majority of what appears in the game. It is usually less powerful and gives somewhat lesser reward than developer generated content, in order to prevent the player base from running off into the depths of the galaxy and becoming an essentially solo experience. However, many types of resources are found in abundance in procedural generated worlds. By design, the procedural generation system sometimes throws up vast spikes of resources, which canny players can exploit.

Procedural generated content can be recognized by fitting the game aesthetic, but also by the general randomly generated nature of it, which can produce strange anomalies, such as deserts next to rivers and the like. Procedural generated enemies come in several types, mostly ancient machines, and some from certain alien races like the Word, who are also exploring the galaxy.

Player Generated

Player generated content is often powerful, giving large, even unbalanced bonuses, but can also be the most dangerous. While the developers go on periodic purges of inappropriate or unbalanced content, there's usually some that they've missed. However, this is a double edged sword, as there are strict rules against PVPers using gear they've created themselves, or created by their allies. One of the most famous tales in the game is of the great Alliance, Digital Zombie, which was bought low after introducing powerful player generated items into their ships, which then proved to be subtly booby trapped by their makers, allowing for their utter destruction in a series of important battles.

Player Generated items can be recognized by having a vary different aesthetic from the rest of the game universe, and by the often rather mismatched visual effects it generates.

The Setting

The galaxy of XCO is laid out in four zones. At the centre is civilized space, heavily policed and home to large numbers of quests and to the NPC empires. On the outside is the Beyond, the vast, unexplored, and largely procedural or player generated galaxy.

Civilized Space

The part of the map around Earth, with the majority of Sorsi Stations. This space is thickly planted with quests, jump gates and NPCs. It is relatively civilized, and generally is seen as unexciting newbie country by much of the player base. It is however often home to new developer content, and often sees alien invasions, political drama and the like among the NPCs. Running missions in civspace is also vital in gaining good NPC relations, which can allow an alliance of players to gain powerful NPC support against it's player enemies.

The Hinterlands

A lawless border region, The Hinterlands includes few permanent player settlements, as anyone setting up their is subject to attack by the forces of the NPC empires, and local NPC pirates who take a dim view of attempts to set up a pocket empire along their borders. Certain hyper elite PVE groups have done this for the bragging rights, and the rare resources which can be extracted in industrial quantities by a PC deployed station if it can be protected.

The Great Steppes

Home to most player ruled territory, the Great Step is the area beyond civilized space where it's easiest to settle. NPC shipping firms will still bring material to this area, and star bases and ground settlements already exist in most systems, but the area is open to player exploitation and settlement. Various NPC fortresses from the Five Empires are set up within the Great Steppes, and player groups with loyalty from them can mobilize these forces as weapons against their fellows. The majority of the Great Steppe however remains a free fire zone.

The Beyond

Much of the galaxy beyond the bubble of human space is uninhabbited, home to dull procedural generated worlds and the like. The galaxy is so big that much of it remains unexplored. Rumours that alien home worlds, strange player generated content and easter eggs lie out in the galaxy abound.

NPCs

The destruction of NPC ships is, along with mining, the main source of income for most XCO Alliances.

Bandits

The most common PvE opponent, Pirate starships are, in the lore, various refugee groups, criminal gangs and reminants of previous human expansions into space who constantly raid the rest of humanity, and are raided in turn.

The Five Empires

The main human factions in the game. (Left relatively blank for later fleshing out if we do Microscope)

The Word

Space Dark Elves, the Word have heavy white tatoos. Most word warriors are female and they have advanced psionic powers. They have an allied race of snake girls. Their ships are equipped with very powerful short range and long range weapons, but human craft dominate them at mid range. In the lore, the Word are a species of aggressive conquers and raiders, apparently nomadic, and fighting out of massive city ships. They raid human space fairly constantly, with Word Migrations.

Word characters, including snake girls and the exiles storyline became avaliable a few updates ago.

Extent

Mysterious human cyborgs who abduct people, and appear to be seeking something across space.

The Sorrow

Another enemy alien race, the Sorrow are pure evil lizard people who use massive, heavily armoured end boss ships accompanied by swarms of fast, powerful fighters. They were the major villains of an expanstion a decade ago, but are relatively rare since then.

Ispers

A race of alien traders from beyond that resemble giant frogs. Only source for certain powerful types of equipment and material. They have their own quest chain.

Remanent Machines

The primary enemy out in the reaches of the galaxy, Remanent Machines come in various shapes and sizes, and appear at random, spawning from large automated and hidden stations across the galaxy.

Old Ones

A newly added procedurally generated enemy, the old ones are the decayed and barberous remains of the civilization that built the Remanent Machines, and were later destroyed by them. They are hard armoured lizard creatures who use extensive cybernetics. Their ships tend to be extremely fast but relatively badly armoured.

Others

As determined.

Current Situation

You are a group of players who have resubbed, or newsubbed for the twentieth anniversary and the great war, new expansions and other content. You don't know one another well, but you are linked by one person, a user by the name of AnavRin801. You've played with AnavRin801 in a lot of games, and found she's pretty fun to be around. Now she's invited you all to meet her in XCO for the twentieth anniversary celebration, and see some neat content she found.

System

This system is based on gumshoe.

General Skills

General skills are the general ways you interact with the game. You roll a 6 sided dice, usually succeeding on a 4 or more. You may spend one or more points from your pools on any roll. These points refresh at the end of each session, or during any significant down time.

You receive 53 points

First Person Shooting: For boarding actions and personal combat
Special Skills: For magic, and weird modules
Flight simulators: for piloting and dog fights
Mining: Gaining resources by breaking rocks
Battleship fighting: For large ship combat
Stealth Games: For fighting covert warfare using cloaks and the like
Tactics: For large scale tactics and the like
NPC diplomacy: How to get on best with NPC factions
PC Diplomacy: For charming other players
Navigation: For getting places
Exploits: Stop breaking the game

Meta Skills

These skills are never rolled but rather, you may tap, or spend a point from them to gain various information or effects you have 8 points

XNO Lore
XNO Mechanics
XNO factions
XNO geography
XNO famous players
XNO Secrets
XNO conspiracy theories