Silent Death Online
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|Silent Death: Online|
|Publisher(s)||ARIES Online Games|
|Designer(s)||Iron Crown Enterprises (board-game)|
|Release date(s)||1997 (GameStorm)
December 1999 (AOL)
March 2001 (EA.com)
|Genre(s)||Top-view Spaceship Fighter|
Silent Death: Online, often abbreviated to 'SDO' or 'SD', was a top-view spaceship fighter game created by Mythic Entertainment who originally licensed the rights from Iron Crown Enterprises, before purchasing them upon its bankruptcy.
Each player could create up to three pilots. Each pilot had a different handle, and could belong to one of four houses, or teams. There are four houses in Silent Death: Online, each with its own rich history. Each house is represented by a distinct colour: House Colos - purple; House Redstar - red; House Tokugawa - yellow; Hibernia Freehold - green.
Game types included House Kill, Elimination, Escort and Platform Building. Players accumulated credits by destroying other players' ships, and by winning missions with their house, advancing them in rank and allowing them to purchase new hulls, engines, shields, weapons and repair bots. Hulls could be fully customised with varied arrays of weapons, engines and shields, but the bigger and more expensive of those would only fit onto the biggest and most expensive hulls. Being on the winning team in a mission resulted in credits earned in that particular mission being doubled, which acted as an incentive for team play and cooperation.
Clans formed a big part of the game also, with monthly competitions between clans and prizes for the winners, as well as a variety of individual events run by in game staff, known as OP's. Staff members were made distinct from other players by the white type of their name, as well as a special ship, not available to normal players.
The game was born on the GameStorm gaming system in 1997, before Mythic announced its transferral to AOL's gaming service in December 1999, where it lived until March 2001. At this point, AOL's gaming service was transferred to EA's newly created platinum gaming service. The game endured a turbulent time here plagued by crackers exploiting bugs in the game, but nonetheless maintained a devoted following.
To the disappointment of many fans, the game was discontinued on December 7, 2001, following EA's sunset announcement and the withdrawal of their platinum online gaming service.
There are four distinct mission types in Silent Death: Online. Each one can be created by any player, although as a general rule, player-created missions created are only open to players of the same rank as the player, as well as one rank above, and one below. OP's are able to create missions open to all ranks, and the default system mission is an All-Rank Housekill. The time limit for all games is 2 hours (although during its run on Gamestorm, there was no time limit for any game and Escort missions could last several days).
Upon completion of a mission, players from the winning house receive a bonus. There are also bonuses for finishing in the top three individually.
The mission types are House Kill, Escort, Platform Building and Elimination.
There are 10 ranks available in Silent Death: Online. To progress in rank a player must earn credits, which are gained by fighting and killing members of opposing houses. The higher ranked the player killed, the more credits earned. Being on the winning house in any mission will result in double credits being awarded to a player for that particular mission.
There are different hulls, weapons, engines, repair bots and shields available which can be purchased by a player to improve their ship. As a player progresses through the ranks earning more credits, more upgrades become available to them.
Clans & Events
One of the most important aspects of the game is player run clans. Clans can be formed by anyone, and, after approval by in-game staff are free to compete in events to earn their clan points. On AOL, there was a limit of three clans per house, while this rule was relaxed when the game moved to EA which led to the creation of many new clans. There are many requirements which a clan must fulfill to become and remain active.
The tournaments that clans compete in are known as Clan Wars. These take place on a monthly basis, and the team that has accumulated the most points by the end of the month are crowned champions. Clan Wars are special events that take place several times throughout the week, where members of clans take part in a 2 hour Escort mission. It is simply a contest for clans to accumulate as many kills as they can in the time period. At the end of the event, the clan that has the most overall kills is the victor and is awarded a certain number of clan points. The clan that comes second is awarded fewer clan points, and so on. At the end of the month these clan points are added together and the team with the most is crowned champions.
There are three main events which are competed for individually or in pairs - these are Killfest, Team Killfest, and Skillfest.
In late 2001, EA announced the shutting down of their platinum gaming service, and with it, Silent Death: Online. The following message was sent to all subscribers in November 2001.
"Space has always been a dangerous place and those who explored it and lived it always knew there might come a time when they would not return. It is with heavy heart that we announce the shut down of Silent Death on December 7, 2001. Those of us who had a hand in the creation, production and support of the game will miss the players and friends of Silent Death. Pilots of Silent Death, we salute you!
Until the close of the game, if you need support for this product, please use the Game Support link on the game’s web page to access our searchable database of Frequently Asked Questions and their answers. The message boards for Silent Death will remain open for one week after the game closes. Please join us in saying your farewells."
- Mythic Entertainment & Press Releases