Netrek VariantsOr, what's all this "server type" stuff?
Netrek has a long development history, the longest of any Internet based game. Lots of ideas have been tried, and many discarded. Several variants remain viable.
Named for the computer it was originally hosted on, Bronco is the basis of current netrek. It's the purist's game, incredibly well balanced. Like chess or basketball, you can play for hundreds of hours (or more...) and still have things to learn. It's the best place to pick up basic dogfighting skills as well as learning to work with a team. Most netrek is Bronco.
INL stands for "International Netrek League". It's basically Bronco, but with team captains who can choose a scoring system and time limits. It's used for clue games, team versus the world, and league games. There is a Users Guide to the INL Server.
- Base Practice
Base Practice servers are, oddly enough, used to learn how to be a good starbase pilot. No rank is needed to get a base, and special robots mass attack ("ogg")the practice bases.
Sturgeon explores several possible alterations to the game. Ships can use kills to purchase weapon upgrades. The powerful Galaxy Class (GA) ship is available. Most experienced players feel that Sturgeon is a bit too easy for them, and teaches new players sloppy habits.
- Netrek Hockey
Netrek Hockey is a cross between Netrek and, you guessed it, Ice Hockey. The planets are laid out to form a rectangular hockey-style rink, including goals. Ships use tractors and pressors to shove a puck around, fighting with phasers and torpedos as needed to get enemies out of the way.
These servers include various modifications designed to make the game chaotic. Typically, this will include Galaxy Class ships (GA's), a galaxy which wraps around, and 3 on 3 T-Mode.
Paradise is the most unusual Netrek. Paradise involves extensions to the game system, so you need a Paradise client in order to play it; the usual clients won't do. There is no Paradise client for Windows. Paradise has planets that move, suns, asteroid fields, eight additional ship types, missiles, and more. Some players loved it, others hated it; it has not been actively played in a number of years. As of 2007, noises are being made of restarting play. Paradise has its own webpages at http://paradise.netrek.org
Kinds of Games
In addition to the variants of Netrek being played as described above, there is also the important distinction of Pick-up, Clue, and Established Team games.
- A pick-up game is played by whoever happens along.
- A Clue game is played by people who know what they are doing, at least somewhat. There is a mailing list to announce Clue games, and when people sign in to a server, it will ask them a simple question to make sure that they aren't total newbies. In a typical open Clue game, team captains will choose players at the start of the game in order to balance the teams so that the game isn't too uneven.
- Then there are Established Team games. A bunch of people can form a team together, and announce that they challenge the whole world to a game, or schedule one or more games against other established teams.