Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption Exclusive Hands-On - New Corruption Missions and Battles

Prepare to extort, intimidate, and bully planets on a galactic scale in this upcoming expansion pack for Star Wars: Empire at War

With Star Wars: Empire at War, LucasArts and developer Petroglyph delivered a cool and engaging real-time strategy game set in the popular original trilogy of the Star Wars saga. Empire at War let you command the massive navies and armies of the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire as you attempted to either liberate or conquer the galaxy. Now the two companies are looking to finish up Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption, an expansion that adds new units and a new faction to play as. That's not the big news, though. There have been some major changes made to Forces of Corruption since we saw the game a couple of months ago, and they add a considerable amount of depth to the expansion. Thankfully, we got our hands on the latest work-in-progress version of the game to sift through all the new additions.

The focus in Forces of Corruption is on the new playable criminal faction. Since even the mightiest of criminal empires would have a problem competing head-to-head against the Galactic Empire or the Rebel Alliance, this new faction will require a new approach to the overall goal of conquering the galaxy. Instead of relying on brute force, this new faction must rely on a strategy that takes advantage of corruption in society. First, we should note that there's been a name change. Previously, this faction was known as the Underworld, but the developers felt that the name was too broad, since the seedy side of the Star Wars universe is so large. So out went Underworld and in came the Zann Consortium, named after Tyber Zann, the ruthless head of the criminal organization.

Forces of Corruption will add a considerable amount of new content and gameplay to Empire at War.

Playing as a criminal faction itself was originally supposed to offer the major new twist in the gameplay, as you have to rely more on guile and cunning and less on brute force and firepower. For example, while the Rebels and the Imperials rely on conquering planets outright to generate cash, the Consortium can generate money by corrupting planets. However, testing proved that this entire concept of corruption was a bit too vague. After all, when you get down to it, what exactly is corruption? To address this, the designers have expanded on the idea of corruption to flesh out the gameplay and make the experience of being a criminal more challenging and fun.

Now, when you dispatch an agent to corrupt a planet, you'll be presented with up to eight different options, each of which can have a unique effect. If you've ever wanted to be an intergalactic mobster, you can now dabble with racketeering, bribery, kidnapping, intimidation, piracy, and more. Each of these options has unique effects, and your decision may rest on the strategy you're pursuing. For instance, racketeering might generate credits for you quicker, but intimidation means that the planet's special ability is no longer available to the faction that owns it. Furthermore, three of the options will trigger a special tactical combat mission, because it was felt that there needed to be a risk-and-reward element in crime. Kidnapping, intimidation, and space piracy will drop you into a battle where your job isn't quite so much to crush the other side as it is to accomplish an objective. In an intimidation mission, this might mean fighting your way to the planetary governor and beating him up, while in a piracy mission you might have to take out an enemy vessel carrying an important official. Fail the mission and the planet remains uncorrupted, but succeed and you corrupt the planet and reap the rewards. To ensure plenty of variety, there will be approximately 30 different corruption missions, so no two corruption missions are the same.

Once you establish corruption on a planet, you gain all sorts of benefits. You get to siphon off some of the planet's income and direct it to your own coffers. And, your fleets can bypass corrupted planets and any enemy fleets defending them for a price, so you can send your fleets deep into enemy territory and attack where the defenses are weakest. And planets can have a unique black market, where you can purchase new technologies. This helps to tie corruption closely with the tactical battles, as you can unlock powerful new weapons and abilities that can help turn the tide. These can include buzz droids for your fighters. You saw these in action at the beginning of Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, as these buzz droids can take apart enemy fighters and even damage capital ships. Or, in other cases, you might purchase entire new ship classes that can stand toe-to-toe with the best the Rebels and the Imperials have to offer.

Meet Tyber Zann, criminal overlord and the central character in the expansion.

The Rebels and the Empire can send agents and heroes to rid a planet of corruption, but if they do so, you can dispatch defilers and corrupt it again, perhaps with a different option. So if you previously were draining a planet of cash through racketeering and then it was cleansed of corruption, you might go back and corrupt the militia to make it easier to invade and take over the planet. Keep in mind that each planet will have, at the maximum, only three different corruption options, so you can't pursue the same tactics on every planet. Also, planets will offer different rewards. For instance, you might learn that if you accomplish a piracy mission on a certain planet, you'll be able to unlock a powerful new ship design, and so you might alter your strategy accordingly. The corruption gameplay adds whole new elements to the strategic layer of the game, but that's just part of what Forces of Corruption has to offer.

Scoundrels at War

Forces of Corruption will feature a lot more tactical missions than the regular Empire at War campaign. These missions often involve no base or unit building. Instead, you have to battle through a level with a predetermined group of units. For example, a tutorial/prologue campaign will introduce you to many of the new features in the expansion, as well as walk you through a land battle where you can command Zann and his loyal henchman, Urai Fen, as they attempt to steal something from Jabba the Hutt. This prologue goes to explain how Zann ends up in prison at the beginning of the campaign. Thankfully, Zann has some unique abilities, such as being able to bribe squads to fight for him, and he has a powerful blaster that can level an enemy squad in a single shot. Urai Fen is powerful, as well, and he has a cloaking ability that lets him sneak up on enemies.

What criminal act do you want to do today?

Meanwhile, the epic land and space battles of Empire at War remain just as intense as before, thanks in part to the new faction. On land, the Zann Consortium can rely on a wide range of mercenaries and war machines, such as the destroyer droids seen in the prequel trilogy. Then there are the new mobile build pads, which basically let you build turrets, healing and repair stations, and more, anywhere on the map. The new placement option lets you position buildings and units before a land battle, which can help in a defensive strategy, and you can also scout enemy planets ahead of time to see where the key structures and defenses are located. The Rebels and Imperials will also get new ground units, such as Dark Troopers, who are the elite infantry for the Imperials.

In space, Zann forces get a major advantage by being able to fly through asteroid fields without taking damage. So if the Zann can draw the enemy into an asteroid belt, they have a powerful edge. In terms of vehicle inventory, the Zann forces match up fairly well with the Rebels and the Imperials, and they have a comparable array of fighters and attack spacecraft, light cruisers, and battleships at their disposal. Again, there are new units for the Rebels and the Imperials, and for the most part, these new units replace existing ones, so the faster TIE Interceptors replace TIE Fighters on the build tree, while the more powerful B-Wings will replace the Y-Wings for the Rebels.

From what we've seen, the designers have scoured the whole of Star Wars lore for all sorts of new units, so you'll see creatures such as rancors and ysalamiri, the furry salamanders from the planet Myrkr that neutralize the Force around them. These can be used as a counter to Jedi and will play an important role in the campaign. Unfortunately, we didn't get a chance to see the Executor Super Star Destroyer in action, nor the Eclipse Super Star Destroyer that makes the Executor look downright puny. And, at this point, it sounds like the Eclipse is going to be limited to the campaign missions and won't be in the regular skirmish mode, since it's so large that special maps have to be built around it. With that said, we didn't get to see the Executor in skirmish mode either, so we'll have to see if it also only makes an appearance in the campaign.

Battles are as intense as ever, and now there's a powerful new faction in the mix.

With all this new content, Forces of Corruption should add plenty of interesting gameplay to Empire at War, and we're encouraged with the depth of the corruption options. Not only do these make the corruption faction feel much more unique, but they also let you play more like a scoundrel. And as we know from Han Solo's example, being a scoundrel in the Star Wars universe can be a good thing. Forces of Corruption is scheduled to ship later this year.

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43 comments
gameerkid
gameerkid

wheres the super battle droids and battle droirds and lucas arts and petroglyph better riase the rp(rinfocemnt puopulaseon)to 1,000,000,000 for skrimish!

Dirikitaun
Dirikitaun

I just hope that, bybeing an exansion and after surveing possible and obvious failliures of the original game, this expansion comes out as less flawed as possible.I can understand a patch or two after its launching, but five like the original game??? And carring with them script bugs that prevent you on finishing a campaign??? Watch out LA and Petroglyph! We will not tolerate any more screw up. And by the way, should be faire that you fire up the previous testing team, and if this game has flaws even after patches are launched, this one too >:(

suprosa
suprosa

Anyone who has played the X-Wing series or Tie Fighter, or hell, has read the books can easily know these facts: X-wing - dogfighter/light bomber Y-wing - bomber B- wing - advanced bomber (replacement for Y-wing not X-wing) A-wing - dogfighter Z 95 Headhunter - piece of crap that lead up to the X-Wing

SmallPower
SmallPower

I tried the demo for the original, but I didn't like it because it required too much clicking and didn't reward me with enough gaming pleasure. That comment may or may not relate to this article that I didn't read about an expansion to a game that I haven't played.

RazThePred
RazThePred

Looks awesome Still hoping for a Clone Wars Exp though =[ meh, looks like a good start =]

_Sam_
_Sam_

looking pretty good

RTSFanatic
RTSFanatic

Forces of Corruption looks great! I love the corruption system they implemented. I also love the fact the game has over 40 new units both land and space. Since it is only going to be $29, I'm even more happy. wOOt! Nice Job Petroglyph!

dragonfist15
dragonfist15

Yeah it looks alright but the original got really boring

Rifle_Grunt
Rifle_Grunt

This expansion looks very very promising

Thomasskins
Thomasskins

I really want this game im a big SwG fan but also im an RTS fav so the both combined is a dream come true for me aslo theres an expansion due out, so before i get the game does any 1 know what it is like, whats good & the bad about things about the game Ect. really greatfull. TSkinz

major_mayhem_01
major_mayhem_01

Tis not a question of getting laid for them two lads. But definitely a little too much time in...opps....on thier hands perhaps. It's all good. Anyway me thinks I'll wait until y'all are b**ching in the exspansion pack forums until I decide to buy! Then we'll see... ;)

flarespot
flarespot

One question for Zagfel and Manteki, Get laid much?

evilyoda861
evilyoda861

I have yet to see anything that I haven't seen potentialy in a mod, or anything mind blowing.

ksa8907
ksa8907

Will the expansion be multiplayer aswell?

awarriorofgamin
awarriorofgamin

WOOOOWWW zagfel you r the biggest n00b cake star wars nerd ever i like star wars nd all that but wooow you shouldnt be that deep in it

ZagFel
ZagFel

@Manteki: Your only relevant comment is that the X-wing has a multipurpose role. I agree about the Y-wing and B-wing. However, while the X-wing can fulfill multiple purposes, that is not its design. Schematics consistently refer to it as a space superiority fighter. That it can fulfill other mission profiles (eg. ground support) is incidental. To use a real-world analogy, an F-15 can be used as a bomber, but it wouldn't be the best choice. About the A-wing, it was designed as an interceptor, not a superiority fighter. Its purpose is to destroy other starfighters not control a region of space, which is why it was rarely used as an escort.

xywolf
xywolf

I can't wait to try it! its gonna be awesome!

Manteki
Manteki

ZagFel, you are a bit off. The B-wing was designed to replace the Y-wing as a attack bomber and to counter the threat of Imperial capitol ships. Since at the Battle of Yavin the weakness of the Y-wing was made very appearant. The X-Wing is more of a multi-perpose role. It has the maneuverability to dog fight, which neither the b-wing or y-wing can do effectively. Granted the B-Wing can take a lot of punishment, more than a X-wing or Y-wing. The Xwing can take out ground targets. But not as well as the B-Wing or Y-wing. The ship that was really designed for Superiority was the Awing with it's superior speed and maneuverability. And the Z-wing was designed to replace both the A-wing and the X-wing. It has the shield strength of a Bwing and the maneuverabilty of a Tie intercepter.

sathoon
sathoon

@lanowar if you watched the e3 trailer then you would hear zann commenting that he would make jabba pay, and you must know that only the biggest and baddest can take on jabba's organization so either he is head of another pirate org thats perhaps bigger than black sun or THE black sun from empire at war @darklord888 if you don't like the ships then don't bother with the game, though i will say that i agree with you about those damn nuisence land battles: long, unbalanced and not nearly as fun if you ask me

darklord888
darklord888

I see from the video they have added more horrible looking new ships into it. Still if they fix the crap land battles then i'll buy it probably.

Lanowar
Lanowar

Would have been more intresting if they used Black Sun since that's suppose to be the biggest criminal group in the galatic era...well up until Xizor kicks the bucket.

Buffulor
Buffulor

still cant wait for this game

ZagFel
ZagFel

@ catsimboy: And you'd be wrong. Both the B-wing and Y-wing fulfill multi-mission roles (one is an attack starfighter, the other is a fighter-bomber), while the X-wing is a dedicated space superiority fighter. Functional proof of this similarity comes from trends in Alliance upgrade patterns. eg. Aggressor wing transitioned from Y-wings to B-wings.

Fire_Zealot
Fire_Zealot

sounds good so far, I just hope they correct some of the pathfinding issues... IMO, we should stıll be able to build y wings and Tie fighters. I mean, Y wings arestill sued during Yuzhan Vong, and Tie ighters are still the dominant imp fighter. B and Inerterceptors should only be upgrades...

J_Dangerously
J_Dangerously

If the X Wing was a Fighter, and the Y wing a bomber, and a B Wing is a Fighter/Bomber, what the hell was the support role for a Z Wing? And what about A wings? Fast Fighters?

CidStormwind
CidStormwind

Just check out the mods for the game if you want Yuzhan Vong and stuff, theres lots of content mods in the cooker.

drgolden
drgolden

You're both right ol chums, B-Wing is a figher-bomber! Go look it up. And no, fighting the Vong would be awful, they have living coral and weird living ships, it would be too much like the zerg all over again.

Tylendal
Tylendal

What they really need is a game involving the Galactic Alliance and the Yuzhan Vong. The Vong worldshaping would make the game really interesting, and it would be awesome to have all the newer ships such as E-Wings. The best part would be being able to use Imperial and Rebel ships in the same team.

MartinRiggs15
MartinRiggs15

Cool game, I'm not an RTS person but I like that they finally made a good Star Wars game.

Wraith3
Wraith3

The B-Wing and Y-Wing are both bombers, so they're correct.

mfritz55
mfritz55

WHOAH. That's an Eclipse Star Destroyer in that shot with the huge Imperial armada. Glad to see the Star Wars comics are finally making their mark on the "canonic" media.

blackIceJoe
blackIceJoe

I liked Star Wars: Empire at War and can't wait to see how this expansion will make the game even better.

catsimboy
catsimboy

I'm going to have to be the nerd here and say Y-Wings and B-Wings are two totally different types of ship. The B-Wing wouldn't be considered a higher tier version of the Y-Wing, the Y-Wing is a bomber. It'd be more apt to say that the B-Wing is better than the X-Wing and it would replace the X-wing when you research it, not the Y-Wing.

VegetaMaelstrom
VegetaMaelstrom

I'll keep an eye on this expansion. I like the idea of playing as the criminal element in the Star Wars universe. Very unique and refreshing.

cubeman
cubeman

Cool, I am looking forward to getting this.

comthitnuong
comthitnuong

i might get this if it is better than the first