Guns Of Icarus Online: The Flight And Inevitable Death Of The U.S.S. Indie Statik

Guns of Icarus Online

I remember my first airship captain. We didn’t get along.

“God, can’t you guys at least, like, try to aim?” he shrieked over in-game voice.

“No,” was my laconic response. My fellow Indie Statik writer Cory and I were getting a bit fed up with this neckbeard. He was piloting the ship and directing its attacks; we were manning the guns and repairing the engines.

Guns of Icarus OnlineOur airship was torn from the sky by the overlapping destructive power of the enemy fleet. The other team of airships seemed to be synchronizing pretty well. Guns of Icarus Online is more airship simulation than airship deathmatch. Teamwork is key, and the best communicating team usually dominates the skies.

Our captain communicated to us quite forcefully after the match.

“Hey, you two on my ship. Leave, right now.”

Cory and I hesitated.

“I’m not kidding, you guys. Leave my ship right now.” His voice was reaching for a higher register of rage.

Cory and I spoke in a Skype chat:



And So It Begins

Guns of Icarus Online

Things escalated. Ultimately, our captain realized that he could switch to captaining our team’s other ship and leave his crew behind. Cory and I quickly figured out that we could follow him as long as no other human players joined his crew. You can accuse us of a lot of things, but mutiny is not one of them. In our own way, we were fanatically loyal to Captain Neckbeard.

We switched between one ship and the other several times, chasing him around. He yelled at us more.

Cory and I decide to split up, each waiting on one of the two available ships, so our beloved captain would be forced to take one of us.

What happened next says a lot about public multiplayer servers. Captain Neckbeard played Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” through in-game voice, somehow. That’s right, Captain, Cory and I were never gonna give you up – you’re the one who gave up on us.

He left afterwards, leaving an empty space in the captain’s seat and in the hearts of his crew.

Guns of Icarus Online

“I equipped the moonshine buff, which allows you to reach insane speed at the risk of blowing out your propellers. I practised a lot in sandbox mode, and figured I was ready to kamikaze the enemy.”

This is the origins story of the brave U.S.S. Indie Statik. In the aftermath of our last expedition, Cory and I realized that the best way to approach Guns of Icarus Online would be to get a full crew of friends. If this was a game that required competence, and every shipmate to do his or her job, we would get our friends to play with us to alleviate some of that pressure.  We enlisted the help of Dominic and a few other online buddies to complete the crew of four.Guns of Icarus has three classes: Captain, Gunner, and Engineer. The Captain’s job is to pilot the ship, and his abilities typically effect the ship’s speed and maneuverability. The Gunner is clearly designed to focus on offense and his abilities buff the guns in various ways. The engineer’s job is to whack things with a hammer, and thereby keep the ship aloft.  These roles are fairly static, although you can usually skip having a gunner since it’s more important to repair quickly (and the engineer can use any of the guns).

I was our first captain. The Lemmons captaincy lasted two short, pathetic matches. My strategy was to use the pyramidion class ship (essentially a flying battering ram with four frontal guns, useful for direct assaults) to ram opposing ships. I equipped the moonshine buff, which allows you to reach insane speed at the risk of blowing out your propellers. I practised a lot in sandbox mode, and figured I was ready to kamikaze the enemy.

It turns out that lag can making ramming an enemy ship a bit like trying to grab a swimming fish with your bare hands. You think you’re hitting something, but really you’re behind by a few seconds. Although I did successfully ram a few ships, it was difficult to tell if it did any damage to anything except the poor U.S.S. Indie Statik. Looking back, we needed to coordinate with the other ships on our team so we wouldn’t be the airship equivalent of a basketball player who dribbles into an outnumbered situation in hopes of scoring.

Blast Team

Guns of Icarus Online

It was suggested (ahem) that Cory take over the Captain’s duties. I bowed out, resuming my position as an Engineer.

We fared no better. We tried several ships and many loadouts. Morale was low. It was getting harder and harder to avoid facing the fact that we were terrible at Guns of Icarus Online.

One beautiful time out of a dozen game sessions, we did manage to kill an enemy ship. The crew was ecstatic for about five minutes. So what did we do? We quit while we were ahead. We knew better than to keep chasing that high.

We didn’t come back to Guns of Icarus for about a week, and only when I forced the issue by mentioning that I did need to write about it, after all.

We died a few more times. The U.S.S. Indie Statik’s kill death ratio is higher than 0, at least. If the U.S.S. Indie Statik were a warplane from World War II, it would have one long, lonely mark on it to indicate its one kill and its one success.

Guns of Icarus Online is mostly interesting for the captain. He makes decisions, he communicates and he pilots. The engineer runs around repairing, and the gunner essentially just tries not to miss enemy ships when given the opportunity. The most fun I experienced in those two roles was “feeling like part of the team.”

I’ve heard Air Buccaneers is a mad deathmatch type of airship game. Guns of Icarus Online comes with pressures and requires actual thinking on the part of the captain. Is that what you and your friends want out of their multiplayer airship game? That’s the only question that matters. Guns of Icarus Online is not an arcade game, and if you want to have fun at it, you’ll have to be in the mood to do a job and do it well.

It isn’t exactly what we wanted, and GoIO will probably remain untouched on our Steam games lists forever. So goodbye, U.S.S. Indie Statik. It was sort of fun for a bit.

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  • Marie

    I’m not sure if I can take this seriously as a review since you decided to add in a story of where you basically troll another player in-game, among other things. You’re entitled to your own opinions but I hoped to read a more professionally handled review. Instead I feel like I just read some newbie’s post on a forum.

    • Cory Galliher

      This is an impressions piece. It is inherently an opinion piece and thus it seems unreasonable to hold him to some nebulous standard of “professionalism.” The definining moment in this game for Matt was another player treating him like garbage, so he leads with that. I think that says far, far more about the game than it does about Matt, and I don’t think it’s a shattering blow to the hallowed halls of the Fourth Estate to respond to abuse when it plays a part in his impressions of the game. Being treated poorly by anyone is not part of his job description.

      I spent a fair amount of time playing this game with Matt in preparation for this piece. In my experience, we met a total of one player who wasn’t completely silent or hostile and verbally abusive toward us. Had this been my piece to write, I would have focused on exactly the same thing; I would not be able to recommend this game because the community is incredibly nasty and unforgiving, particularly to new players.

      To be honest, Matt was actually far more lenient than I would have been because I feel like it’s the devs’ responsibility to address issues like this before they become things that a journalist might stumble across in the course of working on a piece. The tutorial for this game is sparse at best and the other players are extremely unhelpful, so the learning curve here is more like a learning cliff. Unlike other games where that is the case there’s not really any payoff for the work you put into Guns of Icarus Online. You get to play with the same group of maybe twenty active players, most of whom were very unpleasant to deal with. That’s not enough to keep me going, and as Matt mentions briefly he had to basically beg the rest of us to keep playing this because we weren’t having fun with it.

      I realize this is an indie game, but that doesn’t shield it from criticism. It strikes me that as an indie game which will attract a smaller community it would make sense for players to be more accepting of new blood.

  • Oskar

    Agreed Marie. He seems so professional and passionate about his indie games in other circumstances.

  • Zed

    Personally, I think their behaviour is a positive point in the game’s favour.

    I think it’s apparent that the player they encountered was acting in a pretty toxic fashion and if I were the developer, I’d be quite proud that such mechanics exist for the player base to essentially ‘police’ itself against such toxic behaviour.

    I dunno, that’s just me. I’m more inclined to play it, knowing that I can combat another player’s uncooperative attitude by co-operating myself with others who are similarly tired of the shenanigans.

  • Kriss Jessop

    While negative behaviour, I would think it a matter of principal. I enjoy this game a lot more than Matt does, but the idea that if someone offers you abuse, then you deal it back, is perfectly justified. You can argue “you should be the better person” but again: A matter of principle.

    One doesn’t care if it makes them look bad, being a deliberate thorn in the side of someone who is being unprecedentedly hostile to you is a legitimate, and acceptable, way to make them think twice before doing it again.