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Exclusive: New gameplay details and screenshots for Battlestar Galactica Online

Rubi Bayer, @@rubi_

When it comes to new MMO titles, a significant portion of the MMO community will hear the the phrase "browser-based" and dismiss the game in question as unworthy without even looking at it.

The folks at Bigpoint have big plans to banish this stereotype with Battlestar Galactica Online. If CEO and founder Heiko Hubertz has his way, turning your nose up at a game because of what you think a browser-based f2p is will become a thing of the past: "Bigpoint's goal is to raise expectations on what can be achieved in a browser-based game. Battlestar Galactica Online is the perfect license to help us elevate the consumer's understanding of this genre of gaming and reach gamers who have never tried a free-to-play game."

Bigpoint shared some exclusive new gameplay information and screenshots with us that give a picture of a much more complex game than you might be expecting.

Follow along after the jump to see what they had to say.

Gallery: Exclusive Battlestar Galactica Online screenshots | 6 Photos

Character customization and progression

Last month at E3 we learned that you'll be able to play as either a human or a Cylon pilot, but the new details tell us a bit more. You'll have fully customizable character avatars (i.e. you won't simply be a ship the entire time). The avatar will be used for out-of-ship gameplay and while you're on your faction's home base.

You'll begin as a new human recruit or recently generated Cylon pilot mind, and will advance to an experienced officer with advanced combat systems and powerful ships under your command.

You'll progress as you gain XP, advancing in rank and training new skills. At launch the game will have 20 ranks available.

Player Missions

You'll have two types of missions in the game -- story missions and assignments. Story missions are your main arc. As you move through the series of story missions, you'll gradually learn more about your role in the fight between the two factions. Access to story missions will be unlocked at specific ranks -- just talk to the military leader of your fleet to accept them. In addition to revealing important plot points in the game, story missions will reward XP, resources, and sometimes ship systems.

Daily assignments are the other half of the equation. Daily assignments are received from various NPCs who will send you out to kill or gather as they prefer. The quests aren't part of the main storyline, but they offer XP and resources, as well as certain titles that offer character bonuses. The titles are part of BSG Online's achievement system.

"Flexibility and freedom of choice" is the goal here."

Ship Classes and Customization

Finally, we learned much more about the ships in Battlestar Galactica Online. Both factions will have several playable ship classes, divided by size and role (offensive, defensive, and command.) Ships will have available bonuses and abilities that you'll choose and assign, similar to a regular player skill bar. Those ship systems fall into four categories -- weapon, hull, engine, and computer -- and ships will also gain levels to increase power and effectiveness.

You'll start with a single small ship, but collecting resources will allow you to requisition more ships, while gaining XP will qualify you to command larger ships. Training skills as you gain XP will give you the ability to use a wider variety and higher level of ship systems, making you even more of a force to be reckoned with.

Standard ships can eventually be upgraded to elite versions of themselves with more system slots, stronger and more durable hulls, and cosmetic customization options.

"Flexibility and freedom of choice" is the goal here. Different types of ships will have advantages in different quests and gameplay situations, so the game is designed to allow players to make use of a wide variety of ships and ship systems.

Bigpoint wrapped up this wealth of new information by sharing a handful of new in-game screenshots as well, so be sure to check out the gallery for the latest look at Battlestar Galactica Online.

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