While they are both set in the same game universe, Microprose’s strategy games Master of Orion and Master of Orion 2 have many radical differences between them. Which of them is “better” is a matter you’ll have to decide for yourself, but here’s a comparison of the two. If you can think of any other significant differences that I‘ve overlooked, don’t hesitate to message them to me. Maybe someday this node will include comparisons of these two games with Master of Orion 3 as well, but that probably won’t come anytime soon.
Master of Orion
Master of Orion 2
- Includes versions for DOS, 32-bit Windows, and Macintosh.
- Maximum of 8 races in a galaxy.
- Each star may have anywhere from zero to five planets in orbit around it.
- Farmers and/or special facilities are needed to make food. Without food, population units die of starvation.
- Planets’ production is controlled by allocating population units to jobs (Farmer, Worker, Scientist) and by building production-increasing facilities.
- Specific buildings exist to increase industrial output. Only one of each type may be built on each planet.
- Missile Base is a specific building. Only one may be built on each planet, and missile base technology must be researched.
- Colony ships are a special type of non-combat ship. No other ship may be used to colonize planets.
- A colony ship may colonize any inhabitable planet without special technology.
- During combat, each ship is controlled individually.
- Individual spy units are trained on planets and then given assignments.
- Marines, armor and militia are used for surface combat.
- Freighters are needed to move food and population. Transports must be built to move marines.
- Taking over an enemy planet gives you the option to kill the existing population or to assimilate it. (If your government is Democracy, you may not kill populations in this fashion.)
- Selecting to kill the existing population of a planet counts as genocide. However, you may assimilate an entire empire without gaining ill reputation.
- Rebellions only occur on captured planets whose population has not yet been fully assimilated.
- Only one technology may be researched at a time. Exception: races with the Creative bonus.
Other Changes in Master of Orion 2
Some differences don’t really have a good contrasting point, so I’ve listed these kinds of changes here.
- Rudimentary multiplayer support added.
- Physical appearance of most of the races has been altered, sometimes dramatically.
- Three new races added: Gnolams, Elerians, and Trilarians.
- Racial bonus system has been changed. Races are now more unique. Unfortunately, they are also less balanced. All races are at least somewhat altered.
- Human trade bonus removed. It now belongs to the Gnolams.
- Custom race option added.
- Antarans have been added. If you successfully destroy the Antaran base of operations, you will win the game.
- Mercenary leaders added.
- Races may now surrender, giving all their resources to another race of their choosing.
- Research treaty added.
- Specific gifts can be demanded from another race, instead of the generic “threaten to attack”.
- Generic Small, Medium, Large, and Huge ship sizes have been renamed to Frigate, Destroyer, Cruiser, and Battleship.
- Titan and Doom Star sized ships added. The appropriate technology must be researched before ships of these sizes may be built.
- There are no longer any rocky debris squares as a obstacle on the starship combat field.
- Outposts and their corresponding outpost ships have been added.
- It is no longer possible to sneak troop transports past planetary defenses.
- In addition to the missile base, there are now orbital defense stations, ground batteries, fighter garrisons, and stellar converters for planetary defense.
- Death Ray has been drastically altered. It is no longer the massively destructive super-weapon that it once was.
- Stellar Converter has been drastically altered. They can now be built as a planetary defense. Also, ships equipped with Stellar Converters may use them to destroy planets. Strangely enough, planetary annihilation isn’t considered an atrocity. Go figure.
- Many other technologies have been added, removed, or changed.
- Green and purple stars are gone. Brown and orange stars added.
- Black holes and wormholes added.
- Jungle, Steppe, Minimal, Dead, and Inferno planetary environments removed. Generic “Uninhabitable” planet type is replaced by Asteroid Belt and Gas Giant. Swamp environment added. Gaia changed from a planetary bonus to an environment type.
Master of Orion manual
Master of Orion 2 manual
Thanks to m_turner for pointing out that there were Macintosh versions as well.