Phase 3: The "New New Code" - Rounds Jupiter 1-5 and Pluto 1-3
Again a new code base and a change in direction from the previous games.
Home planets were still protected however you were no longer limited to your original starting galaxy as travel was no longer linear.
Galaxies were changed so that the even numbered galaxies had fewer but better planets in making them better to colonise/invade. This meant there was an initial rush by the bigger alliances to claim a galaxy that was empty with the aim of avoiding others until later on when players had built up.
This sometimes worked and sometimes lead to more than 1 large alliance in a galaxy at the start having to fight over a reduced number of planets from an early point in the game.
Fleet scan had been fixed and the combat was changed to be more staged. This meant that for those willing to take the time it was now possible to gather data, predict the outcomes of battles and also use the least amount of ships to counter specific fleets.
Unfortunately this change also had an outcome which was not helpful as eventually the most effective fleet that could be built was made up of mainly a screen of Fighters plus Battleships with some bombers thrown in. Frigates became useless as a way to speed up travel times once Traders were available. Destroyers and Cruisers required research points to build which were better spent on reaching a higher planet limit as the ships would die without really being able to carry out their function.
In the first Pluto round there was also an issue which resulted in several experienced players quitting or going into hiding their names for later rounds. The server had a problem which resulted in turns being frozen. To compensate for this the admins pushed a manual turn update once the game was ready, to bring the turn number to where it should have been. With players being unprepared for this some planned attacks broke down or were countered more effectively as people were still able to add to their queues while the game was frozen.