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I never quite finished X3, but I bought the X3 SuperPack (or MegaBox or UltraCube or whatever it's called) that included Terran Conflict, and so when Albion Prelude came out I got that for free as well.

Trying to play X3 and then both expansions seems like it would take more time than I have on hand, but I think that they fixed many of the annoyances of the original X3 in the expansions, so I kind of want to play through at least Albion Prelude.

Is there a cohesive story arc between the game and its 2 expansions? Is there anything I'm missing out on if I jump right in to Albion Prelude? Are there any other requirements before I start Albion Prelude that would make it so that I have to play the others first?

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The story arc is very tenuous in X games at best. You can skim what you missed just by reading up the plot elements on the wiki. The only thing that will help is knowing the general commands and how to play, as the X games tend to have a high learning curve. Good luck!

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