Shattered Galaxy

Shattered Galaxy

Shattered Galaxy is a massively multiplayer online real-time strategy (MMORTS) that was released in 2001 by Nexon Inc., now known as KRU Interactive, after an extensive open beta period. It was published by TriSynergy in the USA. It combines the attributes of a massive multiplayer online role-playing game and a real-time strategy game. Though it had previously won the Seamus McNally Grand Prize at the 2001 Independent Games Festival, hosted through the Game Developers Conference, the game floundered when it was released to retail. The game was published under the name Tactical Commanders in South Korea, published by Nexon until December 31, 2005. This game has also been serviced in Japan, Taiwan, and Germany.

Plot

Shattered Galaxy is set in a post-apocalyptic future. A teleportation device was found buried on Earth's surface, though scientists were not able to master its secrets. Various non-living substances were successfully sent through and retrieved, but when a common rat was inserted into the portal, it activated the artifact in an unexpected way: the device immediately teleported itself, as well as all matter in a 2000 kilometer wide radius around it, to the planet Morgana Prime. The player is one of the survivors of this incident. The planet itself was devoid of sentient life, but robotic war machines were found on its surface, and humans have since learned to control them telepathically (allowing the humans themselves to stay out of harm's way). Humans have since expanded to another planet (server) in the Morgana system, Relic, where wars likewise rage.

General Gameplay

Shattered Galaxy consists of two interrelated and different gameplay aspects: The RPG side has the player in control of an avatar which can buy units, upgrades, and special abilities as well as visit other provinces and buildings such as simulators, HQ's, and Portals to other planets. It is through this Avatar that you join or start battles with other players, simply by walking into a province not controlled by your nation. As soon as your avatar enters and province controlled by an opposing faction battle is comenced and the "RTS" aspect of gameplay is engaged.

Though described as an MMORTS, Shattered Galaxy's gameplay is closer in flavor to a real-time tactics game. During battle, instead of commanding an entire war machine including infrastructure, supplies and resources, players are given control of a single squad (of 6 to 12 units at time) which they control alongside as many as 20+ teammates. A persistent reinforcement system allows players on both sides of a battle to join or retreat at any point up to the last 3 minutes of each fifteen minute battle. Likewise, battles do not center around the destruction of the opponent's base or units, but rather around control points, of which there will be three to five per battle. These "Points Of Contention" (POCs), represented by Dodecagon, are catured by occupying them for a certain period of time (ranging from 45 to 90 seconds). The consequences of capturing a POC are dependent on the type of battle you are involved in, the time left in the battle, and the number of other POCs you control.

Terms used throughout this page in relation to this are the noun "poccer," which refers to a player or unit that captures a POC and the verb "poccing," which refers to the actual act of taking a POC.

Characters

At first, player characters appear to be mere placeholders: the player is allowed to choose a name, an avatar, and which of three (essentially identical) nations to become a member of, but there are no character classes, only four areas in which the player can level up (the four Divisions of Infantry, Mobile, Aviation and Organic) and only twenty points to put into four statistics: Tactics, Clout, Education and Mechanical Aptitude. However, these four statistics are the heart of the player's battlefield role, and an unofficial character-class system does exist, revolving primarily around Clout and Education.

"Clouters" (as they are called in game slang) get access to higher-Marked and more durable units; they make better "poccers," being suited to seizing a defended POC while under fire. "Eduers," on the other hand, are given access to stronger weapons, and do a better job of killing things—for instance, enemy poccers. Because POCs are the strategic and tactical center of battle, both roles often specialize to the task; Clouters will forego accessories, extra speed and even weapons in favor of armor and health, while Eduers disdain durability for increased mobility and lethality.

"Tacters" were once a class unto themselves. In former versions of the game, the player with the highest Tactics score was designated "Battle Commander" and given the ability to accept or reject other players attempting to join the fight. The Battle Commander's Tactics rating also determined how many players could fight on his/her team. Thus, a battle commanded by a Tacter could overwhelm the opponent not only with a large squad, but with a horde of hand-picked teammates. Today, Battle Commander status and team size are determined by other factors, and Tactics merely controls how many units the player can use at one time: 20 points gives access to one more unit, to a maximum of 120 Tactics and 12 units. Nonetheless, every player is generally encouraged to invest points in Tactics, as Shattered Galaxy is a game that values quantity over quality: a player with 120 Tactics may have less hit points per unit than a player with 120 Clout, or do less damage per unit than a player with 120 Education, but his squad is undoubtedly stronger on both counts. Also, a larger squad produces more Experience points for the player, allowing faster progress. On Morgana Prime, nine units—60 Tactics—are considered the bare minimum for effective play.

Finally, Mechanical Aptitude (MA) allows the player to cram more equipment onto their units by increasing the amount of Weight the unit can support. It is a low-priority stat, and generally receives left-over points after the player has already reached their chosen levels of Tactics, Clout and Education.

For players who have ascended to Level 50 or higher in at least one division, Shattered Galaxy offers a Reincarnation Event once every three months, in which the player is returned to Level 1 to begin the climb anew. However, the player receives extra statistic points in proportion to each level they have gained above 50, and two more total unit slots in their inventory. Players may Reincarnate as many times as they want (as of 15 June 2007, at least five players have done so 22 times, the highest so far), but must be a paying member of the game to do so.

Players who wish to remain on Relic without paying for their characters have developed a sort of 'supertype' of character above the clouter/eduer type. These "sys21" character are designed to reach level 21 in all divisions without touching level 22 in any division. They have 9 or 10 units in each division - taking each unit to the Relic unit level cap of 25 provides enough XP to reach level 21 in each division without hitting level 22. The downside to sys21 characters is that they are limited to at most 40 units, and they are by necessity spread across all divisions, requiring untis to be planned out from 1 to 25 before you start.

Units

Though players can only control a maximum of 12 units at a time, they can own up to 48 plus an additional 2 for each reincarnation. Units come in four "divisions": Infantry (ranging in appearance from humanoid to distinctly robotic, though they are all bipedal), Mobile (armor, artillery, etc), Aviation (aircraft) and Organics (native aliens which have been "domesticated" for use in battle). Units are a permanent fixture for the player; they gain levels, can be refitted with the latest equipment, can be upgraded to new and stronger models, and can even be renamed. As such, they are not lost permanently in battle, but merely "wrecked," and can be repaired (at insignificant cost) once the battle has ended. In fact, the only way to get rid of a unit permanently is to sell it back to the Factory.

Units cannot be upgraded to higher "Marks" (faster/more spacious versions of the same chassis) without sufficient "Unit Quality," determined by the unit's level and the player's Clout statistic (see below). They also cannot access advanced equipment without sufficient "Tech Level," determined by the unit's level and the player's Education statistic (again, see below). Units are limited in the equipment they can carry by the physical abilities of their chassis, represented by "Weight" and "Space" restrictions; each piece of equipment adds to both totals, and cannot exceed the displayed maximums. A unit's Weight total can be expanded via the Mechanical Aptitude stat (as usual, see below), but Space only increases in pre-determined amounts via unit upgrades.

Shattered Galaxy has over fifty different kinds of units. They are specialized in application, by way of Shattered Galaxy's rock-paper-scissors targeting system: most weapons can hit either ground units or air units, but not both. ("Versatile" weapons, which can hit both, are always weaker and are generally disdained by veteran players.) Thus, a player can only shoot at certain enemies, and only some of the enemy forces can shoot back. This also creates a relatively interdependent gaming atmosphere, as players must rely on their teammates' units to cover their own units' blind spots. (Like Versatile weapons, squads composed half-and-half of two different units are frowned upon for their inefficiency.) When the player's squad is destroyed, the player may select a new one to enter into battle 30 seconds later; the player may also "retreat" their squad through a friendly spawn point to select a new one.

Units are the source of Experience Points in Shattered Galaxy. When a unit levels up, the player receives Experience in that unit's Division. The Experience gained is proportional to the unit's level (specifically, the unit's newly-gained level, squared; an Infantry unit getting to Level 4 will give its owner 16 Experience), and when the player gains a Division Level they are given one more stat point to assign to one of their four statistics.

PowerRating

The PowerRating system is implemented to give new players a fighting chance against veteran players who have reincarnated several times. Each battle have a certain PowerRating capacity for both sides. Example a battle has taken place in a certain province and can only hold a maximum PowerRating of 180 on each side, a group of new players who has maxed their stats have a PowerRating of 10 each, while a group of veteran players who has reincarnated several times and have more stat points have PowerRatings of 11 or more each. The group of new players can fill a maximum of 18 players on their side, while the Group of veterans could only fill less than 18 players on their side. This gives the new players an advantage in the number of players they have on their side in the battle.

Battles

Battles in Shattered Galaxy revolve around controlling the battleground's Points of Contention (POCs). Generally, the offensive team wins immediately if they manage to seize all POCs. If the game's built-in 15-minute time limit is exhausted, the winner is decided by the team who controls the most POCs at the end, with ties going to the defenders. Since capturing and defending the POC is the main objective, most units are specifically designed for these roles. However, support units like carpet bombers, radar jammers, mine-laying sappers, infantry with nuke stopping shields, and soldiers with paralyzing weaponry can also contribute to the outcome of the battle.

Battles can involve twenty or more people to a side. The battle prowess of each player is not heavily dependent on his/her current character level or the level of units he puts into play. A veteran player with good mastery of battle tactics with a low PowerRating can easily defeat disorganized high PowerRating opponents, in other words battle awareness is key to winning battles not levels. Being a good player is more than just stats and units. Communication and teamwork are crucial to success. A "regiment" system had been implemented, allowing players to band together and guarantee themselves a supply of dependable teammates, and it is now the standard of judgment when Reconstructions (faction balancing) occur.

POC and battle rules

There are four basic rulesets relating to the POCs: All or Nothing, Standard, Standard Enhanced, and Victory.

All or Nothing maps are exactly what their name implies. The attacking side must take all of the POC's and have them in their possession for them to win. The opposing side simply has to keep one POC. Maps of this nature used to involve only 1 POC, but today they involve 3 clustered together.

Standard maps are simply that: standard maps. In this scenario, the attacking side has to hold a majority of POCs at 0:00 to win. The defending side must have at least half the POCs to win. POCs typically take 60 seconds to capture (they must be occupied by units from the same faction for 60 seconds.)

Standard Enhanced are much like Standard maps except that the attacking side must hold at least one POC by 10:00 and must continue to hold at least one POC throughout the whole battle. If at any time after 10:00 the attacking side has no POCs, the battle is automatically forfeited and the defending side wins.

Victory maps are the most difficult maps to fight on but also the most widely used by regiments because there is no advantage to the defending side. Each side starts with 800 points and attempts to whittle the opposing side's score down to 0. Points are rewarded for players joining into the battle, while points are taken away for units dying or for not holding a majority of the POCs. It is a common misconception that reinforcing another set of units after the first one dies takes away points, but this does not happen.

Finally, if at any time either side has no units in battle, that side instantly mass retreats from the battle. In victory maps, once one side has retreated, the points will drop at a rate of 50 per second until 0, where the remaining side wins.

Other activities

Caving

Caving is a term in Shattered Galaxy for going into alien caves in order to fight and gain experience points. Most caving is done on Relic, where the aliens consist of weak slursts and larvae, as the caves on Morgana Prime are famous for their tough difficulty level and, because of this, caving is usually considered a waste of time. Caving on Relic usually takes place only within the factions' capitals, as most caves in other provinces have stronger aliens. A cave battle is similar to a normal battle but with only 1 POC and aliens instead of enemy factions. Experience received in caves is based on how long a player waits before POCcing (slang for capturing a Point of Control).

Mercing

Mercing is a term that refers to mercenaries within the game. People can choose to become mercenaries for the 10% experience bonus and fight for the faction that is currently losing. This is highly discouraged within regiments. Mercing also serves as a more efficient way of leveling especially for those 'Lone Wolves'.

Resources

Money the standard currency for all 3 factions, this is the resource that most Basic Heroes and Elite Heroes will use the most. From buying new units, repairing damaged or destroyed units, to equipping new equipment, all this needs money. In the past, it was entirely possible to actually run out of money if the player loses too many battles. Now KRU has revamped the system, so it is almost impossible to run out of money as long as you keep battling, which can be a good or bad thing.

Uranium currently the only other resource being utilized. This is the resource Elite Heroes use to buy Gold Weapons. Typically Gold Weapons have better statistics than their normal counterparts, so serious paying players often equip gold weapons on their endgame units to squeeze out that extra damage to have an edge over their enemies. Basic Heroes cannot use Uranium to outfit their weapons but can stock uranium, so they can use it later when they pay. Uranium is not given out after battles, it is only given out after the Faction completes its War Meter. The amount of uranium received is 3*X where X is your Power Rating. So having a Power Rating of 10 gives you 30 uranium after the War meter is complete. All players regardless of Basic Heroes or Elite Heroes will get Uranium once the War Meter completes. Elite Heroes can also get a daily uranium tribute once every 24 hours, they will receive it after winning a battle. Basic Heroes cannot get daily uranium.

Sulfur, Ore, and Silicon were the other resources in the game, removed from gameplay long ago, with no current use or means of obtaining them. These resources, as well as uranium, were as plentiful as money in the past and were used in combination to buy equipment for the player's units.

Planets

Currently, there are only two planets active in Shattered Galaxy: Morgana Prime and Relic.

  • The planet Relic is where new characters are created, it is known as the "training planet". For many new players this is a good experience, as the level cap for all divisions (Inf,Mob,Avi,Org) is 22, allowing players to face reasonable odds when they begin. When a Basic Character reaches level 22 in any division, they are automatically transferred to Morgana Prime. Paid Characters may stay on Relic with level 22 in all divisions. Players of Basic Characters have found a workaround to this with "sys21" characters.



  • Morgana Prime is the primary planet in the current Shattered Galaxy universe. This planet serves as the playground for all players who no longer belong on Relic, offering them every unit, piece of equipment or character design available in the game. A big gameplay difference between Relic and Morgana Prime is the incentive offered to Morgana Prime players in the form of "Reincarnations", an event during which a player may re-level his character from level 1, only with bonus points to distribute on character attributes based on the levels of the character prior to the reincarnation. Players are able to reincarnate as many times as they like, theoretically allowing for any number of attribute points, but this notion is kept in check with the "Power Rating" system according to which the number of players a faction can reinforce into battle is dependent on how many points its players individually boast. Thanks to this concept, it has been a long accepted fact that battles on Morgana Prime are, mathematically speaking, equitable and competitive.

Service

Because of some users who abused bugs dealing with reincarnation, recruiting units, moving freely, etc, Nexon decided to close Tactical Commanders' service in Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. As of 10/31/08, the German service will be closed due to lack of players. However, the American branch modified the application and still services the game.

Nexon no longer develops the game. Although it still says "Nexon", the game company KRU bought the rights to the game and is currently providing service in the US. Unfortunately, KRU has directed its energies to supporting two other games: Dark Age and Nexus TK, as well as development of "Knuckleball" and work on SG has been stopped(The last major gamplay update was over 3 years ago). There are only sporadic "Double XP" weekend events, the endless "Reincarnation" event, and a yearly Summer Tournament.

As of September 29, 2008 the game can be played using a basic account at no charge with a few minor handicaps or upgraded to an elite account at a cost of $9.95 USD per month to play with all limitations removed.

References

External links

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