January 19, 2011

Legacy of a Thousand Suns: The Best Story on Facebook

There is such a huge variety of games on Facebook. I've found a few new games that I enjoy since my last post, some of these quite varied from what you typically find. I'm just going to cover my new favorite, Legacy of a Thousand Suns today.

This game has a relatively small audience, but I consider it a great find and one of the standout games so far in my Facebook trawl. If you approach it purely from a gameplay standpoint, you will be disappointed. Frankly, that goes for a lot of Facebook games, especially if you're a traditional PC/Console gamer. But, if you approach it as an interactive story, I think you'll be pleased.

At its core, the gameplay is essentially a Mafia Wars styled game. You have energy, which you spend to fight guys. As you fight guys, you earn experience, level up, and get to better missions. However, each mission is a page of a an epic sci fi space opera book. And it's pretty good!

On the top you can see chapters. The sections in the middle are "pages."

There are 4 zones in the game so far. Each zone is broken up into 4 "chapters" of sorts. Each chapter has about 6 or so missions and a boss. When you fight a mission, you get to read a page. The game starts with you being broken out of the brig of a huge starship by the Princess. The bad guys are assaulting the ship and you must fight your way to a shuttle to make your escape. The second chapter involves a dogfight in space. In the third chapter, which is where I currently am, it's just minutes after our crash landing. I'm surveying the wreckage and trying to keep the princess safe.

Aside from it story, which I haven't seen in any other Facebook game, Legacy puts forth a few novelties in the gameplay department as well. My favorite is the Raid mechanic. One player can trigger a huge boss fight, then invite up to 10 other players to join them. PVP Energy is expended to fight the boss. If you destroy him within the timeframe (several days), awesome rewards are yours. It's a great way to make the game feel more epic.

They also incorporate some good mechanics from other games. You can spend credits earned via combat to purchase facilities. Over time, you can collect from them (i.e. Farming mechanic) to get collectibles and equipment. You can pay more to upgrade them further and enrich the loot table with better stuff. It's a very clear, satisfying long-term reward mechanic.

Here I have two level 1 facilities. I just earned a new piece of headgear.

Another long-term progression item they've added is their crafting system. You can receive equipment and collectibles from missions, the raids, PVP, or your facilities. The collectibles can be redeemed in sets to earn power stat boosts, unique gear, and other items. Again, a very clear, satisfying form of long-term progression.

The middle item is an officer you can unlock to crew your ship.

Their UI is slick and looks professional, which is absolutely not the norm for Facebook games. It's clear and always works, plus it loads quickly. The drag and drop equip functionality in the profile screen is great, plus it's satisfying to see your character look cooler over time.

This is my character from early in the game. 
This is my character now. Check out his cool new rifle and off-hand weapon.

Finally, Legacy does a few very intelligent things from a business perspective. They sell items, energy refills, and other standard items. However, they also sell Expeditions. For the expeditions you are shown the loot table. You purchase it (real money only) and roll the dice. You might get something outrageously good. You might just get something good. But, it's a very cool dice-roll. I imagine it is very successful for them.

At the top are three expeditions for sale. If selected, you can see the loot table.

Please tell me if you start playing the game. I can add you to my fleet (and you can add me to yours), plus we can assist each other and fight the raid boss together. The story is fun and worth reading. 


Robert Winkler said...

Thanks for the great review, I tossed you some Golden Suns to fund your Expeditions, enjoy! :)

Robert Winkler
5th Planet Games

Grant said...

Wow, that is huge! Thanks! The expeditions are just as good as I imagined. I also picked up the starter pack.

Really great experience overall!