Shattered Galaxy update Q&A

We talk to Nexon about the latest updates to its massively multiplayer real-time strategy game.

Since the launch of Shattered Galaxy last August, Nexon has been improving its massively multiplayer online real-time strategy game with a series of updates and new features. In the game's latest update, the developer added new units, maps, and tile sets and gave advantages to units on higher ground. The next update for the game will include more changes, such as additional rewards for teamwork and a new economic system. To find out about the latest changes to the game and what's in store for the future, we talked to Terry Park, the Shattered Galaxy game director for Nexon.

GameSpot: Thanks for talking with us, Terry. In its last updates, Shattered Galaxy introduced new visual and gameplay elements, such as advantages for units on higher ground, new maps and tile sets, and three new unit types. Are you happy about how they were introduced and how they have been accepted? And do you plan on adding more of these sorts of changes in the near future?

Terry Park: We are extremely satisfied with changes brought about by the last Shattered Galaxy update. Players thoroughly enjoyed the visual enhancements that the new maps and tile sets brought about. The remarkable attention to graphical detail and style has received a lot of praise from our current players, as they enjoy being able to fight in new locales. I still get a kick every time I warp into one of the snow-covered tundra territories, where I can track enemy troops by the footprints they leave behind. Overall, the entire graphical atmosphere of Shattered Galaxy has improved dramatically for the better.

The new maps have also been a great success with their improved tactical elements. We've added more strategic choke points, raised terrain, and environmental elements such as trees to set up ambushes. The new maps play extremely well with the newly added feature of higher ground advantages. To simulate real-world combat, units on elevated land will take up to 30 percent less damage as a "less exposure" bonus. Units on lower ground will also suffer a view handicap when looking up toward raised areas. This has brought about a slew of new tactics from savvy veterans as they try to hold strategic ramps to crucial elevated regions. Air forces have also become more prominent as an effective countermeasure against ground forces on elevated terrain.

Our most recent update also included the introduction of three new support units. The new units have really added a new perspective on battle strategies and have made a significant impact on player tactics. One of the coolest things I've seen recently was a squad of "Virus" units charging into an open area, where 30-40 tanks were dueling it out. The "Virus" units then proceeded to infect key tanks in the firefight with their special self-destruct grenades, and when they went off, it wiped out everyone! It was truly a sight to behold and had everyone in the battle staring in shock. Nowadays, you'll also see bunker roadblocks set up using the new "Mantlet" unit and "Triage" combat hospitals extending the life of damaged allies. The new units have been a great addition to the more than 50 different units we currently have in Shattered Galaxy.

We are constantly working to bring our players the most enjoyable online experience possible. By updating the game with new features and units, it gives us the opportunity to keep our game fresh and innovative for our players. As long as we have loyal fans willing to fight for their chunk of the galaxy, we'll be here, continually evolving the game to their needs. We are definitely looking to add more of these positive changes for the future. It is something our players have come to expect of Nexon, and we are ready and willing to deliver!

GS: What can you tell us about the changes being made in the upcoming patch?

TP: The upcoming patch will be the most revolutionary patch for Shattered Galaxy since its commercial release. This update will be the evolution of Shattered Galaxy from being an individual battle-driven game to a truly epic-scale world where your battles have repercussions across the galaxy. We will be adding new features to reward teamwork and cooperation. The patch will usher in the start of the new war event, where factions will battle against each other for land and for "spoils of war." For the war event, we will be setting up a Web site at www.sgalaxy.com, where players can check on the status of their faction. At the end of the war, depending on your faction standing, your hero will receive special currency to purchase new and exotic rare weapons.

The other big change in the upcoming update is the newly enhanced economic system. The new economic system focuses on players setting and achieving individual goals. We wanted to simplify the current economic system so that players will have a clear idea of what they need to accomplish to equip a more powerful gun or to upgrade to the next tier of units. We'll be uniting the varying resources in our game to a single galactic currency and standardizing the periodic salary that all heroes receive. Additional gold will be earned strictly through the commander's performance in battle. The new economy will add greatly to the goals that players can create for themselves and give them a new purpose for winning battles.

GS: This new content is supposed to introduce role-playing game elements to Shattered Galaxy. Can you give us some details?

TP: One of the big additions in the patch is the opening of the star portals. The star portals will allow players to travel between the planets and even to new and uncharted worlds. One of the first story events we will have will be with players traveling to a past human-inhabited planet that was overrun by aliens. Factions will also fight to gain mobility energy to power up their star portal to take them into the heart of the alien planets, where they can try to retrieve advanced technologies from the alien capitals. The new items and technology found on the alien planets will definitely help players individualize and customize their units and make a name for themselves in Shattered Galaxy.

GS: What kinds of items can players find on the new planet? Can you give us some examples?

TP: As these new planets will actually be the home planets for the aliens, players will encounter some of the toughest and ugliest alien critters in the galaxy. However, players should rest assured that if they can overcome the alien menace, then they will be handsomely rewarded. Because fighting your way to the alien capital is such a difficult task, we'll have some of the coolest technology as the rewards. Some of these items include a force shield generator, mobile flamethrowers, combat med kits, and the famous "Armageddon device," which can decimate an entire army. We've actually put up some of the specs of the upcoming rare technology in the "War Room" section of our Web site, and players have already begun dreaming up their fantasy unit designs. These rare items are certain to add some spice to the already established battle conventions.

GS: Will the new areas and items be restricted to only the higher-level characters?

TP: Because of the level of difficulty associated with the alien worlds, only veteran commanders will be allowed to travel to the alien worlds. Even the most experienced veterans will have tremendous difficulty fighting there, so we don't want to scare off our new players with these vicious aliens. We really want the players to feel a sense of accomplishment when they finally reach one of these alien capitals, and that is the reason for the high level of difficulty on the alien planet. We want it to be a galaxywide event when the first band of people reaches an alien capital for the first time.

GS: What do you have in store for future in-game events?

TP: I don't want to give away too much, but we have several major story events already in the works. Besides the economic and political turmoil, the start of the war, and the opening of the star portals, we also have another spectacular event planned in the same vein as our popular "Terminus" event from last year. Prepare to see mysterious political intrigue, corporate backstabbing, and ideological divisions. It is just another day in Shattered Galaxy!

GS: Thanks for your time, Terry.

For more information about Shattered Galaxy, read our full review of the game.

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