Another Look at a Smaller Facebook App, Galaxy Legion

Galaxy LegionIt’s been a while since we’ve taken a closer look at one of the smaller titles on Facebook. This time around, it’s an older strategy and role-playing application called Galaxy Legion. Similar to Starfleet Commander and the more recent Space Empires, this Facebook game, from Eris Media, has a small but loyal following of players.

Currently Galaxy Legion has around 39,000 monthly active users and about 10,000 daily active users.  The game has grown slowly, perhaps because many potential users don’t realize the depth behind the generic title.  There is actually a decent amount of strategy in the game, and a surprising amount of breadth in the features themselves. All the same, it feels clunky and likely loses new players by overwhelming them with complexity too early on.

Galaxy Legion is about galactic domination. Unlike some other space-themed titles, however, players are not granted an army, but instead are given a powerful, upgradeable starship. Essentially, this is the user’s avatar — a space-faring version of a player’s mobster in Mafia Wars.

SpaceshipAs players progress through the game, the ship is upgraded. Stats like attack, defense, and so on are increased by “hiring” crew members. But other important stats such as deck size and scanning are increased through different means.

Deck size is the simplest stat.  Any ship can be customized with extra equipment to boost varying capabilities (e.g. attack). Players are able to purchase and equip shields, gun turrets, armor, and so on to enhance their ship. Each item, however, takes up varying amounts of deck space, so the more powerful ships typically need a high number of decks.

Periodically, players earn Research Points that can be used to research new tech for their spacecraft. The more a player has invested in research or “Recruiting Scientists”, the faster research points generate. This is important, because many technologies require a large pool of research points to complete. For example, the first “Advanced Weapons” research takes 600 points.

PlanetsCovering a few more features: energy is the typical resource expended to complete an action in the game (aside from virtual currency). Cargo determines how many unused modules of equipment, minerals and artifacts can be carried. Cloaking is a nifty player versus player element. It reduces the chances of random encounters during missions, adds significant defense bonuses to a ship, enables cloaking of any planet a player is guarding, and prevents enemy players from seeing what equipment a ship or planet might have.

Through “Scanning” players scan the galaxy in search of new planets to explore. Some planets will be uninhabited, others will be controlled by another player. The type of scanning equipment a player owns will determine how often they find items of value on planets.

Like decks on a ship, each planet will have a set number of slots in which to build surface structures including defensive surface bunkers, orbital mines, research stations, mining facilities, and scanners. Defenses are crucial, because once a player reaches level 20, their planets become open to attack from other players. Each planet can also produce unique variations of minerals, research, or artifacts. The higher a given production value,  the more space a player should allot to its harvest station.

ArtifactsMinerals found can be periodically collected and traded for Credits. Research stations will provide research points, while scanners will increase the chance of finding artifacts around that world. All these are items purchasable through the virtual currency, “Galaxy Points,” that provide added bonuses to scanning, cloaking, and so on.

The game comes with the standard RPG elements of missions and battles. Missions must be repeated again and again — about 20 times for 100% completion. Battles are played out in a similar fashion, attacking the enemy multiple times until it is defeated.

Perhaps Galaxy Legion’s greatest flaw is its dull presentation. Everything is bland and text-based, with very few visuals to really entice a new user. There is also a lot of breadth to this game, lots of variety in tasks and activities, but the new user experience is poor. The tutorial for the game is merely a series of tedious, passive text boxes. Most users will not read all this, and even fewer are going to remember much.

BattlesThe social features work much the same as older Facebook RPGs. Since there is only one ship, players must find a legion of friends to join them. Friends help protect each others’ planets or attack enemy colonies. This is all  in tandem with the player versus player aspect of Galaxy Legion, but is still very basic.

All in all, Galaxy Legion turned out to be a surprisingly full-featured game with a wide variety of activities. Even what we have described feels like just the tip of a large iceberg. It will certainly be an interesting game for those who enjoy strategy RPGs, which probably contributes to the game’s strong DAU count. Still, the poor presentation takes away from the game, and is perhaps accounts for the low MAU numbers. Galaxy Legion has plenty of room for improvement, but for a small game, it has a number of surprises, making it worth a closer look.

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11 Responses to “Another Look at a Smaller Facebook App, Galaxy Legion”

  1. Jack, Has Standards says:

    I’ve been playing this game for awhile – my rank is now 47.

    Pluses: Decent design. Actual game, not a Clicking Activity. Doesn’t take too much time to play. More to the game than first meets the eyes. Artifact variety and planet variety is pretty good. Numbers are good. Never asks you to spam friends, never bugs you to invite friends; generally treats the player very well.

    The UI gets the job without being too annoying. Still, it needs improvement.

    Minuses: Difficult to defend yourself against an attacker, as they’re more advanced than you – retaliation was pointless. The graphics are ho-hum. And other than being attacked twice, the excitement level is pretty low. Surprises are few. And, it doesn’t seem like much is ever added or improved.

    Overall, to me, one of the very best Facebook games.

  2. Boring Game says:

    It was fun in the beginning but i found out the game has one legion. its really big and basically bullies everyone else. even if you have friends in your “legion” there are still more attacking you and they gang up on you. they are changing the game to try and stop that and this legion has already made plans to cheat the game and get around the new set up. the people in the legion use real money to pay for better stats so the guy who is building the game wont stop them because they are basically paying him. it started out as a fun game but you either join up with them or they make your life miserable.

  3. Matress_of_evil says:

    Galaxy Legion is a game with a very loyal fanbase mainly due to the way the game is run and managed; the developers are very hands on with the players and will reply if contacted – they aren’t faceless executives, they are real people. And unlike what Jack above says, the game is frequently updated. There were three game udpates during August, and there have already been two updates in September.

    In fact, the most recent updates have actually rendered some of this game review obsolete due to the changes in the gameplay. Legions are no longer a case of trying to add random people as friends, but you can create a legion and allow others to join – without adding them as Facebook friends – or you can join existing legions. Each legion now has a limit of 50 players as well, so the game is considerably more balanced.

    The comments about the slightly bland nature of the UI ring true, but the developers have stated that they already have plans to improve this. However their current priority is to fix things that are broken before they add new content. And the players have been submitting ideas for how this can be done via the forums.

    Galaxy legion is a great game and it is one that keep improving. I’ve only been playing for about two months, but it is a vastly different game to when I started playing, and it is continuing to evolve. It is a deep game that takes time to master, but that’s where the fun is.

    It’s definitely my favourite game on Facebook.

  4. Robert says:

    There is no more DOO, which is the legion you are talking about. Dan has made a new Legion system that broke up DOO into 6 groups and started up many other groups. DOO is gone, the game is safe “Boring Game”. This is in my opinion one of the best facebook games for the same reasons jack have, plus the new alliance system.

  5. This Week’s Headlines on Inside Social Games says:

    [...] Another Look at a Smaller Facebook App, Galaxy Legion [...]

  6. Not exactly says:

    The new legion system is generating hundreds of new legions/guilds. In time even the top legion will be left alone and surrounded if that legion keeps making enemies, i.e. bullying time is over.

    Besides, someone is terribly misinformed. There are Project Anarchy, Galaxy desperados, the Dark Side, and many more. Join them if you think you are worthy of getting accepted.

  7. Brian says:

    I’m at rank 142 in the game.
    0) Boring Game your mistaken. Did you piss off DOO with what about 250 members out of 10,000+ daily players and 30,000+ monthly. Sorry you where disappointed in the game.
    1) you get no advantage pestering you facebook friends to join the game :-)
    2) no requests for you to spend your hard earned cash — although you can get ahead in the game if you do part with you cash
    3) no real timer requiring you to be in the game at a certain time. (your legion mates can even repair your ship while your off line)
    4) The game is all about balance.
    5) pretty easy to lose planets and take planets. Only once did I not take a planet I was trying for. I also lost more than 5 planets (all worth keeping).
    6) you can login to the game for 5 minutes take care of stuff and leave — letting your planets/ships work/recharge.
    7) Dan (the developer) reads the message boards and communicates with the players. Often the changes he makes improves the game – however he isn’t afraid to roll the change back when it doesn’t improve the game play.
    8) I’m out of work playing allot of games – at first this wasn’t even close to being my favorite but now it is because it doesn’t demand my time – it’s just their when I want to play.
    10) if you decide to try/play the game immediately read the starter/beginner guide on the message board.

  8. Mojo311 says:

    I love this game. I am currently rank 448 and I am not yet tiered or bored of the game. Every thing Brian says is true and there is no more need to worry about DOO so that a plus. lol Also another major point was about Dan the developer. He is a great guy and loves to help out on the forums where he is needed and is always changing something. He reads all the ideas that are given and has implanted many of them.

    Another thing as Brian said it doesn’t have to take a lot of time yet at the same time you can spend several hours on it with out getting bored if your in a good legion and aren’t afraid to talk to others online.

    If you ever decide to join the game look me up on the forum I would love to answer any question’s you may have there. :D (I go by the same name there.)

  9. Barmar says:

    This game is wonderful. Works well for those of us with slow internet which other Facebook games seem to ignore such as farmville, etc. Definitely well thought out aspects. Only 2 things I would like to see in future is a mobile version and continuing new missions with story line. My favorite

  10. 328MARK says:

    a game that rewards the players that are strategically minded, but doesn’t exclude the casual player…best of both worlds.
    echo the post about a slow connection, i can’t even get dragon empire to load and i gave car town up because it frequently stalled (sic) while loading.
    can see me being on this game for the long haul, why not join us on the journey ;)

  11. The BlackKnightmare says:

    A few things
    1. i agree with matress this game is very fun and if you take the time to play past lvl 2 and say in 1 week get to 30+ then you will realize that the depth of this game far outweighs its minor graphics.
    2. The dysonians (strongest legion in the game at this time) is really a place for hvy npc killers slaying “elite” boss’ that are shareable with your legionmates of certain lvl’s.
    3. planets (unlike that tiny pos u got :D ) are genneraly easy to come by as u can scan for them, get an alert from your legion or even BUY one from someone on the forum (such as myself).
    4. the pvp content is well balanced and if your smart about it you will come out t=of the lvl 20 spawn shield( meaning no planetary invasion for 2 weeks or till lvl 20) able to compete with he rest,i have 2 students at the moment who i taught to play the game (I even had one reset to lvl 1 another feature of this game) both currently have more kills under there belts than plays in the 400 lvl range.

    5. combat reputation is a helpful feature that allows you to see just how good the player your looking at is even if they are cloaked. laughable i believe is the weakest and an easy kill, insane is means that player has a ton more kills than deaths and you are better of not attacking them until you are ready,

    6. the forum… well it has 5 seperate sections, the first is for dan to anounce updates such as the recent legion bases, and soon base combat, a page for strategy topics, tech support page, a legion page for recruitment and such, and a “pub” which true to its word is meant for gossip and off topic stuff, also for war commentary, planet and artifact trading, and fun and games (we start our own stories sometimes)
    we also have a section in the forum for suggestions and believe it or not dan the developer USES them occasionaly.
    7. artifacts/minerals-EM while im not entirely sure how the pay rate goes out for a planet i will use an example i have, Waltrink is a Massive gaia plannet one you can only get by using a mission artifact on a terra planet, it is x5 mega rich in artifact ( every rank up a planet is increases the production of modules on planet by 25% so average is 0% abundant is 25% and x5 mega is 325% ontop of that based on the number of days it has been yours u get a percent bonus up to 100% (like mine is atm) so if my gaia has 40 base points (from buildings)x 325% x100% u can see it produces a LOT of artifact points which let me try for a lot of good things, in the beginning you will mostly get small things, probes, scan boosts, attack/def, weaker artifacts but at higher lvl’s u can get rare artifacts items that increase deck size, or crew number (exception is attack crew and energy) such as the Mass storage pod that gives you 60 cargo space (thats more space than you begin the game with) and the mighty ship bot for +2 deck size.
    8. when you get higher the modules you can get cost a lot more ( one gun for me now costs over 100 Million credits. which at my rank isn’t a lot but still a ton to someone lower.
    9.R.E.S.E.A.R.C.H my favorite I get over 4k rp per hour and i know some players that get 2x that amount. it is a very useful thing early on and what seems like alot in the begginging ( 600 for the first stage of guns) is NOTHING compared to the 800,000 for 1 of 4 stages of supernova reactors (energy capacity)
    with bases out you get x? amount of rp/ap(artifact points) and minerals per day based on you leaders decisions.
    10. solo players can suceed without a legion but it takes a lot more work, the more ppl in a legion the bigger the percent to planet att/def u get i.e we have 56 members (special base feature) we get 112% bonus to our planets att and def some planets will get over 100,000 and become fortress’s or as some of us say our “Homeworld” planets legions also get to talk and trade money and artifacts along with planets. elite npc’s can only be shared with your legion members and provide good fun and some competition due to the random rare item drops from some of them.
    a few things i would like to correct on cloaking hides you from the BT or battle tab a list of 10 enemy’s you can attack, more cloak will make you less likely to be found and also allows you to hack your enemies computer for RP and sometimes a planet (rare) it also reduces the chance an enemy will get a “critical hit” and do extra damage, scan increases you chance to do critical damage, allows you to find planets and some rare enemies, and lets you see the modules on the enemy player’s ship.

    also you can have your lvl /4 +1 of planets so a rank 260 like me gets 66 planet slots to control. and could pull in a lot of points per hour, another thing he failed to touch on is the number of races, human and sillix, inergon and aerlen in total you get to choose from 1 of 6 races and multiple professions (that do things from increasing you hacking ablilty to planetary population boost, the race you choose has its own bonus such as the 10% exp boost from being human (like me) there are several unlockable races that you can change into once you complete the missions (you need a artifact first)

    there is a lot more and i only was able to cover this much but as i have come to see this is a great game.

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