Shattered Galaxy is a massively multiplayer online real-time strategy game (MMORTS) that was released in 2001 by Nexon Inc., now known as KRU Interactive, after an extensive open beta period. In the US, it was published by Tri Synergy. It combines the attributes of a massive multiplayer online role-playing game and a real-time strategy game. Having won the Seumas McNally Grand Prize at the 2001 Independent Games Festival and hosted through the Game Developers Conference, the game has been commercially unsuccessful due in large part to its dated graphics engine. 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.
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.
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 the player joins or starts battles with other players, simply by walking into a province not controlled by the player's nation. As soon as the avatar enters any province controlled by an opposing faction battle is commenced 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 captured 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 involved in, the time left in the battle, and the number of other POCs currently controlled. A "poccer" is a player or unit that captures a POC. "Poccing" refers to the actual act of taking a POC.
There are 3 factions in each planet.
- The planet Relic is where new characters are created. It was known as the "training planet" and it has access to most units. For many new players this is a good experience, as players face less extreme 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. It is generally considered that non payers have fewer handicaps than those in Morgana Prime. Maximum unit level:25, faction names: Troy, Pompeii, Helike
Players who wish to remain on Relic without paying for their characters have developed a sort of 'supertype' of character called "sys21". These "sys21" character are designed to reach level 21 in all divisions without touching level 22 in any division. A free account with a single division at level 22 is automatically shifted to Morgana Prime in a period of time and therein lies the attraction of sys21 characters. They have maximum 10 units in each division, the maximum number of units possible to reach the level cap of 25 without hitting division level of 22. One downside to sys21 characters is that they are limited to at most 40 units, leading to less flexibility in unit choice.
- Morgana Prime was the primary planet in the Shattered Galaxy universe. This planet serves as the playground for characters which do not belong on Relic, offering them every possible unit and higher grade equipments available in the game. This leads to a slightly different strategies compared to Relic. One between Relic and Morgana Prime is the fact that only Morgana Prime players are offered the service "Reincarnation"(see below). Both planets have long played veteran players and regiments, but Morgana Prime was more active. Maximum unit level: 60, faction names: Atlantis, Agartha, Pacifica
However, recently a large group of Morgana Prime players have stopped playing leading Morgana Prime to become essentially inactive, making Relic the more active planet. Also, in both planets there is one out of the three factions that is essentially empty. in effect becoming a 1 vs 1 faction system.
When first creating a character, the player is allowed to choose a name, an avatar from approximately ten, and which of two currently weaker factions from three to become a member of in Relic. The player then goes to the factory to purchase the units they want to play with. There are no character classes but have 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) in the beginning. Every time one levels up a class division, one is given one extra attribute point until it reaches division level 50, such that a non reincarnated char has a total of 236 points, 216 points the character can invest as there is always 5 Tactics, Clout, Education and Mechanical Aptitude to start with. There are no relationships between character avatars and battling. Characters are effectively mere placeholders and the differences between players are the different combination, number of attribute points put into each statistics, called "stats", and the unit levels and types.
From the beginning every player has 5 points invested into Tactics, Clout, Education and Mechanical Aptitude. Every 20 Tactics allow the player to control 1 more unit in battle, from the basic 6 units up to 12 units with 120 Tactics. Every 2 Clout raises a single unit quality, which when enough allows units to be upgraded into higher Marks and/or different units. Upgrading into higher marks generally improves the unit basic performance. Every 2 Education raises a single Technology level, which allows units to equip higher class equipments which are more efficient and/or stronger. Lastly every Mechanical Aptitude raises the units weight in direct proportion with the unit's base weight. When a unit levels, its unit quality and technology level automatically increases by 1, and widely used statistics combination are specially designed for various units to reach its maximum potential when the units have been fully leveled. These four statistics are the heart of the player's battlefield role, and an unofficial character-class system exists, revolving primarily around Clout and Education.
"Clouters," as they are called in game slang have most attribute points invested into Tactics and Clout and so can get access to higher-Marked units. Higher-Marked units have higher base lifepoints and higher space allowing the equipment of better armours, so they make better "poccers" suited to seize a defended POC while under fire.
"Eduers,", with most attribute points on Education and Tactics, are given access to stronger weapons suitable for "stoppers" designed to rapidely destroy enemy poccers before they poc. 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 often disdain durability for increased mobility and lethality.
"Tacters" were once a class unto themselves, but is now considered a must for both "clouters" and "eduers". Along with determining who's the battle commander(there are more factors), it enables players to be able to use more units at a time: 20 points gives access to one more unit, to a maximum of 120 Tactics and 12 units. Every player is generally encouraged to invest points in Tactics, as Shattered Galaxy is a game that values overall quality over individual qualities: the individual units owned by a 120-Tactics player may have fewer hit points than a player with 120 Clout, or do less damage per second than a player with 120 Education, but his overall 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 are considered the bare minimum for effective play.
Finally, Mechanical Aptitude (MA) 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. Nevertheless, it is still important as it is often essential for units to equip better equipment.
Regardless of planet or faction, payers can reset stats using 15 uranium which enables them to relocate the attribute points such that it is possible to try different stats and units with the same character without having to start all over.
When first purchasing units, the player will find that he can only purchase a limited type of units, due to the lack of "Influence". Influence is raised leveling a division level and by inputing every 2 clout. Most units that require high levels of Influence can actually be upgraded from the basic units when they reached sufficient level in combination with the character's clout. There are some "Super Organics" which can only be purchased when 1 of the 4 statistics has reached its full, 2 units that requires uranium to have the right to purchase and 1 unit that can only be brought as a reward from events, but the majority can be purchased from the factory.
Though players can only control a maximum of 12 units at a time with 120 tactics, they can own up to 48 plus an additional 2 for each reincarnation. There is a 100 unit max per hero. 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 ("domesticated" native aliens 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 at the Factory) 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" (improved versions of the same chassis) without sufficient "Unit Quality," determined by the unit's level and the player's Clout statistic. They also cannot access advanced equipment without sufficient "Tech Level," determined by the unit's level and the player's Education statistic. 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 maxima. A unit's Weight total can be expanded via the Mechanical Aptitude stat, but Space only increases in pre-determined amounts via unit upgrades.
Shattered Galaxy has over fifty different kinds of units. Each unit has its own characteristic which allows it to be effective in certain circumstances and roles but ineffective in others. No unit can outmatch every single other unit in every single circumstance. They have specialized roles. Different units have different base health, weight, space, equipment, speed and characteristics such as special abilities. It has generally been accepted that different units are effective in some stats but inefficient in others, and veteran players put much attention in their choice of units and statistics.
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 (the unit's newly gained level, squared; an Infantry unit getting to Level 4 from Level 3 will give Infantry division 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.
To first start a battle, someone has to invade another factions territory using portals, and other players can join in invading or defending the land until the battle is full. During the first 3 min of the battle, people have to manually travel to the spot but after the first 3 minutes people can join from long distances, visually seeing and hearing the battle even when their units haven't been deployed and have to wait a couple of seconds to really participate in battle.
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. Poccers try to poc, while stoppers try to kill enemy poccers, along with many activities which try to weaken the enemy ability to defend and capture poc. Some special abilities include carpet bombing, jamming mini-map, laying mines, shooting nukes, protecting from nukes, paralyzing abilities and limited shields can also contribute to the outcome of the battle. Some unit abilities include cloaking abilities so that enemies cannot see and attack them well, anti-gravity harness to leave no footprints and not get affected by mines, and emp which reduces others unit's energy. When the player's squad is destroyed, the player may select a new squad to reinforce into battle 30 seconds later, which means it is practically impossible to kill off the enemy; the player may also "retreat" their squad through a friendly spawn point to reinforce a new squad.
The battle power of each player is not necessarily dependent on his/her current character level or the level of units he puts into play, but whether the player can successfully and appropriately exploit his unit's advantages. A veteran player with good mastery of battle tactics with a low PowerRating can easily surpass a disorganized high PowerRating opponent in battle power. In other words, battle awareness rather than level is the key to winning battles. Communication and teamwork are crucial to success and a battle victory is achieved not by a single player but by the joint effort of the team as battles can involve twenty or more people on each side. This creates a relatively interdependent gaming atmosphere, as players must rely on their team to ultimately achieve victory. There exists a "regiment" which allows 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.
When a battle has finished, the winner keeps/captures the land and the defeated is found near the portal they entered the battle or in the faction capital. Unit experience are given to both sides in relation to the number of kills, average kill level, pocs captured, duration of battle and defeat or victory.
POC and battle rules
Each map has one of the following battle types: All or Nothing, Standard, Standard Enhanced, and Victory.
All or Nothing: 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 minimum one POC all the time. Maps of this nature used to involve only 1 POC, but today they involve 3 clustered together.
Standard: the attacking side has to hold a majority of POCs at 0:00 or capture all POCs to win. The defending side must have at least half the POCs to win. Capturing a POC typically requires it be occupied for 60 seconds by units of a faction.
Standard Enhanced are similar to 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. 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. If the remaining side are the attackers, they need to capture all the pocs for the points to drop 50 per second.
The PowerRating system is implemented to make sure that the battles are even and not biased towards the more reincarnated players who individually have more stats and so are stronger. Each battle has a certain PowerRating capacity for both sides. For example, an average full battle in Morgana Prime has a PR around 160 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 about 16 players on their side, while the Group of veterans could only fill 15 or less players on their side. This gives the new players an advantage in the number of players they have on their side in the battle and evens out the odds, making the outcome of the battle more reliant on teamwork and tactics rather than individual highly leveled characters.
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, an incentive only available in Morgana Prime. The player receives extra statistic points in proportion to total division 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 8 January 2010, at least one player has done so 32 times, the highest so far), but must be a paying member of the game to do so. Reincarnation allows the character to have stronger units due to the extra attribute points, but the more attribute points one has, the higher power rating he has so the balance is still kept in check. Reincarnation is part of the RPG style of the game which allows individual characters get more attribute points and so have stronger units by experience.
Caving is a term in Shattered Galaxy for going into alien caves in order to fight and gain experience points. There are caves in every map. Caves 1 and 2 are in every capital whereas there are caves 1, 2 and 3 in other maps. Most caving is done on Relic fraction capitals cave 1, where the aliens consist of weak slursts and larvas. As the caves on Morgana Prime are famous for their tough difficulty level, caving is usually considered a waste of time. Also caving gives very little experience compared to fighting. Therefore, people recommend fighting a battle against other users rather than caving. Caves further from the capital have stronger aliens. A cave battle is similar to a normal battle but with only 1 POC, aliens instead of enemy factions, 2 minute poc time instead of one and 20 minutes battle time. Experience received in caves is based on how long a player waits before POCcing (slang for capturing a Point of Contention). Lastly caving causes a loss of Honor for paying heroes.
Mercing is serving as a mercenary within the game. People can choose to become mercenaries for the 10% experience bonus and fight for the faction that has less online players. It is also a means of faction balancing. If 1 faction is too strong some will merc and fight back balancing the factions. One cannot merc if one is currently in a regiment. Mercing serves as a more efficient way of leveling especially for those 'Lone Wolves'.
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 and so is irrelevant to consider when playing the game.
Uranium is currently the only other resource being utilized. This is the resource which only Elite(payer) Heroes can use for various reasons, including the purchase of Gold Weapons, reseting stats, changing factions/planets and obtaining the right to purchase 2 extra unit types from the factory. Typically, Gold Weapons have better statistics than their normal counterparts, so serious paying players equip gold weapons for enhanced performance. Basic Heroes cannot use Uranium to outfit their weapons but can stock uranium, albeit slower than payers, so they can spend it later when they pay to become an Elite Hero.
Uranium is given out after the Faction completes its War Meter, which typically completes approximately every 5–7 days. The amount of uranium received is 3*X where X is your Power Rating. This is the only source non-payers can obtain uranium. Elite Heroes will also get a daily uranium tribute if they have at least one winning battle every 24 hours. The amount of daily uranium one gets per day is X/3 where X is the Heroes Power Rating. Uranium can also be obtained from various events which only payers can participate.
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.
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 US$9.95 per month to play with all limitations removed.
Nexon has closed Tactical Commanders' service in Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. As of October 31, 2008, the German service was closed due to lack of players.
There have been no new updates since 2006 except for the February 9, 2011 patch which fixed the CTD (Crash To Desktop) bug. No further major gameplay updates from KRU Interactive are expected. Minor support for the game continues with sporadic "Double XP" weekend events, quarterly "Reincarnation" events, a yearly summer and winter tournament, gift event, and glory battle event.