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Star Legends: Interview with Eli Holding

By Garrett Fuller on July 19, 2011 | Interviews | Comments

Star Legends: Interview with Eli Holding

MMORPG.com's Garrett Fuller sat down with Spacetime Studios' Design Director Eli Holding to discuss the upcoming mobile MMO Star Legends.

MMORPG.com:

Tell us about the Star Legends experience. What can players expect?

Eli Holding:

Star Legends takes place in a science fiction setting where players take on the role of a mercenary on the fringes of explored space. The characters, environments and NPCs all look fantastic. Combat is fast paced and character advancement robust. I think players can expect to have a great time.

An experienced Pocket Legends player will be extremely comfortable starting out in Star Legends. The games are very similar in many ways, but Star Legends has a number of new features that definitely make it a new game. I think people who have played both would agree that the two games feel different.

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MMORPG.com:

What lessons did you take from Pocket Legends when building the new game?

Eli Holding:

One of the most important factors of Pocket Legends' success is its fast pace and short play sessions. We really wanted that to be at the heart of Star Legends. We didn't want our players to have to set aside a large block of time to run a dungeon or complete a quest. The play of Star Legends is geared towards the person who might only have a few minutes set aside to devote to the game. They can play in those short bursts, still feel like they accomplished something and had a good time.

 

MMORPG.com:

Give us some background on the story in Star Legends.

Eli Holding:

Star Legends is set in our very distant future where humans have spread across the galaxy. The Blackstar, a massive star cruiser, is at the far frontier of humanity's reach and is a hive for loyal United Colonies soldiers, hardened mercenaries, unscrupulous privateers and huge galactic corporations. In the game, players take on the role of a mercenary, willing to take almost any contract and are often amongst the first to set foot on new worlds. Star Legends players will carve out their reputation among the stars!

MMORPG.com:

What types of gear are available to players?

Eli Holding:

Players can expect to wield things like dual flash pistols and wear helmets that project a holographic heads up display. We have lined up some really futuristic looking gear that we think players will enjoy. The types of gear available have been expanded considerably from previous benchmarks. We currently have 6 different classes of weapons with lots of variants. The player also has 5 armor slots, each which can change the way their character looks. We also have some non-visible equipment slots to allow the player to better customize their stats, and that doesn't even include the vanity items which changes the appearance of your character. All told we already have around a thousand different items in the game.

MMORPG.com:

Can you tell us about combat in the game? Space games seem to have much more ranged combat options. How does this work?

Eli Holding:

Well, we use the familiar "trinity" of MMOs for our character classes. We have the “Commando” which is our tank. A lot of Commando abilities center around taunting opponents and knocking them around. Basically, the stuff that keeps enemies from harming others. Our main DPS class is the “Operative”. This class is all about pumping out a large quantity of damage onto a single target. The final class, the “Engineer”, handles the support aspects of the game. The Engineer heals, buffs and performs crowd control on enemies. Between these three classes, players can form a well balanced and deadly team.

With ranged combat you can often fall into the trap of not making it quite as compelling viscerally as "sword and board" combat. Two combatants simply shooting back and forth across a room is not quite as interesting as the close in nature of melee combat. So we worked to solve this problem by giving the players and NPCs a wide variety of interesting abilities and advanced AI that really add spice to ranged combat. For example, the Commando can cause a Singularity to explode next to his target. This effect tosses the target and all other nearby enemies around the room. Another example is an NPC will recognize when a player has a certain buff on them and counter it with an ability of their own. Those sorts of things added that important tangible component to make Star Legends ranged combat extremely enjoyable.

MMORPG.com:

What part of Star Legends are you most excited about? Do you have a favorite feature?

Eli Holding:

We really wanted to keep the heart and soul of Pocket Legends game play alive and well in Star Legends, but we also realized that there was so much more we could do. Our technology is extremely flexible and powerful. It often isn't a case of ‘can’ we do something but rather ‘should’ we do something. One of the things we decided on was adding usable items to the world. This opened up a huge variety of different puzzles and challenges that we can present to players.

Oh, and guilds.

MMORPG.com:

Tell us about the tech side of building the game, how is it to link all those mobile players into one area?

Eli Holding:

It is fantastic. I wouldn't want to see it any other way. Being able to bring all of our players together onto one world server is an important factor in our success. People don't have to concern themselves with which device they are accessing a Spacetime game through. They simply know they get to log on and see their friends no matter where those friends are or what devices they play on. Again, this is a major strength of Spacetime’s technology which was several years and millions of dollars in the making.

MMORPG.com:

What are your plans for the game in the upcoming months?

Eli Holding:

We are currently hard at work on more content that includes increasing the level cap of the game, which is currently 21. At the same time we also want to give players alternative campaigns to play through so that our players at the high end of the level spectrum have plenty to do. Those additional campaigns should be ready to go shortly after we launch simultaneously on Android and iOS. We will definitely continue to add new campaigns and levels at pretty regular intervals. Of course, along with new campaigns come new quests, abilities, and items.

Additionally, more enhancements to the guild system such as an improved guild management interface are on the way and currently in development.