This is Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes. It's a game I called "another mobile Star Wars card game" when it was announced. A game I called "not bad . . . not great, either" at launch. A game that's been part of my daily routine since mid-October. EA introduced Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes at E3 2015, calling it "the Star Wars game mobile players have been waiting for". I poked fun, and I don't think my fun-poking was unjustified. That this is what, the third or fourth collectible-based mobile game set in the Star Wars universe is ridiculous. And were mobile players really waiting for this? Probably not.
But they got it, and they seem to dig it. Hell, I dig it. I've sat down at a table with friends, pulled out my phone and compared character collections. I've exchanged team-building tips with folks who normally wouldn't touch a free-to-play mobile game of this variety. Maybe its just the Star Wars fever gripping the world, but the combination of iconic characters and turn-based role-playing style battles has struck a chord.
I'm not playing incessantly. Just 10 to 15 minutes a day. Here's how it plays out. I generally log in around 11pm Eastern time (3pm AEDT) as I'm winding down for the day. That's when the servers reset for the day.
First I grab my login rewards. These are cash, gems and character shards used to unlock new heroes and villains. I've not missed one of these since mid-October.
Next I go to the store and grab a free Bronzium Data Card. The game rewards these at regular intervals. They're generally small amounts of in-game cash, materials used to upgrade characters or experience point boosters. They rarely contain character shards but that's OK.
I've spent a bit of real money on crystals, probably around $US20 ($29), which does't seem like a big investment for three months of entertainment. Lately I've been relying on crystals earned through normal gameplay for the odd energy boost -- the Chromium cards are too random to be worth buying.
Next comes shipments, a regular cycle of character shards and levelling items. I grab each of the levelling items offered, maybe the experience point boosters if I'm looking to level up a character quickly. The character shards themselves are a bit too pricey for my tastes.
Then it's time for a look at my collection.So far I've gathered 45 characters from all across Star Wars history. These have mainly been procured through Squad (PVP) Battle shipments, Cantina (Mixed Light and Dark Teams) Battle Shipments and Galactic War (survival mode using your entire roster) shipments.
I train a character using experience items.
I'll slot a piece of gear into a character's loadout, increasing their stats.
And then I'll look through my roster for characters close to gaining enough shards to upgrade. Currently I'm working on maxing out my Chewbacca.
Hitting the "Find" button brings up a list of places where I can secure Chewbacca shards.
During last night's session between Cantina Battles and three each Light and Dark Side story battles, I earned 12 more shards. I should be able to top him off tonight.
Yeah, I said I'm going to top off Chewbacca. Shut up.
I check my Cantina points -- the orange globes up top -- to see if I can grab some more shards for my current crush, Dark Side healer Old Daka. I can, I do, and its on to a round of Galactic War.
The Galactic War is a series of battles against random player teams in which your entire roster can participate. If one of your characters dies, swap it out with another and keep going. If your party wipes, form a new one.
Galactic War has gotten tougher as I've levelled up. I used to be able to run the board. Now its touch-and-go four or five matches in.
The rewards are amazing -- a ton of in-game money, lots of experience booster items, power-enhancing ability shards. Just need to keep strengthening my roster, get some of those lower-level characters beefed up. I'll get there.
What else? I'll take on two challenges, special battles with specific rewards.
Cad Bane has all the money. Since levelling is getting more expensive, I should spend a bit more time killing him when his event pops up.
After that, all that's left to do is a little player-versus-player combat.
Back before the game launched in North America I was regularly in the top 1000 players. I've been hovering around the four thousands for a couple of months now.
Sometimes I take control of my characters and battle manually.
But most of the time I set it on auto and see what happens.
Good call this time. Take that, ranks 4273 through 4279!
PVP battles are subject to a cooldown timer, so I normally do one and then catch up on the other two required in the Daily Activities list during the next day.
Or sometimes I don't.
But now that the level cap has been raised from 60 to 70 and I'm gaining experience points again, I pretty much always do. Gotta stay competitive.
This whole process, not counting the extra PVP battles, takes about ten minutes. During the day I might work on some story progression Light and Dark Side battles or tinker about with equipment and such, but for the most part it's ten minutes.
Ten minutes of every single day. For three months.
I can't see myself stopping any time soon. I've got to work on my PVP team. My Dark Side could use some tweaking, and I've still got a bunch of characters and story missions to unlock.
"EA's Other New Star Wars Game Has Nothing On Battlefront." That's what I thought of Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes when it launched. And here I am, trying to remember the last time I played Star Wars: Battlefront. Maybe this was the mobile Star Wars game I'd been waiting for after all.