How adding guilds plays into longterm retention for Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes

John Salera on thinking ahead

How adding guilds plays into longterm retention for Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes

Given its late November 2015 launch, timed alongside film series reboot The Force Awakens, it wasn't a surprise that Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes didn't arrive with all the game features you'd expect.

No matter.

The game has performed very strongly in its opening months, being a regular in the top grossing top 20 on the Apple App Store and Google Play, although its position has slipped recently.

But now it's got one of those big features that didn't make launch - guilds.

Available to any player over level 22, guilds are groups of up to 50 players who work together to carry out Raids, also gaining access to new resources, materials and characters.

For example, guilds who can best the seventh tier of the current Rancor raid get the opportunity to unlock the original Han Solo character.

Long term thinking

"Our priority when launching the game was to provide the highest level experience within our time frame," explains John Salera, executive producer at EA-owned Capital Games.

"Adding guilds provides a brand new type of experience, especially for higher level players."

Based in Sacramento, CA, the studio's first mobile release was 2013's Heroes of Dragon Age; a game that shares some common features with Galaxy of Heroes in being a character-based card-oriented squad RPG.

"We're proud of that game. It got a good reaction. But the key lesson we took from it into Galaxy of Heroes was to think more careful about longevity," Salera confesses.

Adding guilds provides a brand new type of experience, especially for higher level players.
John Salera

That's certainly not an issue in Galaxy of Heroes, which has twice increased its level cap (now at 80), and well as having the whole - and still expanding Star Wars universe to play in.

There's more coming

"There's so much more we can bring to the fans," Salera says.

The new Han Solo character is a prime example.

Feeding into fan sentiment, he's an attacking character who 'shoots first'; a meme that Star Wars fans will immediately understand, even if it passes the more casual audience by.

Indeed, making sure the game works well for both extremes of audience is something the development team has worked hard to fulfill.

The Daily Achievements - a checklist of tasks which gain a player additional rewards, which takes around 25 minutes to complete - is one such mechanic.

Nothing new in F2P mobile games, of course, but its simple yet insistent implementation is a mark of Galaxy of Heroes' quality.

So it will be interesting to see how the introduction of guilds - alongside external boosts such as the forthcoming 'May the Fourth be with you' (May 4th) day - will build on such existing systems to encourage lower level players up the ranks.

And Galaxy of Heroes back up the grossing charts, too.

Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at which means he acts like a slightly confused uncle who's forgotten where he's left his glasses. As well as letters and cameras, he likes imaginary numbers and legumes.