EA and Capital Games’ mobile RPG, Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes released a large update this week that brings players closer together and aims to draw lapsed players back in with a slew of tried and tested engagement and retention strategies.
Included in the update are player guilds and raids, as well as a new player chat functionality. These types of social features serve to re-engage inactive players who might have found the relatively solo-going not for them, and bump up the activity of currently active players.
Guilds as Engagement Tools
Like clans in Clash Royale, guilds in Galaxy of Heroes create a social reason for players to keep playing. No one wants to let their friends down! With the new chat functionality, players can also connect with friends and other guild members in real time.
Guild-based activities can also appeal to the more competitive players, and players who get a kick out of leadership too. Everything from privacy settings to higher-tier rewards are available for members and leaders of a guild.
The relatively straightforward social aspects of guilds in Galaxy of Heroes may end up going a long way to keeping players invested in the game. Guilds have even been cited in academic studies as one of the key retention features of World of Warcraft, the quintessential example of long-term retention.
Capital and EA went a step further and made guilds more than just clubhouses…
Raid It Up
Once players are members of a guild, they can also join in a raid, a time-honored tradition in gaming that’s only recently made its way to games outside the massively multiplayer online (MMO) genre, to games like Destiny and The Division.
Traditionally requiring teamwork, communication, and dedication, the first raid in Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes is no different. Called “The Pit,” guilds can challenge themselves against a rancor (that giant monster Jabba the Hutt keeps in his basement) and can earn the best rewards in the game so far.
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These types of social engagement hooks are, once implemented, relatively low cost, since players themselves are creating the pull to keep others playing. Guilds and chat systems are also quite costly to develop and implement, and tend to only work for one game, rather than across a publisher’s titles.
Galaxy of Heroes has also faced some criticism from dedicated users who hit a point where they feel they must spend money in order to progress. The “pay to win” label is undoubtedly something EA is keen to avoid, and giving players more to do with guilds and higher-end rewards with raids might offset some frustration felt by high-level players. Balancing those things with the need to monetize can be tricky though, and the coming weeks and months will give EA great data with which to plan their next move.
For now, the combination of activity rewards and social pull can be hard to resist, something EA and Capital are banking on as Star Wars Day, May the 4th [be with you] approaches.
To read more about these changes to a mobile title in galaxy far, far away, check out the official announcement here.
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