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Diablo-like Legends: Rise of a Hero launches on Zynga.com

Between Borderlands 2, Torchlight II, and Diablo III, 2012 is a fantastic year for games that require you to hunt down precious items and gear to toughen up your character. But if you’re still itching to grab more loot, the free-to-play social game Legends: Rise of a Hero launches today on Zynga.com.

In Legends, players must rescue a princess from the goblin horde that kidnapped her. Generic premise aside, Legends doesn’t take itself very seriously: Dialogue and descriptions are rife with tongue-in-cheek humor. After choosing your class (ranger, warrior, or wizard), you go on quests, earn loot, craft weapons, and gradually build a kingdom of your own. It’s like a lighthearted version of Diablo, publisher Activision Blizzard’s series of loot-based RPGs.

It also uses some familiar social game mechanics, such as an energy bar that determines how many actions you can take per session, as well as a chance to buy premium currency to speed up your progress. Any friends you recruit in the game become A.I.-controlled members of your party.

Legends: Rise of a Hero caters specifically to the “midcore” market, a segment of players who don’t fit under the casual or hardcore definitions. Midcore titles balance accessibility and wide appeal with deeper mechanics than the usual social games, but they are not as complex as those found on consoles and PCs. Those who play them tend to stick around a lot longer, and spend more money, than the casual crowd.

“With the launch of Legends, we are breaking new ground in the midcore social gaming space,” said Michael Witz, the founder and CEO of developer Mob Science, in a press release sent to GamesBeat. “Our goal was to create an immersive, imaginative world that would appeal to many different types of players, but more importantly, one that would draw people into the story. We couldn’t be more proud to partner with Zynga to make it available to their network of players, adding to and complementing their existing portfolio of games.”

The San Diego-based Mob Science is just one of the 24 third-party developers under the Zynga Platform, where the mobile gaming giant provides marketing, distribution, and technical support for its partners’ games. Earlier this year, Mob Science raised $1 million in seed funding for the development of Legends. Its previous social games on Facebook include inFamous Anarchy (a spinoff of the PlayStation 3-exclusive superhero series), Coffee Bar, and Snowball Fight.

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