Legacy of a Thousand Suns

The power of social games is in their communities. Legacy of a Thousand Suns is about being as social as possible.

The sci-fi massively multiplayer online role-playing game is turning 2-years-old this month. 5th Planet Games first released it in 2010 on Facebook, where it has experienced a particularly high retention rate. It currently has 50,000 monthly users. Meanwhile, Legacy has appeared on Kongregate and Armor Games, where it’s been played over 7 million and 3 million times, respectively.

LoTS - 2“These are platforms known for their core audiences,” Robert Winkler, the co-founder and chief executive of 5th Planet, told GamesBeat. Initial discovery on these sites has been a key to the game’s success.

Winkler said Legacy’s main competition on all three platforms is its own fantasy-themed Dawn of the Dragons, an RPG that has over 20 million play sessions on Kongregate, nearly 3 million on Armor Games, and 130,000 monthly users on Facebook. Most people are either loyal to one genre or the other, fantasy or sci-fi, said Winkler.

“Beyond our own games, we track everything that shows up on Kongregate and Armor Games,” he said. “When we see a dip in traffic or revenue, it is usually attributed to new games launching in other genres. This is a positive since we feel like our community recognizes we are producing some of the best RPGs on the market, but it is also a good reminder that we need to stay focused on providing quality, value, and fun.”

Dawn of the DragonsA lot of different elements have contributed to the Legacy’s popularity over the past two years, said Winkler. Its narrative complexity, for one, is significant among other text-based RPGs, along with its high-quality artwork.

“Legacy of a Thousand Suns was one of the first titles on Facebook to be triple-A quality,” said Winkler. “We partnered with Concept Art House, an award-winning art studio known for their work with brands like Magic and Warcraft, to level up our visual fidelity.”

Co-op gameplay and community-building features — like raids, alliances, contests, and gifts — continue to engage players. “Our forums are extremely active as well,” said Winkler. “It is a truly ‘social’ social game.”

LoTS - 3“Community is what drives Legacy of a Thousand Suns and all of 5th Planet’s games and is the one thing we value more than any other,” he said. “We just wrapped up the second annual Legacy of a Thousand Suns player council. This is where we fly a group of players with varying play styles in to our headquarters and conduct a weekend-long focus group. Once the weekend wraps up, that group of players is then engaged on a daily basis for the rest of the year, and [they] serve as sounding boards and community advocates. Nearly a quarter of our payroll goes toward headcount that has some level of direct interaction with our players, and each game has a dedicated community manager.”

5th Planet is celebrating Legacy’s 2-year anniversary with a month-long celebration that includes weekly world raids, a treasure hunt event, new minizones, a comic-drawing contest, and more.

“It’s a game that continues to evolve, so our players never get bored,” said Winkler. “It’s something you can play for a few minutes here and there or for hours on end, which is what a lot of our players end up doing!”

5th Planet also publishes Clash of the Dragons and Legacy of Heroes on Facebook, Kongregate, Armor Games, and Kabam.