Every two weeks, Massively Mobile brings you the latest news, guides and analysis about MMOs on mobile devices. Covering iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad platforms, we're on the lookout for the next generation of MMOs.
Much has changed with Spacetime Studio's free-to-play, mobile, 3D MMO Pocket Legends since we posted our first impressions of the game last month. Since then, it has seen a number of updates, content patches, refinements and improvements. It has evolved from a multiplayer Diablo-esque dungeon runner to sporting the kinds of bells and whistles one expects to find in an MMO. In this inaugural Massively Mobile column, I catch up with the game that's blazing the trail for mobile MMOs.
Before I jump into the big patch that came out this week, I want to touch on a particular small improvement that was patched in recently. They restricted loot distribution and experience gains to only those within range of the monster kills. This prevents people from having their friends go /afk at the dungeon instance. But, for me, the main benefit is that it will hopefully stop parties from splitting up at intersections in dungeons. Seriously, people, it's a simple rule: follow the tank. Divided parties are dead parties. Ok, grumpy healer frustration vented. On with the show.
Pocket Legends Patch 1.1
The big patch that dropped this week introduced many new features players have been waiting for. Not only does the new banking system allow you to stash your extra loot, but it doubles as a way to get equipment to alts. The devs also put in a method to trade items with other players. You can't trade for or with in-game gold, but that's on the list of future game improvements.
While the bank system is a welcome addition, the in-game trading has already spawned a great deal of spam in the town chat channels. Also, as you can see in the image above, people are finding creative ways to sell their wares. For years now, WoW players have been selling slots in dungeon raids for gold. In a game like Pocket Legends where gold translates into real life money, it's only a matter of time before a secondary market pops up for this game as well.
There has also been a change in how in-game items are bought with in-game currency. Previously accessible through the Store tab on the character screen, that gold-bought gear has now been moved to NPCs that can be found in town. New goodies can be found on the new vendors as well. For example, the Enchantress vendor sells mana potions in packs of not just 5 & 25, but 60 & 100 as well. I can go through a few dozen potions on some runs, so this was a welcome surprise. You can still buy potions within the Character screen in case you run out while dungeon crawling.
The class vendors in town that have armor and weapons for sale have also been stocked with new items. When you click on the item for sale, you can now see how it affects your stats on your character. This equipment is different than the kind you can buy with real money. That is now handled in a new way.
Platinum currency has now been introduced. Before now, there was in-game gold and real money purchases through iTunes. iTunes was used to buy more gold, dungeon campaigns, extra character slots, etc. It seems Spacetime didn't like the inflexibility of the iTunes pricing system so instead of buying these in-game perks directly for money, you now buy the new in-game currency platinum and use that to buy the perks. Since you can get 5 platinum coins for US$0.99, Spacetime now has the ability to have weekly sales discounting certain items on the fly. That shiny robe for 5 plat is now only 3 plat for three days only! And of course, if you buy plat in bulk, it costs less per piece.
Other improvements include NPCs with flavor text, the ability to determine the difficulty of a mob by targeting them to display the level difference and a boot function to throw unwanted people out of your instance. And the fun doesn't stop there. Since the patch went live, they've patched a few more times and added new features such as the ability to expand your chat screen from three lines to nine or to one.
The Road Ahead
Spacetime Studios is currently developing a dungeon campaign taking us into a new environment. The Ancient Swamps will raise the level cap from 30 to 35 and bring in new bosses, new monster AI tricks (poisoning!) and, of course, new swamp-themed loot. Plus, they are introducing new environmental effects allowing for the creation of lakes, ponds and moving water.
After that, Spacetime has quite an ambitious list of features in store for the game. Longtime MMO players should be familiar with many of these features including PvP, mailboxes, guilds, quests, player housing, achievements and leaderboards. And, we assume, more dungeon campaigns.
This game came out of the gate strong and has only improved. With this latest patch and strong plans for the future underway, it's quickly winning over new fans every day. For fast-paced MMO fun on the go, Pocket Legends is the mobile game that's setting the standard for fun.
Dan O'Halloran covers the emerging fields of mobile and Facebook MMOs for Massively. For suggestions or tips, send an email to dano at massively dot com.