I still play the Star Wars mobile game “Galaxy of Heroes” daily, but you may have noticed (though probably not) that I haven’t covered it much recently.
Partly, that’s because there really hasn’t been much of anything going on.
But another part is that the game is quite a mess right now. It’s still making some money, but it’s at the point where I truly wonder whether the death of this game might be coming at some point sooner than many would like to think. Basically, the problems can be partly summed up like this: the developers aren’t putting out much new content whatsoever (which makes you wonder where all this money goes), so we’re left with long dry periods without anything new. When something new does come, however, it’s geared entirely toward end-game players, which is why the recent events have had insane power creep (and even worse – totally RNG dependent!). In all of this, however, the attempts at money grabs have become more obvious. So when you have a game that is clearly just trying to get you to spend money, but doesn’t put out much new content and when it does it’s all about end-game players, the question becomes: how are you possibly going to recruit enough new players to keep the game from dying?
Basically, I don’t expect them to.
But none of this is really the point of this article except so far as to set the stage for where we’re at in the game right now. But then on Wednesday, the kit for General Skywalker was officially announced. It has been pretty clear for a while that he’d be coming eventually, but the details surrounding it are absolutely insane for a couple of reasons.
1. The Requirements are Absurd
Here are the minimum requirements needed to even attempt the event, all seven stars: (1) Anakin’s Eta-2 Starfighter (40,000+ Galactic Power (GP)), (2) a Galactic Republic Capital Ship (40,000+ GP), (3-5) three other Galactic Republic ships (40,000+ GP), (6) Ahsoka Tano (17,700+ GP), (7) C-3PO (17,700+ GP), (8) General Kenobi (17,700+ GP), (9) Padme Amidala (17,700+ GP), (10) Shaak Ti (17,700+ GP), (11) Asajj Ventress (17,700+ GP), (12) B1 Battle Droid (17,700+ GP), (13) B2 Super Battle Droid (17,700+ GP), (14) Droideka (17,700+ GP), and (15) IG-100 MagnaGuard (17,700+ GP). Those are the minimum requirements to even attempt this event, but also note that in order to level up the ships to be at a high-enough galactic power, you have to level up the pilots. So we can add (16) Jedi Knight Anakin, as well as two additional pilots (Ahsoka Tano is already needed for another tier and has a ship, so her ship seems like a no-brainer). So just for the sake of putting two characters in here, let’s say you’ll also need: (17) Rex (Rex’s ARC-170), and (18) Fives (Umbaran Starfighter).
So let’s synthesize all of that: in order to even attempt the event that will allow you to unlock General Skywalker at five stars (presumably to have to then still farm the rest through stores, though that’s unconfirmed), you will need to have 18 different characters leveled up to elite levels. That is absolutely insane. And even though most of those characters have been around long enough for many to have them, to level up 18 of them is crazy, but also a few of them – especially Shaak Ti – haven’t been farmable all too long.
And this is all working with the bare minimum requirements. With the recent release of relics (a bad idea in and of itself, but that’s for another time), I would be shocked if this event weren’t geared toward needing characters to have decently high relic levels too. We’ll have to find out, but typically, going into an event with the minimum power level will require tons of tries.
Make no mistake: this is the most end-game of all end-game content that SWGOH has released. If you’re looking to pick up the game and unlock General Skywalker, for instance, you’re going to need to farm 18 different units, gear them up to close to the max (or use tons of zeta mats), and then attempt the event (we’ll have to see how difficult it is). If you’re looking to start the game, my advice to you: at this point, why bother?
I’m not saying that all events must be easily accessible for early game players (of course not!), but that’s why the developers being content with almost no new content is so detrimental: I can’t remember the last time they released something even remotely geared toward new players, and I don’t think that’s good for the long-term health of this game.
2. The Kit is Broken
We have, of course, yet to see how General Skywalker works in action, so typically people have been able to find a counter – at which point CG conveniently steps in and nerfs the counter. So that may happen here too. But looking at the kit that was revealed for General Skywalker, I’ll be honest: this is probably the most broken kit the game has ever seen.
You can read the whole thing here, but here’s the gist of it. As the leader of the 501st (that makes sense), if General Skywalker has protection, he will taunt and other 501st allies can’t lose health. But if General Skywalker doesn’t have protection, he’ll be immune to any damage or status effects, have his speed set to zero, and recover 10% protection and turn meter at the end of every turn. Additionally, every time General Skywalker uses an ability he actually uses two abilities, and every time he deals a critical hit he will increase the targeted enemy’s cooldowns by one. If General Skywalker is critically hit himself, he dispels all debuffs. If an enemy doesn’t have protection when targeted, General Skywalker reduces their current max health by 20% for the rest of the battle. And oh yeah, if he’s on an all-501st squad, he has +100% defense, +100% max protection, +100% tenacity, +100% counter chance, and +50% critical chance.
So how do you defeat him? Well, as the developers explained, you have to take out all the other 501st allies in order to get to him. But there’s more, because if all his allies are defeated, you can’t critically hit General Skywalker and he’ll be gaining +35% turn meter after every enemy turn.
The roadmap to beat General Skywalker looks, on paper, to go like this then: you can’t diminish the health of any 501st ally until General Skywalker’s protection is gone, and he’ll be starting with high protection numbers because of his boosts. Once you get him down to no protection, you can’t target him for a while, so you have to go to work on the other 501st allies – all the while Skywalker is regaining protection and will soon re-emerge to taunt, taking your attention away from the other members and repeating the cycle. So basically, the only way to kill Skywalker before any/all of the other 501st members is to annihilate him (more on that in a minute). If you can manage to take down all of the other four members, then you’ll have to face a Skywalker who is regaining turn meter like crazy and can thus wreck your squad if you can’t do enough damage fast enough.
So the obvious option seems to be to run Darth Nihilus against Skywalker, since annihilate can actually defeat him, but remember: that ability starts on cooldown, and every time Skywalker critically hits an enemy he’s increasing their cooldowns. So in order to even survive long enough to use annihilate, you’re going to have to hide Nihilus behind a team that can keep him from being attacked.
Basically, the kit looks broken. We’ll have to see it in action to say for sure, but the power creep has now reached insane levels, as this kit basically looks almost unbeatable.
3. The Thinking is Laughable
And the reason why it’s almost unbeatable is by design, as the developers wanted to create a raid boss for players to unlock. Literally, in their Q&A about this character, the developers likened him to a raid boss and said that’s what they were going for. He attacks twice each turn, and fights against him almost have different phases – you first have to take down Skywalker’s protection, then you have to take out the 501st members while he’s in cover, and then you have to be able to take him out before he wipes out your whole squad with massive turn meter gains (resulting in him going very frequently). The developers literally said that he’s designed to feel like a raid boss.
But that’s a crazy idea, because players are unlocking him rather than guilds going against him. I think this kit actually sounds like a terrific design for a raid boss, but for a playable character that we’ll be going against in every phase of the game? That’s crazy.
Although I guess that’s the lazy way to do it: instead of having to create a new raid, we’ll now basically just be fighting a raid boss in every area of the game.
So aside from the insane requirements to unlock him and the overpowered kit, I don’t think the reasoning and thinking behind this design is all that good either.
4. The Powercreep is Obnoxious
And one other thing that I’ll add is that this whole idea of powercreep is growing more and more obnoxious. This is all by CG’s design, as they’ve pretty much backed themselves into a corner and therefore must keep one-upping characters, but they’re getting less and less creative at doing so.
To give you an example of what this can look like done well, I think Grand Admiral Thrawn might just be the most well-designed kit in the game. He fits well in most squads, but he’s not going to dominate all by himself. His mechanics feel so true to the character, and he came with a very important new ability called “Fracture”. But Fracture also took Thrawn out of things for a period of time, essentially allowing you to strategically eliminate the threat of one enemy for a while, but while reducing Thrawn’s output during that time too. So this kit fit with his character lore-wise, it introduced a powerful new ability but not one that broke the game, and has remained solid ever since while giving the character plenty of viability. That was a great kit.
So what’s an example of this not done well? Unfortunately we have several, but I’ll use General Skywalker here. When Skywalker takes cover (that is, he no longer has any protection), he removes all status effects. Here’s what the developers said in their Q&A about that word “removes”:
We’ve used dispel in the past for characters that need to remove debuffs but General Skywalker has the special keyword, Remove. This will remove all status effects, including un-dispellable effects. This was necessary for the mechanics of General Skywalker’s kit and given the legendary nature of General Skywalker’s abilities, we felt it made sense in this rare case but this is not something we plan to use in future character kits.
Did you get that? Basically they just used a different word so that they’re not actually bound by what that other word means. All along in the game we’ve known of dispelling buffs, and because of the power creep there are some buffs that cannot be dispelled. So what do the developers do? Now make up that they can be removed even if they’re undispellable. What’s the difference? Nothing. They’re just taking a different word that essentially means the exact same thing within the context of this game just so that they have a way to get around other kits. That’s disingenuous and a real jerk move. But the developers don’t really care about their playerbase anyway, so it makes sense.
In all, the release of General Skywalker looks like a disaster for a game that has been one disaster after another recently. From the insane requirements to the overpowered kit to the poor reasoning to the obnoxious powercreep, this event helps to highlight several things that are very wrong about this game.
Ultimately, I’m not sure how much longer this game will be around… but at this point, I’m wondering if I’ll even still be playing it when that end inevitably comes.