Shattered Galaxy is an MMORTS set on different worlds where warring factions struggle for supremacy. Factions fight in real time to control zones in the game world. Though it used to be completely Pay to Play, on August 11, 2003, Shattered Galaxy adopted a free play plan that offers a free basic account with certain handicaps, and the choice to upgrade to an Elite account for just $9.95 a month.
Released in 2001 and still going, Shattered Galaxy is one of the longest running multiplayer MMO's in history.
In Shattered Galaxy players must first create a hero and join a faction. The hero is the playable character that has the ability to manage a platoon of units. As the hero participates in battles, he or she will gain experience and resources. Experience is needed to level up the hero's stats and resources/money is needed to buy, upgrade and customize units.
The world map is divided up into many provinces, and each corner of the map is the capitol and base of a faction. The hero can travel freely within provinces owned by his or her own faction, but when the hero enters enemy territory, the faction initiates a battle, which may turn large scale, as up to 40 heroes may join, reinforcing their own faction. The defending faction must protect certain areas, known as Point-of-Control--or POC, on the province. The attacking faction must take control of the POCs by placing units on them for a certain amount of time. Heroes may only use one squad, of 6-12 units depending on the stats of the hero, at a time. The only way a player can change their squad in the heat of battle is by either having the whole squad wiped out or if the player retreats back to their "spawn portal". If the attacking faction captures all POCs and wins the battle, they take control of that province and may receive extra resources for controlling it.
Since Shattered Galaxy is an MMO, the factions are totally comprised of players. Members of factions can vote for leaders, and players can be divided up into squads. Though the war between factions is usually a free-for-all, factions can choose to hold a cease-fire or they may ally themselves against another faction.