On Wednesday, MMOBomb was part of a roundtable discussion/Q&A with Gazillion Entertainment superheroes David Brevik and Jeff Donais, who guided us mere media mortals through the most recent update for Marvel Heroes, as well as a look at, and a few spoilers from, the next content patch.
Game Update 1.11 went live last Friday, and added a slew of changes, most notably addressing one of fans’ greatest complaints: acquiring new heroes. Previously, the only way to unlock a new hero without going to the cash shop was to find a token for one as a random drop, which led to pretty much every player being “unlucky,” as Brevik put it: unlucky in that they didn’t get drops or unlucky in that they got drops, but they weren’t for the heroes they wanted.
Now, players can acquire Eternity Splinters through normal gameplay and turn them in to Adam Warlock in Avengers Tower to unlock exactly the heroes they want. Most heroes cost 200 or 400 Splinters, with a few costing 600, and it was estimated that it would take about 20 hours to get enough to unlock a low-end hero. Many hero and costume prices were also reduced last month.
And what hero should you unlock? Maybe the Human Torch, newly added to the game with Update 1.11. As Donais said, “We designed Human Torch to be as badass as possible. He’s the first hero we have that’s flying all the time. This is something we’ll be doing with all the heroes we create now – if they should be flying, they are flying.”
The intensity of Johnny’s flames are determined by the amount of spirit he has, but you’ll still be able to distinguish one Torch from another, thanks to some “unique tech that allows us to see the costume under the flame,” Brevik said.
The Human Torch’s skill trees also speak to a wider approach the creators want to have with character builds in general. “Every time a hero is created, they have many build options,” said Donais. “We want to give players the options to build their characters how they want. With other heroes we’re bringing out, you’ll see very distinct differences with their builds.” He used the example of playing Human Torch as the long-range “nuker,” as you would expect from a dude made of fire, or being able to “light up” enemies at close range.
Finally, a new game mode – originally designed as a weekend project – was also added in Update 1.11, called Midtown Patrol. Players can stroll just outside Avengers Tower and be auto-assigned to an on-level group to fight random encounters on the streets of Manhattan. “You can play for hours and have very few of the exact same ambushes hit you,” boasted Donais. Now and then, a well-organized group of baddies, such as the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants or the Fearsome Foursome, will show up and wreak havoc on a larger scale.
Finally, the team gave us a sneak peek at the next update for the game, due out in August, which will add:
- Heroic and Superheroic difficulty modes, which will add unique ambushes and unique boss powers.
- Competitive and casual PvP.
- A new first hour experience, which puts players into epic action more quickly, as they defend. Manhattan from Black Cat and her thugs.
- More new heroes, including Emma Frost; one of her abilities is Diamond Form, which greatly enhances her defense, and a “whirling barbarian”-type attack.
- Three new item types: uniques, relics, and superteam items; some hero-specific items won’t be in the patch notes, meaning players will just have to discover them on their own. Much sniggering was had over the “Daddy Deadpool Device,” which, in addition to making your character faster and granting extra health and spirit regen – after all, parents are always on the move and need to tap vast energy reserves – summons a 1/20 scale Deadpool to run around and fight alongside you! Just don’t try to pinch his cheeks and tell him how cute he is.
- And a new PvE mode, where unending waves of baddies storm the X-Mansion, with difficulty – and rewards – increasing over time.
Longer-term plans include making stats easier to understand and the ability to play as characters who already appear as NPCs in the game, such as Gambit and Dr. Strange. And a new competitive PvE mode is also in the works, where players will send waves of enemies at their opponents, ranging from basic minions all the way up to the likes of Dr. Doom.
Marvel Heroes had something of a rocky beginning, but the team is learning from its early mistakes and moving to correct them. As Donais put it, most companies move at a “glacial” pace, while Gazillion plans to evaluate the game and make changes based on player and staff feedback on a weekly basis. Many heroes are looking at revamps, with Iron Man, Jean Grey, and Deadpool next on the retcon list. “Basically, every day, a new hero gets a round of love,” Donais said.
As the song goes, all you need is love – though an adamantium skeleton or mind-control powers help, too.
By Jason Winter