Requiem for Marvel Heroes

While the writing was on the wall for about a month now, it was still a blow to hear that Disney is shutting down Marvel Heroes. As of the time of this writing, we don’t have any specifics on when and how this will happen, but… does it really matter? It’s over and done.

And man is that a shame. Marvel Heroes had so much going for it, especially following its 2015 revamp. It had the creator of Diablo at its head, a scorching hot IP, limitless character possibilities, plenty of revenue streams, monthly updates, regular events, tons of giveaways, and some pretty awesome voice acting. Plus Squirrel Girl. My love for Squirrel Girl is completely due to Marvel Heroes and my adventures with her in this game.

I have no idea what’s going on behind the scenes, but chances are that licensing and revenue issues are involved. I get the feeling that the console version — Marvel Heroes Omega — was a last-ditch effort to save the game and drive up revenues, one that didn’t work out as well. I never got the impression that Marvel Heroes was hurting, per se, but ever since Omega you could see the PC exodus taking place.

Again, a shame. People loved this game. I loved this game. It was a great title to jump in and jump out to have some quick fun. It felt responsive, it had that great Diablo loot, and it let you play a huge variety of Marvel characters. It seemed that pretty much every couple of weeks there were new heroes and team-ups, and you just wanted to collect them all even if you didn’t play them.

I won’t say that it was perfect. It wasn’t. Marvel Heroes got too complex and convoluted with its character development and gear for my taste. It couldn’t ever quite figure out how to streamline and balance the classes either. But I admired that the studio was pretty generous with what it gave away for free and that there was a lot to do even for a completely free character.

My main run with the game was pretty much for the duration of 2015. I had some absolutely great times, especially with Squirrel Girl and Doctor Doom, and I thought it was brilliant how the game would constantly cross-promote with all of the Marvel TV and movie releases. It seemed like a perfect fit and I’m a little aghast that Disney is just ditching that angle. But then, I might not have all of the financials and pertinent information.

I feel especially bad for people who have paid a whole bunch of money into this game. Sure, none of us have any assurance that a game is going to be around for a given future, but I know that Marvel Heroes is the type of game into which people have really poured a whole lot of money — prompted by those yearly package deals — with the hopes of collecting a roster that would entertain them for years to come. Instead, Marvel Heroes’ lifespan will be a little over four years (2013-2017) when all is said and done.

Anyway, here’s to Marvel Heroes. You delivered great superhero entertainment and I really will miss you. You deserved so much better than this.

If you want to walk down memory lane with me, check out all of my Marvel Heroes posts from my time playing the game!

Devilian: Speak softly and carry a big gun

 

Trion’s newest import isn’t the most original or the deepest entry into the gaming pool, but darn it if Devilian isn’t viscerally satisfying.  So far it isn’t stressful in the least, letting auto-run take you to the next place that you’ll right-click your way to victory (with the occasional assortment of special skills). I totally dig my Cannoneer’s whump-whump-whump of her massive gun. Seriously, if the class wasn’t right up my alley, there’d be no way I would play a tiny girl.

But what else would I choose? The ninja-chain guy who’s an elf? McMagic Bosom? Swordy? Nah, sometimes you just want to pew-pew through crowds of zombies and then call down artillery as an additional insult.

I’m still on the opening map (they get a lot of mileage out of it, I’ve found), having recently attained level 19. And I know that the auto-run thing might get some snotty mocking, but it really does help when you jump into a game and don’t exactly recall what you were doing last. Just hit that button and you’re on your way without any stress.

I had a few credits in my account, so I splurged on a weird big-eared pet that would automatically pick up my loot for me. Let me tell you, this thing is wonderful. He not only gets regular loot but dropped quest items too. It’s like that donkey from Dungeon Siege. Do my dirty work, dude!

Marvel Heroes: I believe in Magik!

magikGeez, Marvel Heroes keeps rolling out new characters, don’t they? You’d think at some point whichever developer is in charge of gameplay balance would have a complete and total nervous breakdown trying to handle 53 characters and all of their various builds. I know I would.

So anyway, yesterday fan-favorite Magik came onto the scene. I’m not as huge into comics as most, so the beginning and end of my knowledge of who this person is comes from this game alone. I really enjoyed having her as a team-up, especially with her summons, so why not give her playable character a shot?

On the surface, Magik has a lot going for her that appeals to me. She’s got the ridiculous, only-in-X-Men costume, a giant sword, and — oh yeah — the ability to summon demons. A summoner! With both melee and magic powers! I am down with that.

She handles pretty good. If you want a basic sword-swinging fighter, it’s all here — attacks that port you to your enemy, attacks that restore health, attacks that restore spirit. Swish swish! But I might be more into her magic side, although I haven’t gotten many of those abilities yet. Spirit fangs is kinda cool, sending out a spray of unstoppable magic bolts.

But of course, I’m most attracted to her summoning abilities. Magik comes with an arsenal of demons, leaving it up to the player which types to have out at any one time. A lot of little demons or one big one that backhands everything to death? And demons can be sacrificed for different abilities, such as sending out shockwaves or restoring health. So far it’s pretty neat.

I’ve been playing her with my level 60 Magik team-up, which is as bizarre as it is unstoppable. Demons demons everywhere. Like demon carnival.

I think I might actually be investing some effort into Magik instead of merely leveling her to 60. Right now I’m going through the story mode for the different bonuses and also to get a handle on her playstyle (thank you, Gazillion, for infinite free respecs). After that, we’ll see.

Marvel Heroes: Spider-Gwen to the rescue!

I haven’t done a lot with Spider-Man in Marvel Heroes, mostly because I was waiting on Spider-Gwen’s enhanced outfit to hit the stores. Enhanced costumes are sort of overlays for existing classes that change the look, gender, and/or voices for that hero but retain the same skills and abilities. I think it’s one of the coolest ideas that Gazillion has come up with, and they’re obviously a bit of a cash cow as well.

I don’t know much about Spider-Gwen other than she’s a new, alternate-universe version of Spider-Man and that I kind of dig her costume. Hey, not everyone makes turquoise work.

So I switched over to her on Monday night, brought along Franken-Castle for a team-up, and had Spider-Ham there for pet commentary. We were quite the crew blasting through Midtown Monday.

Thus far she’s not amazing (nor spectacular) but she is easy and somewhat satisfying to play. Since I don’t especially like melee in this game, I’m going with web-slinging for her primary combat abilities. Basically she’s a stationary turret flinging out webs like a weird silk machine gun.

What I really, really like about Spider-Gwen is her web travel animation. It’s smooth and she does all of these aerobics in the air which looks so much cooler than straight up flight or quick tuck-n-rolls.

With more characters at 60 and lots of boosters and the Midtown thing going on, Spider-Gwen shot up from level 8 to 24 within 30 minutes or so. It’s a good start, although she might have to take a backseat when Magik arrives on the scene.

Marvel Heroes: Ant-Man done!

antmanI’ve been sorely neglecting Marvel Heroes over the past couple of months and feeling as though the new heroes and team-ups have been piling up in the meantime. So I’m making an effort to spend some more time with it, even if in short bursts.

Last night I jumped into Midtown Monday (and apparently one or two other events that I didn’t know were occurring) to polish off Ant-Man’s rise to level 60. Those last few levels are quite the annoyance, but it got done and I’ll be shelving the guy indefinitely. I was really psyched about him, but his playstyle does not really mesh with mine, so no reason to force it.

The highlight of the night was getting a nice summoner headpiece that I gifted to Doctor Doom (all hail Doom!).

Now it’s on to a new character, and for the life of me, I don’t know which. It would be Kitty Pryde, but I’m having difficulty figuring out how to play her (melee doesn’t work so well for me in this game). Blade just came out and I know pretty much nothing about him, but he does look pretty cool.

I’m also working even slower on leveling up team-ups. Pirate Deadpool is somewhere around 57 or so, and while I love him, I’ll be glad to top him off and try out someone else, as I have so many. Plus I couldn’t resist picking up FrankenCastle from the Halloween sale.

Marvel Heroes’ Mystic Mayhem is a dud

limbo

I almost typed “Marvel Heroes’ Mystic Mayhem is a dude,” which would have probably confused readers more than I intended, although it would have been an interesting intellectual exercise to dig myself out of that headline.

Anyway, if you haven’t been following Marvel Heroes as of late, the developers brushed off an old feature — the Limbo zone — and repackaged it along with a new event, Mystic Mayhem. The event was billed as sending players into hell (or hell-lite), a tip of the hat to David Brevik’s own Diablo, and conducting an epic war against demons. For loot — crazy, great new loot.

I was actually pretty excited about this, especially since it’s the first new event in a while, but after several hours with it over the weekend, I have to stand by my assessment that this is a waste of an event.

For starters, the event was pushed out in a rather buggy state, forcing Gazillion to fix it on the fly. Lots of people were saying to avoid it on Friday night and wait until Saturday, when the demon bosses were nerfed enough so that they weren’t one-shotting heroes left and right. But even with those fixes, it wasn’t that great of an event.

Aside from random demon mobs populating patrol zones (which some people were farming), the core of the event was hopping into Limbo and attempting to take down a series of bosses before their individual timers were up. Beat all of the bosses, including the end boss, and you’ll get… a rather lackluster lootsplosion as well as a follow-up quest. This quest — of which there were a few varieties — had players going throughout the game to kill various bosses, nothing special but quite time consuming. I had to fight through cosmic terminal Doom, something I never do unless I particularly hate myself that day.

If Limbo is successfully defeated AND you take the time for the follow-up, then you get a handful of coffers, the treasure chests for the event. Now, I won’t lie. There is some pretty good loot to be found in these things. I got a unique ring with summoner stats for Squirrel Girl and a summoner artifact for Doctor Doom. But there’s also a lot of forgettable loot and loot with way too much RNG going on, stat-wise, making a lot of coffers pointless.

So if you wanted coffers, you either did the Limbo thing for the guaranteed drops (at a cost of a good chunk of time) or farmed bosses in MM/ICP with the hopes of seeing a coffer drop. I did both, and both were largely wastes of time and frustrating. Now, I don’t need to be rewarded for every little thing I do in this game, but when I’m fighting for 40 minutes and have yet to see a single coffer drop, then I feel that there’s a bad time:reward ratio going on.

And Limbo is so dang bland with a boring layout and no story that it could be nondescript grey hallways and nobody would notice. I did find the bosses to boast cool designs, but again, with no narrative going on they’re just meatshields like the rest.

Mystic Mayhem is also incredibly unfriendly to anyone who isn’t a well-geared level 60. This isn’t an event for the entire community, just a portion of it, and that doesn’t sit right with me.

The one thing that pleased me was seeing a few additional power points the first time you run a character through Limbo. And one of my guildies got one of the ultra-rare legendary scroll drops, entitling him to a costume, hero, and other goodies.

But after playing this for a couple of days, I’d rather be back with Odin’s Bounty or even a good old-fashioned Midtown Monday. At least then I feel like I’m getting a little return for my time and effort.