After 100 hours, and $60, I am still in love with Marvel Heroes. You may hear negative comments online about lack of depth, over-simplification of an MMO, or the cost of playing as too high. As someone who has spent considerable time with the game, I feel I am in a respectable position to tell you these claims should not deter one from playing Marvel Heroes. In fact, I believe Marvel Heroes is in a position for considerable growth over the next 3 years. And the foundation that has been laid, which is the root of the above-mentioned accusations, is the primary reason for that growth.
- Iron Man: level 42
- Captain America: level 34
- Wolverine: level 31
- Hulk: level 30
- Several level 1 heroes
#1: Lack of Depth
This is only true if you don’t have patience. The game is broken up into 8 chapters with 4 terminals that drop you into the action at various places, which draw from the worlds created in the 8 chapters. The criticism is directed at the post-8 chapter game. When, presumably, your hero has reached level 30 and unlocked their Ultimate Power. Only 1 of the new terminals warps heroes into lands they haven’t traversed before. But, the game rewards you for traveling the same lands in those 3 other terminals by dropping shards that can be redeemed for Fortune Cards after accumulating 10. It’s all about the dopamine fix at this point. Not unlike Diablo, a game created by David Brevik – lead designer of Marvel Heroes. To criticize Marvel Heroes for this is to criticize Diablo or Torchlight, which nobody does. And unlike those games, you can play Marvel Heroes for free and play in the new worlds they are working on and will release for free. Keep in mind, while traversing the terminals you are gaining experience, and there are more challenging instances that you can warp to in order to improve your hero. The loot and experience gains are considerably better than they were during the story mode.
Marvel Heroes is littered with replay value. My roster, as noted above, offers a different-enough game experience. The lands may stay the same, but the way heroes demolish the bad guys varies.
#2: Over-simplification of an MMO
Before one can make this argument about over-simplification, you need to properly identify the terms. I don’t want to play an MMO. I want to play Diablo with my favorite super-heroes. That was the promise of Marvel Heroes, and that is the implementation and execution. If it’s technically an MMO, then so be it. I don’t really care. I don’t need the team at Gazillion Games to comb through every MMO, craft a game and throw Marvel’s IP over it. I’m not alone. Ask any of the 1.5 million registered users and they’ll tell you it’s an MMO. But I doubt they’d describe it as one.
Digging into the mechanics, Marvel Heroes does have several MMO-features: crafting, social stations, and guilds. I argue these all exist to enhance the game’s more action-RPG-like features: classes, skills, loot, and randomly-generated instances. Crafting components and elements can be found throughout the world. There are 6 levels of crafting materials and the actual crafting process takes time and costs in-game currency.
#3: Too Costly
This is one area where I agree. There are 25 heroes to purchase and each has anywhere from 3 to 8 costumes. Heroes vary in cost from $6 to $15. Costumes can cost up to $15 as well. That’s a lot to swallow. Granted, everything can be found as a drop in the game, but after 100 hours I’ve only found 6 heroes and 2 costumes. Gazillion needs a revenue stream in order to fund support, maintenance, and future development. But when compared to games like Diablo 3 that cost $60 and have hundreds of hours of replay value, there should be some price cutting consideration. We’ve already seen a slight discount on costumes, across the board. And we’re only 2 months into the game.
Is there really anything hotter right now in the entertainment industry than superheroes? The movies are dominant at the box office, and comic book sales are recovering. Even at GWW we’ve added a whole new team just to cover superheroes. We’re also seeing more games based on superheroes that are actually “getting it.” For example: The Arkham Batman series, Deadpool, and Spiderman’s latest on PS3/360/PC. When you want more Iron Man or Hulk, you can turn to Marvel Heroes. Over the next few years, viewers will see more movies with Thor and Captain America than ever before. And they’ll want more of the world created by Marvel Entertainment. Marvel Heroes is in a great position to grow by creating the foundation for a great multiplayer game, and developing new worlds based on awesome heroes.
What I always say about superhero games is they may suck technically, but its the love of the hero that makes you play it. Marvel Heroes is one of only a few examples of excellent games that are based on superheroes. Where else can you go to get more Rocket Raccoon or Daredevil? Marvel Heroes is no-brainer for superhero fans.