When Marvel Heroes was first announced, the earth didn’t quake, but many gamers sat up and paid attention. Crossing action RPG gameplay with an MMO – all set in an officially sanctioned Marvel Universe – was something new, and what many have been waiting for. Currently in closed beta, Marvel Heroes’ development team is working hard to bring a polished free-to-play experience to the masses. MMOHut sat down with David Brevik, head of Gazillion Entertainment (and creator of Diablo I and II), and Stephen Reid, Marvel Heroes’ Community Director, in a small roundtable discussion about the next update for this potential game-changer which injects more from both the Marvel Universe and Diablo II.
First Stop: User Interface
The user interface for any game is crucially important, providing the key for players to interact with their world. Marvel Heroes’ newest update will replace the old UI, which existed essentially as a placeholder, with a new, smoother interface. Besides smoother graphics, the interface now features a mini-map set in perspective, rather than top-down. Players will also find new objective arrows that display on the mini-map (and, when close enough, on the main screen) to guide them to story quests and missions, helping them get right to the action. These guides will be color coded according to purpose, and players should be able to toggle them off if they wish for less distraction. The interface will also now make item rarity easier to see in game through color coding.
A Significant Statistic
Another noticeable change in reviewing the new user interface is a change of each character’s attributes. These attributes now follow the official Marvel Universe lore, also known as the Power Grid. These attributes directly match each hero’s statistics, made up of Durability, Strength, Speed, Intelligence, Energy Projection, and Fighting Skills. We’re told that attributes have significant power in this universe, and that statistics are not the kind of thing that you’ll earn every time you level up. Instead, players will have their statistics increase slowly and through significant events, making power gains feel more worth a player’s time and effort. Meanwhile, updated skill trees will continue to let players define each hero to their own playstyle preferences.
Horadric Cube 2.0
The second major change in the update is a crafting redesign that the team has dubbed “Horadric Cube 2.0.” This crafting system works in similar ways to the Horadric Cube of Diablo II, allowing you to piece together multiple items to create a single piece. However, unlike the Cube, players will have access to recipe lists instead of having to figure out the recipes on their own. Creating items can take time (possibly up to twenty-four hours on high end items, although these haven’t hit the game yet), but players can leave and come back when an alert lets them know their item is ready. Upgrading does have a similar random element to other adventure RPGs, although some specific recipes that focus on particular enhancements will be available later in the game.
Crafting is unique in that it is tied to a vendor. Vendors can be ranked up through donating items instead of selling them. As this crafting vendor is ranked up, players will gain access to more recipes. Currently the system features three ranks, but there will be more to come in future updates.
More New Content Arrives
Of course, the update wouldn’t be complete without more new content. Four new playable heroes – Spiderman, Cyclops, Colossus, and Thor – will make their debut. Players will also be able to visit the Savage Land for the first time, although we weren’t given any spoilers to tease you with. Finally, the game is introducing its social panel, which not only allows for friends lists, but also allows you to see nearby players.
Check out this exclusive new video revealing the Iron Man 3 armor in Marvel Heroes – a direct translation from the movie model!
Marvel Heroes is in closed beta and still taking applications through their website. Gazillion also recently announced its Founders Program, where players can take advantage of early specials on character packs and in-game items.