ZAM sits down with David Brevik to discuss endgame and more in Marvel Heroes!
Comic book fans rejoice, as Marvel Heroes, the new Diablo-esque MMO from Gazillion Entertainment is on the horizon. I was given the privilege of sitting down with game creator David Brevik, most well known as the man behind the games Diablo and Diablo 2. In our discussion, Brevik outlined many of the finer details about the game, and gave us clear insight into what the overall experience will include, as well as how the experience as a player can unfold on a person to person basis.
Starting with the basics, we were told that the game will have a standard style progressive story mode that, depending on how grindy your play style is, will leave you in the high 20s to low 30s of the level progression. We were also informed that the game is officially announcing a level cap of 60, at release. Theoretically, the level cap would increase with expansions or added content, but we didn’t get that far in our discussion, so that’s pure speculation. However, Brevik made it very clear that the game will be updated and maintained with the vigor of any good MMO.
Yet, if the story mode ends at the halfway mark of character progression, then what gets you the rest of the way? Marvel Heroes will include end-game features that will allow you to keep on playing your favorite Hero, or all of them, for quite some time. In his own words, Brevik described the endgame as “a web of things you can try out and play.”
There is an endgame system in which you can queue alone, or with friends up to a group of 5, that scales with how many players are in the event as well as with their levels. Followed by that are “Group Challenges” that require 5 players and, while not the typical “dungeon delve” you might be used to in an MMO, will still require teamwork and a concerted effort to achieve victory. Finally there are “Survival Challenges” which can be queued for by a single player, or a group of up to 5 friends, that will total in a party of 15 players, but the creators did say that number is subject change. In this mode, the large group of players will be pitted against a series of waves in which mobs of many different types, or what Brevik referred to as “affixes,” that will require the strength of your Hero to defeat. Now is a good time to mention that this game will include the randomly generated affixes, or more specifically, the attributes generated on any given enemy to give them special qualities, and map layouts we are used to seeing in games such as Diablo. One mob might be countered or fought against differently than normal based on a “Healing” or “Super Strong” affix that will affect the way the monsters behave. Brevik stated that this randomly-generated event system will keep the game feeling new and exciting, and that players won’t be easily bored with “reused” content.
The Survival mode will end with a final wave in the form of an end boss. This boss will be generated based on the success level of the group throughout the waves. I find this feature particularly interesting, because, if done correctly, it will allow for the hardcore player to have a hardcore experience in the same exact setting that a casual player can have a casual experience. This is an exciting twist to the feature of activated “hardmodes” that we find in many MMOs today. It also replaces “perceived difficulty” with “actual difficulty,” allowing for the player to enjoy the game at his/her skill level, even though someone far better or worse can queue up for the same event and have the same experience tailored to them.
Ultimate Powers act as a sort of end-game progression system for players already at max level. It wasn’t stated how common they are, but players will find tokens throughout the world just by playing. These tokens are linked to a specific Hero. If the player does not currently own the Hero of the token found, then it will unlock that Hero for him. If the Hero is already owned, then it will unlock the next level of that Hero’s Ultimate Power. This allows the player to increase the strength of his Hero beyond just getting better gear, and beyond the level cap.
Once a player finishes the story line, he will also unlock a series of Daily missions that will help him progress his characters, as well as experience some additional story lines. The missions unlock as you gain levels and power, and are in ascending difficulty ranges. Another addition to the endgame is PvP. Currently the PvP system will be available at launch, but is still considered “in the Beta stages” and will be iterated on and made more balanced over time after release. It will be 3 teams of 5 players each, and will include the need to kill mobs and bosses while also fighting players, to secure key locations on the map. For those PvPers out there like myself, I made sure to find out that you will, in fact, gain experience through PvP, so you are welcome to level that way too if you so choose.
One of my biggest concerns with this game was how gear progression will work, because it’s such a huge part of MMOs and games like Diablo, and if not done correctly, can make an otherwise amazing game just far less gripping than it should be. I was assured that any player’s style should work in this game. If you are that hardcore one-character super star who loves to get the best of everything on your favorite Hero, you will have a home here. With rares, artifacts and what was described as “some really hard challenges,” the player who loves to have that perfect character will have plenty of content to swim through and enjoy on the way there. On the flip side, Brevik mentioned that he’s always loved playing many “alts” or “champions” in a game, and that Marvel Heroes will support that player type as well. With tokens unlocking Heroes as you go, there’s plenty of room to explore all that this game has to offer, in both the form of Heroes and actual game content.
I’d like to close with a lovely tidbit for players who are already anticipating Marvel Heroes. The team over at Gazillion Entertainment has officially announced the newest character to join the list of playable Heroes. Cable will be slamming onto the scene with stuns, knockbacks, devastating ranged attacks and a whole lot of mind games. If you’re a player who enjoys having control on the field of battle to give yourself that added advantage to attack from afar, then Cable just might be your man.
Marvel Heroes is scheduled for Early Release on May 28, 2013, which will be for their top-tier founder’s pack owners, and will subsequently unlock for each lower tier up to the launch date of June 4. The game will be Free to Play, and will have constant updates to content, balance and everything else you’d expect from a great MMO. Although I’m now realizing that I could have just written “You can play Iron Man” and saved myself the time writing this article. Cheers!