Gazillion’s Marvel Heroes is ever expanding and next week the story continues with the addition of the first of four scheduled new chapters set in Asgard. Before players can jump into Asgard itself, they will need to unlock entry into the Asgard hub as part of a server-wide event. Chapter 9 will begin in Norway, where players will partner with SHIELD’s Nick Fury and the Fantastic Four’s Reed Richards to investigate something unusual going on in the area. Of course, HYDRA is doing the same thing, though with different goals in mind. Gazillion’s Jeff ‘Doomsaw’ Donais described it to be as a bit of a Cold War-esque scenario.
Norway has essentially been overrun with Frost Giants and Dark Elves (though the characters in the game aren’t aware of what they’re dealing with just yet) and players are tasked with helping Reed Richards solve the mystery by gathering components for his research by defeating these creatures and tackling a variety of other surprises players can look forward to . The conclusion of this event will unlock the Bifrost Bridge, which will grant players entry into Asgard in order to continue the story. Before the story can move forward, however, players will need to fight their way across the Bifrost Bridge and then clear out Asgard itself of a variety of invading “evil doers”. Once cleared out, Odin’s Palace in Asgard will serve as the new central hub for the Asgardian content in Chapter 9. The new content will also feature fully voiced motion comics along the lines of what players have already experienced through the game’s existing chapters.
In addition to the story content, players can also look forward to new Legendary items in next week’s update. These items occupy a brand-new Legendary item slot and actually level up as players gain experience with them equipped (yes, even if you are level capped). Legendary items can be purchased with 500 Odin Marks (earned through Legendary Quests) and there will be Legendary items that support just about any type of build you might find in the game. As the Legendary item ranks up (five ranks in total), it will gain additional bonuses in whatever stat it features (for example, Brutal Strike) and also unlock new passive bonuses. For example, ranking up the Ultimate Nullifier will unlock a passive chance to completely vaporize a target. For those looking to really min/max here, you can also pay a small fee to wipe out the experience on your Legendary item and re-level it for a chance at a better roll on the bonuses it receives as you rank it up.
Probably the most surprising addition to the game coming with next week’s update is the debut of Marvel Heroes’ first playable villain: Loki! Doomsaw is known for his inability to contain his excitement and share juicy new information with the Marvel Heroes community, but this was one surprise he forced himself to hold back on. And yes, I did press Doomsaw on Loki’s power set, but before we get into that, we’d like to note that Loki’s default costume will actually be “thread-for-thread” his outfit from the upcoming film Thor: The Dark World.
Loki, like all Marvel Heroes characters, will have three power trees. The first tree will focus on Loki’s illusion powers. We didn’t learn too much about these illusions, other than to note that players will not know whether they are being attacked by Loki himself or one of his illusions when fighting Loki players in PvP. Being part Frost Giant, Loki will also be able to tap into a variety of sorcery and frost magic as part of his second power tree. This tree will give Loki access to a ton of AoE and crowd control abilities. Finally, Loki will truly tap into his Frost Giant heritage in his third tree, which allows him to be a sort of melee character and even transform into a Frost Giant as his signature ability. Doomsaw emphasized that Loki is the epitome of their improvements in hero design over the last few months.
There are a couple of other features coming to Marvel Heroes next week and on the horizon that we should mention, too. For one, it will be easier to queue for group content using the game’s new queuing system. The starting character roster is also set to expand with some additional iconic and easily recognizable characters, bringing the total list to 10 characters for those starting their adventures in Marvel Heroes. Finally, a “Fire and Ice” PvP mode is coming to Marvel Heroes very soon. Fire and Ice will pit players against each other in a five vs. five arrangement, rewarding players with experience, loot, and new Asgardian Crowns of Valor.
Before we wrap this up, we also managed to get Doomsaw to spill the beans on the kit of another upcoming character: Ghost Rider. Coming “somewhat soon”, Ghost Rider will have access to a whole suite of awesome Hellfire-based powers. By default, Ghost Rider will run around on foot and make use of his chains, mace, and even a hellfire shotgun, but he will also make use of his motorcycle for quite a few of his abilities. In one example (and true to his name), Ghost Rider can rev up his motorcycle and let it fly off, crushing any enemies in its path. Instantly recognizable to any Ghost Rider fan, Penance Stare will be Ghost Rider’s signature ability and will serve as a high damage single target DPS attack. Normally, signature abilities are wave clear “get out of jail free” cards for characters, but Doomsaw described Ghost Rider’s kit as being extremely AOE heavy as it is, so they wanted his signature to be single target focused instead.
Gazillion hasn’t settled just yet on Ghost Rider’s Ultimate ability, but Doomsaw shared both options they’re considered with us. One of the two options will have Ghost Rider get on his motorcycle and drive around the screen laying waste to everything and leaving hellfire in his path. The other option being considered would have Ghost Rider summon a hellfire version of his motorcycle and control it with his mind as he fights. But don’t worry, both of these powers will make Ghost Rider’s kit, it’s simply a matter of which ends up ‘juiced up’ for his Ultimate power. If you feel strongly one way or another, this is probably a good opportunity to let Gazillion know!
Chapter 9 is set to launch next week to coincide with the release of Thor: The Dark World. Chapters 10, 11, and 12 will be released in December, January, and February, respectively.
Michael Bitton / Michael began his career at the WarCry Network in 2005 as the site manager for several different WarCry fansite portals. In 2008, Michael worked for the startup magazine Massive Gamer as a columnist and online news editor. In June of 2009, Michael joined MMORPG.com as the site's Community Manager. Follow him on Twitter @eMikeB