2015 was a bit of an off year for Marvel Heroes. The year was marked by layoffs, lagging release dates, and a real dearth of new content. Fortunately, it appears that Gazillion has regrouped for the new year, and the studio has sent some signals that should inspire hope in fans for a better year. That said, we have a couple of our own ideas for what would help meet those goals.
Quality Over Quantity
Thankfully, Gazillion has indicated that it’s already got this one in mind, but it bears repeating nonetheless. When the studio originally committed to putting out a patch every week and a new hero every month, I can’t say I wasn’t excited. New shinies on a regular basis give fans something to look forward to, but in the back of my mind I knew I’d seen this movie before. The approach reminded me of Riot Games’ champion release schedule in League of Legends’ early days. Sure, we were getting new characters to play all the time, but the quality and creativity found in each new release became sort of hit or miss.
Marvel Heroes went through the same thing. Heroes were regularly coming out with glaring bugs and balance issues, many of which didn’t get addressed for months at a time. The release schedule has felt rushed, with tons of pressure on the studio to get out all the Advance Pack heroes on time.
It’s why I’m glad to hear that Gazillion is taking a step back in 2016 and focusing on quality over quantity. Instead of 12 new heroes, we’re getting seven, and this should mean more time for designers to fully flesh out their designs and ensure characters are decently balanced at release. This should also allow Gazillion’s QA testers more time to help stamp out any lingering bugs before characters get into players’ hands. It also means that Gazillion can focus on other opportunities (including improving on the existing cast's various issues), since the development schedule won’t be as crowded with hero releases. Believe me, this is a win for players and developers both.
Despite the overall dearth of content in 2015, Gazillion did manage to get out the Danger Room, and it’s shaped up about how I expected it to be. Danger Room is easily the game’s most compelling mode, but what we have now is more of a foundation than anything else. There’s decent variety to play and some items to chase, but there needs to be more to the whole thing, and it should be a constant focus for Gazillion throughout the year.
I want to look forward to new Danger Room content as frequently as or even more frequently than I do new heroes. New missions, items, enemies, and locations should be injected into the mode on a regular basis. It doesn’t matter if they come piecemeal as time allows. Just keep it coming. Danger Room will only become more desirable as the variety in content and items available for it expands. This would also have the added benefit of helping to keep players busy in between major new content updates.
Revamp Existing Content
There’s a lot of great content already in Marvel Heroes, but a much of it could use a review and revamp. Gazillion retooled the game’s story mode, but it could still use some smoothing out for those of us who just want to hit the important bits while leveling a new character (having to do legendary quests from 37-43 is a chore!). Other modes, such as X-Defense and Holo-Sim aren’t even worth running at the moment, but represent great ideas that could use some love to reach their potential. Terminals, the most convenient piece of endgame content in the game, could be brought up a bit in value as well. With Cosmic Midtown and Industry City Patrol dominating all other pieces of content at the moment, it’s important to ensure that other modes are viable endgame activities, and this just doesn’t appear to be the case right now.
Better and More Interesting Itemization
Item drop rates in Marvel Heroes are a bit all over the place and don’t really fit for a game that emphasizes collecting dozens of characters. The item hunt could stand to be improved across the board in 2016, not just in terms of availability, but in design too. I’ve mentioned this in the past, but I’d really love to see the design space for items explored in a more meaningful way. Many items are simply bundles of stats that can be easily exchanged from one to the next. Let’s see some new items with the potential to have the impact that a card like Reno Jackson has had in Blizzard’s Hearthstone. Why not come up with some items that truly change how players think about playing their characters? I want to hunt for things that enable new builds, not just items that increase my raw DPS numbers.
What are some of your ideas for how Marvel Heroes can have an awesome 2016? Share ‘em with us in the comments below!