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Infinite Improvements

Michael Bitton Posted:
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Gazillion overhauled the needlessly complex and unwieldy Omega System with the release of the Biggest Update Ever earlier this year, but the new Infinity System has not come without controversy. Clearly modeled after Diablo III’s Paragon system, the new Infinity System doled out points in a round robin fashion, forcing build diversity, rather than encouraging it.

That all changes soon. Earlier this week, Gazillion announced wide ranging improvements to the Infinity System in a dev blog posted on the official Marvel Heroes forums. Tentatively set to be included in the game’s next major feature update, the changes will remove the round robin distribution of points from the system entirely. Players will now earn points into a single pool and can spend them however they like. That said, the improvements will attempt to make good on Gazillion’s efforts to encourage build diversity by rewarding players with tiered bonuses for spending certain amounts of points in the same gem.  You’ll earn bonuses at 50, 100, and 150 points in the currently announced design, and these bonuses run the gamut from regenerating a percentage of your maximum health on critical hits to +1 to all attributes.

Individual nodes are being reworked as well. Gazillion wasn’t too happy with the niche affix nodes, such as +Damage vs. Unaware targets, so the changes will rework these nodes into proc-based damage nodes scaling off of the gem’s associated attribute. For example, the Mind Gem will have a damage proc node that scales with your Intelligence, while the Power Gem will have the same node, only scaling with your Strength instead.

My initial impressions of the planned changes are definitely positive, especially since I was critical of the initial design, as many other members of the community were. I wanted to give Gazillion the benefit of the doubt , but I can’t say I’m surprised that the developer is looking to make some changes here. The round robin system felt as bad as many expected in everyday play. I actually stopped paying attention to earning new Infinity points, because the grind often felt magnified several times due to the fact many Gems featured nodes that were not really of any use for the characters I was playing. It was simply less frustrating to just tune the entire thing out and periodically check on my new available Infinity points.

Even then, there have been times where I’ve thought to myself, “Man. I’ve acquired a bunch of new points since I last checked.” Only to open up the window and find I’ve only added three points to the Gems I’m interested in. I imagine it will feel a lot better to be able to beeline for filling out build-defining nodes, especially due to the fact that every ding moves me closer to my goals without restriction. Long term, spending points in less desirable nodes won’t feel as bad since I’ll be able to chase after more universally applicable synergies.

None of these changes address how bland the Infinity System is, however. For all of its unnecessary complexity, the Omega system did feature some fun and flavorful nodes, such as the Legion node, which offered differing effects to represent Legion’s many personalities. Both the original implementation of the Infinity system and the announced improvements make no effort to merge flavor with practicality, instead focusing entirely on the latter. Gazillion may have achieved its goal in making the system intuitive, but plumbing Marvel’s rich history for opportunities to infuse the game with the sort of flavor found in the Omega system was a worthy goal. It’s my hope Gaz finds a way to bring this system a bit closer to balancing both flavor and practicality with future iterations on the design.

What’s your take on the announced changes? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!


Michael Bitton

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