Barring any unexpected announcements, I’m basically writing off 2017 for Marvel Heroes as a year Gaz spends getting its console versions up and running. Whether you’re OK with that or not is up to you as a player, but it’s clear to me that anything substantial is going to have to wait until Gaz gets all its ducks in a row on the console side, and that means the start point for getting back to the business of things is likely in 2018.
With that in mind, let’s get the discussion going on what we’d like to see happen for Marvel Heroes once things calm down, starting with the obvious…
It’s always fun to speculate on which heroes Gaz will add to the game next, but again, we’re only getting two in 2017. Assuming that we get back to a more regular hero release schedule in 2018, let’s toss around a few ideas for who should make the cut.
I’m going to start with my favorite, both due my personal bias, and for practical concerns. Angel/Archangel needs to happen. I don’t care how you do it, but make it happen. The team up model is absolutely epic, so you’ve got some of the work done for you already. But more importantly, you’ve got to finish out the original X-Men team! Not having Angel playable is like having Thing, Sue, and Reed, but not Johnny. It’s just not right.
The same is true for the Avengers. The Wasp is a must have in 2018. There’s simply no excuse and you have a movie coming up that prominently features the character. I don’t even have a particular affinity for the character, but in a reality where Gaz would only be able to put out a single new hero in 2018, it should be the Wasp. You can’t diss a founding Avenger like that.
Next up is Kamala Khan. Like Wasp and Angel, you’ve already got some of the art done for this character through her existence as a team-up, which should make things easier to some degree. Ms. Marvel is one of the most popular characters in Marvel Comics and she’d be fun as heck to play in-game. I’ve said it before, but if you’ve never played Reed Richards in Marvel Heroes, you really should; he’s incredibly fun to play and he’s criminally unpopular. Ms. Marvel would play similarly to Reed, but she’s a lot cooler (sorry!).
Again, another team up, but Quake should be playable at some point. The character has really grown over the course of the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. series and she brings with her a type of power we have yet to see explored in Marvel Heroes.
The Year of the Danger Room
I will continue to spill barrels of digital ink on this until Gaz demonstrates it gets the issue. I’ve written about (and interviewed Gaz) about the importance of Danger Room recently, but it still bears repeating: make Danger Room a priority. We are getting a new tileset this year, which is great, but I’s like to see Danger Room consistently updated throughout 2018. It doesn’t matter if these updates are small additions in between larger patch releases. Just keep adding to it. A new boss here, a new objective there, new loot, etc. Over time, the variation offered in Danger Room will grow exponentially if Gaz can truly make the commitment.
Overhaul Existing Modes
Aside from the item hunt (which is hopefully addressed this year with Omega items), the key to keeping an ARPG community happy is variety. This is why I continue to harp on Danger Room often, but it’s also why Gaz needs to overhaul Holo Sim and X-Defense. New modes and content are great, but Gaz already has some gems collecting dust in the game. People like horde mode gameplay. Overhaul and polish up Holo Sim and X-Defense to offer players some compelling horde mode options and they could end up being true winners for the game in 2018. Personally, I’d like to see Holo Sim re-imagined as a solo/small group horde mode option and X-Defense expanded to accommodate a full raid party of players.
Races & Leaderboards
Technically, Marvel Heroes has leaderboards and races to an extent, but these features need to be brought front and center. There are almost endless possibilities here, but one thing I’d like to see are races focused on specific characters, with flavorful rewards unlockable as prizes. Titles, sprays, pets, costume effects, maybe even costumes. Perhaps Gaz can work with Marvel to offer some sort of variant on each hero’s default costume (original or canon) as a reward for players who place high on the race’s corresponding leaderboard. Anyone should be able to play these character specific races too, even if they don’t own the character. Placing in the top X (10, 50, 100 etc.) should also unlock the character permanently for players once the race is over.
There’s really no reason Marvel Heroes can’t live up to its potential. I don’t see why the game needs to sit in third place behind games like Path of Exile and Diablo III. My hope is the console releases bring in the cash needed to truly invest in Marvel Heroes the way it deserves. The only difference between this year and years past for me is that I’m not sitting around waiting for these things to happen. I want to play your game, Gaz. Give me a reason to.
What do you hope to see in Marvel Heroes in 2018?