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What Marvel Strike Force Can Learn From Avengers Alliance

Michael Bitton Posted:
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I knew going in to Marvel Strike Force that I’d be getting an experience that was overall inferior to what I’d already enjoyed in Playdom’s Avengers Alliance titles, but MSF is still an altogether decent game. That said, it’s been a couple of months and the game is starting to get a bit boring. I mostly play MSF in a sort of daily maintenance mode now and to try and bring some of the excitement back I recently reshuffled my team from strictly meta characters to characters I actually like (though there’s plenty of overlap here, coincidentally).

Even though I knew MSF would be more Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes than Marvel: Avengers Alliance, I do think that the game could benefit from mixing in a bit of the MAA magic into MSF in a couple of ways.


Yes, the MSF roster is fairly anemic at this point with plenty of staple characters that need to be added, so I don’t necessarily want to see Foxnext artists splitting their time between new character releases and costumes for existing characters, but I would like to see a costume system added to the game at some point. The two Avengers Alliance titles handled costumes a bit differently, however.

MAA1 had actual costumes you would equip to the same character and these costumes could dramatically change the character once they were equipped (they weren’t only cosmetic). MAA2, on the other hand, took things a step further by making different versions of a character be an entirely separate character you’d need to unlock, gear up, etc. To be fair, these different versions also had entirely different kits, so it wasn’t like they were just copy and pasting and making you redo the same work over and over.

Still, if MSF ever does get costumes, I do hope the design hews closer to MAA1’s implementation than the sequel. For one, I don’t want to feel like I need to put together multiple versions of the same character on a team if they happen to be really strong and I don’t want to face such teams in PvP either. I also don’t want to feel like I need to grind a new version of the same character I already love every time they put out a new version I find interesting. The upside, of course, is the different kits, but I’d still prefer that costumes be either wholly cosmetic or partially cosmetic. If there are gameplay elements involved, I’d like to see them be a bit less powerful than they were in MAA1, maybe giving the character a different passive or some slight differences in how their existing abilities work.

For example, let’s say they add Symbiote Spider-Man in for Spidey. Right now, Spider-Man offers decent damage with lots of utility. Maybe the Symbiote suit would allow for Spidey to trade some of his utility for raw damage/selfish buffs for players who want to use Spider-Man in a comp that maybe has tons of utility already present on other characters.

Rock-Paper-Scissors Roles

MSF already has roles such as Blaster, Bruiser, and the like, but these roles really just give you an idea of what sort of kit the character has. They don’t have distinct properties that can be manipulated like they could in the Avengers Alliance games. Maybe Foxnext feels this would make the game too complicated, but I really loved the RPS balance in both MAA games. Blasters did bonus damage to Bruisers, Bruisers did bonus damage to Scrappers, etc. There were additional properties to each class role to consider as well, but this should give you a basic idea of how it worked. I liked the extra layer of depth the system offered and I feel it would make MSF’s combat and team composition considerations more interesting.

ISO-8 Crystals

Both SWGoH and MSF feature shallow and linear character customization. You progress your characters along a predetermined path, working your way up gear tiers with predetermined stats and unlocking fixed ability upgrades along the way. My Spider-Man is no different than yours when maxed out. It’s just not very interesting. And yes, I know SWGoH has a “Mods” system now, but even then it’s just another grind for bland bonus stats. I mean, I would appreciate the wrinkle of being able to take my character in a slightly different direction with a focus on certain stats, but the ISO Crystals of Avengers Alliance allowed far deeper customization than that.

In addition to the ability to customize stats, MAA2’s ISO-8 Crystals came in sets that could offer all sorts of different effects, from giving a character a shield, to starting a fight in stealth, or even the ability to target stealthed characters. MAA1 was even more complex, but really I just want the ability to further customize the way my characters play, not just juice them with additional stat bonuses.

What would you like to see added to MSF from the Avengers Alliance games? 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