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PAX Prime '13 Interview with David Brevik

Michael Bitton Posted:
Interviews 0

While Marvel Heroes didn’t have an official showing at PAX Prime, Gazillion COO David Brevik was at the show and we were able to nail him down for an interview on how things were going with Marvel Heroes and what players can look forward to in the coming days, weeks, and months.

David first gave us a quick recap of what the team has done with the game since launched back in June.  Chief among those changes is the switch from randomly dropped heroes to collectible Eternity Splinters. Eternity Splinters are a currency that players can collect and spend on either specific heroes they’re looking for or take their chances at a random hero for a lower cost. The team has also added the (always flying) Human Torch as the game’s first post-launch character, and overall patched the game around 12 times since launch. This aggressive patch schedule has, among other things, allowed the team to go through around 18 of the 23 heroes available in the game in order to make significant changes to improve their gameplay and build options.

Update 1.2 will add Emma Frost, one of the previously announced post-launch characters, to the Marvel Heroes roster. Emma features three distinct trees, each focusing on different aspects of her character. One tree will allow her to focus on her mind control abilities, which allow her to permanently control a single enemy as a pet. This includes anything from the T-Rex found in the Savage Lands to Mr. Sinister’s Cyclops clone from later on in the story. The pets will inherit their original skillsets, too. This means if your pet normally grants an ally buff, it will apply to your whole party.

Aside from that, Emma can focus on dealing psychic damage, including using an ability called “Bow Before Me” that, as you might imagine, makes all enemies around her kneel before her before she proceeds to knock them out.  Finally, Emma can take a more melee oriented approach and play a tank using her Diamond form. There are more builds layered in between all of that, with the team’s goal of providing something like 11 possible build options for each character, but those are most obvious ones players can go for.

The long-awaited defense changes are coming in patch 1.2, as well. Defense is currently a pretty poor damage mitigation statistic and though it has received some touch ups since launch, it’s not where it needs to be. Update 1.2 will include a massive rebalance of the entire game in order to make Defense a viable mitigation option for characters across the spectrum, but especially for those who rely on it hang in the thick of battle.

Relics, which are sort of like Borderlands 2’s Badass ranks, are a new item type coming to Marvel Heroes in 1.2. Relics can be slotted in the new Relic slot and stack up to 1000 and each Relic focuses on augmenting a particular statistic. For example, you may find a Relic that increases your Critical Chance slightly, and you’ll be able to stack these (with diminishing returns) up to 1000. By David’s estimation, it should take a casual player up to a year to fully stack a Relic, while they expect hardcore players to hit this mark within around three months.

Uniques are another new item type coming with this week’s update. Unique items are items that apply only to a certain character or subset of characters. For example, Wolverine can equip “Wolverine’s Bone Claws” which allow him to deal increased damage at the cost of harming himself at the same time. There will be many more Unique items available in the game, but Gazillion won’t be announcing any of them, so you’ll have to discover them for yourself!

“Heroic” and “Superheroic” difficulty modes are also coming in 1.2. Normal difficulty will get your character to around level 25, while Heroic will get you to 45 or so and Superheroic should bring you to somewhere in the mid-50’s. Heroic and Superheroic also feature boosted item find and special item find, with Superheroic sporting the highest bonus here.  The density of elite and champion mobs will increase in these modes and bosses will feature one (Heroic) or two (Superheroic) more affixes in addition to their existing skillsets to add more challenge.

“Fear Itself”, a new Enhanced costume for Thing will be coming this week, too. While wearing the costume, Thing will adopt a molten lava look, while animated demons wrap around his body. He also gets a sweet new hammer to clobber his enemies with.

A couple of features previously announced as slated for 1.2 won’t quite make it in time for launch. X-Defense, a wave battle survival mode set in Xavier’s Mansion, won’t make it for 1.2, but should hit live servers about a week later. However, the competitive PvP mode Gazillion had planned may take a bit longer. The PvP mode should appear on test server sometime this week, but we’re unsure of when it will hit live servers at this point.

Looking ahead, Ironman is slated for a rework next month. Gambit is being bumped up in priority, though he will come after Luke Cage, who is slated for the game’s next major update. And even Ghost Rider and Nightcrawler were mentioned as possible new heroes.

We did learn a bit more about Luke Cage during our chat with David, though he wouldn’t spill the beans on the other guys. Cage will, obviously, feature a tree focused on his melee damage, including an ability that lets him punch the word “CAGE” into the ground. More interestingly, Cage will come with a Heroes for Hire tree that allows him to team up with the Heroes for Hire crew in battle. The first ally he’ll be able to call out is Iron Fist right at level one, so you’ll always have a partner-in-crime (heroism?) wherever you go. Currently, these companions will fight with you for a while and then disappear, but David tells us this has gone back-and-forth internally and they may be out with you permanently by the time Cage rolls around to live servers.

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


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