Gazillion Entertainment has been making good on their intent to update Marvel Heroes at a brisk pace with the recent deployment of patch 1.3. The new patch includes a whole host of new additions and even everyone’s favorite Hero for Hire, Luke Cage. We had a chance to sit down with Marvel Heroes creative director Jeff “Doomsaw” Donais to discuss all the new goodies and even look ahead on what’s to come.
New Hero and Costumes
Gazillion announced four characters as post-launch additions on the run up to launch. Luke Cage was one of these four characters and he now joins the Marvel Heroes roster as part of patch 1.3. Luke Cage is a straight up brawler, but this can be somewhat hard to convey as a distinct character in Marvel Heroes given the number of melee brawlers currently available, so Gazillion put some interesting twists on their implementation of Cage.
Cage can, of course, be played as that straight up brawler, with access to moves like “Harlem Dropkick” and “Vehicular Manslaughter”. The latter of which literally manifests a car for him to throw at enemies. Cage utilizes a familiar combo meter, where some moves build up combo points and others spend them for increasing or different effect.
The real twist in Cage’s implementation, though, is in his Heroes for Hire skill tree. This tree makes Luke Cage a bit of a pet master. It may sound ridiculous at first, but work with me here. The Heroes for Hire tree allows Luke Cage to summon in some of the allies he frequently worked with in the comics (including Iron Fist and even his wife, Jessica Jones). You can have one ally out at a time (unless you use a certain ability that temporarily summons them all out at once) and they each have different functions. Iron Fist, for example, does his martial arts but will also heal himself (and you). Jessica Jones jumps into the fray and tanks enemies. Another ally, Colleen Wing, wields a sharp katana and specializes in critical strikes.
And yes – Sweet Christmas is available as a power (it’s his Ultimate power, too!).
On the costume side of things, Gazillion introduced the Black Widow Thunderbolts costume and the enhanced Lady Deadpool costume for Deadpool. Yes, this means you can play a female Deadpool and she even comes with entirely new voiceover and some different animations.
The Hero Synergy system was also added this update. This is a pretty interesting system that gives players further incentive to level up different characters. At levels 25 and 50, each hero will unlock a new passive bonus that can be toggled on via the new Achievements pane. Want a boost to your max health? Toggle on the Hulk’s synergy. Want more special and rare item find? Lock in Deadpool’s synergy.
Up to ten synergies can be toggled simultaneously and the game remembers which synergies you’ve toggled on for each hero. There are a bevy of different synergy types available and this adds a whole new layer of customization to the game. Figuring out which array of bonuses are optimal for each hero will likely make for some good theorycrafting.
Unlocking at level 20, Legendary Quests give players a randomly picked out quest (out of 100 currently available) that can send you all throughout the game world. As Gazillion continues to update the game, additional Legendary Quests will be added, and Gazillion hopes this system will help ease the feeling of grinding when leveling up a character. Instead of having to run the same content over and over, Legendary Quests will keep players moving throughout the game world and tackling a variety of different tasks. It’s Gazillion’s intention to make these quests the most efficient way of leveling up a new hero by rewarding players with massive amounts of experience for their time. You can break things up by doing a couple of these a day or spam them to your heart’s content – it’s up to you.
Thematically, Legendary Quests are Odin’s way of helping the heroes of Earth equip themselves to deal with the various uprisings going on. While Odin isn’t a fan of helping Earth directly (something Thor is much more prone to do), he doesn’t mind giving them the tools to deal with things themselves. In this way, each Legendary Quest completion will award the player with an Odin Mark. Odin Marks can then be redeemed for various Blessings that can be used to enchant your Artifacts.
Iron Man Mk2
Gazillion felt the launch version of Iron Man was a “B+” hero that they liked, but they felt that they had an opportunity to make him an “A+” hero and so Iron Man was reworked as part of patch 1.3. The rework is both functional and visual. New abilities such as the Iron Man 2 inspired “The One Off” spinning laser beam attack, “Jericho Bombardment” satellite bombardment attack, and even a self-rez in “System Reboot” were added.
A smaller, but appreciated addition nonetheless, is the ability for Iron Man to hover after walking a few steps. It’s an aesthetic change to be sure, but it’s something Gazillion wants to add to other characters that tend to hover around often.
Team Insignias are a new item type to Marvel Heroes. These insignias are themed to the various teams that characters in Marvel comics often align themselves with and heroes can only equip insignias for teams they have been a part of in the past. Each insignia grants a team aura and insignias of higher quality can grant anywhere from 1-2 additional aura affixes.
Each insignia is flavored to a specific member of its associated team. For example, there is a Professor X insignia for the X-Men that, in addition to its team aura, grants teammates a chance to summon Professor X (who will toss out massive psionic attacks) whenever they deal damage.
Prestige Mode should be familiar to anyone who has played the Call of Duty series of games. This mode allows you to reset your hero to level one (once reaching the cap of 60) and level them all over again. Why would you want to do this? To show off, of course! Each time you Prestige a hero, the color of your name while walking around as that hero will change along the typical spectrum of MMORPG item rarity colors (green, blue, purple, orange, and red). Additionally, you’ll be granted a copy of the hero’s default costume each time you prestige. This can be useful for players who prefer the default costume and would like a couple of different upgraded variants of it.
If you’re already playing Marvel Heroes, you probably already knew about all of the stuff we just went over. If you’ve managed to make it this far, we’ve got a bit of a reward for you with some exclusive new information Jeff shared with us during the call. Breakdown below!
- Comes out in two weeks.
- Up to 250 squirrels out on screen at one time.
- Brawling tree.
- Squirrel summoning powers.
- Ultimate is called "Squirrelpocalypse" (something like 500 squirrels on screen).
- Arm squirrels with timed explosives that then go out and set booby trap for enemy waves.
- Launches with five unique items, including: Hazelnut Lipgloss, Iron Man Trading Cards (summons Iron Man to help her out), Great Lakes Avengers T-shirt (proc powers based on spirits of Great Lake Avengers).
- Squirrel Girl synergy grants +damage vs. bosses in accordance with her theme of taking out massively power Marvel characters in the comics.
Asgard Story Content
- Asgard content video will be shown at New York Comic-Con.
- Asgard will have tons of frost giants, dark elves, and even new enemies introduced by the upcoming Thor movie sequel.
- New Asgard super hub.
- Players will need to venture into Norway and overcome a currently unannounced encounter that will unlock passage through the Rainbow Bridge into Asgard.
- Asgard content will be free.
- Raids coming with Asgard content.
Upcoming Heroes and Costumes
- Silver Surfer on top 5 list of heroes to be worked on next.
- Legendary Quest sharing coming soon.
- Upcoming new item types include: Legendaries, Team-Ups, and StarkTech .
- Additional "gender bender" skins coming. Kate Bishop Hawkeye is being worked on as we speak.
- Additional 'Fear Itself' costumes coming. Full suite of 'Noir' costumes in the works as well (Punisher Noir, Spiderman Noir, Luke Cage Noir, etc).
- Thor 'Beta Ray Bill' enhanced costume launches with Asgard. Asgard Storm in the works.
- Gambit added 'way before' end of year. Needs voiceover and more visual FX work.
- Psylocke confirmed!
If you have your own questions for ‘Doomsaw’, you’ll definitely want to stay tuned here at MMORPG.com! We’re currently working with Gazillion to put together one of our live forum Q&As (think reddit-style AMAs) with ‘Doomsaw’ that you won’t want to miss!
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