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Black Bolt, Animation Canceling, Visual Updates, and More

Michael Bitton Posted:
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Hot off the launch of Marvel Heroes’ “Biggest Update Ever” is yet another significant update to the game. The update, which quietly went up on Test Center yesterday, adds a new character to the roster, makes significant changes to the game’s animation systems, includes a slate of new visual updates, and more. Let’s review all that is coming to Marvel Heroes in the next patch.

Black Bolt

Black Bolt, the King of the Inhumans, will join Marvel Heroes as the 61st (!!!) character on the roster. If you’re unfamiliar with Black Bolt, he’s the most powerful of all the Inhumans, possessing a hypersonic voice which is powerful enough to shatter worlds. But that’s not all Black Bolt can do. He’s also a particle manipulator, allowing him to augment his own physical abilities to make him stronger, or even to unleash powerful blasts.

The catch is that all his myriad abilities originate from the speech center of his brain, making the slightest utterance a powerful destructive force. For that reason, Black Bolt quite literally fits the description of the strong, silent type. Thankfully, Medusa, Queen of the Inhumans, is often around and able to translate what’s on Black Bolt’s mind without having to blow out all the windows (or worse!). Gazillion intends to introduce Medusa as a Team-Up, though whether or not she makes it out with the Black Bolt patch is unknown at this point.

On Test Center, Black Bolt is a Fighting/Energy character with a full suite of melee and ranged abilities. Keep in mind this is all based on his very first iteration on TC, so things could change considerably before he goes live. Both melee and ranged play are fairly straightforward for Black Bolt, with his melee abilities focusing more on movement and his ranged play amounting to a simple rotation of cooldown abilities. Black Bolt doesn’t feature any unique mechanics, but he does use an Energy resource, which is different from Spirit in that you must use Energy generating abilities to replenish it. Think Debris on Magneto.

If Black Bolt doesn’t sound super exciting on paper, it’s mostly because he isn’t. That said, while Gaz didn’t do a whole lot to spice things up with his pattern of play, his visual effects are top notch. Gazillion decided to focus mainly on his melee combat and particle manipulation powers, reserving powers that utilize his hypersonic voice for his signature (Killing Word) and his ultimate (Royal Decree). Black Bolt is also silent except for when using the two aforementioned powers.  I figured Black Bolt would be more of a sonic character along the lines of Banshee or Songbird, but it probably makes more sense that he’d reserve use of his voice for the rare occasion where it’d be absolutely necessary. The particle effects for his energy powers are really impressive though, resembling a sort of cross between Silver Surfer and the Sunspot Team-Up's visual FX. 

Animation Changes

These changes came as a bit of a surprise, but they are easily the most significant aspect of the update. They might not be as flashy as a new character or a set of visual updates, but these changes will have a significant impact on how enjoyable many characters on the roster are to play. Basically, Gazillion has gone through a huge amount of the powers in the game and tweaked them to be more responsive by reducing the time they lock your character into their respective animations before allowing you to cancel out into another or move away. This means characters like Gambit, who are often hit by enemy telegraphs because they’re locked into long animations from powers like Batter Up, will now be able to cancel into a dash and move away in time.

The changes also just improve the flow of play for many characters on the roster by making them more responsive. Characters such as Magneto, Captain America, and War Machine almost feel like entirely new characters to play with how responsive they are now. If there are characters on the roster you enjoy overall, but set aside due to them feeling a bit clunky to actually play, I’d strongly encourage you to revisit them once this patch goes live.


As promised, Gaz continues to iterate on the roster well after the launch of the “Biggest Update Ever” and Iceman is the latest character to get some love in the form of a significant rework. I don’t have a whole lot of insight on the changes for you, as I avoided playing the character on live due to his incredibly annoying voice over, but probably the most significant change is his new Ice Armor resource. Bobby was a mana hungry character before and now he’ll no longer need to worry about it.

Overall, at least from what I can tell, Iceman’s talents should better support his various builds (melee, ranged, summoner) and his summons got some love to make them a bit more interactive.


Speaking of summons, Gaz is looking to address the sorry state of summoners post-BUE by tweaking the way summoner items and inherited bonuses work. Judging by the community’s response so far, the jury’s out on the results in this initial iteration, but hopefully Gaz gets this all sorted before the patch goes live. I’d like to play some of my favorite summoners and I’m eagerly looking forward to Nick Fury as a summoner whenever he ends up going live.

Visual Updates

Maybe I’m focused on the wrong things here, but I pretty much freak out with every visual update. It’s always a treat seeing some outdated costume or character brought up to Gazillion’s new standards for quality. Usually these updates come in singles, pairs, or even a handful, but this patch includes over 10!

Thanks go out to Marvel Heroes community manager KomoriMan for the full rundown:

Captain America

  • The Captain (VU Costume)


  • Classic 90s (VU Costume)

Ghost Rider

  • Original (VU Costume)


  • Planet Hulk (VU Costume)


  • Modern (Default Starting)


  • Classic (Default Starting)

Scarlet Witch

  • Modern (Default Starting)

Squirrel Girl

  • Modern (Default Starting)


  • Modern (Default Starting)


  • Modern (Default Starting)

Spider-Man’s Back in Black was also stealth updated to look absolutely awesome. My Symbiote Spider-Man costume is jealous. I realize we’re probably a small subset of the player base, but come on Gaz, give the Ultimate Pack costumes some love!

Great work on Psylocke, Storm, and Gambit in particular. Can’t wait to see the 90’s Storm VU, hopefully sooner rather than later.

Chapter Updates

This patch continues Gaz’s push to revamp the entire game’s story chapters, this time focusing on chapters seven and eight. Areas flow a lot better than they used to, particularly the Savage Land in chapter seven, which was always a nightmare to navigate in the past. Sinister’s Lab also got an awesome makeover. Hopefully the terminal is soon to follow.

Have you hopped onto Test Center to check out all the new changes? What are your thoughts? Share ‘em 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