Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Review: Marvel Heroes

I started playing Marvel Heroes this weekend and to say it plays like Diablo 3 would be an understatement.  It does not play like Diablo 3, it is Diablo 3.  I am actually quite surprised that Blizzard does not have a team of lawyers already on their back about it.  But that is not saying Marvel Heroes is bad because it isn't.  Diablo 3 was a hit and was enjoyable and Marvel Heroes has the potential to be as well.

I have not hit max level and don't expect to for quite some time.  There is really no need to.  The game is over by the time you reach level 30 even if you over level yourself through it.  You can finish the storyline comfortably between level 22-25 without much of an issue.  The level cap is 60 but the post story line game is nothing but a grind game.  Grinding for gear and drops.

There are plenty of characters you can play as, my starting character is Daredevil.  During the course of the story line you will get another hero drop after finishing the starting solo quests and a second after finishing the story line.  The heroes you get as quest rewards will always be one of the starter free choices.

The starter characters are just fine and so is the rest of the game as a free to play game.  I can't see anything you would actually feel the need to spend real money on unless you are dead set on playing one of the characters that are not part of the starting choices.  If you are like me however you might want some extra storage space and that is the only thing that actually makes me consider spending a little cash.

If you want to play one of the other classes you can get them as random world drops.  To use the word random might give the impression they are easy to get if you grind enough and I do not want to give off that impression.  I've gotten one random world drop but from looking around it would seem I was one of the rare lucky ones.  The drops do not come frequently so finding a character you want to play might take time.  As my luck has it from other games it carries to this one.  My one character find was the thing.  The thing was also the free character I was given as a quest reward.  Oh well, so I have doubles, but it is worth saving them.  Or so I have heard, so it is in my storage.  I hope to find out what having 2 of the same characters can do for me later on.

As I said the game is Diablo 3 but it is Diablo 3 with a twist of MMO added in for good measure.  There will be little zones off the world map you can enter that will be just for you.  Not all of them are there all the time, just like in Diablo 3.  They could have elite mobs or champion mobs, just like Diablo 3.  When out in the world map however, unlike Diablo 3, everyone is there with you.

One interesting addition to the game with the MMO aspect is that there are event bosses like Venom or Rhino attacking and you need to group up with everyone together to get them down.  I ran into Rhino spawning the other day and was the only one there.  Needless to say it was quite the adventure.  I survived, with some heavy movement tactics, until more could come to join me fighting him.  From that I noticed that these boss mobs and event mobs are actually easier when you are alone.  At least for me.

With all the graphics it becomes near impossible to see the event boss you are supposed to be attacking.  While I do admit it is kind of fun doing the fight with what seems like 100s of people all attacking the same mob the visuals are a bit to visual and really cloud your view.  Even with the even mobs being slightly larger than a standard mob when there are so many people around and so many visual effects going on you still can not see them.

When the fight is over loot drops just like Diablo 3.  However, unlike Diablo 3 it seems (I can not be 100% sure) that the loot that drops is a free for all.  While defeating Venom will assure everyone can get a Venom metal the gear he drops seems to be on a first come first serve basis.  I could swear I have seen things pop on my screen and disappear before I picked it up.  Oh well, chalk this one up to something I can say I dislike about the game.  A free for all on loot that drops does not seem to support the idea that people should work together.

In dungeons, which you will encounter when leveling, I do not believe the loot system is the same.  I think what drops is yours.  I have even tested it as best I could by seeing something good drop and not grabbing it and noticing no one else did whereas if I saw something good drop on an event boss and did not pick it up it would disappear in a matter of seconds.  If you drop something however, someone else can pick it up.

That seems to be the only way to trade in game at the moment.  There is no auction house.  There is no trade function. There is no mail system.  Dropping it on the floor for someone else to pick up seems to be the only way to trade, so if you work a trade with someone make sure you are in an area alone when you trade because anyone that walks by can grab it.

The dungeons seem to be an auto grouping system when doing them.  I've been put in full groups, half groups, groups with people that were not even in the dungeon.  For the most part it seems to work well but they probably need to work on it a little more.  One dungeon I did I was the only one in it.  I am guessing that mean no one else was joining it when I was.  I ended up running the whole thing myself, albeit slowly, and defeating the last boss, juggernaut in this case, solo.  It took a fair deal of time as I was a melee and he hits like a truck, but his moves are all telegrapher and with a little bit of timing and a lot of running, I was able to only attack him when he was in charge mode from behind and then get away.  Like I said, solo it is a lot easier for me to see the visuals of what he is going to do.  With a group I most likely would have went splat.  All those effects do seem to cover off the baddies ground effects.

From that experience it showed me that this game can be enjoyed on a solo level or a group level.  Even out in the world all mobs are shared mobs.  So you will see people helping you as they pass by and you can help them as you pass by.  You will both be able to get the experience from them.

The one odd thing I found about the game is one of my favorites.  I love breaking everything.  Did it in Diablo and do it here.  I destroy everything everywhere I go.  But we are supposed to be playing heroes.  Shouldn't we be going around protecting people and keeping property safe instead of blocking up cars and breaking into offices and destroying all the furniture.  Kind of add that I attack four guys just standing around talking because they are the bad guys yet I just came from beating on 6 cars until they blew up and took a bunch of machines with them.  Who actually is the bad guy here?

I can see myself playing this game from time to time.  I can also see myself spending a few dollar real money to get some more bag space.  They really do not give enough to the free user in my opinion.  But over all the game still has a lot of growing to do.

It feels it was released in an unfinished state.  Content ends at 25-30.  Even if there are daily dungeons and other things to do after that it is just to grind looting for gear and character drops.  There is just not enough in the game to support going from 30 to the level cap of 60 at the moment but I feel this game has a great deal of room to grow.

Final Grade:  B-

I like the Diablo 3 game play for a fun, just to pass the time, sort of game.  It loses points for being unfinished but gets bonus points for having so many character options, even if you might need to buy them to get them at some point.  Based on an interview, they plan to be adding new stuff to it often.  Perhaps that will be the missing content and it can move up to a solid B.  Only time will tell.

I say, if you have some free time and are looking for some brainless fun.  Go for it.  Just don't be surprised when you are fighting an event boss as Daredevil and there are 25 other Daredevils there and with all that moving around you forget which one of them is you.  Yeah, happened to me.


  1. I'm not sure if the loot disappears on event bosses, as you say free for all, or if you just can't see the subtle glow of it under all the visual effects. The title of the loot only stays for mere moments, after that it's a glow on the ground. I'm paranoid that I'm going to miss a good drop because of that. Someone on the forum suggested that they added an alert like in Diablo 3 where if something good drops, it tells you it's dropped. You still have to look for it, but you won't port out none the wiser and lose out.

    In the interview someone asked for nameplates which I would love to see. I run with them on in Warcraft and I'm used to them. Especially for those boss fights it's hard to see where to click with all the melee piled on top of him, so a nameplate would help locate anyway. Brevik said they'd look into it so cross fingers on this score.

    He said a couple of times in the interview, and I think it's been said elsewhere, that the release was rushed a bit, and they didn't have time to do things they would have liked. It also still has a ton of bugs in though I've only run into about half a dozen. I should probably submit a bug report but my account doesn't seem to work on the forum, and I much prefer in game reporting anyway, so I guess I'm just hoping someone else tells them, which is bad of me I know.

    I too am surprised that blizz hasn't put in a lawsuit. So much of it even looks like Diablo. In the interview he talked about difficulty levels, like in Diablo, as being a method of progress in the future. That they hadn't had time to put that in. So I'm thinking that while it's 'launched' it's much more like open beta, as it's free to play it's not like anyone who's playing for free is losing out. In a few months down the line they'll fix things, and add in things, that it's missing. Not ideal but I guess if they had a release date they couldn't change, then they had no choice and at least they are going to continue to maintain it. One of my worries was that this would be it.

    Anyway I just wrote close to a 6k blog post all about it, so I'll shut up. I seriously echo your sort of recommendation. I've finished the story and I got twenty hours of free entertainment doing so. Oh that reminds me ( you can get a promo key for an Iron Man costume, this one can't be bought in the store. I claimed it and put it in my bank. I don't have Iron Man yet but one day if I get a lucky drop, or if they have a sale on, I might, and so might as well grab the free stuff.

    In terms of bank space, what are you putting in the bank? If it's crafting supplies, the crafter guy can combine three of type 1 into a type 2, then three of type 2 into a type 3, and it goes back the other way too. It costs credits to do, but it's a workaround for the mats not stacking. So you could have half a dozen type 5 mats, rather than a bank full of type 1. You might need to level up the crafter to get to the higher levels, you just donate stuff for that, the higher the rarity the more xp it gives. Apparently at a high level you can put an affix on your costume that gives up a % boost to finding special items.

    Anyway, it's not particularly polished, it has bugs, but it's free and it's fun. I've certainly enjoyed it more than Diablo, likely because of the setting. I did think I'd never boot it again, but now I'm thinking I'll keep an eye on it and log it when I get bored with Warcraft. Sometimes I just want to play something different, so this can be my something different.

    1. I am trying to save decent gear I find for when I have the characters later, hopefully. I also keep all the metals. I am a pack rat really. Need to break that habit but I am like that in every game I play.

      Thanks for the code, if you find any please let me know. Will have to go get that when I get home. I'll be sure to let you know if I find any but I have not seen any.

      I saw your post. You seemed to not like it as much as I do. I take it for what ti is right now. A work in progress and a nice way to pass a little time and take a break from wow for a bit here and there. I don't think I would push end game because there is nothing really there to push for. Endless grinding for gear and drops. Maybe if I am bored, but not something I would do normally.

      I am not sure about going diablo mode difficulty either. I did not like that there and would not like that here. Once I beat something I am done with it. Why would I do the same thing again? It is why I do not press heroics, once I beat the last boss I beat the last boss. Who cares about bragging rights about beating the same thing in a harder mode. It is a video game, it is not supposed to be a challenge unless that is what you like to do. I would say working that as the only way of progression is a waste of resources. They would be better off going the wow route and just added new dungeons or stuff. Not the same thing over and over in harder difficulties. New zones, new challenges. That is what will make end game worth it.

    2. Oh and more things. I don't think your luck is following you if you got a hero as a drop. I didn't, they are really rare. As for it being the same as one you got before, apparently you can learn it and it makes that hero more powerful, it increases their 'ultimate power' or something. I don't really know much about it, but I did read that somewhere.

      Brevik mentioned that an AH, trade system, inspection system, super group (guild system), an auto group for the terminals (so you don't have to find your own group if you don't want to) etc. will all be coming eventually. Well he said that he'd like to do all these things.

      The grouping system is a bit broken, and occasionally buggy. I got put in a group with someone that has just completed that area, so I ran all the way through, wondering why there were no mobs, then there was no boss at the end. I had to leave group, get taken back to the hellicarrier, and go there again, this time getting in a fresh group. Sometimes if you leave a group, even if you are in the world, rather than on of the sort of 'dungeon' areas it transports you back to the home location (tower/mansion/hellicarrier) so it's definitely not quite right.

      I too got into that Juggernaut area solo, so maybe it's intended as a solo area? I had no trouble with it as Storm (a ranged character with a kiting move) and that was actually my favourite boss, as it's the only one I didn't die on.

      I too find there to be an uneasy gap between being a hero, and then actually playing the game. I wrote a bit about that in my blog post. I forget to add about wanton destruction. I talked about the slaughter of countless mobs, but it did occur to me when I was in Fisk tower, and my weather aoe was smashing the place up, the old "don't take me to a party" joke. As I was wrecking the place. Sure in a fight some things get destroyed, but you are encouraged to break things in this game, as rare items could be hiding in those crates. Am I a hero or do I just break stuff? It doesn't fit with who my character is supposed to be.

      As for playing Daredevil, I have read numerous places that melee players have it harder than ranged. I've not played a melee (as I picked Storm) despite being a melee player at heart. Certainly sometimes the ability to stand at range, and therefore having more time to see where the boss is telegraphing his attack, means I can dodge and live. Having said that I think ranged are squishier, though I do take damage I shouldn't sometimes as I'm too used to being melee I think. It'll take practice.

    3. Yeah with my post, as I said, I wrote it over three days. For the last half of the story I did feel increasingly negative about it. Then I finished the story and reached 'endgame' and realised it wasn't as bad as I thought. Plus Brevik's interview came out and gave me hope for the future.

      I did go back and edit a lot of what I'd written, to try and reflect my new opinion. I do like it, it is something I will continue to play. I don't love it yet, but I really think that if they work on it, it could turn out to be a hell of a game.

      So yeah, I did a bit of a 180 over the course of writing the post. I went from "I'll never play this again" to "I'm going to keep my hand in and watch eagerly for new developments". Obviously my editing wasn't up to scratch enough to reflect that. I probably should have scrapped the whole post and rewritten it, but I was too lazy. I figured most of it was ok, as the changes I listed I would like to see, I doubt I ever will, but it's not a gamebreaker for me. I just wanted to write down what I wanted.

      Mind you it could happen. I did a post about flex raids a few months back and look what ended up in 5.4.

      This has got out of order now, as this is in reply to your reply, and my other reply was some stuff I didn't mention, and then thought about while I was washing the kitchen floor (I plan blog posts/comments in my head while doing other stuff) so yeah. I guess I need to be faster next time.

    4. But I got the thing. The thing! The same one I got from a quest reward. It is following me and it is laughing at me telling me, here, have some luck. Oh, don't need it. hahahahaha

      Maybe it is meant to be solo. It took a while as melee, but being a gamer I pick up patterns quick and it was an easy fight otherwise. But I did have someone else in the group with me when I first zoned in. They just left instantly. Not sure what that means. Maybe it accidentally grouped us and split us, or it is meant to be solo.

      Odd you picked ranged being a natural melee and I picked melee being a natural ranged. lol At least I got the benefit that most don't. DD has been my favorite character since I was a kid. I have every single issue of every comic every with daredevil in the title. Yes, even #1 in near mint condition. I collected them all by going to stores, events, yard sales, before the days of the net and just buy anything you want and have it mailed to you.

      I quit collecting comics when the net started to boom. It lost its fun for me. So it has been 13 years, perhaps even more, since I quit. And I still buy daredevil every single month. Even if I don't buy anything else.

      I just miss the collecting part of it. The going to the next city over to a comic shop there. Going to another state for a big convention. Trying to find one in the perfect condition. Once I noticed I could just click and buy I realized that collecting just isn't fun any more.

  2. Good, thorough review. Couple of things: The "loot" is yours and yours alone. The names will, however, disappear after a few seconds. Hold Alt to bring them back. Also, red, purple, and blue orbs are shared with others, while yellow are for you only. This may have contributed to the loot disappearing effect.

    Also, there is an option to disable auto-grouping. It is in the Options>Gameplay menu. I sometimes like to group, sometimes not, so it is good to be aware of this, as it does not scream out at you.

    1. Thanks for confirming that. I was not exactly sure being there is a lot going on in those areas at the time as I am sure you know.

      Most likely I saw orbs disappearing and figured the other stuff did as well. I noticed the experience ones were mine alone after a dungeon run when they popped up and I watched someone run through them and not take them.

      I did not know the alt thing. Nice tip, thanks.