I seriously debated discussing this on the blog. After all, the whole point is that it covers MMORPGs, and this technically…isn’t.
But it’s close enough.
One of the games that had been on my radar for a while-for a time-was an online game featuring Marvel’s superheroes. Of course, it became less attractive when I found out that it wasn’t going to let you create your own character, and even less when it came out that it was going to be a “Diablo-style” game. So I shrugged, and put it in the dustbin of my mind.
Clearly, this was before City of Heroes shut down.
The game released last year, and it’s a free-to-play game, and I’d discovered that Champions Online wasn’t fulfilling my superhero needs (and let’s not go there with DC Universe Online). I figured it was only fair to check out the Marvel entry into the MMO-sphere.
And oddly enough…it’s not bad, from a gameplay standpoint.
One of the things that has been bandied around as a down side is the fact that there will be heaps of Wolverines or Spider-Mans (I know, I know-it should be Spider-MEN) running around. The Marvel Universe has a huge catalogue of characters, but surely, folks would gravitate to the popular guys, right? But it hasn’t turned out that way. And there are enough heroes out there in the game with more coming each month to widen things up. And then you add to it that each of the heroes can use assorted costumes from their publish history (Spidey, for example, has his famous black uniform as well as his traditional duds). So even on a group of Wolverines, you can see him in his classics, his brown outfit, his “Old Man Logan” outfit and his “Weapon X” outfit.
Power-wise, it works similar to Diablo’s; each character has a unique trio of “talent trees” which allow them to use more powers-and the three trees have their own themes. Combat is pretty much your usual action RPG sort of thing-if you were good at Diablo, you shouldn’t have any issues adapting. The impressive part of it all is that each character is effectively its own class. Looking that way, we’re talking THIRTY-FOUR classes-with more on the way. Mechanically, some of those may be duplicating powers, but they all have their own visual spin and enough differences that make them distinctly their own.
You have your A-lister characters, such as Iron Man, Thor, and Wolverine, but you also have some lesser lights. A fan of Squirrel Girl? She’s in there. Deadpool? Oh, yeah, he’s there too. Moon Knight and Rocket Raccoon too.
As a free-to-play game, it obviously has stuff behind cash gates. While they’ve got the thirty four characters, only a fraction of them are available as “starter characters”. The rest can be gained either by cash, or by turning in “Eternity Splinters”, which occasionally drop. Prices vary, of course. Costumes are a different story-it’s possible some can drop as loot (I’ve never seen it, though), but it’s more certain via the cash shop. The cash shop also sells boosts, stash slots to hold more inventory, and their own lottery cards. The cards and the stash slots are the only things, though, that can only be found in the cash shop-you can grind away for splinters to get heroes, and there are crafting recipes that will turn a costume into a random costume-plus that really rare drop I mentioned.
It doesn’t have quite the same depth as the MMORPGs that I tend to stick with, but it’s an entertaining bit of time to pass.