Gazillion has been working with Marvel on the Marvel Heroes MMORPG for quite some time, but as the game moves into closed beta, the developer is letting more and more of the game be seen by the public. We recently got some hands-on time with some early stages in the game, and found out some interesting things that could make Marvel Heroes an impressive free-to-play game that shouldnt be missed.
The story is written by BMB
Marvel mainstay and current architect Brian Michael Bendis has carefully crafted the plot for Marvel Heroes. With a portfolio including epic and memorable runs on Daredevil, Avengers, New Avengers, Ultimate Spider-Man, and landmark events like Avengers vs. X-Men, Secret Invasion, and Siege, few creators have impacted the Marvel Universe over the course of the past decade the way that Bendis has. While much of the game will be original, even in the short demo we played, signature Bendis moments like the breakout on the Raft that kickstarted "Avengers Disassembled" were present, showing Gazillion plans to incorporate recent events along with new concepts.
Though Gazillion has been mum on just what the narrative in Marvel Heroes will entail, we do know Dr. Doom and Cosmic Cube will play a role. With decades of history to draw upon, there should be no shortage of memorable moments to play through.
The barrier for entry is ridiculously low
Anyone who knows how to use a mouse will be able to play Marvel Heroes. One of the key elements of the game is accessibility for Marvels millions of fans. David Brevik, one of the key developers behind Diablo and Diablo II, is leading development of Marvel Heroes, and the core elements of the classic action RPG series carry over to this title. Powers and abilities will be mapped to the two mouse buttons, with additional abilities mapped to a few keys on the keyboard.
The instant pick-up-and-play ease of Marvel Heroes makes it a cinch to learn, and eases even novice players into the game. Even if youve never played an MMO or an action RPG before, Gazillion has gone to great lengths to make sure you can enjoy stepping into the shoes of your favorite Marvel heroes.
You can play as any character at any time
Most MMOs require you to play as a single character at a given time, leveling him up as you progress. Thats not the case with Marvel Heroes. You can switch out the character you want to play as at any time, with absolutely no penalty for swapping on the fly. If youve been playing as the agile Wolverine for a while, and feel like swapping out for a character with a bit more brute force, all it takes is a few clicks, and youre in the shoes of the ever lovin blue-eyed Thing.
Not only is it great to alternate between your favorite Marvel mainstays, but it also changes up the way the game plays. Ground-based characters like the Hulk have a completely different feel than flight-based heroes like Iron Man and Ms. Marvel. If youre playing alone, and suddenly a friend or two hops online to play, you can quickly opt into a new hero that better suits team-based play, which means there will always be something new to experience in Marvel Heroes.
There will be plenty of costumes
Two words: Mohawk Storm.
Okay, maybe more than two words. Gazillion is planning on including lots of costumes from all manner of eras for all your favorite Marvel characters. Already there are close to a hundred different looks available for the 30+ characters arriving with the game on day one. In our time with the game, we saw multiple looks for Iron Man, Storm, the Hulk, and Ms. Marvel. You can even put together a squad of Avengers decked out in their movie attire.
With a multitude of people playing at any given time, youre bound to run across duplicate characters. Adding in all the bonus outfits makes it that much easier to make your version of Captain America stand out from another players. Not only that, but costumes wont be limited to certain abilities. You can keep and upgrade your favorite outfits as you progress, without having to worry about swapping out for a new costume with better stats later.
It might be coming to Mac sooner than you think
Marvel Heroes is only going to be available on PCs at launch. However, Gazillion isnt ruling out bringing the MMORPG over to other platforms just yet. When speaking with David Breznik, he revealed his affinity for his Mac, and related how it would be nice to see Marvel Heroes on Apples computers. The game runs on the Unreal Engine, and Gazillion has already stated the game wont be too taxing on PCs so as many people as possible will be able to take part. It certainly wouldnt be unheard of, and there are plenty of other MMOs and ARPGs that made the transition from PCs to Macs easily enough already.
All the loot is yours
There are few things more disappointing than working hard in a massive boss battle, only to lose out on some key loot drops. Fortunately, Gazillion has rectified that problem. All the loot that appears on screen is just for you. Thats not to say other players wont get any loot from enemies. Theyll just see different items than you do. Again, this hearkens back to the barrier of entry and accessibility of Marvel Heroes. Now losing out on some key items during an instance or battle wont turn off players, as there will be plenty of rare items to go around.
Tons of voice-over work
Marvel Heroes is going to feature a lot of voice acting both in-game and during the motion comic cut scenes. Many of the characters will be voiced by returning actors, which should be another nice treat for longtime Marvel fans, and people who are only familiar with the animated adventures of their favorite heroes.
Gazillions previous Marvel MMO, Marvel Super Hero Squad Online, also featured a lot of voice over work, which added a great deal to the immersion and overall presentation of the game. With Marvel Heroes following suit, Gazillion is continuing to set the bar high from whats to be expected from free-to-play MMOs.
Its totally and completely free
When Gazillion says Marvel Heroes is going to be free-to-play, they mean it. All of the content in the game is completely accessible to anyone and everyone without every paying a cent. Theres no paying to unlock heroes. Theres no level cap limit youll have to pay to pass. Theres certainly no subscription fees or up-front payment to make. Of course, there will be content in the game you can purchase through microtransactions, but its all cosmetic. Nothing that affects gameplay will have to be paid for at all.
Gazillion is taking a big risk here, but the potential payoff is huge. By not having a pay-to-win strategy, Marvel Heroes is never going to give people a reason to walk away. How Gazillion and Marvel are going to be able to sustain that kind of market remains to be seen, but free is free, and this game it totally free.
There are plenty of playable characters
Whenever Marvel Heroes finally arrives, its going to come with a 36-character roster. The playable heroes included run the gamut from long-standing members of the Avengers and X-Men, to new incarnations of legacy heroes. Gazillion has already announced 26 of the playable characters, and theres definitely no shortage of fan favorites and iconic heroes. From Captain America and Rocket Raccoon to Deadpool and the all-new Nova, youll have your choice from a fair share of characters.
Combine that roster with the dozens upon dozens of costumes being included, and youve got some impressive variety right off the bat. With literally the entire Marvel Universe at their disposal, Gazillion can add in whomever whenever they want without having to worry about character X being licensed to another developer.
Each character you play will be uniquely yours
In addition to being able to clothe your hero any way you see fit, Marvel Heroes will allow you to customize all of your characters power sets. So again, despite the fact there will be more than one Wolverine running around, another players version of the character is less likely to be identical to yours. This not only helps alleviate some of the issues brought on by having 36 different characters for thousands upon thousands of potential players to choose from, but it also makes sure you can play the game the way you want.
If you plan on playing a lot with friends, you can tailor your character to play with more team-based abilities, or powers that combine with others to great effect. If you plan on rolling solo for most of Marvel Heroes, you can arrange you character to be better suited for an all-around experience. Combined with the ability to swap characters in and out at any time, there are almost no limits to how personalized your experience will be.
Seeing everyones powers in action is awesome
Seeing dozens of Marvel heroes on screen at once battling it out against a villain like Electro is pretty awesome. With Marvel Heroes, you finally get a sense of what a massive team-up from the comics looks like in action. Granted, certain characters like Thing, Hulk, and Wolverine are primarily melee fighters, so there isnt much to see that you havent seen before when it comes to their animations. However, characters like Scarlet Witch, Ms. Marvel, and Iron Man bring a wide variety of ranged attacks into play, and they look spectacular in action.
Not to mention, we only got to see some lower level powers being used. We cant wait to see what some higher-end abilities look like in action, particularly from the ranged heroes like Nova, Phoenix, and the Human Torch. We also heard there might be some special dual moves in play, so dont rule out being able to do the fastball special just yet.
The game plays incredibly smooth
What really impressed us about Marvel Heroes was no matter how many characters were on screen, and how many powers were being used at the time, there was no slowdown whatsoever. There could be tons of magic being cast by Scarlet Witch, while Electro is dropping massive amounts of electric area attacks, while a handful of other characters are up close dealing melee damage. Not one instance of hiccups was noticeable, and its pretty impressive considering just how much could be happening on the screen at once.
Marvel Heroes also plays smoothly from a control standpoint. By relying on just a few button presses to get everything done, the control scheme allows you to remain focused on whats happening rather than what you keys you need to hit. The game feels very natural, and the simplification of powers and actions makes Marvel Heroes gameplay very intuitive.
Were sure there are going to be plenty of other reasons Marvel Heroes is a blast to play when it finally comes out, as what weve seen already has us incredibly excited to play more. What elements of the game have you looking forward to playing Marvel Heroes? Let us know in the comments below.