How Not To Run an MMO: Marvel Heroes

Back when Marvel Heroes launched around a year ago, I forked out the two hundred or so bucks for whatever the big pack was called, to show my support for what I thought would be a great game. It turned out for me at least to be another isometric game with nothing that exciting to differentiate it beside the iconic superhero costumes. For those who’ve listened to our podcast, you’ll know both myself and my excellent co-host have been pretty dismissive of the game, but it still has its merits. Well it did, until the latest fiasco.

For those unaware, Marvel Heroes has just been rebadged as Marvel Heroes 2015. Given it’s not even half way through 2014, I see the name either as a desperate marketing tactic or a heads-up that it’ll be 2015 before you can play the game again. Because for me at least, it’s now unplayable on the two computers I had it installed on.

The issue is with the game’s launcher. For anyone that hasn’t played the game in a few weeks to a month or two, you’ll get a lovely message saying “”Unable to Determine Current Version”.

version-dontknowOn receiving the error I dutifully went to the Marvel Heroes forums and found this thread on how to deal with the issue. I followed the instructions for running as administrator and also deleting the specified files. I did this four times – with the result each time being the exact same error.

I was frustrated by this time to say the least, but decided to have a look further and found this gobsmacking response from Gazillion:



The full text of that response is:

Sorry guys, I’m afraid you guys may have to reinstall the game.

We recently deleted a few patches to make room on our own internal servers, but it accidentally broke the patch chain for some of you.

Again, I am sorry. We have made adjustments so that this issue does not come up again.

Also, please check to see if this thread has a fix for you.

In playing and writing about MMOs for more than seven years, I’ve never come across such poor organisation in regards to a game’s playability. Essentially, if you haven’t logged into Marvel Heroes for a month or two, it looks like your only option is to uninstall and re-download the more than 11GB of data. Something I’ve already had to do once in the past six months.

In addition to this farce of a game, I also maintain active installations of World of Warcraft, The Secret World, Guild Wars 2 and Star Wars: The Old Republic. In all those cases I’ve been playing them for at least eighteen months and in the case of WoW, seven years. In all that time I’ve never had to re-download the core game data, except for Marvel Heroes. While writing this, Guild Wars 2 downloaded a large update as I haven’t played the game in probably 12 weeks. It downloaded flawlessly and it’s a hell of a more complex game than Marvel Heroes will ever be.

Hang your head in shame Gazillion and give yourself an uppercut while you’re down there.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the game or if you’re having launcher issues. Post away in comments.


  1. Wow you´re making such a big deal out of small things, journalists like you excite me so much. Gazilion is a team of humans. Guess what? Humans make mistakes, atleast they apologize. Other game developers poop on others, they dont even adress anything nor they write down the patch notes or tease future content. Gazilion is a small team,they dont have amazing tech like Ubisoft,Rockstar Games etc. You mentioned you were there at launch, why wont you write an article how greatly the game evolved and it is the first ARPG with raid content? Game wont loadup for you? Fine, well guess what? I used to play SWTOR and recently I decided to install it again and the launcher just wont start up. And it´s not my problem, since they even have a fixlauncher.exe(which doesn´t fix anything). This article is not even a review, but a pure hatred. Awaiting comment deletion, since I had the guts to disagree and since you are the one who can manage comments here.

    • No risk of me deleting your comment. This was never touted as a review, and I’d be just as harsh on BioWare if the SWTOR launcher had done the same to me (which it never has). Thanks for the comment though.

      • dedratErlo says

        Never underestimate the hate of a group of fans that are MMO fans AND comic fans. It’s like dividing by troll zero. Marvel Heroes’ launcher is and has been garbage, and their support has been subpar. The game itself is a mixed bag, with some genuinely fun experiences, and some genuinely sloppy decisions on things like enemy variation, 1,000 different currencies to keep track of, etc. But god forbid you point out those failings, as HOW DARE YOU CRITICIZE ANYTHING WE LIKE!?! RAOR!

    • Gazillion is also one of the smallest groups of people besides the makers of PoE and they still push out content faster than most.

  2. Henry Denozo says

    You ran into a problem with the launcher that affected some folks but no the majority and immediately branded it a terrible game, classy journalism. It sucks that it happened but it should not be all that your review is about. They have made huge changes to the game and is one of the only true free to play games on the market that is not pay to win.

    Even if you can’t login to the game you can see the difference between Gazillion and all those other gaming companies right on the forums. Gazillion forums are full of life and interactions with the developers, the other forums are cesspools with developer responses that amount to nothing but “I’ll look into it” and “We are working on it but don’t have an ETA”

    A true reporter and reviewer would get past the launcher issue and re-install it. They would look at the game as a whole and then come back and report on the good and the bad. None of this I can’t login this game is complete crap nonsense.

    I had 3 friends who just like you paid for the founders pack and quit a month in, they are now playing the game more then I do.

  3. I’ve been reading your stuff for a long time man, but seriously this is way off base. You do good stuff, but this one dropped the ball in a huge way. Now i think i need to re-read some of the other stuff here and figure out if the things i just read and took to heart are nothing but petty crap like this.

  4. Dave Smythe says

    I assume the reason you are so bent out of shape from having to redownload something is because you have a capped bandwidth? That seems like something you should take up with your ISP, not out on a game. (And by your own admission you hadn’t played for months, those of us that were playing had no trouble.)

    The only reason you didn’t have to redownload anything from WoW because it came with discs, otherwise you probably would have (I know I did). Would that make you instantly hate the game?

    Other games do the rebrand also: Madden, FIFA, etc.; even automobiles come out with the 2015 models in 2014, I don’t see how that is an issue.

    Everyone is entitled to their opinions though, so have fun with yours!

  5. Marvel Hero! says

    This game is amazing! it does so much right, one issue and its automatically branded as a shame? Okay mate.

  6. Jump2conclusions says

    Come on man, not everyone is having the same problem as you with the launcher. Hell If I complained every time my wow launcher broke. Stuff happens. Calm down lol.

  7. xlSpAwNlx says
  8. Joseph Slawson says

    Wow worst game review ever actually you where so lazy you did not even
    review the damn game, you did not even gain enough information to
    properly review the launcher sigh… you owe it to those that read your
    to spend more than thirty minutes trying to get the game to
    run, I can imagine if more articles where written in this same style
    that an article about D-day
    would go something like this, ” D-day, it was the worst day ever, the
    water was cold so I stayed on the boat but it kept moving so I was
    unable to write anything. what are these Generals thinking we should
    just stay home if this is how they plan to win a war.:” You are such a
    moron that you seem to be the only person that has not had to reinstall
    WoW in “seven years” I guess in all that time you are still using the
    same PC?

    • Just wondering where you saw it stated it was a game review?

      • You pulled a bait and switch. Set it up early like a review. Title and open lines feel like a review. And then you proceed to QQ over the lamest stuff. I came here to laugh at something someone told me to check out. I won’t be looking at anything else of yours. Total garbage writing.

      • Joseph Slawson says

        Call your article what you will but it is nothing more than the ravings of a drama queen and only goes to prove that the author is just too lazy to even properly install and play the game before throwing a tantrum about a medium size download. When you choose to write about a game you should first at least play that game, I have not and will not read your past or future articles because the lack of professionalism in this writing is beyond reproach.

        • Well I’d hope you’d read what you like, otherwise that’d be a bit sad. I’ve played the game quite a bit over the last year – in between having to re-download it entirely twice.

  9. jasiones says

    Classic gaming journalism, everything needs to be handed on a silver platter otherwise it’s all that’s focused on. There hasn’t been an mmo alive that hasn’t had it’s own set of issues, wether it be server side, bugs, launcher, etc. This game has improved dramatically since launch and truly deserves a relaunch. The team is small but dedicated and have released weekly patches varying in content and quality of life improvements. The devs are very active in the community and even the CEO of the company goes on twitch streams to talk to the players. How many companies do that?

    It feels like you’re in a bad mood because you paid $200 a year ago and can’t even download the game properly.

  10. joshua cruz says

    lol wow.. I have been playing flawlessly since day one I haven’t downloaded anything other than patches..

  11. browntrout says

    I’ll check back when you’ve actually played the game and are done raging like a 5 year old. You’re also comparing new content you’ve never played with content that’s been perfected over 5-8 years. We get it, MH2015 has a long way to go. But you might as well give it a chance and reinstall. I’ve had to reinstall plenty of times and it’s frustrating, but it happens and at least those responsible are owning up to the mistake.

  12. Grenadeface Sterling says

    I would have to say your not correct at all. Not everyone had to reinstall just some and it’s not even a big deal. If you want a faster client use the steam one. Your judgment is awful I hope for the sake of society your just a journalist and nothing important that can actually affect peoples lives. Uppercut yourself for being a complete moron and while you’re down there kiss your own a$$.

  13. You couldn’t be more wrong about this game. It sounds like you’re just mad you spent so much money. THIS GAME IS AWESOME!

  14. Download the steam version. It updates itself no problem even if you never play it. Don’t be a Drama Queen. Even if you do have to re-download the whole game what is the big deal? “I just don’t wanna and I’m not gonna” is not a good enough reason. It’s the reason a five year old uses as he stomps his feet and whines. I’ve had to redownload LoL at least 3 times for various patch related hangups and file corruption issues. you make it sound like MH is the only game ever to have this happen. Do your research journalist. Other games have had just as many “Fiascoes” if your definition of such is so petty as this. Just because you have been lucky enough to avoid them does not mean they have not happened. Even to the precious games you mentioned.

    • dedratErlo says

      why am I not surprised that a guy named Big Al’s advice is to bend over and take it?

  15. This was a garbage read. Its actually quite a fun game as well.

  16. To be fair, these types of games nearly always run into some kind of problem whether by developer error or what have you. Did you not remember there was a time WoW was unplayable for people for weeks at a time and not everyone even got time credited back to them. I happened to be one of those poor blokes who only received an extra week of playtime for over 2 weeks of the game not working. I’d happily redownload 11gb over losing actual money. But you know what, shit happens in pretty much any online game. I forgot which game it was but they released a content patch that wiped people’s game files forcing a reinstall. I had to reinstall EQ2 twice.
    The only game that I still have the original installation files for without reinstalling is DAOC. Spent years just copying and pasting the game directory to new PC’s and worked everytime, everytime.

    • outkast1980 says

      I have played EQ2 since launch, still have it! Bonus points you mentioned it 🙂

  17. Hade E Alder says

    Well if you guys did get into the actual game, you’d see it’s practically the same game it was when it launched a year ago. A handful of maps were added and a few more heroes, but aside from that it considers to function only as an isometric cash grab. This would be bad enough if not for Gazillion going around banning anyone who questions their divinity and expects anything more out of the game then “Point, click and repeat. Oh and would you like to buy a $20 costume?”

    I am not sure why Marvel is allowing them to denigrate their brand this way.

  18. randallross says

    David Holloway you dont know shit.

  19. So long story short you had to reinstall a game you hadn’t played in a year? Kind of poor form to say they’re doing a poor job of running an MMO based on that alone don’t you think?

  20. You should re-name your article to “My bad experience with Marvel Heroes 2015”.

  21. outkast1980 says

    To the writer of this story: I hadn’t played in several months. About 10 days I ago I reinstalled with ZERO issue.

  22. I’m not a gamer I play games, but I’m not that invested in hardly any game since I was like 14. I grew up with Nintendo and we moved on to super Nintendo and so forth. I played Mario and such. RPG wise I played Final Fantasy, but only two. Which was 7 and 8. My brother was more into playing video games than I was and he played far more Final Fantasy and RPGs like that. My other brother plays online games far more frequently than I do on his X-Box.

    When it came to anything Marvel I would play it. Such as Marvel Alliance. And again it’s for Marvel Heroes.

    I didn’t purchase the $200 dollar package. I thought about it, but didn’t have the money to do that. I got one of the founders one (I think it was called) and it had Cyclops, Jean Grey, Thor and Rocket Raccon. I have never bought a costume. I’ve only bought characters and that’s rare considering I collect the shards to get most of my heroes.

    What I’m getting at is I’m not someone that can compare this to anything. I don’t play any other online game. I don’t want to. Never had. I like Marvel Heroes. The only thing I have a problem with is when the patches come through that force me to reallocate points. It’s so time consuming.

    I have fun playing it and I play it a little every day. Maybe an hour or hour and half. I have fun. I had launcher issues one time and I just uninstalled it and reinstalled and didn’t have the issue again. I don’t understand what the issue is and I’ve read different articles on issues and none of them make much sense other than to label them opinions of one person and not an actual issue other than taste.

    I’ve written movie reviews and I know when it’s a taste difference and an actual problem with the film itself being horrible. Then there’s the people who hate summer films because they are snooty little Oscar whores. They bash films because all they’re there for is to make money. NEWSFLASH all movies are there to make money. If they didn’t make money, they wouldn’t have been made to begin with. There’s no such thing as altruism in entertainment. Money matters. To every entertainment area or they wouldn’t be in such a business. Cash grab, to me, has no meaning what-so-ever that makes much sense in it ever being used. It’s a voidable word. It’s useless.

    I guess if you don’t have fun, don’t play. Other than that, I don’t understand what one expects from the game itself? To be like every other online game they love?

    Which makes no sense to me seeing how every film I love don’t have really much in common with each other.

  23. The problems this game and development team have go well beyond the launcher and are deep and systemic.
    The biggest problem right now is the systematic purge from the MH forums of anyone that posts something negative about the game on the forums or questions some of the less than idea decision making for things like the willy nilly drop rates for items such as Retcons or Unstable Molecules.
    They say they want to hear critiques but the truth is only on things they agree with. If you offer a critique on something they are set on doing like the hotbar, and you do not back down, you could be subjected to not only forumite personal attacks but personal attacks from the developers themselves as well or just made “invisible”.
    I have seen the e-mails personally and it is all pretty disgusting on the part of Gaz. Good thing for them most people will never know what they are truly up too behind the façade.

  24. uhh are you for real. The game is fantastic and free to play. So they made a human error and you have to install. oh the humanity. woe is me. Whats it take a few hours maybe to install and patch if you have broadband.

  25. LordVader says

    Isn’t this game from a scammer company right? I still don’t trust f2p companies especially with this kind of news each day.

  26. Really frustrated with this issue. I had a 6 gig patch finish on Steam only to have a new 6 gig patch start up the next day. Now, it’s reset that 6 gig patch again. “We deleted a few patches to make room on our hard drive” doesn’t sound competent, but at least it’s honest (I have to assume so, because I’m not sure they could have come up with a worse excuse if they tried).

    Having to spend this much time redownloading a game for no good reason is especially frustrating on rural internet. More than likely I’m just going to uninstall it and leave it.

    • That’s my thought as well. I did bite the bullet and download the whole damn 13GB again, but it’s the last time I’ll do it.

  27. And the marvel heroes cult jumps on another article/thread/review criticising the game again. Never gets old.

  28. Hade E Alder says

    Gazillion is now banning any player that criticizes the game or the business model. They are also strongarming sites like Metacritic and Reddit into deleting negative feedback, regardless of whether it’s constructive or not. This kind of reactionary behavior really gives insight into what kind of company they are.

  29. Nyghtnmare says

    The game has so many updates that I am not surprised you would need to do a fresh install if you do not keep up with them for that long. With other games, 6 months might be a patch or 3, whereas with Marvel Heroes, they patch once or twice each week.

  30. Beepboopbop says
  31. Marikhen says

    The developers are human, and humans make mistakes and have accidents. If you want to cite something as “how not to run an MMO” this sort of thing is, in all honesty, small potatoes.

    Also, I’ve had to re-download the entire game from scratch with EVE Online, World of Warcraft, and TERA due to issues that couldn’t be resolved with a generic “repair” button/feature/function. Furthermore, in TERA’s case I ended up having to get a pirate site copy of the game because the client I had wouldn’t properly patch and the “official” client kept packaging in P2P software that not only wasn’t necessary for the running and patching of the client but also cluttered up my hard drives something fierce.

    It’s annoying, and if you have hard data caps with overage fees and whatnot from your ISP it can go beyond annoying, but if you’re going to pick something to hammer Gazillion over for how not to run an MMO you should really start looking into complaints about their customer service, corporate environment, business plan, and goals/organization/strategy for Marvel Heroes. Likewise if you want to hammer a game over patching SNAFUs EVE Online is a far better, if older, choice.

  32. exposing gaz. says

    Finaly somebody that doesn’t kiss gazillions ass . The review is spot on! Your experiance with mmo’s shows you know what your talking about. You forgot to mention doomsaw and support staff wrongfully banning people and not telling them why until they go public on redit. Only some get an explination. Also dev’s harassing people in game and threating to ban them or quickly taking down screenshots and evidence in their forums quickly. While gaz has a bad reputation of having no structure and hiring family members over well qualified staff.

    never ask for a refund ! They will ban you and say its because of a charge back that they can provide proof for! Even when you can get a letter from your bank to prove you never filed for a charge back. Jeff in support takes things personaly dont argue with him.

  33. exposing gaz. says

    Look at all these gaz employees posting. I see ryo and doom’ s aliases haha get a life douche bags. Also people that cant deal with honest criticism go cry