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.

Marvel Heroes Dev Update: Lots On The Way

Marvel Heroes Dev UpdateMarvel Heroes has been live for well over a month now, and in case you thought any laurels were being rested upon, Gazillion dev Doomsaw has posted an extensive update on what’s planned for the game in the near and medium term. You can read the full update below and some commentary after that. Enjoy:

Fixing the Defense System

We are almost completely reworking the defense system to scale better into the late/end game. This is taking a decent chunk of time because of the wide-ranging impact it has to powers, items and enemies, but it will get done, hopefully in time for the big July patch. Our plan is to lock down everything by next Tuesday and test, test, test until it is rock solid.

We have been talking a lot about ensuring we don’t do anything that punishes melee too much more than ranged. That’s why we pulled out Ignore Defenses from the game and tried buffing the heck out of Defense from items. But, none of that solve the issues of scaling into end game. A percent based system will fix a lot of that, along with astute use of avoidance and other mitigation powers based on the heroes’ powers.

By the time we are done, melee characters will be able to melee as expected and characters won’t get one-shotted unless they are bad at moving from the fire on the ground.

Difficulty Levels – Heroic and Superheroic

Difficulty modes are one of the highest priorities for us. There is still engineering, enemy tuning and item work to done for Heroic and Superheroic difficulty modes, so they will not be on the test server next week, but will make an appearance shortly after the big July patch.

One of the best things about Marvel Heroes compared to other games that I’ve played are the number of fun little ’discoveries‘ that occur throughout the game (like two HYDRA guys getting a crate with a dinosaur in it or killing a bunch of muggers and rescuing a civilian). The other thing I love are the ’treasure rooms‘ that are all over the game (the orange doors). Having difficulty levels means players can encounter those things and not just grind the same terminal missions or Limbo over and over. (Everything can be fun, but it’s nice to have variety.)

We wanted difficulty levels at launch, obviously, but just ran out of time and felt we should launch when we promised. My best guess is that these make it to the test server in August and release shortly after, assuming nothing gamebreaking.

Player vs Player

The goal is to make an extremely robust PVP system for Marvel Heroes. As we polish content, fix bugs and get all of the heroes and systems into solid shape, we will introduce a full tournament system for PVP with some MLG style elements, prizes, rankings and so on.

Modes in development include modes that are more casual and more serious. For each of “casual” and “serious”, there will be a quicker map and a more in-depth map. The quicker maps should always take less than 30 minutes to play and the “in-depth” maps could take up to an hour to play.

The casual PVP modes will have more adventuring and PVE content included in the maps. Think Alterac Valley from World of WarCraft as a rough example of something you’ll see for our casual in-depth map.

The serious PVP modes will place more emphasis on individual skill, hero selection, power selection and PVP tactics. The first mode is in the late stages of development and should be on the test server in a week or two. The mode is based on the ARAM mode from League of Legends, with two teams competing to get past turrets and destroy the enemy base. It’s a 5v5 map with a full queuing system built in. The map gets tested and adjusted daily. Just 10 minutes ago the team was naming and planning out the PVP rewards associated with this map. The PVP items are particularly good for PVP and won’t be needed for high-end PVE encounters but they will still be decent in PVE.

The existing PVP “Beta” map will be pulled out soon along with the team/faction system that is currently in game. It’s being replaced by a full-fledged queuing system similar to LOL/WOW. There is an engineer entirely dedicated to the system who is super smart and sitting just 15 feet away working on this system every day.

We know not all players care about PVP (maybe even less than 50%), so we are keeping PVP as a super-high priority, but also keeping PVE, difficulty modes, end-game raids, item hunting and other stuff as super-high priority as well. PVP will be an option for people who dig it, but will never be needed to get the best gear.

For people who do love PVP, there will be some items and likely an emblem system beside your name based on PVP ranks (replacing the current icons beside player names). We will likely do some kind of cosmetic rewards as well.
Note that we have technology to adjust powers while a hero is in PVP, so we will never have to nerf a power in PVE because it’s “too good in PVP”. I wish other games had that tech!


The items team is currently working on a few things:

  1. Removing or changing affixes that just aren’t fun or are actually bad (example: We are getting rid of +attack speed on a certain tree)
  2. Adding in more affixes that are fun, powerful or allow customization of your builds
  3. Adding new levels of rarity and new item types. These will sometimes just be more powerful and sometimes be powerful in certain circumstances or with certain builds. As an example, we are releasing Cosmic Items with the next patch (may even be live by the time you read this).
  4. Adjusting how items scale to make sure every level of upgrade is a noticeable upgrade. This is an extremely high priority for us.
  5. Adding new artifacts each week that will support different build options for players.
  6. Adding items to support new heroes (Human Torch items were worked on today)


We will be introducing raids into the game. Mostly just 5-man raids to start with. Doctor Doom will be retooled for level 60 players with changes to his mechanics, difficulty and rewards to support raiding. We have a ton of guys with top tier raiding experience on the team and will make sure this is as fun as possible. We haven’t done a ton of work on this, but we have discussed the strategy for these this week. This is something I’ll be creating a feedback thread on when the time comes (likely after July).

Free Retcons When Needed

Our policy is to give a free respec (retcon) to every hero whenever any of their powers has increased or decreased in power. We manually set this for each hero when the Hero Design team adjusts anything significant. This was not as clear at launch of the game, but is super clear now.

Hero Reviews

We have a hero design team that is continually reviewing heroes nonstop for improvements. We take the feedback from the forums, from internal sources and add our internal plans for how these heroes will be awesome.

Right now, we are mainly concerned with keeping everyone fun and powerful. As you know, our philosophy is not to nerf unless there is something truly gamebreaking. Nerfing a person’s fun is the opposite of what game design is intended to do.

Today the team worked on some Wolverine adjustments, Storm and Black Widow along with some adjustments of other characters. Every character will continue to have iteration passes and get better and better each time.

The new hero design team (tasked with working on new heroes!) has done a lot of work on Human Torch this week. The old Ultimate Power was moved to a regular power and an epic new Ultimate was created. Four other new powers were created to support multiple build options and playstyles for Torch. That gives Human Torch 25 powers, more than any other hero. (Note that other heroes will have new powers added periodically as we determine they are missing important options).

The animation team has some insane Torch animations which you’ll see on test server soon. He is always flying and always on fire and looks smooth and fun.

Test Server

Next week we are opening the test server to the public. This is huge for us and will speed up our development time pretty significantly. Everyone will be allowed to play.

When the server launches, you will see hundreds of bugs all over the place and may even have trouble getting your accounts set up. Be patient for the first few days as things get ironed out.

Hero Synergy System

We have done some work on a new system that rewards players for having other leveled heroes. This system would reward you for having a hero of level 25, 50 and eventually 75 and 100 (if/when we go there). The reward would be a small bonus to every other hero you own. Example: Leveling Spider-Man gives all your heroes a small boost to dodge. Leveling Deadpool gives all your heroes a small boost to rarity find. This list of buffs isn’t finalized yet, so feel free to suggest which bonuses should be associated with each hero, especially if you have something creative in mind.

Hero Prestige System

Once the endgame has a lot more content, we will allow players to restart their characters if they wish. Like Call of Duty, there will be a cosmetic indicator if you are doing one of 5 prestige levels.

Many DOTs

The engineering team is working on the tech to make Damage Over Time (DOT) crit and also get rid of the bug that has DOT damage not being reduced in groups.

Limbo and Groups

We are updating the design for Limbo to make it more fun and less of a slideshow. We may end up reducing the number of players at the same time as we improve the flare and threat scaling system. If we actually make the zone challenging and appropriate for 5 people, we could put special unique zone rewards on the zone. This is something we really need to think about and iterate until it’s fun and actually interactive. We intend to keep buffing other zones until they are equal or slightly higher exp than Limbo, since Limbo is not really how the game is intended to be played.


We spend a big chunk of our evenings reading and digesting feedback. Keep it coming. I personally read almost every post in every forum. I love the feedback, whether it’s polite, rude, angry or happy. Everything is fair and everything matters. If someone is unhappy, we figure out why and figure out what we can do to improve their player experience. We have a big group of smart, experienced people here in every department, so we can solve almost anything with a little time. The company is a real gaming company and not a corporation. Because of the quality and dedication of the people here, I know this game will be around for a long, long time and will get better every week.

I am constantly impressed by the quality of the engineers, artists, animators, producers and designers. Even the management team is top notch. It doesn’t matter if they are in marketing, development, finance – they are all gamers who care about the game more than anything. Not to mention we are lucky to have Brevik as the president. He is a real gamer and a smart man. I’ve never had a company where even the president has smart lists of game improvements after playing a hero over an evening or over the weekend. He is constantly pushing every department to do the right thing and make Marvel Heroes solid and fun.

Next Blogs

We’ll try to get other folks in the company to write blogs. Most days are nonstop working, but we will find some time. There are many issues I didn’t cover, but rest assured we know about them. Our list of priorities is long and it gets done. If there is anything you want me to cover, let me know. I will keep answering stuff on the forums and doing an occasional blog to cover big stuff.

Other Quick Hits and Teasers:

  • We just had a playtest for a new patrol mode that was great. I think it will be set in Manhattan and feels very heroic.

  • We are working on a new mode called “The Breach” (AKA the Kobayashi Maru mode!)

  • There is a new level of costume cores being made

  • It’s not my department, but there are some very cool new costumes underway

  • The engineering team is working on some very promising improvements to performance

  • A big upgrade to crafting will roll out after defenses and heroes have been all fixed

  • Scarlet Witch is getting a new resource system and Ultimate

  • We are allowing people to use “U” to use their Utimate (Social will be moved to “O”)

  • Legendary items, Relics, Superteam items

  • Halloween stuff

  • Christmas stuff

  • Ragnarok

There’s lots to digest there, but the highlights for me are the commitment to a good PvP experience, the focus on ongoing small improvements like the Ultimate key-bind, and the longer-term view on a much bigger game than you see today. It’s encouraging, but as always the proof is in the delivery.

Are you playing Marvel Heroes and if so, how are you finding it? If you’ve played since launch we’d love to know how you’re finding it from a longevity viewpoint.

Marvel Heroes Patch Notes


The folks at Gazillion are beavering away with ongoing patches and this one has a bundle of additions and bug fixes. Browse at your leisure! Give us your thoughts in comments on the patch – any big things you’re excited about?

Patch Notes: Game Update Notes 6/13/2013 –

Content Additions

Supergroups (AKA guilds) are now available in Marvel Heroes. This is the first iteration of supergroups, with more features coming in the future.

To create a supergroup, purchase a supergroup sanction from War Machine in Avengers Tower. A supergroup is a way to create a persistent social group with other players. Most supergroup commands are currently accessed via / commands with the ‘guild’ prefix – this will be updated in the future.

Supergroup sanctions (the ability to create a supergroup) cost 10,001 credits. This grants you an item that can be traded with other players if you wish. Right click the item to unlock supergroup commands. To create your supergroup, type /guildcreate [name]

Supergroup names may only contain the letters A-Z, one apostrophe, one hyphen, and have a limited number of spaces. Certain words are restricted from use in supergroup names.

Supergroups are limited to 100 members in total.

Upon creating a supergroup you will gain access to a supergroup chat channel for your supergroup. To access it, type /guild or /g in the chat channel.

Other supergroup related commands are as follows – type these into the chat channel, substituting [username] or [name]:

/guildcreate – Create your supergroup. You can only create one supergroup per account.

/guildinvite [username] – Invite a player to your supergroup. You can also right-click their name in the Social panel (press U) if they are a friend or nearby.

/guildpromote [username] – As a leader or office, promote a member of your supergroup to the rank of officer. Officers can invite other players to join the supergroup.

/guilddemote [username] – As a leader or officer, demote an officer of your supergroup to the rank of member, or remove a member from the supergroup.

/guildleader – This command is currently non-functional, but will eventually allow a supergroup leader to be changed.

/guildrename [supergroup name] – Rename your supergroup. All guild renames are logged for Customer Support purposes.

/guildleave – Leave your current supergroup.

Content Changes

The overall chance for heroes to drop as loot throughout Marvel Heroes has been increased.

As a reminder, heroes can drop as loot from:

  • Standard enemies (Any enemy in the game)
  • Elite enemies (Enemies with a blue/yellow aura)
  • Bosses (Supervillains found inside instances (eg Shocker, Doctor Octopus, The Hood, etc), and in Public Combat Zone Event Missions (eg Venom, Rhino, Green Goblin etc))
  • Endgame bosses (Found at the end of in Daily Missions, Group Challenges and Survival Challenges)

The highest chance to get heroes or costumes is from Survival Challenge endgame bosses, who have a significantly higher drop rate. You also will have a better chance of getting heroes and costumes as drops from enemies that have a green or orange ‘threat level’ (see the nameplate above an enemy’s head to check). Green-level enemies will be slightly below or slightly above your hero’s level; orange level enemies will be even further above your hero’s level.

Endgame bosses now have a bonus chance to drop a hero token for the character you are currently playing, in addition to a random hero token. These can be used to upgrade your Ultimate Power.

Gameplay Changes: Defense

We’ve heard community feedback on defense, and have begun making changes with this patch. Defense has not been helping tanks enough, especially against higher level content.

With this patch we are improving defense for all heroes, but heroes that do not have dodge and/or do not have any ranged attacks will benefit more from the change.

To improve defense further, we will be adjusting powers and items and tweaking how defense works slightly in the future. This first step buffs items that provide defense:

  • Defense has been increased on items for all heroes by +30%.
  • Defense on items for Deadpool, Wolverine, Captain America, Iron Man, Ms Marvel and Thor has been doubled (x2).
  • Defense on items for Thing, Hulk and Colossus has been quadrupled (x4).
  • Defense on artifacts and medals has been significantly increased.

UI Changes

In an effort to make it clearer that additional S.T.A.S.H. tabs cost Gs, the size of the G symbol and button have been increased to make them more readable.

Administrative announcements (talking about game servers going offline, for the most part) have been made more noticeable in chat.

Item Changes

Artifacts: Some artifacts have been renamed:

· Bannertech Force Field is now called Fantastic Force Field
· Flames of the Faltine is now called Flames of Zarathos
· Cyttorak Torch is now called Flames of the Faltine
· Personal Arc Reactor is now called Mark of the Odinborn
· Smoke of Zarathos is now called Fog of Wundagore

S.H.I.E.L.D. Motion Tracker: The bonus damage given by this artifact has been slightly reduced.

Tombstone Medal/Medallion: Armor bonus has been increased. Added health bonus.

Balance Changes

The overall range at which players get experience from enemies has been increased.

Endgame Changes

Auto-Party is now turned on for Green Daily Missions if you have auto-party enabled in your Options (it is on by default).

Endgame bosses now have a bonus chance to drop a hero token for the character you are currently playing, in addition to a random hero token. These can be used to upgrade your Ultimate Power.

Cosmic Cube Shards now drop once per boss, per day, per account.

’Base’ costumes (which are equipped on a character when they are purchased) will no longer drop as loot in the game.

Boss Changes

Magneto: Magnetic Blast – damage reduced.

Magneto: Metal Storm – damage reduced.

Enemy Changes

Maggia Gangsters now attack faster.

Maggia Thugs now attack faster.

Mission Changes

Chapter 1, Hell’s Kitchen: The number of enemies you must defeat in the ‘Save the Police’ and ‘Arson’ Discovery missions has been reduced. However, all enemies are now elite.

Chapter 2, Jersey Docks: The number of A.I.M. robots you must defeat in the ‘Unfriendly Cargo’ event has been reduced. However, all robots are now elite.

Hero Changes

Cable Changes:

Cable’s statistics progression has been updated.

Bold Aura: Now gains an increased effect from other aura powers.

Concussion Blast: Now gains duration synergy from Vortex Grenade.

Devastating Beam: Increased damage. Increased cost from 20 to 25.

Dynamic Aura: Now gains an increased effect from other aura powers.

Eye For Weakness: Reduced cost from 17 to 15.

Kinetic Repulsion: Now gains duration synergy from Telekinetic Shield and Psychokinetic Barrier.

Plasma Barrage: Increased damage.

Psychic Trap: Reduced cost from 40 to 36.

Psychokinetic Barrier: Reduced damage. Now gains duration synergy from Kinetic Repulsion and Telekinetic Shield. Reduced cost from 30 to 27. Now unlocks at level 8.

Quick Bodyslide: Slightly increased starting range. Reduced cost from 25 to 21.

Telekinetic Shield: Now gains duration synergy from Kinetic Repulsion and Psychokinetic Barrier. Now unlocks at level 18.

Vigilant Aura: Now gains an increased effect from other aura powers. Slightly increased cost reduction scaling with ranks.

Vortex Grenade: Now gains duration synergy from Concussion Blast.

Colossus Changes:

Battle Aura: Now gains an increased effect from other aura powers.

Bulwark of Steel: Now gains defense synergy from Metallic Warrior.

Colossal Punch: Lowered damage synergy from Crushing Smite and Osmium Champion from 2.5% to 2%.

Crushing Smite: Lowered damage synergy from Colossal Punch and Osmium Champion from 2.5% to 2%.

Metallic Warrior: Now gains damage synergy from Bulwark of Steel.

Osmium Champion: Now gains duration synergy from Crushing Smite and Colossal Punch.

Osmium Charge: Lowered damage synergy from Steel Splash and Spinning Fists from 2.5% to 2%.

Osmium Punch: Lowered damage synergy from other basic powers from 2.5% to 2%.

Protective Aura: Now gains an increased effect from other aura powers.

Reeling Punch: Lowered damage synergy from other basic powers from 2.5% to 2%.

Spinning Fists: Lowered damage synergy from Steel Splash and Osmium Charge from 2.5% to 2%.

Stalwart Aura: Now gains an increased effect from other aura powers.

Steel Punch: Lowered damage synergy from other basic powers from 2.5% to 2%.

Steel Splash: Lowered damage synergy from Spinning Fists and Osmium Charge from 2.5% to 2%.

Sustaining Aura: Now gains an increased effect from other aura powers. Slightly increased regen scaling with ranks.

Deadpool Changes:

Shoot All the Bullets: Now properly deals extra damage with synergy.

Hulk Changes:

Meteor Strike (Ultimate Power): Now costs 25 spirit.

Jean Grey Changes:

Bolstering Aura: Now gains an increased effect from other aura powers.

Dark Phoenix Wrath: Explosion now hits full 360 around the player and causes enemies to burn, taking damage over time. Also grants +2 bonus ranks in all powers at power rank 1.

Kinetic Bolt: Slightly increased projectile speed.

Kinetic Tempest: Now gains duration synergy from Kinetic Wave and Psychokinetic Implosion.

Kinetic Wave: Lowered damage synergy from Psychokinetic Implosion and Kinetic Tempest from 2.5% to 2%.

Kinetic Wave: Slightly increased area size.

Mind Crush: slightly increased starting damage. lowered damage synergy from Psychic Lethargy and Neural Panic from 2.5% to 2%. Decreased cost from 25 to 21.

Neural Panic: Now gains duration synergy from Psychic Lethargy and Mind Crush. Now unlocks at level 22.

Phoenix Transformation: Phoenix Force no longer depletes on defeat.

Psychic Hammer: Slightly increased projectile speed.

Psychic Lethargy: Now deals damage over time instead of making enemies more vulnerable to damage. Now gains damage synergy from Mind Crush and Neural Panic. Increased cost from 13 to 20.

Psychokinetic Implosion: Reduced cost from 33 to 31. Lowered damage synergy from Kinetic Wave and Kinetic Tempest from 2.5% to 2%. Now unlocks at level 14.

Reinforcing Aura: Now gains an increased effect from other aura powers. Now unlocks at level 18.

Rejuvenating Aura: Now gains an increased effect from other aura powers. Slightly increased regeneration scaling with ranks.

Telekinetic Flight: Now unlocks at level 20.

Telepathic Detection: Now also adds bonus damage to all Mental powers when not in Phoenix Form. Now unlocks at level 12.

Punisher Changes:

Deadly Barrage: Increased damage.

Rocket Raccoon Changes:

Big Flarkin’ Gun: Increased tick rate. Fixed a bug that caused the power to tick more often per second than intended.

Spider-Man Changes:

Spider-Man’s fighting and strength statistics progression has been updated.

Corrosive Web Fluid: Now gains duration synergy from Web Spray.

Evasive Websling: Now gains duration synergy from Sensational Escape.

Sensational Escape: Now gains duration synergy from Evasive Websling.

Web Spray: Now gains duration synergy from Corrosive Web Fluid.

Storm Changes:

Storm’s fighting statistic progression has been updated.

Sirocco Rush: Now gains stun duration synergy from Lightning Rush.

Thundering Tempest: Screen darkening effect now only occurs on Storm player’s screen.

Bug Fixes

Endgame Fixes

The Red Daily Mission against Doctor Doom now spawns and completes correctly.

Moondragon, Rogue and Invisible Woman will now accept Cosmic Cube Shards in exchange for Fortune Cards.

Rhino will no longer have a sliver of infinite health in PvE endgame modes.

The Red Daily Mission Terminal now correctly takes you to Hydra Island.

The Green Daily Mission Terminal on the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier will no longer deposit you outside the boss room.

Only missions that require Cosmic Keys should have the ‘Requires item: Cosmic Key’ tooltip displayed now.

Enemy Fixes

Elite (Blue/Yellow) enemies now have their correct, as designed, health.

Enemies will no longer attack summoned crafters and vendors.

Fixed an issue where enemies would switch targets unnecessarily.

Fixed an issue where affixes prevented some enemies from using their normal powers.

The ‘Freezing’ enemy affix’s effects no longer fire prematurely during certain powers.

Fixed some enemies that spawned within an area of effect not being affected until they left the AoE’s radius and returned.

Boss Fixes

Bullseye: Fixed an issue where Marked for Death could still target entities summoned by players.

Doctor Doom: Fixed an issue where he would become invisible and untargetable.

Doctor Doom: Fixed an issue where ricocheting shots would not work in his final battle.

Doctor Doom: Fixed an issue with medal and medallion that was allowing an inaccurately long duration increase on heroes’ powers.

Mr Sinister: Energy storm power now correctly does damage repeatedly throughout its duration.

Shocker: Fixed an issue where Shocker would switch targets too frequently.

Venom: Fixed an issue where Venom would leave battles early.

Hero/Power Fixes

Black Panther’s Savage Strike, Black Widow’s Elusive Kick, and Daredevil’s Evasive Kick can no longer knock turrets (and certain other resistant enemies) into the air.

Tumbling powers such as Black Widows Tumbling Assault and Spider-Man’s Agile Attack will more accurately place you behind targets.

Cable: Fixed a visual bug with new duration synergies on Kinetic Repulsion.

Cable: Fixed an issue with Plasma Barrage that caused the damage synergy to not apply.

Cable: Fixed an issue with Psychic Haze that caused the damage synergy to not apply.

Cable: Removed the ‘Fighting Power’ keyword from Veteran Warrior as it was confusing on a passive power.

Cable: Removed the fire rate tooltip on Vortex Grenade’s tooltip, as the cooldown on the power made it confusing.

Captain America: Buffs from Fighting Spirit no longer stack from other players using the same power in the same area.

Captain America: Fixed an issue with Quick Block which could make Cap invulnerable when repeatedly using the power.

Captain America: Shield Bounce and other bouncing powers should no longer target invisible entities in Doctor Doom’s battle area.

Captain America: Shield Swipe can no longer be used while shield is thrown.

Colossus: Fixed an issue with Stalwart Aura where the knock resistance was not being correctly calculated.

Colossus: Osmium Punch no longer disables spirit regeneration when used.

Hawkeye: Ronin Assault (24) and Ronin Lunge (30) should now unlock at the intended levels.

Iron Man: Fixed an issue with Reflective Shield where the tooltip did not display the percentage of damage reflected.

Jean Grey: Fixed a minor animation hitch when repeatedly using Psychic Lethargy.

Jean Grey: Interplay voiceover will now trigger correctly.

Punisher: Movement is no longer interrupted when he gains Vengeance.

Rocket Raccoon: Clarified duration tooltip on Burrow.

Rocket Raccoon: Increased the tick rate of Big Flarkin’ Gun. Fixed an issue that caused the power to tick more often per second than intended.

Spider-Man: Clarified description on Stick Around to indicate that the enemies need to be currently under the effect of a web power to be stunned.

Spider-Man: Fixed an issue where bonus damage was not being applied to Amazing Smash. Added missing cooldown tooltip.

Spider-Man: Fixed an issue with Web ‘Em All that caused the damage synergy to not apply.

Spider-Man: Fixed an issue with Web Spray where the slow effect would fall off early when the ground webs disappeared.

Thing: Fixed an issue with Jagged Defender where the tooltip did not display the percentage of damage reflected.

Wolverine: Adrenaline Rush should now display the standard haste trail VFX for the duration of the buff.

Crafting Fixes

Some artifacts with visual effects were not allowed in crafting recipes that wanted an artifact with visuals. This has been fixed.

Clarified effect of Transfer Costume Affixes recipe – destination costume loses existing affixes.

Clarified effect of Transform Epic Item recipe – can’t use it on items already useable by your hero.

UI/VFX Fixes

Hero tokens can now be stored in the appropriate S.T.A.S.H. tab for that hero, if that tab has been purchased.

Fixed an issue where /reply in chat was behaving strangely in some circumstances.

Fixed an issue that caused Storm’s powers to be too transparent when graphics settings were set to ‘low’.

Toggled powers that are slotted in the left/right mouse button slots will now show their toggle state properly.

Certain Iron Man costumes in lower graphic settings will no longer show incorrect thruster VFX while flying.

Fixed an issue where power tooltips would not display the damage bonuses from buff powers (Colossus’ auras, etc.)

Base defense values (white text) including bonuses given by defense affixes will now display correctly in item tooltips.

Fixed an issue where players have completed missions, but they show the “in progress” stripes in the mission log, not the expected “completed” check mark.

Fixed an issue with the ‘Show Party Member Arrows’ option. When turned on, this will now correctly show arrows for all party members in your zone.

Fixed an issue where newly added entries in the Social Panel would take a long time to show up.

Items for sale at a Vendor which cannot fit their entire name in the list will now be truncated with a “…”. The full name is always visible in the tooltip.

Clea’s door now has a minimap icon.

Correct VFX/SFX will now play when gaining a Boost buff from a Fortune Card.

When switching between characters your character sheet will now show the correct equipment for the character.

Options Fixes

Keybindings should now persist between patches.

Cancelling out of the keybindings menu with pending changes will now cancel all changes.

Changing an existing keybinding will now be properly displayed.

Miscellaneous Fixes

Marvel Heroes will now correctly refuse to run on all graphics cards that don’t fully support Shader Model 3.0. Previously, the game was trying to run on these cards and crashing.

Bodysliders will now immediately be usable after their cooldown expires.

Rested experience will now be deducted correctly.

Fixed an issue that could cause Retcon Devices to fail to refund mission-awarded Power Points until you next logged in to the game.

Many fixes for erroneous collisions when flying over environmental objects.

Items that increase the duration of powers now do not affect consumables.

When being revived in Hydra Island, you will now appear in the correct location.

Players can no longer use flight to leave the level in the Subway.

Artifact Yukio’s Charm now boosts ranged attacks instead of melee attacks.

Fixed an issue that made the travel confirmation dialog from NPCs stay on-screen forever.

Fixed an issue that caused players to be stuck ‘behind the world’ in Mutate Caves.

Known Major Issues

French and German localization is almost, but not entirely complete; some English text may be found.

Store icon for Spider-Man displays an incorrect costume; Spider-Man comes equipped with his Modern costume, not the Classic costume shown.

Powers that deal damage over time currently cannot score critical hits.

After being defeated by Pyro, there is a chance that players will be brought back to Xavier’s School rather than the beginning of the instance where Pyro is found.

Cars may not respawn in city environments.


Sound may be lost intermittently after changing locations.


Find Agent Baker: Agent Baker does not spawn, so mission cannot be completed.

Some ‘Discovery’ missions may not trigger correctly.

The Army Base sewer Treasure Room has no Treasure Chest.

Some of the Missile Silo Treasure Rooms have no enemies.

Some versions of the Cliffwalker Shrine Treasure Rooms have no enemies.

UI and In-Game Store

Red Mission Arrows do not trigger until getting extremely close to the appropriate mission objective.

When buying Gs, the United States state selection list cannot be scrolled past ‘Tennessee’ without using the keyboard.


Avenger’s Mansion:

o Green Daily – Castle Doom – Mini Map appears to be unpopulated and shows nothing.
o Red Daily – Abandoned Subway – Shocker’s AI intermittently stops working. He won’t attack, but he’ll turn to face you.

Xavier’s School/SHIELD Helicarrier:

o Green Daily – Castle Doom – Doctor Doom’s number of affixes change depending on his form rather than staying constant as intended.
o Green Daily – Castle Doom – Doctor Doom’s number of affixes change depending on his form rather than staying constant as intended.

Limbo: If Sabretooth spawns as the end boss in Limbo, he sometimes stops moving and attacking half way through the battle.

Limbo: Players may sometimes be placed upon entry you in an instance that’s almost completed, toward the end of the waves or at the boss.


Phoenix Feather: There is no UI indication on cooldown timer.

Vita-Ray Projector: There is no dodge chance bonus given on critical hit.

Darkhold Scroll: Does not give bonus damage versus taunted enemy.

Latverian Regalia: Pets do not do extra damage when artifact is equipped, as intended.

Green Goblin Medal: Green Goblin Medal poison cloud is invisible.


Some emotes are not working for Cable and Deadpool.

Flight powers can get locked when flying over food trucks.

Black Widow

Acrobatic Assault:
 This power can miss if the enemy is running towards you.

Black Panther

Some gear icons are black silhouettes – gear can still be equipped.
Captain America

Aggressive Shout
: The power has both a 10 second buff and an ongoing (lasts until turned off) buff. Only one of them is shown.

Invigorating Shout
: The power has a 10-second buff and an ongoing (lasts until turned off) effect, but it does not show either of them. Health regeneration does not show up on character sheet.


Searing Shot
: Visual Effects when hitting enemy are not seen.


Lingering Boon:
 Tooltip is incorrect. Each rank actually extends aura duration by 2 seconds.

Rocket Raccoon

Forceful Shot: Power unlocks at level 12 and should unlock at level 10.

Tactical Destruction
: Tooltip does not correctly display bonus damage from shield cost.


Evasive Websling:
 If there is no enemy targeted, power will land in incorrect location.


Regeneration Boost: Tooltip is incorrect. Power does not spend Fury to gain health faster as described.

Smell Weakness: Damage vulnerability is causing the enemy to take less damage rather than more.

Character sheet does not reflect health regeneration from Healing Factor (but displays resistances from passive powers).

Review: Marvel Heroes


Event boss Venom gets a thrashing

It’s been a while in the making, but Gazillion have released Marvel Heroes into the wild. I’ve spent about a dozen hours playing this game at time of writing this review, and I can tell you I’ll be playing more, but I’m not sure for how long.

A disclaimer before you read on: I’ve been a Marvel Comics fan for over 35 years, so I expect a lot from a Marvel MMO and as a show of faith I forked out $200 for the Ultimate Pack months before launch.

How Does Marvel Heroes Work?

MH is a Free-To-Play MMO, and the very obvious (and valid) comparison that can be made is in relation to Diablo, particularly in its style of gameplay. It’s an isometric game navigated by clicking the mouse in the direction you want your character to move. None of this is surprising given Gazillion Entertainment’s President is David Brevik, former Blizzard North co-founder who worked heavily on Diablo and Diablo 2. The similarities with Diablo move much beyond that though – as a D3 player, the whole interface is essentially the same, power-ups are similar, as is gear and inventory. None of this is a bad thing in any way – it’s all tried and tested stuff that works well and ensures you get into the action without spending too long orientating yourself to the interface. It just takes some of the excitement out of that initial hour or so although some will say it’s usually more frustration than excitement learning a new interface.

Getting Started

Once you’ve downloaded the client from, you choose the hero you’d like to start with. There are a decent number to choose from, with a good mix between the genders and types of powers. If you’ve bought one of the more expensive packs then you have even more to choose from. For each character you can also buy alternate costumes from the in-game store. There is no cost to play unless you’re unhappy with the base set of heroes or you want to change costumes or buy some cosmetic items or experience boosts on the store. I was amused to find that although I’d purchased an Ultimate pack giving me access to all heroes, my absolute preference was Daredevil, who is one of the basic roster ones anyway.

Playing The Game

Once you’ve got your character it’s time for the first cut-scene explaining the story-line. The cut-scenes are lo-fi, comic styled ones and I actually like them a lot. As you progress through the story there’s some great scenes – I love the Taskmaster Institute video – that’s definitely been a highlight for me so far. Like a lot of isometric games you use your mouse to move and the same goes for fighting, with your left and right mouse buttons getting plenty of love. You live and die by your health and spirit levels. Your spirit is used when deploying any non-basic fight moves and your health bar declines with every hit you take and doesn’t replenish in any way unless you use a Med Kit, you pick up some gear with health regeneration or one of your foes drops a health blob to pick up . Sound familiar?

The mini-map does well to ensure you know which direction you’re going whilst still giving you plenty of scope to explore. Fights are fairly fluid and there’s enough different animations to keep it pretty interesting. There’s some good spontaneous comments by NPCs to add to the atmosphere, and graphically I like a lot of the areas I’ve seen so far though like any isometric game there’s always a little bit of same-same feel in areas.

Boss fights are fun but generally challenging as the dozen or so I’ve done all have some unique fight mechanics that take some working out. That said, I’ve only died once in total fighting bosses (with a healthy reliance on med kits), so it’s not too arduous either. Any MMO also depends to a large extent on social features and Marvel Heroes has the bases covered. The event bosses (like Venom as pictured above) are good fun though once you get more than half a dozen heroes fighting it all becomes a clicking blur with your enemy very difficult to pick out.

Beyond the main storyline there’s a few other play options, once you’ve completed eight chapters of the story. There’s repeatable missions and end-game PvP  is in development to name two. Crafting is also a key component, allowing you create a range of items from materials you pick up when fighting. None of it is particularly innovative but they’re all key components of an MMO hoping to have some longevity. Which leads me to…


Hmmm what shall I wear today?

Is It A Keeper?

I’m not so convinced that Marvel Heroes has the ‘replayability’ to keep me engaged over a long period of time, unless Gazillion are going to release some fairly regular content updates. For me, and I can’t emphasise strongly enough that this is probably very specific to me, I really struggle with how similar everything is to Diablo 3. I played the whole D3 storyline through (on normal mode only though) and really, really enjoyed it. And since then I’ve never been back – and so the similarities being so strong with Marvel Heroes I’ve fallen into the mindset that I may do the same here. That said, I’m very much hoping to be proven wrong.

Other Bouquets and Brickbats

– The game seems to run fine of relatively low-spec machines i.e. I’m running the game on a 3+ year old iMac with Boot Camp and aside from the odd stutter in the cut scenes and entry into new zones, it’s been fine.

– On launch you will get driver error messages if your drivers are up to date – this can be a good thing in some ways but some will find it frustrating.

– I do like the option to donate loot to a vendor to gain vendor experience that leads to them offering more gear for sale.

– I know it couldn’t easily be avoided but I dislike the immersion-breaking aspect of picking up gear and it not changing your appearance. It’s a unique challenge for a game involving costumed superheroes, but it still grated on me nonetheless.

– It’s early days but there’s been some serious issues with frequency of server maintenance periods and the patch updates are still large so those on broadband plans with lower data allowances may get annoyed.

– You can’t log out anywhere and expect that’s where you’ll be when you join the game next. Like Diablo 3, you’ll become obsessed about waypoints so you don’t have to replay huge tracts of the game to continue your progression.

– I’d like better enemy targeting options – flame away in comments if I’ve missed something but I’d like to be able to hit a key to target the enemy rather than having to click – particularly event bosses.

– The Marvel Heroes forums seem one of the better MMO communities out there. So far.

The Verdict

If you’re a comics fan or an isometric gaming fan looking for something new to play, then Marvel Heroes is well worth checking out given it’s free to play. If you’re an MMO player looking for something innovative to devote the majority of your gaming time to, I’m not sure Marvel Heroes will fit the bill but again it won’t cost you anything to give it a go.  For casual players looking for some Marvel-tinged gameplay that sticks well to the comics universe, then you’ll definitely want to spend some time with this game. The cutscenes alone are fun enough in parts to make it worthwhile.

Plus, I always wanted to kick Venom’s butt.

Now it’s your turn: have you played Marvel Heroes yet and if so what do you think? As alwaysI’m also more than happy for people to rip me a new one if I’ve got something factually wrong.

Finally – we do discuss Marvel Heroes on our fortnightly MMO podcast, called Flash Point – we’d love to have you on board.




Marvel Heroes Launch Date Announced

Marvel Heroes Launch Date Gazillion Entertainment have just announced the launch date for the Marvel Heroes MMO, an isometric game with access to quite a stable of Marvel superheroes.

June 4th 2013 is when things go live, with those who purchase a Founder’s pack getting in from the 28th May:

Early Game Access Begins on May 28th! – Anyone who is part of the Marvel Heroes Founders Program gets to play in Early Game Access, beginning May 28th for Ultimate Pack purchasers! Starter, Premium and Ultimate Packs all get you into the game early, as well as giving you great value on your favorite heroes and costumes! Here are Early Game Access dates for each Founders Pack:

Starter Pack purchasers will receive 2 days of Early Access beginning on June 2nd.
Premium Pack purchasers will receive 4 days of Early Access beginning on May 31st.
Ultimate Pack purchasers will receive 7 days of Early Access beginning on May 28th.

So there’s still a couple of months to wait, but it’s good to finally have a launch date to plan some significant gaming time around. Over to you: will you be playing this game?

Marvel Heroes: New Trailer

We’re pretty excited here at TOG about Marvel Heroes, as regular listeners of our podcast will know. So it’s great to see a new trailer for the game released by Gazillion, albeit a very short one.

The focus of the trailer is on the activity you spend the most time on in Marvel Heroes: beating the crap out of your enemies.


So what do you think of what you see so far?

Marvel Heroes Developer Diary: Story

You may or may not know that we follow the development of the Marvel Heroes MMO pretty closely as yours truly is a rabid Marvel fan (albeit a pre-2000’s Marvel fan as a general rule), as is my podcast co-host and contributing writer Simon. So it was great to see another Marvel Heroes update released giving some detail on the story behind the game.

There’s quite a few snippets in there that you can discover for yourself but I for one like the fact Doctor Doom is the key villain. The vid / diary was put together by IGN:

After watching this, it’s hard not be be excited about this game. That said, all developer diaries are designed to do just that and the proof is always in the final product. If I was going to make a criticism it’d be that some of the dialogue sounds a little bit cheesy – yes it’s based on the comics but even so there’s some rough spots there.

Overall though, I’m very very optimistic for Marvel Heroes: what about you?