50 MMOs in 50 Days #30: Marvel Heroes

Last played: 2014
Experience: Minimal

It causes me physical pain to play Marvel Heroes. No, not in the “this game is so bad it hurts” way… I actually rather like it.

It’s just how I am with ARPGs. There’s… so… much… clicking! Click on all the mobs. Click on the floor to cast your spell. Click on all the loot (and there’s a lot of it). Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click.

After a couple hours of Marvel Heroes, my hand was so sore, I had a hard time mousing for two days. I haven’t been back since, apart from a brief media tour I got a few months ago, and don’t know that I ever will. Maybe after I’m bitten by a radioactive spider and gain superhuman clicking powers…

That said, if you like ARPGs and, well, Marvel heroes, it’s a fine game. And while its launch wasn’t “original Final Fantasy XIV” bad, it was still a little rocky. Like Square Enix and FFXIV, Gazillion’s done a commendable job of rehabilitating the game, regularly adding new content and new heroes, all of which is meant to be accessible to a wide range of players and enable numerous different play styles.

MH_SCREEN_042314_012Admittedly, from what I’ve seen, most of that variety does still come in the “kill everything and then some” kind of gameplay that’s not uncommon in most hack-and-slash titles, but seems especially prevalent in ARPGs. That could be another reason I’ve never really gotten into them; I’m more of an exploratory type than a “make my numbers as big as they can possibly be” type. Obviously, that hasn’t stopped plenty of ARPGs from being big successes, and I’m not totally averse to a little mindless grind here and there, but it’s just not what I’m looking for in large doses, carpal tunnel or no carpal tunnel.

One thing I was pleasantly surprised by was how much of an MMO it was. I was expecting your typical instanced APRG world, where you find, at most, you and your friends in each area. Marvel Heroes has instanced areas, true, but also plenty of “open-world” content, random bosses, and so on, adding a nice element of randomness that helps keep things fresh. Granted, I only played it around when it launched, so I don’t know how occupied those areas still are…

I think Marvel Heroes straddles a pretty good line between presenting a fun and strategic ARPG while not being overwhelmingly complex. In other words, it’s an ARPG meant to appeal to the masses, especially those who aren’t hardcore gamers. Heck, it even says on the website that it has “very simple intuitive controls.” It maybe not be as robust, and certainly isn’t as adult-themed as Diablo or Path of Exile, but it doesn’t have to be. If you’re looking for a “casual ARPG,” it’s as good a place as any to start.

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4 Responses to 50 MMOs in 50 Days #30: Marvel Heroes

  1. There are very few MMOs I’ve played that I genuinely disliked. I’ve encountered lots of mediocrity, lots of forgettable games, lots of games where I couldn’t find a motivation to log in after two or three days. But very few that were actually unfun, actually unplayably bad.

    Marvel Heroes is one of them.

    There are many things that bugged me about it, such as the business model, which is one of the worst I’ve seen. (“Oh, you picked a character you didn’t like? Screw you, pay up, chump!”)

    However, what killed the game for me was how unbelievably easy it was. I don’t go into an MMO or an ARPG expecting intense challenges, but my God, you don’t even have to pretend to try in Marvel Heroes. I was playing Storm and equipped an ability that surrounded her in a constant damage aura, and it just one-shot everything on the screen save for elites and bosses. And they could be defeated simply by running in circles around them for a few seconds. So the entire game devolved into just auto-running around the map and hoovering up loot. I literally could defeat everything without using any commands other than move.

    I imagine it probably gets harder at higher levels, but who has the patience to wade through such tedium? I can’t even call that bad gameplay, because that would require acknowledging that it is gameplay.

    The one good thing I can say is that it had surprisingly good voice acting. A little cheesy, of course, but in a charming way.

    • jasonwinter says:

      Maybe it was my lack of ARPG skill, but I thought the game was at least nominally challenging (I played Scarlet Witch), at least no worse than any single-digit-level RPG. I never quite understood the character choice conundrum — again, it’s standard practice for a F2P game to let you have one character, but if you want an alt (or several), you have to pay. In any case, I know they changed that part of the game, so maybe they changed the challenge level, too.

      • Off the top of my head, I’m not aware of any F2P game that limits you to only one character without paying. Even SW:TOR gives you two by default. And if you don’t like your choice of class, most games let you delete the character and reroll. Not so in Marvel Heroes.

      • jasonwinter says:

        Oh, if you can’t even delete and start over, that is pretty lame.

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