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Marvel Heroes. Current State and Future Health. One Gamer's Opinion (Long post)

Posts: 954 Amazing
I understand that writing this post is risky as it is likely to generate a significant amount of "disagree" votes, which will become permanently etched in my profile. But, I feel it is important to put some of the persistent negativity I have read about the game into perspective - the perspective of a gamer who measures his gaming experience in decades (call me gramps if you like, in about 8 months its going to be true anyway).

Currently, Marvel Heroes has to be considered in "Open Beta". The Devs, without directly saying it, have strongly inferred this in several posts. MH has far too many bugs. Bugs that can be seen in every facet of game play - but no more than what you might expect for a game that is in "Open Beta". Further, MH lacks several important quality of life features one would expect in a "finished product".

If we agree that the game is buggy and missing important features, the question is should we constantly complain about this truth or should we simply accept this as a given and look forward to the continued improvements that the Dev's are making every week? Well, of course, everyone is entitled to react/respond as they feel is right; however, I believe that if the community works with Gaz in a constructive manner, providing usable feedback, this will accelerate improvements in the game - the right kind of improvements. If too many people simply bark about this and that sucking, it might generate change, but be careful, said change could be the wrong kind.

Gaz, thus far, is extremely responsive to community input. They are on the ball. They communicate openly, admit their mistakes and encourage everyone to participate. Let's reward them by making an equal effort and give them the best feedback we possibly can. If we do this, I believe MH could be one of the best games ever made.

This leads to the second part of this thread - the future health of the game. I have read dozens of posts predicting the imminent demise of MH. A favorite data source is the amount of player's on Steam, relative to opening day and other games. Another is anecdotal in how many guildies are still logging in or how often a player is getting auto grouped. While much of this is true and at first glance is concerning, by going deeper, it is easy to see it's a minor blip in the larger picture.

Let me say this with 100% conviction. MH is not going to fail. It's not. It can't. If you are concerned about your investment, or purchasing additional Heroes, don't be. If you read this and start to automatically label me as a fanboi, let me assure that this would be far from accurate. I have carefully, objectively and very thoroughly considered the long term viability of MH, if for no other reason than to protect my own hard earned dollar.

To explain my above strong assertion:

First, it should be obvious to anyone who follows the Dev posts and blogs that Gaz is in this for the *Long Term*. As Gamer's we are somewhat collectively impatient. We want, what we want and we want it now! Gaz, does quite a bit to appease our need for instant gratification, but at the same time, they are careful to keep the foundation of the game intact.

They are not going for the "quick buck" a get what you can and close it down mentality. If you feel this is their goal, you need only look again at their track record thus far. They have outlined their long and short term goals (quite clearly), they continuously improve the game each week and they listen to all of us. These (along with others) are the characteristics of a company that is "digging in" for the long haul.

Second, Gaz has deep pockets. Both from their other Title and in their ability to raise capital on the strength of the Marvel License. There is no evidence they are in danger of folding. They have even stated they are willing to weather through less than stellar short term sales results to generate a better game in the long run. If there were any concerns, this would adopt an entirely different sales approach.

Third, MH has a strong, loyal customer base. Often called fanboy's. A term, which has been used derisively by some, but for me, it's a badge of honour (again, I don't feel I am one, but should you call me that, I would consider it a compliment). There are thousands of diehards right now as we speak, a very large core that isn't going anywhere. I feel this core can only grow. Yes, it is true that many are waiting for the game to move closer to a "finished" product, but they are there, they are following the progress and many of them make their presence known, if not in game, in the forums.

Fourth, MH is just a darn good game. If we accept the bugs and lack of features as a "given" and look at the foundation of the game, it is, simply, fun to play. True, it's not for everyone and also true we could argue in circles about its relative merits vs. other ARPGS - doesn't matter. I have fun every time I log in and with every character I play. I'm not alone.

What about the bad reviews? Well, most of the bad reviews, rightly point out the flaws in the game. Flaws which are apparent from minute one of game play. But these same reviews do not explore the game to its fullest and I would suggest, too many reviewers became jaded and were unable to look past the rather obvious flaws and did not experience the many more positive traits the game has. It is also true that a few reviewers did explore the game in depth and still came out with bad reviews but in almost every case, I could see that this was a personal opinion of the reviewer that the game was not something they would personally enjoy. Fair enough.

I think, if Gaz had of simply stated the game was "Open Beta", many of these reviews would have been far more favorable/forgiving. The decision to keep this designation out of what was clearly a "soft launch" hurt the reviews and did little to manage the expectations of the player base. If Gaz has made any major mistake, it think this would be the one.

Finally, MH has Rocket Raccoon! And Black Panther, Iron Man, Spidey, Hulk, Thor and, and ... you get the idea. A cooler collection of toons you will not find anywhere else. Some companies might just rest on their laurels and let the license do the work for them. Heck, we've seen that time and time again. But not Gaz. No. They truly want to make a game (and they are getting there) worthy of the license. A game like a no other. A game where you can not only play your favourite Hero, but one where your gaming experience fully immerses you in what it would *feel* like to be a Marvel Super Hero.

In short, MH is going to get better and better as time goes on. We're in for something special. Gaz has the will, the funds and the talent to get us there. Don't worry. Enjoy the ride.
Posts: 954 Amazing

Good points.

Often being "excited" about a new game and also being "patient" while it works out the kinks oppose each other. It's difficult to hold both reactions at the same time :).

But if MH fans can be patient, I think that patience will be rewarded.

@draconisokami said:
I have to agree, I think it's only going to get better. Just be patient, which as stated isn't the easiest thing for gamers to do. They are releasing an in game currency soon that will allow us to save up for the heroes we WANT or to buy Ultimate upgrades, yet if you want the random factor there are random number generators that you could create a table and put a number to and voila roll that number and grab that character, otherwise just get what you want. I am looking forward to that update. Gaz is continually updating the game and will get there. I can't wait for when it happens as then all the people who predicted doom will be crying. Gaz has been listening to the players and updating (if slowly, and it takes time to code.) the game.



All I really have to say is the game has changed a decent bit since Beta, and I think the only mistake was (as stated before) Gaz maybe should have kept the "Open Beta" tag on the game for awhile longer. People would most likely have been more forgiving, it's all in the mentality of things. I wouldn't buy a toy or model car or food from a restaurant if it wasn't finished unless it stated that you must finish it or that it was mostly done, with a few steps to finish it. Gamers see the game as "Complete" since that is what Gaz is saying and don't expect much problems. Instead it does feel like a beta. But not in the bad way. If we can come off the "completed" mentality and use the "beta" mentality then the game is really good. (I've seen worst betas) Not everyone can just change their thoughts though, fortunately, I can and that's what I have done, I also tell anyone who shows interest, treat it like a beta as there are still bugs in it. My best friend started playing with a free account, and despite issues and me stating such stuff, he still bought Rocket Raccoon and a few costumes for him. We both enjoy the game for what it is right now. In the end, you get what you want out of it, whine and moan, then it's gonna suck. Take it for what it is and it may seem like the best thing ever!

Location amsterdamPosts: 1,069 Fantastic
ive read it all and i completly agree, gave you a awesome instead =)

photo Haildisney_zpsbekvcfhb.png

Super-SoldierPosts: 954 Amazing

More time would have meant more polish and a better launch, which in the long run may have been more profitable of an idea than sticking to the original schedule...only time will tell.

For whatever reason, they were married to the Jun 4th launch date, and reaped what they sowed. From the ashes, rises the new Marvel Heroes game...with all the great features that existed originally, but now at lower prices, and soon to have a system which allows you to work towards the hero of YOUR choice!

Now if they can carry that momentum and convince all the naysayers to give it another look in a few months, maybe the word of mouth will be "Hey, Gaz has REALLY got a great game here!" instead of "it could have been better" that we see so much in "official" reviews.

Rak's Bottom Line - They care, we care, and hopefully we can make enough people care so that this game will have a long and enjoyable life!

Rak

Posts: 954 Amazing

Hello Rakulp,

I think Gaz had to launch June 4th. The pressure was clearly on them from all sides. The licence, investors and player base were certainly pushing them.

I read a few posts, by the Devs where they essentially said they launched earlier than they would have liked and if we could all give them the opportunity to fix a few things, they would make good on all their promises.

I believe them. I feel they are sincere.

If we are all being fair to them. They have come a very long way in the last 7 weeks.

@Rakulp said:
More time would have meant more polish and a better launch, which in the long run may have been more profitable of an idea than sticking to the original schedule...only time will tell.

For whatever reason, they were married to the Jun 4th launch date, and reaped what they sowed. From the ashes, rises the new Marvel Heroes game...with all the great features that existed originally, but now at lower prices, and soon to have a system which allows you to work towards the hero of YOUR choice!

Now if they can carry that momentum and convince all the naysayers to give it another look in a few months, maybe the word of mouth will be "Hey, Gaz has REALLY got a great game here!" instead of "it could have been better" that we see so much in "official" reviews.

Rak's Bottom Line - They care, we care, and hopefully we can make enough people care so that this game will have a long and enjoyable life!

Rak

True BelieverPosts: 43 Mighty

I think your post is fair, insightful, and mature. I have read a lot of negative posts, mostly stemming from the fact that the game is a work in progress. Personally, I was very negative at launch because I felt it was rushed, pre-mature, and very un-true to the Marvel brand--not in the plot-line or lore, but in the execution of creating a finished product. Whether you like or dislike Marvel's approach to movies, it is hard to feel like they were unfinished and rushed to production. I was expecting a similar approach to the game.

The dev team and community relations staff is exceptional in their thoughtful interaction with the player-base. It is refreshing after playing an MMO for years where the lead developers acted in a manner that was condescending and dismissive. I don't feel that way at all here.

To be optimistic, I believe that this will ultimately be a great game, once it has a more finished feel. Here are my three concerns, and my three hopes for improving the state of the game:

1) The game is highly repetitive, and I don't feel compelled to play a lot. The story (and gameplay thoughout it), doesn't seem very engaging to me, and there doesn't seem to be a sense of propulsion from one task to another. My hope is that the story-telling and maps focus less on exploration and more on directed objectives of necessary tasks to the story-line.

2) Additionally, the teaming aspect is not a draw for me. Perhaps because of auto-teaming, it seems like you just clear your way from door to door, and then get assigned to a random group of people at multiple levels for a boss fight. When done, the teams just evaporate. My hope is that there is more of a "lft" environment where characters of similar levels have similar progression through the story arc.

3) Finally, and most importantly, am I the only one who feels like, despite Gazillion's resources and the Marvel product recognition, there is ABSOLUTELY ZERO MARKETING with this game. This is a Marvel franchise, it has some of the most iconic characters ever presented in video games, and it is in a format that encourages years of play. I subscribe to both the "Marvel" and the "Gaming" pages on Zite. I see next to NOTHING on MH. There is relatively little in "Game-Informer" magazine. Even a loyal playerbase and a production company with deep pockets can not handle the attrition of an MMO. Given the relatively negative reviews and the utter lack of any promotion of the game, I worry about it's longevity.

HotheadLocation Madison, WIPosts: 4,017 Cosmic

About a lot of the bad reviews, I think that most of them were not "deep fans" of Marvel comics. Oh, they may be familiar with Marvel characters from movies or cartoon TV shows, but Marvel Heroes is a game that I think rewards knowledge of the source material. If you don't know it as well... then you probably can't appreciate what Gazillion is aiming for. Just IMO.

The Future: Hercules, Tigra, Jack of Hearts, Dazzler, Red Wolf, Starfox, Volstagg, Frog-Man, Stilt-Man

True BelieverLocation NY2TXPosts: 2,882 Fantastic
edited July 2013

I joined a new limbo with 1 second left on it, where is everyone?

Posts: 85 Mighty

@Exqzr like your post and agree with you.

Don't know about much things like "deep pockets" of Gaz, but to me the thing that describe the game in the actual state is this:

@Exqzr said:
[...]
Fourth, MH is just a darn good game. If we accept the bugs and lack of features as a "given" and look at the foundation of the game, it is, simply, fun to play. True, it's not for everyone and also true we could argue in circles about its relative merits vs. other ARPGS - doesn't matter. I have fun every time I log in and with every character I play. I'm not alone.

No, you are not. :)

During beta, knowing the game was near release I was wondering if to continue to follow the game was ok for me, because I have time to play one and one game only (with some dedication) and I really want it to be rewarding and satisfactory.

But the game was, and still is, fun to me. So i keep playing and and having fun.

Yeah, f the game was left untouched for the weeks after release probably I would have felt "betrayed" in my expectations.

But seeing the changes on live and in the test center, the kind of attitude and the passion that Gaz is showing for this game I feel like the game can only become better with time.

I've said it many times, but I really believe this so I can't do anything than repeat this any time there's the occasion.

About the "open beta" thingy... I know this is how everyone now go. And I agree with you all when you said that players/reviews would have been more patient in a "beta" game.

But right now games keep the "beta" or "open beta" flags forever to justify a development model that has changed and that expect the game to be subject of modification to be always new, always interesting, even in a long period of time. If you want to keep your game interesting for years you need to change it's mechanics, adapt to players, introduce new things and adapt the old thing to work with the new gameplays/areas. That introduce bugs, and break things that worked before.

That's not being in beta, that's a development process that work in a way we are not used to and I think that Gaz has been clear from the start that's the goals from the game are long term.

So I appreciate that they not labeled the game as "open beta", despite all the shortcomings.

True BelieverPosts: 43 Mighty

@Exqzr said:
Hello Rakulp,

I think Gaz had to launch June 4th. The pressure was clearly on them from all sides. The licence, investors and player base were certainly pushing them.

I am not sure about this. Perhaps the license and investor base were pressuring them, but the existing player base from beta did not seems supportive of going to launch. Perhaps the pack owners (and I am one of them), but most of us who wanted the game to go live were hoping for a pre-launch that was less disastrous.

WebheadPosts: 63 Mighty

I agree with the spirit of your post. I think things would have worked out better had Gaz used the term "soft launch" or "long-term open beta" insomuch as people might have had more patience. But, let's also call a spade a spade and agree that negative post reign on any discussion board.

I think the initial reviews will have an effect on some new players because the reviews are "fixed", they'll never change in that when a person thinking about playing the game goes to Metacritic (and yes, i know Metacritic sucks, but a lot of people do use it as a general guide for game quality) and see the mediocre reviews, they'll assume the game is still that quality.

With the advent of so many free to play games and DLC/updates to games, I think that the current review system being used is outdated. LOL isn't the same game today as it was when it launched, the same can be said for any MMORPG. Even D3 is a much different game now than it was when it initially launched.

MH, in the nearly 2 months since launch has improved tremendously. Its looking to take an even bigger leap in quality with the next "big patch". Reviews sites should take that into account and update/revise scores, but many can't take the time or effort to do so. That is a shame.

But, the review effect will likely be minor compared to the popularity of the license, and the free to play nature of the game. My hope is that they find the "happy medium" on the splinter farming so that its not too grindy for casual players. I completely understand the need/want for revenue, but they've stated that costumes and convenience items will be their main source of "income" so I hope they get it right.

CovertPosts: 227 Amazing

All I know is that this is a very fun and addictive game. It will only get more so when they make the upcoming changes including new heroes (Psylocke!!) and the def changes as well as the splinter system. I hope they get a second look by reviewers when everything settles down. This is by far the best f2p game I've played and I hope others see that as well.

True BelieverLocation Sitting with the Omega GearPosts: 2,229 Fantastic

I agree completely. Things are going to keep progressing and getting better.

Farewell F4

Posts: 81 Mighty

A very well thought out, articulated and constructive post... and I agree whole heartily.

Location Xavier InstitutePosts: 1,546 Fantastic

I got lazy and couldn't read it all, but I agree!

Posts: 74 Mighty

@EmmaxFrost said:
I got lazy and couldn't read it all, but I agree!

^


Waiting on: Wasp

Posts: 954 Amazing

@EmmaxFrost said:
I got lazy and couldn't read it all, but I agree!

I did say it was long :). Tried to keep it as short as possible, while still capturing the essence of it.

Location Xavier InstitutePosts: 1,546 Fantastic

@Exqzr said:
I did say it was long :). Tried to keep it as short as possible, while still capturing the essence of it.

I really hope this game has a bright future though :( It's one of my favorites.

Location Look at my profile for a link to free random hero box keys!Posts: 1,180 Fantastic
edited July 2013

@coreyleestoner said:
I agree with the spirit of your post. I think things would have worked out better had Gaz used the term "soft launch" or "long-term open beta" insomuch as people might have had more patience.

This is the new normal. Games don't release when they're completely done, they release when they're good enough to be called a minimum viable product. It can be assumed that every release will be followed by several rounds of patching and bug fixes. All releases are pretty much soft launches

That said, I don't know that this is a bad thing. Most players would rather have an imperfect product RIGHT NOW than a perfect product a year from now (look how many players are willing to pay to get into closed beta for evidence of this). Developers can start generating revenue earlier in the development cycle, which may be the only thing that saves some games from getting scrapped.

Still, Marvel holds up pretty well against the other massively multiplayer games I've spent time with recently. It's release state seems very polished compared to DCUO or MWO.

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