Marvel’s Avengers: State of the Game Update #2
Marvel’s Avengers: State of the Game Update #2
To our community:
A year ago, we embarked on an adventure together. Like any journey worth taking, there have been triumphs and tribulations, as well as lessons and learnings. Now, a year later, how we apply what we’ve learned and improve from it makes us better; and we are best defined by the company we keep and the friends we’ve made along the way. Let’s look briefly back at this last year and forward to what’s ahead.
A Year of Heroes
It has been immensely rewarding to see our community assemble to master their favorite Avengers’ moves, min-max their stats, and coordinate Strike Teams with their friends. We’ve also been thrilled to watch the community grow and see veterans welcoming new Heroes to the Avenger’s Initiative.
While what each of us has achieved on our own is impressive, the full Marvel’s Avengers fanbase has performed heroic acts across the globe. Some fun stats to reflect on:
- Over 619 million Power Levels & 275 million Hero Levels have been earned
- 23 million HARM rooms have been completed
- 8 billion enemies have been defeated in the Avenger’s Initiative
- Abomination is the most defeated boss, coming in at 9.4 million times
- 23 million Drop Zone, 17 million Hero Missions, and 12 million Villain Sectors have been completed
- 9.6 billion Fragments have been found, 4.5 billion Catalysts recovered, 569.2 million Polychoron claimed, and 1.5 billion Upgrade Modules rewarded
It is extraordinary to see how far we’ve come in just one year! Thank you for all of these victories! As for the War for Wakanda expansion, it’s obvious that many are enjoying time with the King.
- 3.4 million Hunter Crawlers and 50 million Scout Crawlers have been sent back to AIM in pieces
- 64.4 million Klaue Company mercs are rethinking their life choices
- Black Panther has defeated 153 million enemies across 9 million missions in Wakanda
War for Wakanda has been a tremendous return for many of our past players as well as a welcoming gateway into Marvel’s Avengers for many players’ first time! The team at Crystal is proud of what we’ve achieved with War for Wakanda, and we hope everyone is enjoying such an immensely important character and world.
A Year of Growing
The year since launch has been a period of growth for our studio & team, our game, and our community.
We opened a new studio (Hello Crystal Southwest!) and continued to refine our work-from-home environments. In mid-June 2021 we had a limited “soft re-opening” of our studios, using this period as a trial run for one-day fully reopening. Alas, as conditions have changed at each of our locations, we’ve adjusted those plans (since we always put the team’s health and safety first) and have extended our primarily work-from-home plans into early next year and beyond. We may still be apart, but we are always together.
We’re now in the middle of the uniquely challenging task – finding the best way to support a hybrid “work-from-both” environment. Many Crystalites are eager to return to in-person collaboration rather than just online, while others have truly embraced working from the comfort of their own homes. It’s been a fun challenge to optimize collaboration across these two environments, but these last seventeen months have taught us that it’s about going-forward, facing those challenges, and together saying “we’ve got this, whatever it takes.”
The Marvel’s Avengers gameplay world has also grown! From grand additions like new Heroes, Operations, and an expansion; to refinements and quality-of-life updates made from our evolving understanding of how fans play and what is most desired from Marvel’s Avengers.
In our first State of the Game Update, we identified four key areas of impact, and have worked against them continuously through the past year since launch, they were:
Performance & Stability: We’ve greatly improved stability & squashed bugs with near-weekly patches since launch, and we feel the successful launch of War for Wakanda illustrates our ongoing commitment to quality. We also brought Marvel’s Avengers to next-gen consoles, loaded with upgrades for no additional cost for players. Next-gen allowed for even more performance improvements, including updated visuals, improved destruction and detail, and significantly faster load times. While overall stability is strong, we know there are still some remaining bugs that distract from the play experience, and we are shifting even more of our attention to them in the near future.
Multiplayer/Matchmaking: In addition to improving the stability of this critical feature, we made it our goal to allow players to matchmake with a larger pool of players online. We’ve done this through incentivizing online play with content like a daily quickmatch XP reward and with the recent change to make Temporal Assault permanent – allowing for multiples of the same Hero in Strike Teams. We’ve also added quality-of-life features that aid in online communication, such as the ping system. Improving matchmaking and the multiplayer experience is something that we’ll continue working on into the future.
Rewards: Tuning rewards is an ongoing effort for Marvel’s Avengers, as we’re constantly evaluating game telemetry and online feedback. This has come in the form of guaranteeing Exotic drops through specific mission types, to adding new elements to the game such as the Cargo Runner Synthoid. We’ve also spiced up our cosmetics with animated nameplates, and we have begun offering free items in the Marketplace to show appreciation for our players.
Late-Game Content: Content for our highest-leveled players is and continues to be a major area of focus for us in Marvel’s Avengers. We’ve made refinements to existing content to make it more challenging and rewarding with even higher global stakes. Content offering fresh challenges and complex combat that requires tactical thinking for advanced players includes the Beating the Odds Villain Sector, featuring the Scientist Supreme’s secret weapon: the Cosmic Cube!
Customizable HARM Rooms have allowed for a personalized (and if desired, punishing) training experience with modifiers like enemy types, numbers, environmental hazards, difficulty, and buffs! We’ve seen players use customizable HARM rooms to slow down and learn strategies for new Heroes as well as challenge themselves with a punishing gauntlet for the Heroes they’ve already mastered.
The addition of multiplayer to Mega Hives has allowed for more tactical team runs, which can help train Strike Teams for the big bads – Omega-Level Threats (OLTs). Our first OLT– Family Reunion – requires full four-player Strike Teams at Power level 145+ to revisit the fight against the Super-Adaptoid. We have seen some insane Super-Adaptoid runs, and have enjoyed community members assisting others in completing it as a team.
And all of this has been happening in parallel with a ton of story and Hero releases: Operation Kate Bishop: Taking Aim, Operation Clint Barton: Future Imperfect, and our recent War for Wakanda Expansion added cinematic storytelling through both single-player and cooperative play, extending the overall Marvel’s Avengers story to over 25 hours. These content drops have also added iconic new villains, new enemies, new biomes, and more!
Fan requests have also guided our content strategy, such as Reassemble Campaign Replay, Operation Replay, reducing the Mega Hive to just four steps, having Priority Missions grant Exotics, allowing running in Outposts, having multiple Faction terminals in Outposts, ranged-enemy attack indicators, and just recently, our UX/UI Overhaul. In fact, while the UX/UI rework was very well received, we heard that there are too many clicks required to dismantle gear – so we plan to update that too!
This is just a quick look back at some of the bigger moments over this first year and how things have progressed and evolved with everyone’s time, input, and feedback. Now let’s look to the promise of Marvel’s Avengers’ future yet to come.
A Year of Learning
This past year has taught us so much – from showcasing what modes and missions players favor, to social media surfacing quality-of-life improvements needed, to forums and livestreams illuminating what our players want most out of Marvel’s Avengers.
The North Star for our development team for the last several months has been delivering the best version of Wakanda and the Black Panther to our fans. Now that we’ve launched War for Wakanda, we’re shifting our attention to some other areas of the game that we want to address in the next phase. In the upcoming months, we plan to rework and improve many of the game’s systems to make it more rewarding to play on an ongoing basis. At the same time, we are looking at how people are playing and analyzing what works and what we could do better.
For those just entering this world, we have a slew of great cinematic content waiting for you – from the full campaign to new Operations and our recent Expansion. Moving forward, our goal is to deliver more compelling Avengers Initiative content that is replayable. We know our dedicated fans want challenges worthy of the Avengers, and to get that thrill the first time and as strongly the next time they replay it or try it with a different hero in their roster. The upcoming Klaw Raid called Discordant Sound is a great example of what we aim to achieve with future content – more on that below.
Check out our updated Roadmap to see where this refined development philosophy is taking us into next year.
The Road Ahead…
We’ve just rolled out two new permanent quests that reward players with resources for regular play in the Avengers Initiative. The daily quest – “Rise & Shine” – offers up Fragments and Upgrade Modules for completion. The weekly quest – “Up for the Challenge” – will reward a Fragment Booster, Hero’s Catalyst, and Units. The goal is to reward players who are fighting the good fight with even more opportunities to power up assembled teams.
This month we’ll be focusing on in-game community activities, and a celebration of Marvel’s Avengers’ one-year anniversary! Happy Anniversary to everyone and THANK YOU for being on this journey together from the start!
From Sept. 2-16 we’ll reward players who log in and complete all the story-based campaigns (Reassemble, Taking Aim, Future Imperfect, and War for Wakanda) with a celebratory nameplate. For those of you who have already completed all campaign content, the reward is granted retroactively. There will also be free items in the marketplace:
- Week 1: A free Iron Man outfit and anniversary bundle (Black Panther nameplate, Hero’s Catalyst, and Fragment Extractor)
- Week 2: A free Thor outfit and an additional Hero’s Catalyst
We’ll also roll out three in-game community activities in September – the first being Priority Rush Missions, which allows players the chance to complete one Priority Mission every day rather than only one per week – this means more chances for exotic gear!
We’ll round out the month with another community activity that greatly increases the spawn rate of the Cargo Runner Synthoid, as well as a third activity offering additional rewards for completing Campaign Flashback missions. Paired with an XP-boosting event, all Heroes will feel extra powerful by the end of September. It’s a great time to jump in and rapidly boost your alt Heroes or max out new ones!
Last, but not least, new MCU-inspired outfits are coming to the Marketplace. We’re thrilled with the reception of these outfits from the community, and we’re humbled to hear that we’ve done these iconic outfits justice. In fact, the latest is the Marvel Studios’ Black Panther Outfit for T’Challa – we know many players have been waiting for this one.
The rest of the Roadmap includes in-game events, new content, system updates, and of course, a certain friendly neighborhood hero coming to PlayStation consoles. All of this while we continue improving systems and quality-of-life features to constantly push for the best in-game experiences, so keep that feedback coming!
Let’s start with systems. We’re systemically reworking resources and gear upgrading fueled by player feedback.
Gear: Improved gear upgrading, more rewarding gear, more late-game focused gear… we hear you! With the upcoming power-level increase we want to make sure players can keep their hard-earned gear as they progress. The new system will allow players to upgrade Epic, Legendary, & Exotic gear from power level 100 all the way to the new power level cap! As we continue improving gear, we are also taking a closer look at Hero Set Gear: where it’s obtained and how to improve clarity around use. We’ll have more details about all of this in a future blog.
Resources: We’re currently working towards a more streamlined and focused approach to resources. In this new system, each resource will have a single specific purpose to help improve clarity – like how Polychoron is used exclusively for upgrading major artifacts, and Upgrade Modules are reserved for upgrading gear. Fragments will be the sole exception as they will remain a resource with multiple uses. We’ll share more details as our plans are finalized.
Earnable Cosmetics: We’re adding ways to earn cosmetics through gameplay, including items that were previously only available in the Marketplace. We’ll talk more about the details of those systems in the coming months as they are added to the game.
Klaw Raid: Discordant Sound & Power-Level Cap Increase
We’re also polishing our first raid – available in both standard (PL 150-160) and Elite modes (PL 160-175) – which will offer a conclusion to Klaue’s story in War for Wakanda. This will be the most challenging content yet, meant to not only test the mastery of each Hero but also the well-built four-player Strike Teams out there! Collaboration and observation are crucial to beating this one.
The Klaw Raid features custom-crafted levels, new threats that require complex and tactical combat, and stronger enemy variety themed to the Villain being faced. New enemies called Echoes – sound constructs created by Klaw – have been created and tailored exclusively for this experience. With the Power Level increase to 175 yielding more compelling drops, it is a notable example of replayable and rewarding content that fits our mantra moving forward.
Celebrating the Marvel Universe
One of the things we most love about working on Marvel’s Avengers is our opportunity to celebrate exciting new content from all branches of Marvel media. We’ll be offering some well-timed tie-in events coordinated with Disney + Marvel programs and, we’ll be releasing more MCU outfits as we collaborate with each production’s creative teams.
Between larger game updates we’ll be bringing back limited-time events to give our new players a chance to try them out and provide everyone opportunities to earn exclusive rewards and high-level gear. These events include our Corrupted Vibranium Event, Red Room Takeover, Tachyon Anomaly Event, and Cosmic Threat Event.
Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man
Finally, there will be a new playable Hero with a Hero Event starring Spider-Man in 2021, only on PlayStation platforms. We’ll have more information on Spider-Man closer to launch and you may catch a glimpse of him here and there along the way.
We have many plans beyond this most recent Roadmap update that stretch into late winter and beyond, including addressing long-standing asks, to quality-of-life improvements, to new Heroes, Villains, and more. We’ll also provide updates on Patrol Mode and Omega-Level Threat: Cloning Labs when we have concrete news to share.
MOST OF ALL, THANK YOU!
Thank you for taking the time to digest all this information! We hope it echoes how committed we are to attacking the past issues and forging a future of new opportunities. There are still new stories to tell, new battles to fight, and new Avengers adventures to conquer. But that’s for the next update…
On behalf of everyone across the world who works on and plays in Marvel’s Avengers, we want to extend a heartfelt thank you for playing, building, supporting, challenging, believing, and assembling. Please continue to share your feedback online – it remains our compass for the future as we are one team, one dream.
– Crystal Dynamics Head of Studio, Scot Amos