It’s been a rocky six months for Square Enix and Crystal Dynamic’s Marvel’s Avengers. Despite having the second-highest launch month dollar sales of a superhero game at its launch, Marvel’s Avengers failed to meet Square Enix’s sales expectations for the game.
With that, the publisher began to look toward DLC drops to recoup the loss created by the game’s underwhelming sales. Kate Bishop’s Taking Aim expansion was released last December, and Clint Barton’s Future Imperfect DLC will release on March 18, 2021.
Since launch, Crystal Dynamics has issued several patches to fix bugs and provide stability for the game’s online infrastructure. More patches are on the way, this time for big XP and cosmetic changes.
COSMETIC AND XP CHANGES COMING TO MARVEL'S AVENGERS
In a blog post, Square Enix, the publisher behind Marvel's Avengers, announced significant changes for XP gains and cosmetic items in the game coming on March 18, 2021.
An XP rework is being implemented to make leveling up characters take somewhat longer than it was before the patch. Square Enix noted that "We want each decision to invest in a skill or Heroic to be more meaningful:"
"The current XP 'curve' isn’t really a curve at all. In most RPGs, the amount of XP you need to level up increases as you gain levels in a curve, but our system is a straight line. This has led to pacing issues, such as skill points currently being rewarded too fast, which may be confusing and overwhelming to newer players. We want each decision to invest in a skill or Heroic to be more meaningful.
Based on these issues, we’ll be increasing the amount of XP needed to level up, starting from around level 25. This amount will increase the closer you get to level 50 so that it will take longer to reach higher levels, and will only affect character level, not power level. If you already have level 50 characters, which is the current maximum, this won’t affect you. If you have a character who isn’t level 50 and want to speed up their progress, take this time to do so before the update on March 18."
Square Enix also detailed a rework of cosmetic items in the game "with the goal of providing more player agency and clarity about how to obtain them by removing randomness from the process:"
"The first step of this is to temporarily disable the random cosmetic items drops in preparation for the change. Players won’t lose anything they have already earned. These items will be available again in places such as the cosmetic vendor once her store is reworked in future updates and will be purchasable with Units. This will directly affect random chance cosmetic rewards from completing activities (Missions and Strongboxes) and character progression (Hero Level and Faction Level). Numerous patterns will also be temporarily disabled from dropping and in some cases replaced with additional Units that can be spent at the cosmetic vendor."
Square Enix said that it hopes the game "will be a more balanced experience overall" with these changes implemented.
These updates will drop the same day as Hawkeye, the second free character, gets added to the game in the Future Imperfect DLC.
MORE GRINDING, BUT MORE CHOICE
Changing the XP gains for leveling up characters seems like a strange rework for a system that didn’t absolutely call for a change. Square Enix’s rationale for the change is providing a more meaningful experience when leveling up heroes, but it seems to be an unnecessary change that might ruffle some fans’ feathers.
The power level grind, which requires players to find random gear drops, seems like a more appropriate system for a rework. Finding the necessary gear is entirely random right now, and replaying missions only to receive unwanted items can be frustrating. Developers did mention a potential gear rework down the line, so this issue may be addressed in coming patches.
Perhaps the most welcome change from this update is the cosmetic rework. It’s unclear how players will have more agency in obtaining cosmetic items, but Square Enix is poised to provide more choice going forward. Perhaps players will be able to work toward a cosmetic item by completing a certain mission.
Though new content in the form of Clint Barton’s Future Imperfect DLC is coming this month, no significant multiplayer content has been released for the game. The Cloning Lab, a rumored hour-long multiplayer mission, has been shelved until the game’s server issues are ironed out. It seems that Crystal Dynamics is now focused on fixing further issues before releasing that kind of content.
As it stands, Marvel’s Avengers has yet to catch its second wind. Players quickly come and go as new heroes arrive, leaving behind a small player base for a game that still has connectivity issues. Still, work is being done to improve the game, and it’s possible that more updates and content can incentivize players to return to it.