The full scoop on Marvel Heroes' team-ups

Marvel Heroes
Massively: Last week Marvel Heroes added a new feature to the game in the form of "team-ups." While we know the basics of this new system, we wanted to go into more detail. To help us with this, Gazillion Community Manager Ryan Collins sat down to answer a few questions. So Ryan, let's strip away the game-specific terminology: Are team-up heroes NPC companions? Pets? If you had to compare them to another game's features, what would it be to help us understand what they're like?

Ryan Collins: Team-ups would be most similar to companions or hirelings. Like Diablo II's hirelings, team-up heroes have their own gear (with four brand-new item types just for them) that allow you to customize your team-up's stats. Some team-up items even convey bonuses to your hero directly. Team-ups also have a power tree that allows you to customize the way they function, the powers they use, and the passive bonuses they have. The first choice you get to make with your team-up is how they behave, for which there are three "modes."

Can you give team-up heroes commands?

Team-up heroes have their own AI and will act accordingly based on what skills you choose for them in their talent tree. We currently don't allow players to directly command their team-ups, but the heroes have been designed so that they'll always mix up their attacks and use whatever tools they have available to them rather than spam the same attack again and again.

As you mentioned, there are three modes you can choose for your team-up heroes. Why would someone want to choose anything other than having her team-up hero out all of the time?

That's an excellent question! There was a lot of debate internally on how each player (both internally and from our community) wanted his or her team-up to work. Some players wanted to have their team-up hero assisting them as much as possible, and some were looking more for a short-term, high-impact summon. Others didn't want to have a team-up out but still wanted to receive the innate damage increase that comes with one. To solve this debate, we decided to put the decision in the players' hands. If you want to have a team-up around to help you deal with crowds and pull aggro, you can have him or her permanently assisting you, but if you are playing harder content and know you'll need a quick damage clearer, you might want to select column two, which gives the team-up a big damage boost while he or she is summoned. For the third type of player who wants to play the hardest content and not have to worry about his or her team-up's health, column three of the skill tree gives you very powerful on-hit proc effects while the team-up is away as well as a bonus to item find.

If I'm Spider-Man and my team-up hero is Spider-Man, how does that work? Does that just explode the universe?

Ha! The universe definitely doesn't explode. In fact, we have some pretty humorous recorded dialogue that we were planning on slipping in just as a nod to that. You know: clones and such.

Will team-up heroes be required to progress in the game after a certain point (or conversely, will we be at a significant disadvantage without one)?

We definitely aren't planning to create content that needs team-ups, and there certainly isn't any that needs them right now. That being said, of course there is an inherent power increase that comes with owning a team-up hero (and gearing him or her correctly). Players can unlock team-up heroes through our in-game currency called Eternity Splinters, so it's something that all players can enjoy.

What was the reasoning and necessity behind bringing team-up heroes to the game?

For starters, we feel that since the team-up or cameo appearance is such a strong part of the Marvel universe, even a solo player should be able to experience the thrill of playing as a favorite hero alongside another hero. Fans have also been asking since beta for a way to take AI-controlled heroes with them. I'm currently playing Captain America and am having more fun than ever playing with Falcon by my side. The dialogue between team-ups and other heroes (including my own) is also one of my favorite parts.

Additionally, it lets us make heroes who might not be playable for quite some time a part of Marvel Heroes right now including Firestar, Falcon, and Magik. We plan on releasing team-up heroes frequently, so you can be sure you'll see more obscure heroes coming down the pipeline as team-ups!

Thank you for your time!

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This article was originally published on Massively.