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Brushing up on Marvel Heroes' super-sized beta update


While we've had several occasions to check out Marvel Heroes' journey through the beta process, Gazillion Entertainment wanted us to know that our previous glimpses are now obsolete. The makers of this superhero action-RPG have implemented a major beta update that has virtually transformed the look, feel, and function of the game.

We spoke with Gazillion about the update, which clearly is a major step toward a finalized release version. The most obvious change to Marvel Heroes is a revamp of its user interface. The UI has been streamlined and modernized, with a crisper look and more color overall. The placeholder minimap has been scrapped and replaced with a new radar that functions in perspective, a friends list is now in place, and new arrow icons float around the edges of your screen to direct you to nearby events. And since loot is quite vital to the appeal of the game, the devs made sure to color-code all of the icons so that telling item rarity is an instant and effortless process.

There are a few more surprises that were announced today, so hit the jump and we'll walk you through them!

Brushing up on Marvel Heroes' supersized beta update
Playing card heroes

Characters too have gone through the retooling process. The old stat system has been scrapped and replaced with an attribute system that adheres closely to Marvel's official designations as to a particular hero's strengths and weaknesses. The attributes now are durability, strength, fighting, speed, energy, and intelligence. In short, a character's sheet now looks like a trading card with pips next to each attribute to show that particular hero's levels.

The devs explained that each level of an attribute is a significant advancement over the previous level, and attributes won't be changing much outside of equipping artifacts or other rare occasions. A new level of an attribute will carry with it numerical bonuses as well as certain in-game abilities. One example that was tossed out is that a new level of strength may add 10% more strength and allow you to toss cars around.

The talent trees are also growing in size and options, with each hero's tree boasting at least 15 skills at this point.

Paging a friendly neighborhood wall-crawler!

Along with the character revamp is the news that four new heroes have been added to the overall roster. Gazillion's brought in fan-favorite Spider-Man, Cyclops, Colossus, and Thor into the beta, so players can now fiddle around with them and see how, say, web-slinging action works.

Crafty design

"Re-design" seemed to be the watchword of the announcement, as crafting became the next system to receive a makeover with this update. As it stands right now, crafting takes place at crafting vendors: special NPCs scattered around the world. You can craft items by putting materials into three boxes and then waiting until the project is done (which can range from seconds to a full day).

This crafting system includes the ability to make costumes, so those who traditionally eschew crafting yet like to look fabulous will do well to reconsider becoming a virtual tailor.

Getting new recipes is an interesting element of the crafting system now. All of the crafting NPCs can be leveled up by donating items instead of just selling them. Once the NPC hits a new level, additional recipes will become available for the player (this is, of course, on a per-player basis). The NPC leveling process also works on traditional vendors, who will then offer better quality goods at higher levels.

Savage fun

The final addition to this meaty update is a new zone and playable chapter of the game: the Savage Land. If you're not familiar with Marvel lore, the Savage Land is a patch of jungle in the middle of Antarctica that's home to plenty of dinosaurs and ancient ruins.

All in all, it sounds like Marvel Heroes has become so much more robust than before. We'll certainly look forward to checking it out in its advanced state. Oh, and one more thing? Iron Man wants to show off his spiffy new armor from the upcoming movie. Humor him.

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