Friday, 24 August 2012

Xcite! So what's new in Marvel Avengers Alliance?



So since my last MAA post there's been so many updates (& nerfing) in the game that it makes sense to have a new post altogether, so here goes...Loads of screenshots & cool artwork to download! And before you continue reading, I'd suggest you to check out my previous MAA post first.

With so many new X-characters in the MAA mix, Emma Frost isn't the only one who's pleased! >

UPDATES:
28/08/12- Gambit is now part of the game! I've updated the team bonus tables to reflect the same.

NEW CHARACTERS & COSTUMES!
Last time, I told you'll about the inclusion of Wakandan King, Black Panther. Now we got not two, but three more new characters with several more in the offing! The best part is all three hero(in)es are X-characters AND most of the upcoming heroes are X-Men too! :D

Presenting Wanda Maximoff aka Scarlet Witch, daughter of Magneto (<left)! She's got awesome powers in the game, thus making her a real game-changer in PvP- let's just say that now, you won't find yourself facing Captain America & Thor everytime! I waited till I got my Wanda on level 9 (yeah, it's been a while since she's been part of the game :P ) so that I could also post some screens of her powers:
^And they all look SO much more amazing in the game itself!

Below is Wanda's recruitment dialogue:

Next we got everybody's fave X-bitch, Emma Frost, the White Queen (In her original & [upcoming] alternate Phoenix Five costumes>)! She's the reward you get at the end of the currently ongoing Spec Ops 002- Long Live The Queen. Emma's become another major fan-favorite, mainly due to her level 1 Psychic Tap ability. It ignores shields & ANY defense (except if the hero/villain is immune to psychic attacks), triggers NO counters AND causes some major damage against a character of ANY class!

Emma Frost has got some pretty nifty tricks up her (non-existent) sleeves- check out her powers in action:




You just got a few more days to at least add her to your roster, so keep at it guys! Trust me, Spec Ops 002 is way easier & DEFINITELY worth the trouble. You don't even have to 5 star all 3 missions in order to get Frost- just complete 25 tasks in order (<left) & the White Queen is all yours! The best part is some of the tasks can be achieved either in story-mode or PVP, so you save your precious uISO. And you have to get a maximum of 3 mastery stars in each of the 3 Spec Ops missions to get Emma. MUCH better than the very daunting Spec Ops 001 where Playdom made us jump through their numerous hoops to get Mockingbird (who many may argue wasn't worth it, but I'm not one of them).

Here's some interesting Emma dialogues from Spec Ops 002 (besides the first pic in this post). The last two are her recruitment dialogues:

Our final addition is our beloved power thief, Rogue. I've currently got her on level 7 & will update the images for her abilities later. I gotta say though, her Drain Essence ability looks suspiciously like she's feeling up her victim. :P

Below is Rogue's recruitment dialogue:



At the SDCC 2012, loads of other new characters & alternate costumes were announced albeit sans their release dates/time. I'll just let this awesome character artwork do the talking. CAUTION: MAJOR nerdgasm ahead!

^Gambit, Beast, Havok & Quicksilver are the new X-characters to be added to the roster...
 
^...along with Colossus' sis Magik who'll be seen in her Phoenix Five costume. Cyke & Colossus also get their Phoenix Five costumes as well.
^Cyclops will also FINALLY get his classic costume along with Daredevil. Alternate costumes for Doctor Strange & Iron Fist as well.
^Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Woman, Thing & Spiderman get their Future Foundation duds. Reed & Thing's FF uniforms have already been released.
^We also got Tigra & Valkyrie being added to our recruitable heroes.

THE WELCOME CHANGES
*A whole new PVP- I like the new PVP. Your PVP bonus is now not only dependent on the weapons you slot in, but also on the number of heroes you got & their levels. It's definitely a clever method on Playdom's part of trying to get players to buy characters that aren't so much in demand. The VERY handy Hero Bonus chart helps put things into perspective for you as to where your entire team stands. You are now offered up a lot more data after you select an opponent. Plus after battle, the number of points added/subtracted from your ranking is also displayed- very helpful indeed!
Recently, PVP underwent a major revamp of sorts- so now you get five battles per day wherein if you win the battle, your agent & two heroes get 5 XP + 45 bonus XP points (right>). Otherwise they only receive the 12 XP. It's definitely a start from getting just 5 XP for every battle won & 1 measly XP for those lost. The battle reports are something I've always wanted- ESPECIALLY after they stopped displaying the number of losses along with the wins. Besides this, the main PVP screen sports a new look (albeit just a color change but it's for the better).

*Spec Ops 002- Spec Ops 001 was pretty much a complete disaster. Thankfully, Playdom has learnt from their mistakes & created a Spec Ops 002 that is not only more achievable, but very engaging & A LOT of fun! This time round, getting Emma Frost (<yup, I got her quite a while ago) is task-based. I recommend that even after getting Frost, collect your daily 50 uISOs from your gifts & continue with five starring each of mission. Why miss out on getting 3 more gold & 15 more CPs?

*Ally woes solved- The game now displays your highest level allies in the scrolling list at the bottom of your game screen. So no need to bother about deleting your lower level allies so that your higher level allies are displayed. Plus you can now also safely accept all your distress calls (if you got a lot more than 50 allies of course).

*Inside jokes & Easter eggs- This isn't a "change" as such but I just had to mention it. I absolutely LOVE these little jokes Playdom has planted throughout the game. Before there was only one (which I haven't managed to get a screen of)- In the status bar on the loading screen one of the "tips" that appears is "Cyclops actually has two eyes" lol. Now, you'd notice quite a few of em, out of which I've posted a couple below:

^Emma Frost is a Pretty Cool Guy & Rogue & Nightcrawler got Mommy Issues.

*Accepting gifts is now easier- Instead of having to click each button twice to get rid of it from your gifts list, now one click accepts the gift AND sends one back to the gifter. A minor change, yes, but very convenient!

THE NOT-SO-WELCOME CHANGES
*Brilliant today, nerfed tomorrow- It's become routine for Playdom now: they'll introduce a new weapon/hero/costume which will be fantastic at the start but then it will inevitably be nerfed. Playdom, please don't reward your players' enthusiasm by screwing them over like this.

*No CP farming, not even any CP drops- In trademark Playdom fashion, almost as soon as all the new upcoming characters & costumes were announced at the SDCC 2012, players began to notice that not only had CP drops during story-mode fights completely stopped, but CP farming was also no more possible! My suggestion for "farming" CP now would be to continuously play any epic (battle) mission of your choice. That way the random reward pick at the end of the boss & epic boss fights may help increase your CP. Of course, there's always five starring missions (whether story-mode or Spec Ops) that will fetch you 5 CPs.

^Kitty Pryde aka Shadowcat does her thing.

*PVP issue- My only grouse with PVP now is that you cannot choose your opponent. This becomes a real pain for me because I only tend to PVP when it appears as a side-task.

In-game advertising- Recently ads to buy limited edition weapons started popping up after deploys/battles. Supposedly these can be turned off by using gold. GAWD! Playdom just keeps on proving how much they are after their players' money despite the game having SO MANY bugs & their pathetic customer support amongst other customary complaints. And why bother with pop ups when players are already informed about new weapons & costumes via the welcome screen?

*Overload of sounds- In my last review for the game,I actually loved all the sound effects. Now somehow Playdom just thought those weren't enough & have added a plethora of sounds for almost every single thing! Some sounds have been changed for the better (eg. the sound of the gifts popping up when visiting allies), but most of the new sounds are totally unnecessary (GAWD! Those annoying flight deck mission jet sounds!).
My favorite sound still remains the one that you get when training for a hero is complete or when your agent levels up. Usually my sound is off, but I quite often find myself turning it on just to hear this one lol. This is also how I discovered all the new sounds in the first place! My second fave sound which is also a new one would be the random pick (or roulette) that appears after a deploy task or boss fight .

SOME TIPS
*Second chance at the rewards roulette- Now if you are not pleased with the reward you've received by the random pick at the end of a boss or epic boss fight, you can choose to have another go at it for the price of 5 gold (right>). 5 GOLD?! Seriously Playdom?

*Pairing Bonuses- You can get bonus points added to your final fight score simply by pairing certain heroes together. Here's the updated list of Team Bonuses (each for 50 additional points):
Characters Bonus Name
Any X-Men characters X-Force
Any Fantastic 4 members Fantastic
Any Heroes with a Flying ability Aviary
Thor /Hulk /Hawkeye /Black Widow /Iron Man /Captain America /Scarlet Witch Assemble
Thing /Hulk /She-Hulk /Phoenix Tossers
Dr.Strange /Mr.Fantastic /Ironman Illuminati
Hulk /Spiderman /Ironman /Mr.Fantastic /Black Panther Egghead
Wolverine /Black Cat /Sif /Black Panther Bloodlust
Spiderman /Black Widow /Spiderwoman Arachnophobia
Thor /Sif Asgard
Luke Cage /Iron Fist Heroes for Hire
Kitty Pryde /Black Cat /Black Panther Cat Fight
Spiderman /Black Cat Cosplayers
Daredevil /She Hulk Ambulance Chasers
Dr.Strange /Hulk Defenders
Hawkeye /Black Widow /Mockingbird Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Storm /Black Panther King & Queen
Dr.Strange /Scarlet Witch Arcane Arts
Iron Man /Gambit Ladies Man
Hawkeye /Spiderwoman /Black Cat /Black Widow /Scarlet Witch /Emma Frost /Rogue /Gambit Red in the Ledger

And the best pairings would be:
Characters Bonus Names Bonus Points
Cyclops /Phoenix X-Force, X-lovers 100
Kitty Pryde /Colossus X-Force, Hard and Soft 100
Phoenix /Ms. Marvel Marvelous, Aviary 100
War Machine /Iron Man Tinmen, Aviary 100
Iron Man /Mr. Fantastic Illuminati, Egghead 100
Invisible Woman /Human Torch Sibling Rivalry, Fantastic 100
Phoenix /Human Torch Aviary, Hotstuff 100
She-Hulk /Hulk Green Giants, Tossers 100
Emma Frost /Cyclops X-Force, Heart & Mind100
Ms. Marvel /Rogue Aviary, Identity Theft100
Black Widow /Scarlet Witch Assemble, Red in the Ledger 100
Rogue /Nightcrawler X-Force, Mommy Issues 100
Storm /Gambit X-Force, Partners in Crime 100
Black Cat /Gambit Kleptomaniac, Red in the Ledger 100
Emma Frost /Scarlet Witch /Rogue /Gambit X-Force, Red in the Ledger 100
Emma Frost / Phoenix X-Force, Girls of Summer, Mind Games 150
Rogue /Gambit X-Force, Red in the Ledger, Southern Hospitality 150
Hawkeye /Black Widow Frenemies, Assemble, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Red in the Ledger 200

*EPIC Boss Battles!- Completing all the deploys in certain missions might just unlock an Epic Boss battle! Of course, you'd need to have adequate CPs to recruit the required deploy characters. Here's a list of all the Epic Battles:
Elektra (Chpt 2- Mission 3, deploy Black Cat)
Epic Drop: Grecian Sai

Doctor Doom (Chpt 3- Mission 5, deploy Spiderman)
Epic Drop: The Doombringer

Magneto (Chpt 4- Mission 4, deploy Storm)
Epic Drop: Magnetic Field Generator

Loki (Chpt 5- Mission 3, deploy Wolverine)
Epic Drop: Norn Stone (Got this- pic posted in previous MAA post)

Doctor Octopus (Chpt 6- Mission 3, deploy Black Widow)
Epic Drop: Electrostatic Arm (Got this & put it in PVP :P )

Green Goblin (Chpt 7- Mission 3, deploy Spiderman)
Epic Drop: Goblin glider (Got this)

The Hood (Chpt 8- Mission 5, deploy )
Epic Drop:  Possessed Pistol (Got this)


My Game Progress
I'm pretty darn pleased about my progress:
-I've reached level 140.
-FINALLY finished five starring all the live chapters (i.e. Chapters 1-8).
-All heroes have been hired.
-Got two level 12 heroes (Hulk, my first, & She-Hulk). Most of my heroes are level 9ers (except 4. see  ). I level up my heroes according to the side-tasks; this helps me be able to balance my silver usage AND I get 30XP for every task completed. Doesn't sound much but it definitely all adds up.

*My Current Top 10 Heroes:
1. Emma Frost- Psychic Tap FTW! Mental Anguish ignores all defense unless the opposing character is immune to psychic attack.
2. Scarlet Witch- Her Chaos Shield & Probability Field are very helpful, although the latter is risky.
3. Hulk- GREAT for one shot kills & epic overkills.
4. Captain America- 2 words- Shield. Guard.
5. Thor- Get his Might of Mjolnir stacked by 2 & he works wonders!
6. Black Panther- Use his 1st & 2nd abilities & then Panther Stance & watch him be plain badass!
7. She-Hulk- Her 2nd power gives her 2 turns & the combo of her & Stomp is quite killer!
8. Storm- Lightning+Blizzard+Tornado=WIN! Plus her protective shroud is very nifty.
9. War Machine- Overcharge used with ANY of his other powers is BADASS! He's been nerfed but he's still great.
10. Doctor Strange- His Vapors of Valtorr & team-healing Teresing Boost are very useful!


*My Current Top 3 Weapons/Gadgets:
1. Omni-Fury
2. The Scroll of Melsalam
3. Stark Industries ISO-8 Cannon

MY SUGGESTIONS FOR PLAYDOM(Besides the others I've made in my previous MAA post):
*Nerfing- Stop releasing kickass stuff & then nerfing them. It's a big letdown to all players, especially those who've spent real money on any of that stuff! We now just expect nerfing to happen when something great is released, which should not be the case.

*Resume CP drops- I've currently finished all chapters so I can afford to "farm" the epic missions. But what about those who haven't & would rather spend time advancing in story-mode rather than farming for CP? If not this then at least....

*...Increase the CP payouts- in the random roulette reward picks at the end of boss & epic fights as well as Spec Ops bosses. This is literally our only chance to get CP now (unless you spend  on the game, of course). But what about those that can't afford to pay for an online game (or those who are never going to)?

*Let opponents be chosen once again in PVP- This is my only current grouse with PVP otherwise it's great (though there's always room for improvement)

No region-wise discrimination- Let all those "Earn 1 gold" offers by watching this video or that be available to players from all regions. If the reason this isn't happening is because those companies aren't active out there, then bring in companies from those regions to start these gold promotions. The only ones that have worked for me so far are the movie trailers, but I know US players get a lot more.


CREDITS:
Marvel- 1, 2 (for all the character images)

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