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Kapow! Marvel's Superhero MMO Will Be F2P

By - Source: Marvel | B 21 comments
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Now that Sony Online Entertainment finally has DC Online up and running, fans of the Marvel Universe have probably been wondering when they'll get to mingle with the likes of Wolverine, Captain America and the Black Cat (she's hot in those black tights, admit it). The wait for the first details is finally over.

Marvel originally enlisted Cryptic Studios to develop the super-hero MMO years ago, but then canceled the project in February 2008 primarily due to the competitive market for subscription-based MMOGs. Then in July 2009, Gazillion Entertainment announced that former president of Blizzard North and Diablo creator David Brevik had signed on to lead the development in the rejuvenated Marvel Universe MMO project.

"I’m a huge fan of comic books, Super Heroes, and MMORPGs, so the chance to lead the creative efforts for the Marvel Universe MMO is an amazing opportunity," he said. "Gazillion’s mission to bring MMOs to the mainstream while maintaining the depth in gameplay that enthusiast gamers demand is something that deeply resonates with me. Marvel is a perfect fit for this mission, and I couldn’t imagine a better venue to announce our efforts than Comic-Con."

Little else on the game's development has been revealed until last night when Marvel introduced Brian Michael Bendis as the game's story writer, the mastermind behind most of the major events taking place in the Marvel Universe in recent history. The introduction was made live during a presentation in San Francisco which also revealed that-- unlike DC Universe where characters are generated from scratch--gamers would actually get to play popular Marvel superheroes.

During the show, Bendis told the audience that he's secretly been working on the game for several months. "The reason that I was so desperate to be a part of this is that I’m a big believer that the Marvel universe is more than just this fantasy universe, it’s kind of a lifestyle for a lot of people," he said. "It reminds me of what Stan Lee did in the 60’s by making the audience part of Marvel."

According to TQ Jefferson, VP of Games Production at Marvel, the game won't launch with just a top-ten list of characters to play. "The Marvel Universe MMO is going to launch with more characters than any Marvel game to date," he said. "It’s not just going to be the top ten or twelve characters, it’s going to be a monster list of characters."

Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Squirrel Girl and Nova were a few of the heroes mentioned.

But given Marvel's huge audience, it's surprising that the subscription-based model was ditched for free-to-play. "We’re really going to turn the MMO world on its head," said Gazillion president and CEO David Brevik. "This [is being] designed as a free play game from the ground up, which is a very different approach most people are taking these days. We really want to make this a legitimate experience, a compelling experience."

To see the press event in its entirety (it's about 1:26:00 in length), Marvel saved a copy for your viewing pleasure here.

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  • 0 Hide
    Raid3r , April 29, 2011 10:52 PM
    Good idea.
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    tehTyrant , April 30, 2011 12:04 AM
    So by being F2P... pretty much taking the point that it's going to suck. And like F2P if you REALLY want to play the game, you're going to have to pay anyway. Don't understand why people are afraid of paying a monthly payment when they probably or will be dropping more money on whatever gimmick the employ to get you to have to pay.

    I'll pass.
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    fyasko , April 30, 2011 12:35 AM
    David Brevik left blizzard? that's why D3 has a WOW-feel.
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    boogien8 , April 30, 2011 12:45 AM
    It could have good entertainment value even for FTP. There's plenty of games that are good examples of FTP where you absolutely can get away with just playing for free. They have events and stuff that give you items you would normally pay for. I hope this turns out good, I can see if they employ it the way tanks, scouts,wizard type and healers could be employed via marvel characters.
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    NuclearShadow , April 30, 2011 1:36 AM
    I don't think F2P MMO's are a certainty of them being poor, nor does a P2P MMO mean its going to be good. My position on the issue is that ever since the original EverQuest massive success for its time everyone wanted to a piece of the pie. This created two attitudes one being the positive one that they want as much gamers as possible by trying to make the best quality game they could (Dark Age of Camelot, World of Warcraft as examples) and then the ones that just want to rush believing it will lead to massive profits. (Asheron’s Call 2,Age of Conan) In-fact notice that all listed are/were P2P. The F2P concept profiting through a item-shop certainly does not spell doom for the quality while not being such WoW was more of leaning towards it before it was released. The majority of MMORPG's quality is poor P2P or F2P but there are profits and advantages of being F2P and its only a matter of time before we see more quality ones make the shift from release.
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    mikepaul , April 30, 2011 2:03 AM
    Dragon Age Legends is 'free to play' on Facebook, but only if you wait forever for stuff to be crafted, and if you skip any customization that needs 'crowns', like extra crafting spots in existing rooms.

    There needs to be short jargon for "free to play without sacrificing anything" that can be used, or, perhaps, not used when 'free to play' is all you're going to get...
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    pirateboy , April 30, 2011 7:25 AM
    free to play mostly should be called "free to pay" ... meaning you only get the real experience after you've payed
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    Burodsx , April 30, 2011 3:26 PM
    Well I never really was amazed with Marvel games anyhow. I might actually try it with it being free.
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    TheWhiteRose000 , April 30, 2011 6:24 PM
    Free to Play?
    Hang out with Iron Man?

    :D !

    I'm Totally there!
    *Sits anxiously and awaits it's release.*
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    EvanBGood , May 1, 2011 2:59 AM
    The interesting thing is that lots of F2P games are becoming more profitable than the regular monthly subscription style games (WoW excluded, of course). For example, Lord of the Rings Online's profits exploded after they created a free-to-play model and converted their monthly system to a "VIP" system. It's tricky to do correctly, though. F2P games welcome hackers, gold farmers, and every other kind of unsavory internet type, while a lot of them are, in truth, "free to play, unless you want to ACTUALLY do anything". A good security and player management system combined with a system that gives paying players more fun or enjoyment, but not an overwhelming advantage, seem to be key.

    As for Marvel... ehhhh... We'll see. DC Universe Online left a lot to be desired, and in general, I feel like MMORPGs are starting to hit the point of over-saturation. It's going to take something special to be a success, no matter how "free" it is.
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    choirbass , May 1, 2011 10:31 AM
    its free... what more can you expect?... 'if' you expect better enjoyment, you can probably expect to pay... sure, you can play... but demos are much the same way, and they dont charge you either. the only sense of purchasing, is to get more for your money. again, when its free for the consumer directly, dont expect much beyond what free would offer. and dont just waste money on expecting, but only to come away disappointed. unless you just have money to waste, and could care less whether what you were buying was actually any good. again, free is what sells.
  • 1 Hide
    liveonc , May 1, 2011 11:48 AM
    Will they also have The Rude Nude Dude?
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    NuclearShadow , May 1, 2011 6:41 PM
    EvanBGoodI feel like MMORPGs are starting to hit the point of over-saturation. It's going to take something special to be a success, no matter how "free" it is.


    Too many hands trying to fit into a cookie jar that has a finite amount of cookies as well. It's hard enough to get ones hand in the jar never-mind successfully extract a cookie.

    I would expand your statement of it requiring to be something special to all upcoming MMORPG's. However the vast majority are nothing more than slight alterations when it boils down to it. They know what generally works and are accepted by players so they recycle it. This however dooms them to failure however as it makes no reason for players to go to them or at-least stay once there. Innovation and MMORPG's use to go hand and hand however now its about trying to push something out and innovation requires more time and money invested. To put it simply, they would rather rush and fail than to invest effort and possibly succeed.
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    theroguex , May 1, 2011 10:03 PM
    AWESOME! Another Superhero MMO where the players get to play second-fiddle to the main characters of the setting!
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    nukemaster , May 1, 2011 11:17 PM
    My issue with most F2P games. Micro-transactions that out do the monthly fees. And most of the time they limit the free users so much that there is no fun.

    COH was still the best super hero MMO I played. Well before they started making the game too easy.
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    bildo123 , May 2, 2011 2:18 PM
    fyaskoDavid Brevik left blizzard? that's why D3 has a WOW-feel.


    Blizzard North dissipated around 2003 I believe, the people who made Diablo and Diablo 2. But overall yes, that's why Diablo has that WoW/Disney Esq' color pallet.
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    masterbinky , May 2, 2011 2:42 PM
    If it is balanced right, like not alienating people that are not paying at that time, and a good game, F2P is a good model for people that have less time to play an mmo and run a multiple 3 hour instance/dungeon/thingie for a chance at the chance item drop, that is required. The problem with F2P is that someone along the decision line thinks "Hey, if we make this part suck then they'll have to pay!", at which point the person just quits. So if they make everything awesome without paying, and then it's just shiny awesome if you pay, there are plenty of people that pay for the shiny.
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    amdwilliam1985 , May 2, 2011 4:49 PM
    League of Legends is a very good example of free to play. It is awesome, and I am quite addicted to it.
    They only charge people for buying hero skins, which does not affect the game play at all.
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    gm0n3y , May 2, 2011 5:41 PM
    I'm just not convinced that a free to play MMO can be a good game. I'd much rather they had a free area that allows users to try the game out (basically a demo area) without a time limit. I'd also be happy if they had a free to play game that you could pay a monthly fee to get the premium content. I just don't want to play a game where I have to constantly be making smaller purchases (with real money). The money aspect of those games always ends up ruining it for me.
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    balister , May 2, 2011 6:26 PM
    fyaskoDavid Brevik left blizzard? that's why D3 has a WOW-feel.


    Where have you been? Brevik and the Shaeffers left Blizzard years ago when Vivendi was talking about selling them (this was before the Activision purchase by Vivendi and merger of Activision and Blizzard). Brevik and the Shaeffers felt that Vivendi was going to screw them over and pretty much left and took most of the Blizzard North staff with them. Flagship Studios (now defunct) was started by most of the Blizzard North staff that broke off. When Hellgate: London crashed and burned, Flagship broke up and the Shaeffers and Brevik when in different directions.
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