Marvel’s Avengers has been out for over a month now and it’s already dying. However, while it launched with questionable graphics, less than stellar reviews, and more bugs than the front bumper of my car (needs a wash) I have an unbridled infatuation with this property. Maybe it’s the optimist in me or maybe I truly have nothing else to play, but to me, this game is on the cusp of being amazing. I believe the main thing holding it back though, is that Marvel’s Avengers needs to be more like Destiny. Yes, it already draws comparisons to the looter shooter where gear rarity is cool but what really matters is power level, however, the problem is that it’s not enough like the game.
After beating the campaign (a pleasant surprise with heart and depth) all that is left is leveling your characters. You earn skill points so you can upgrade their abilities and, well that’s it. There’s no incentive for doing this. The missions are bland, the two big bounties are a lackluster rotation of Abomination and Taskmaster clones with a sprinkle of warbot, and the only big new character introduced post-campaign is Ragnarok. They compare it to Destiny, but leveling after you beat the campaign had endgame goals. You wanted to reach the max level so you could run the raid, the nightfall, trials, stuff you could never dream of attempting before.
Marvel’s Avengers Gear System
The first step for me would be to fix the gear system. In Destiny, you could see the gear you unlocked on your character. An exotic chest showed up on the screen and looked badass. It was worth whatever you had to do to increase your chances of getting it. While the perks on the gear in Marvel’s Avengers could help make the grinding worth it, all gear has a level cap. You can only go up 10 levels from the level it drops at. This means that a level 36 gauntlet, even if it’s yellow, has a max level of 46. Why should I bother inspecting my gear until I reach max level, and when I reach max level why am I still playing? This is a big reason why Marvel’s Avengers needs to be more like Destiny. It needs to change from gear having only to do with power (unless your max), to a balance of cosmetic, power, and perks. Let’s start with allowing the play to upgrade their gear from the level it drops at until max or near max level and then let’s talk cosmetics.
Using Ironman as an example, if I get a chest piece, it should change what my chest looks like when I put it on. Imagine getting a blue chest piece that has the triangle opening for the arc reactor, a purple one that has an Octagon and some other lights down the sides, and a yellow chest piece that’s a 1 to 1 replica of his Bleeding Edge chest plate from the comics. This diversity of aesthetic, even if it’s only a little bit (whites and greens could be crappy looking versions of blues and purples with rust or damage on them) can take this game so far.
Lack of Characters
The other step I somewhat alluded to is the characters. Destiny’s strikes gave us bosses and mini-stories that weren’t dependent on the campaign to exist. Imagine loading a replayable mission where Agent Hill tells you she received a distress call. A Quinnjet carrying a shipment of a newly found substance called “Gravitonium” went down. As you fight your way through AIM units, you discover that one of the operatives downed the jet on purpose. He then bonded with the Gravitonium and must now be neutralized. In the end, you defeat this “Graviton,” and Shield arrives to transport him to a secure facility. I would literally run that strike all day, every day. They have the power to give us villains like the Wrecking Crew, Ghost, Crossbones, and more. In fact, why stop there? Have heroes that aren’t big enough for DLC as NPCs. Bring someone like Sharon Carter, or Quake weekly with special assignments on rotation.
The Destiny model works, but they are building lore from scratch, and with that comes mixed results. There’s always a risk you spend all that time and energy making something and the people meme it. Marvel’s Avengers is adapting beloved lore without the binds of a two-hour, PG-13 enforced, 4 quadrants satisfying film. There is no reason for this game to be bland when it can destroy the competition at their own game. Marvel’s Avengers needs to be more like Destiny for their sake and ours.