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Developer Q&A I
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Information
Date of Release: June 06, 2012
Dev Q&A Link: Thread Link
Developer Q&A Forums


This is the first out of five Developer Questions and Answers Threads taken from the Official Playdom Forums.


Note: please do not ask your question intended for the Developer Q&A at the comments below. Marvel: Avengers Alliance Wikia is not owned by Playdom. Please leave your questions at the Developer Q&A Forums.


Developer Answers (response to 2012.05.01 questions)

Thank you everyone for sending in your questions to the first Developer Q&A. The response was overwhelming, and while we aren’t able to answer every question, we tried to hit as many as we could. On to the answers!


Development process

What are your priorities for future development?

Before we answer that, understand that our roadmap of features extends well beyond the next six months. Any new features or content are competing for development time and while we would love to get many of these suggestions implemented, we have to be careful of the order and the timing.

When contemplating what to build and deploy next in Marvel Avengers Alliance there are two things we consider. The first thing we look at is what does our roadmap call for and second what is the community asking for. When they are perfectly aligned it is an easy choice. Here are some items we’re currently working on:

  • Long-term improvements to PVP
  • Chapter 8 and onward
  • Future Spec Ops with exclusive heroes and boss rewards (working to make this more fun for everyone)
  • More Heroes for sale (not just from Spec Ops)
  • Fixing existing bugs & balance issues

We’re working hard to get updates out and respond to feedback from the community. We appreciate your continued feedback and patience.


How do you decide who or what to buff or nerf?

We try to look for when a character, weapon, or class becomes dramatically overused or underused. Usually this indicates that there’s something wrong with that character or some systemic problem that is holding them back, such as a strong metagame. For instance, when Tacticians are strong, Blasters naturally suffer.

We also know from playing ourselves when certain characters fall behind and need a little love to bring them back into the game. We’re looking at Thing and Nightcrawler right now.


Do you test new values internally before releasing them to the community?

We test new changes extensively. Of course, this can’t compare to the millions of industrious players looking for new ways to best use these changes.

How much do forum suggestions or complaints factor into design decisions?

The forums are a good way to get a finger on the pulse of the player base. The players participating on the forums are always very passionate about the game and this often leads to great feedback and insights.


Could you give more warning on upcoming game changes or maintenance, and provide more release notes after changes?

We understand how unannounced updates can be frustrating to players, especially when they don’t know what changes are included in the updates. To this end, we are trying to improve our process for getting out comprehensive and timely patch notes as best we can.


Player vs. Player

What is the future of PVP?

PVP is an area that we are always looking to improve. We know that PVP can be a great way to play the game, but we understand we have much room for improvement to make it more fair and competitive.

We are not currently satisfied with the ladder system, matchmaking, or AI. We are also looking into a Tournament feature with big prizes. Before we do that, there are some issues with our combat system that we are working hard to address.


Will there ever be “live” or “real-time” PVP?

This is one of the many improvements to PVP we are investigating.


Are there any plans to improve PVP rewards?

In the short term, we are going to reward players much more experience points for the first few PVP battles they do each day. This is to encourage players to participate some each day without it becoming a grind.

In the long term, we plan to have significant rewards for our best PVPers when we release Tournaments. We will release more information as this feature draws closer.


Will you ever be able to use 3 heroes in PVP?

The short answer is no. We know that players feel particularly tied to their Agent and want to make sure that all the work players put in to leveling up and properly equipping gear for their Agent never gets diminished. In early pre-release versions of Avengers Alliance, we allowed hero-only teams, but it did not feel as rewarding.


Can you add a separate equipment page for PVE and PVP

This is an interesting idea. We will consider it in the context of future PVP changes.


Heroes and Villains

Which new heroes will you be adding?

We have many heroes coming soon, both in Special Operations and permanently available for purchase. The next hero coming soon is Black Panther!


How do you decide which new heroes to add?

We started by throwing every Marvel character ever created in a hat and pulling them out one at a time. We already used this technique to decide the next hero we will release. I hope you guys are ready for... D-Man! (Just kidding)

Seriously, though, there are many considerations including the character’s popularity and prominence, as well as the direction of our ongoing story. While we launched with the flagship characters, we definitely have plans for some niche characters and many more fan favorites going forward.


Will Deadpool be in the game at some point?

We will if the little yellow boxes over our head tell us we can.


Will there be additional Villains in the future?

Yes! In future Missions and Spec Ops, you may find your Agent facing off against the likes of Red Skull, Sauron, and Kang the Conquerer, to name a few.


Will you ever be able to play as a villain?

S.H.I.E.L.D. has been known to institute rehabilitation programs. We are definitely looking into the possibilities here.


Will heroes be able to train past level 12 or gain new moves not yet available in the game?

This is one of the features on our roadmap we are pursuing but do not have an ETA at this point.


The Agent and Items

Will there be more ways to customize your Agent?

We are always trying to diversify the available gear to provide more options for players to express themselves through gameplay choices. We are also considering more options for purely aesthetic customizations for your Agent.


Do you have plans to scale rewards by level?

We recently introduced “Customized” weapons, which scale to your level when you get them. This makes these weapons useful to any player that acquires them. This property will appear on Limited Edition items and rewards from Special Operations.


Will the Agents get more uniforms?

We definitely plan for more in the future, but we’re deciding the best way to make them feel special.


Will the Agent get additional weapon slots?

We will look into this. However, the constraint of choosing which weapons to bring to combat is an interesting choice players have to make in the game.


Will there be different kinds of Iso-8?

We are definitely looking at our options here to make Iso-8 more diversified and have additional gameplay effects.


Will there be class-specific weapons for the Agent?

It’s an interesting idea. We’ll consider it.


What does P.E.W., S.A., and A.R. stand for?

  • Personal Energy Weapon
  • Side Arm
  • Assault Rifle


Game Mechanics

Is there a max level?

Currently no player is close to the technical level cap. This can always grow as we need it to.


Does status effect damage scale with level?

Most status effects from weapons or Hero abilities scale with the level of the target that the status is applied to. For instance, using Bleeding on an enemy of a higher level will result in more damage over time than against one of a lower level. Similarly, if you use “Teresing Boost” to gain a heal over time, the amount will be in proportion to your own level.


Can you show the exact % increase on status effects like Strengthened?

This is possible but sometimes misleading, and can result in more confusion than clarity. The way that multiple stacking effects interact with each other is something we can’t easily communicate without blowing up in-game tooltips with information overload. When we have to choose, we usually prefer the more concise description.


Will there be any future changes to class balancing?

Yes, we have some ideas that should bring the classes more in line with each other and make class decisions more meaningful. We will release more information about this as these changes draw closer.


Are there any plans to increase max energy?

Not at this time.


Are there plans for a “do not show again” option for the maxed out XP reminder?

Yes. This is on the roadmap for a future release.


Will you add the ability to train more than one hero at a time?

We think that the difficult choices around how to use Heroes makes the game more interesting. Deciding who to bring, who to deploy, who to train, and who to send on the flight deck is part of the game. These choices reflect upon what kind of team the player wants to make. Keep in mind, that these restrictions don’t apply to PVP, where your Heroes are always available.

We do offer Rapid Training, which allows a hero to skip levels even while another hero is training.


Could you add a “Collect all” or “Resend all” option for the flight deck?

We already have a “Collect All” option. We have considered adding “Resend All” in the past, but want to encourage players to use their heroes carefully and balance between mission and training needs.


Mission and Story

Will there be more than 10 chapters?

Definitely! We are working hard on new Chapters and new Spec Ops right now. Look forward to Chapter 8 soon.


Who is the man behind the dialogue?

Most of the writing in the game is from our lead writer, Alex Irvine, a Marvel writer who has produced such works as “Daredevil Noir” and novelizations of the Iron Man films. Thank him for the witty quips.


Social and Gifting

Will there ever be an in-game message or chat system?

We do not have plans for this, but we encourage players to discuss the game on the forums.


Are there any plans to improve the Visit Allies feature?

We have several social feature improvements on the roadmap. The next one to launch is the ability to challenge friends to casual, unrated PVP matches.


Will you add the ability to sort gifts by type?

Good idea, we will look into it.


Will you add the ability to send return gifts even after hitting the gift cap?

This is a wonderful idea and we will consider the feasibility of this feature.


Are there any plans for cooperative raids?

This feature is currently not on our roadmap, but we are investigating it.


Miscellaneous

Will players ever be able to reset an account or start a new character on the same one?

We do not have any plans to allow players to reset an active account. For those who are interested in playing a new character from the beginning or new players without a Facebook account, we will soon unveil a version of Marvel: Avengers Alliance that can be played on Playdom.com. Stay tuned for more information on when this version of the game will be live.


Are there any plans for an achievement system?

We love achievements and want to give players another way to engage with our content to earn rewards for time and effort spent in the game.

Many achievements in the game are already tracked in Marvel XP, a cross-game hub for the Marvel Gaming Universe. You can access this information by clicking the Marvel XP button above the game app and signing up.


Will there be more Avengers movie tie-ins?

We recently released Coulson's Revenge, a weapon that was featured in a prominent scene from the movie. We also released a delicious, giftable item some people might recognize.


Do you plan to improve your sound effects?

We are planning to make some improvements here soon.


Do you plan to have a “light” animation setting to reduce loading issues?

This could be one of two different issues: long load times (with the loading widget, such as pre-combat) and the speed that animations play out in combat.

Load times are not necessarily tied to the animations. We’re always looking for ways to streamline our game and reduce load times. As for speeding up combat animations, we are aware of player concerns and looking into ways to speed up combat globally rather than having an option to turn animations off.

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