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Developer Q&A V
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Date of Release: September 13, 2013
Dev Q&A Link: Thread Link
Developer Q&A Forums


This is the fifth 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.


Dev Q&A V - August 2013

Greetings Agents,

In response to popular demand, we have established a forum presence for the Marvel: Avengers Alliance development team. This account will be used by our development staff to share a developer’s view into the content and gameplay you enjoy in Avengers Alliance. We hope to provide some interesting insight into the thoughts and concerns we have had while developing Avengers Alliance.

Please keep in mind that most of our time is spent developing the game, so we will primarily be posting answers in the Developer Q&A section and adding Dev Diaries. We look forward to this new opportunity to directly engage our community members. So to be clear if you see this account posting it is one of the people on the actual MAA development team.

We appreciate your continued support, and thanks for playing!

-M:AA Development Team

Now on to the Q&A! This one will be two parts as it's been a while since our last one.

PART I

Development

Are there any plans to release higher level health consumables?

We are considering releasing a version of the power ups that scales to player level the same way a Shawarma does. We are considering making this game-wide, so players only have to research these items once.

Heroes and Villains

I've been reading all threads in this forum about Magneto's Reverse Polarity and still cannot understand how it works. Is it normal that Magneto Reverse Polarity takes off 400HP from enemy, then hit the enemy and then give back the 400HP the Reverse Polarity took in the first place? It doesn't make any sense. Also, why doesn't he magnetize all the characters who wear Metal?

There was a bug with our health bar display logic that gave the impression that abilities, such as Reverse Polarity, were either taking too much damage, or returning health back. There is a fix for this in the works that will be included in a future update.

As for why certain characters are not magnetized by Magneto, it was decided that only those characters carrying a “heavy load” of metal objects or made primarily out of metal would be considered targets for this effect. Those carrying small metal objects would be excluded to provide variation, otherwise most characters would be immediately magnetized and provide less strategy in Magneto’s implementation.

Some Heroes are already Buffed or Improved but some of them are pretty weak. Like Mr. Fantastic, Wasp, Gambit, Henry Pym, Mrs Marvel or etc. So my question is Do they get another Buff or Refactor? Cause they are weak and not useful in PVP. I would like to make all heroes equal.

It is our intent to keep our characters current and viable always. Given that some of the characters may be a bit less powerful than others, we are working to keep our roster updated and relevant.

We will continue to refactor heroes that are not competitive with others. However, with over 60 playable characters it will take awhile to get through all of them.

Why does Vision is affected by Mental Attacks? Does his inorganic mind can be affected by mental attacks?

Visions’s brain patterns are based on those of a human - namely, Simon Williams, a.k.a. Wonder Man. So while Vision’s body may be artificial, he still has a mind, and is therefore vulnerable to psychic attacks.

Agent and Items

What do the background colors for the Gears mean (The Red, Purple and Yellow ones)? The only thing I'm sure of is that the yellow ones are for the Challenge Mode Gear, but what about the other two colors?

The intent is to highlight the source of the gear. Normal gear is red, yellow gear is from Challenge Mode, and unique boss drops (particularly from Spec Ops) are purple. We are aware that this is not consistent across the game and are working to better communicate an item’s source and value in a future release.

PvP

What do you plan to do in order to decrease the last day rush in PVP?

While there is an increase in PVP fights on the last day, with the PVP daily bonus we notice the average number of fights per day remains pretty consistent across the entire Tournament. Now that the reward cutoffs are specified by predetermined Rating numbers instead of a percentage, the rush on the last day is less important and fewer people get pushed out of the top leagues at the last minute.

Game Mechanics

Since the 300's lose the ability to get free gold for each level and a full energy bar is there something that can be done to help those that have reached the max? Such as the possibility of unlimited energy? Every 4K XP you get gold and a full energy bar?

Reaching level 300 is an extraordinary achievement, and those of you who have reached it have achieved a truly demanding feat. Just remember that energy exists as a reminder to take a break from time to time. We have no plans to expand the level cap or increase rewards for the dedicated group of players who have persevered to the top.

Have you guys thought about arranging heroes into waves? Perhaps a PVP tournament where everyone has 3 waves of heroes or something, or a Group Boss type of thing where the boss has a massive amount of Health, and you have to defeat it with all of your heroes/X amount of waves of heroes? Or maybe a ton of enemies?

We are brainstorming ideas for new but familiar ways of structuring combats that players should enjoy such as Heroic battles and Incursions. Ideas such as the ones suggested have been tossed around but it’s too early to say what the next new kind of combat will be. We will be sure to give players a heads up when we’re close to releasing new combat features.

Have you ever thought about instead of 2 Heroes having 3 and the Agent in battles?

While such things are feasible from a technical standpoint, we run into presentation issues when we try to fit more than 3 vs 3 on the screen at one time. Some of our heroes (and villains) are very large, and there just isn’t room to comfortably fit any more at once. In the end, putting more in combat resulted in a less enjoyable experience.

How is damage and damage over time calculated in the game? That is, how do the attack and defense stats work together? How much does boosting your attack level actually help you? Is there a formula?

To put it simply, a person’s attack is compared against a target’s defense to determine how much damage the attack does. The basic formula is:

Random( min_damage , max_damage ) * 6 * Attack * Attack / ( Attack + 5 * Defense)

The actual formula takes more into account, especially when it comes to calculating damage of Customized weapons and mid-combat buffs, but the same general scaling applies when comparing an attacker’s Attack stat and the defender’s Defense stat.

Have you guys thought about Origin Mode? where the player plays as a hero finding out a little bit about a hero.

We love that the game serves as an introduction point to many players who are not familiar with the Marvel universe and are always looking for ways to present more of Marvel’s rich lore within the core gameplay of M:AA. That being said, no such mode is planned. However, Heroic Battles will offer us a vehicle to present more character-specific story and classic matchups.

Miscellaneous

Do the devs have their own game accounts on which they play as a regular player (no dev tinkering)?

Most of the devs on M:AA play it in our free time as well. While we have accounts on test servers that have admin access (to test in-development features), our live accounts on Facebook are completely legit, and all of our accomplishments are hard-earned like everyone else. And yes, we do buy our own gold. We don’t even get a discount, unless we buy during a gold sale just like everyone else.

When will the third and fourth part of the Behind The Scenes videos of Marvel: Avengers Alliance become available in MARVEL's official Youtube account? 1.b. And who is the hero drawn by one of the artists in the BTS videos? Is that Big Bertha?

We have concept art for many new heroes drawn up. There might be a few surprises in store yet.

Could you please sell collection heros in non-gambling way? Many missed Magneto because lockboxes were super limited when he was around ( i did all side quests and still miss 2 covers ). You are aware of this issue this is why you increased lockboxes about 5x times for Sentinel. It was nearly impossible to get Magneto without spending gold. I do not have problem with spending gold but I have problem where i do not know 100% what i am getting and i am forced to gamble with gold.

The introduction of the lockbox mechanic was our way of letting players attain heroes by different means than just PvP tournaments or flat out command point purchases. While the mechanics of obtaining the comic covers contained in the collections is random, there are safeguards in place that will prevent you from getting duplicates indefinitely.

Are you going to bring the old lockboxes back to the game so we can finish the collection?

It is not beyond the realm of possibilities.

Could you please make a feature that after certain time covers are sold for gold individually (example 30 gold each). I would gladly spend 60 gold on last 2 covers but i would not gamble with 60 gold .

Similarly to the above answer, there are safeguards in place to ensure players can’t receive duplicates indefinitely. We do not, however, plan to sell covers for any currency.

Will you change the marvel avengers alliance loading screen to something more cooler because there are so many heroes now?

While it is not outside the realm of possibility some day, that is not a high-priority for us We are focusing on keeping the new characters, missions, and tournaments coming.

If (hypothetically) Nova were to be released in-game, would it be Sam Alexander or Richard Rider?

We can not comment on heroes that are not announced or released at this time.

How much testing do you do before releasing new content? Is it impossible to spot all bugs before releasing them? Also, what's the rationale behind putting the feature of gifting random (non-ally) agents?

We attempt to complete as much testing as we can before releasing content to the servers you play on. Given the scope of the content that is currently in the game, it is possible that some issues slip past our test team. With that being said, we do keep our eye on the forums and monitor what people are reporting. The game services team also passes along reports from players which we attempt to address as quickly as possible.

Some players do not have huge numbers of allies, by opening this up to gifting strangers, we hope to do 2 things: First we want to give them the opportunity to get gifts, and secondly we hope to connect players of Avengers Alliance with other players who enjoy the game.

Part II

Development

Do you have any plans to improve weapon management? Equipping/selling/slotting in pvp armory requires lots of scrolling and searching. It will be nice to have favorite list (for equipping), sorting and filtering

There is no such planned feature right now.

Do you plan to add Challenge Mode to Special operations?

We currently do not have any plans to add a Challenge Mode to the Special Operations.

Heroes and Villains

Do you have a list of heroes you are not allowed to put in the game? If you do, can you share it with us so we can stop suggesting and hoping for them to be in the game?

The list of characters that we are going to put in the game is built in collaboration with Marvel and takes into account both the direction we want to take the game and the storylines that Marvel wants to showcase in the near future.

I am a big xfactor follower. Thanks for releasing shatterstar. So is there more to come? Madrox? Yea or nay?

Any character is possible. Whoever thought we’d get Shatterstar or Squirrel Girl? How about Thundra? Anything is possible. Players need not ever ask if their favorite character is possible - the answer is always yes.

Agent and Items

In terms of debuffs, can we expect to see agents or hereos using gravity or water based debuffs?

We will craft new buffs or debuffs as new heroes appear when necessary.

===What do you think about introducing special ISOs which in addition to stat bonus (or instead of) would grant some buff, like PvP armors? That is something we have been considering.

4 slots for weapons is too few, especially when we consider current PvP meta, do you plan on adding more slots?

This is something we’ve wanted to do for a while. The first step in this process is offering players different loadouts for Missions as well as Offensive and Defensive PVP teams. After that is released and we see how it goes, we will consider further expansion to the agent’s gear.

Do you have plans to create something to limit the amount of Quick Actions an Agent can take per turn?

This is an idea that is being given serious consideration and may end up in a future balance pass. If we do, we will make sure it doesn’t break things such as Omega Sentinel and Punisher’s class change abilities.

PvP

Can you explain how in PVP you can be attacked twice in a row by the same guy?

There was an issue with the way we handled errors in matchmaking that caused players to fight the same opponents back-to-back. There are fixes to this in the next Tournament that should prevent this from happening.

What does the system actually use to select opponents in PVP?

Our matchmaking system separates players into pools based on player level and current tournament rating. Beyond that, the choice of opponents is purely random. Factors such as class composition and Agent gear are not taken into account.

We do have plans in future tournaments to better match players in Silver and Gold league based on the difficulty of the opponents (taking into account their total heroes owned and armory bonus) to provide a better PVP experience for new players as well as a more gradual increase in difficulty as players climb the leagues.

It was stated that the AI doesn't have any increased chance to proc any ability but from the testing from many of the players see about a 20% to 30% increase for the AI than the player on things like Cosmic Power. In practice mode during off season the proc rate appears to be the same but in a current live season this doesn't seem to be the case. Could this be some side effect in the proc rate between live and practice/testing that has been overlooked?

Not to beat a dead horse, but that is not the case. The testing done by the community, while thorough, is not correct in its conclusion. The AI proc rate is identical to the players’ proc rates across the entire game.

Since the revenge fight was taken away there is not means to see what heroes were used to beat you in PvP, is there some type of simple log that can be viewed as to what was used to beat you so you can design a better strategy to defend?

Such a system is under consideration, but not likely to happen in the near future. However, you can visit an opponent’s profile to see what armory items, Agent gear, and heroes were used.

Game Mechanics

Will you add a separate inventory for the Spec Ops items and the normal items? Or an update for the inventory interface? A system for searching by name, buffs and debuffs would be very helpful for us.

Many of our systems haven’t grown to accommodate the changes in our game and our inventory system is one of them. We’d like to put in improvements to these areas as we find the time. A search system as described is probably beyond any improvements we would make.

When adding items to your inventory can they be sorted or ordered by the total PvP bonus so you don't have to click through pages to find those items you are going to put in?

This is something we are considering.

Why are Mini and Epic Bosses in some chapter/mission a forced team-up but are not in others?

Generally mini-bosses and epic bosses aren’t forced team-ups, but there may be exceptions due to story reasons.

Is the chance to stun based on any other stats such as accuracy or is it purely a % based chance?

Are the odds for counter and protect depending on stats?

All status effect chances (including stuns, counters, and protects) are a fixed percent chance and do not depend on any character stats. This is, of course, assuming that the attack hits - which does depend on Accuracy.

Thanks for playing!

-M:AA Development Team


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