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Producer's Notes on Season 2

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Producer's Notes on Season 2 are a series of notes from the Official Playdom Forums that documented the upcoming features and changes that will happen along the release of Story: Season 2. The notes started on July 24, 2013 and ended on August 1, 2013. The notes also served as a countdown for Season 2's release.


Producer's Notes on Season 2

Part I: The New Look of Season 2

By now you all know that Season 2 has a dramatically new look. You’re well aware of the updated tabs in the mission screen, but the changes to the UI go deeper than that, and some of them you’ve already seen in the game (like the updated tasks window).

We believe a big part of making something feel fresh is making it look fresh as well. The aesthetics and the gameplay go hand-in-hand. When Season 2 launches, you’ll see a mission screen that looks a lot like this -

Producer's Notes on Season 2 Part I Screenshot 1

Pretty fancy, huh? But what does it all mean? Well, let’s dig in. First of all, gone away are Mastery Stars (in Season 2 Chapters only -- Spec Ops and Season 1 unaffected). Taking their place is a new Chapter Mastery system. One that is based on accomplishments rather than grinding.

You’ll note that each of the bars on the left-hand side is associated with a color-coordinated icon. Some of these are familiar, some of them are new events, and some are new icons for old events. From top to bottom here are what the bars represent.

  1. The top one is your overall progress in the chapter (basically all the bars below it added together and in the form of a percentage)
  2. Tasks (which will work more like Spec Ops do in this case - example below)
  3. Deploys
  4. Incursions (more on this another day)
  5. Heroic Battles (more on this another day)
  6. Challenge Modes (now mandatory to be completed once per mission if you want Chapter Mastery)
  7. Epic Bosses (now clearly identified on the mission select screen for both Seasons as well as Spec Ops). See the matching icon on Mission 6 here as an example.
Producer's Notes on Season 2 Part I Screenshot 2

(This is what you see when you click the task icon for a chapter in your task bar)

Ok, so now you know what all the icons stand for, and you know you have to complete each of these items, across all 6 missions to be the master of the chapter. As you can see in this example, when you complete a particular type of event in a mission that icon on the mission image will light up. Missions with only 4 icons do not have an epic boss.

See that I’ve completed the one Incursion event in Mission 1, so it’s red (instead of grey) and the Chapter Progress bar for Incursions is filled up a little bit. This new identifier is also on Season 1 and Spec Op Chapters if there’s an epic boss in a mission. In the new trailer you also see the bar filling up on the right-hand side of the screen when you complete a particular event. Expect to see that slide on the screen each time you complete events that qualify for Chapter Mastery.

And that’s just barely the tip of the iceberg. There are so many small interface updates like that scattered all over. You’ll be lucky to find them all in one sitting! Like icons that show you which Season your tasks are from or us adding a new mission info screen to show you mission-specific rewards, leaderboards, story, and other info. If you look closely at the first image you can even see we changed the background for the Season 2 mission screen. Black Panther looking up at another Earth. What could that be? Pretty cool stuff!

Producer's Notes on Season 2 Part I Screenshot 3
Producer's Notes on Season 2 Part I Screenshot 4

There’s so much to see and do in this update, we hope you love how we’ve combed the game looking for areas to improve and found as many as we can. Of course there will be many more updates to the UI in the future, but there is quite a lot here for one patch! There are many more updates to share with you, but we’ll talk about them over the next few days.

Producer's Notes on Season 2: Part II

Part II - Incursions

Yesterday we talked about all of the events required to achieve Chapter Mastery in Season 2. One of the new events we mentioned was Incursions. We wanted to take some time to explain what an Incursion is, what it means for our game, and why we decided to include it.

First of all - everyone loves an origin story. Where did the idea Incursions come from? If you’ve been reading Marvel Comics and especially “New Avengers”, then you already know. But, rather than explaining it myself, I think it is best explained by Dr. Reed Richards. Take it away, Reed!

Incursion Explanation

These images are all from New Avengers Vol. 3 #2. So basically in the comics, our heroes are facing the death of their entire universe because all of existence is collapsing on itself. Heavy stuff!

The Marvel Gaming Universe exists in the Marvel Multiverse, so it it only makes sense that our game would be affected by this event of massive scale! However, the guys in the comics are a little ahead of our Avengers. They know a lot more about it than the heroes in our game.

Enter a self-proclaimed Incursion expert! In Chapter 1 we are introduced to none other than Agent Phil Coulson. I’ll hold for applause...

Agent Coulson Dialogue

Coulson is digging into these fleeting interdimensional phenomenons from the S.H.I.E.L.D. side, and as such he gets involved in the Season 2 story in a big way. You’ll see Coulson a lot from here on out, complete with his enjoyable relationship with Tony Stark. Awesome!

So what are Incursions in the game? An Incursion event looks like this on the map. It is a red pin with the symbol of two worlds colliding.

Producer's Notes on Season 2 Part II Screenshot 1

In an Incursion, players will see a red sky and another “incurring” Earth in that sky. This represents the place that exists between the two worlds, just like in the comics (seriously take a break from this and go read New Avengers Vol. 3 #1 right now!). Players will participate in a fight here. However, while it may be similar to PVP, there are some distinct differences. Check out the Incursion background from London below.

Combat Background 062 Incursion

First of all, players are allowed to set their team based on what they see on the other team, just like a normal mission fight. Second of all, items are allowed in these combats. Last, but not least, players’ hero and armory bonuses will not be used in these fights, as they are not considered PVP fights.

So why did we include Incursions in Season 2? Well there are a few reasons. First of all we have always wanted to add new event types to the map. You’ve seen this in the past with Group Bosses, but we wanted to do more.

Also, we were reading these stories in the comics and really wanted to work the Incursion theme into the game. We thought we had a game that lent itself well to the theme, so it was almost immediately brought up as an idea.

We hope you guys love the Incursion battles as much as we do. We think they are a great addition to the game. We will have more exciting updates for you as the week goes on, so stay tuned!

Producer's Notes on Season 2: Part III

Part III - Heroic Battles

Now that you’re up to speed on Incursions, let’s talk about our other brand new event type in Season 2 - Heroic Battles.

It’s well-documented that a lot of people on the MAA team read Marvel Comics. We all have our own favorite characters, stories, and relationships. However, given that we are pursuing a cohesive narrative in the game (and the larger MGU), we don’t always get to explore these relationships.

Producer's Notes on Season 2 Part III Screenshot 1

Enter Heroic Battles. A chance for a hero (or three) to break away from the rest of the group and pursue their own personal business. We’re really excited about that. It gives us a chance to get two or more characters we love in a private setting to really focus on how they interact with each other. You’ll notice the icon we used is one that matches the icon for the “Team” page button.

Heroic battles are also more challenging. Not only because the Agent and their items aren’t in these fights, but because we can set and balance the fights to a particular grouping of heroes and make them as tough or as easy as we want. A great example is the Mission 6 Heroic Battle - Cable & Deadpool vs. The U-Foes. All 4 of the U-Foes.

Producer's Notes on Season 2 Part III Screenshot 2

Well you know how it is with Deadpool around. I don’t want to ruin the entire conversation for you, but here’s a taste.

Producer's Notes on Season 2 Part III Screenshot 3

Alright, so then you jump in the battle with Cable & Deadpool against Ironclad, Vector, Vapor, and X-Ray. Punching and slicing and shooting.

Producer's Notes on Season 2 Part III Screenshot 4

With the win I’ve completed my first Heroic Battle of Chapter 1 and with my other accomplishments (such as deploys and tasks) I am 15% finished with Chapter 1 Mastery.

Producer's Notes on Season 2 Part III Screenshot 5

I recommend you level these heroes up if you want to win. If not, you’ll die, but that’s ok. Why? Because there is a ton of awesome unique dialogue written for each battle in the case you lose. So maybe you’ll be like me and you’ll actually want to lose each of these fights once to see all the dialogue.

Producer's Notes on Season 2 Part III Screenshot 6

In Chapter 1 there are 6 Heroic Battles (one in each Mission). If you’ve been paying attention, we’ve revealed a few of them already. They were Cable & Deadpool vs. the U-Foes, Gambit & Rogue vs. Prime Sentinels, and Wolverine vs. Sabretooth. You’ll just have to play Season 2 to see the other 3!

So that’s Heroic Battles in a nutshell. Dialogue-focused, character-rich combat experiences that will make fans of the comics and films ecstatic whether they win or lose.

Producer's Notes on Season 2: Part IV

Part IV - Chapter Rewards

Today I’d like to talk about rewards in Season 2. More specifically, the rewards you get from pursuing Chapter Mastery in Season 2.

Producer's Notes on Season 2 Part IV Screenshot 1

The first thing I want to cover here is mission difficulty. While Challenge Mode remains mostly unchanged (most missions will be 5-10 levels above your current level), we’ve revised how we determine the difficulty of Normal Mode. Remember Challenge Mode is only available after you’ve completed Normal Mode for that mission one time.

Normal Mode difficulty is set the very first time you attempt a Normal Mode mission in Season 2. This is on a per-mission basis, meaning that if you are level 200 when you do Mission 1, it will be set to level 200 Normal Mode until the end of time. But if you level up a bit doing other stuff and you attempt Mission 2 at level 205, then Mission 1 will still be set at 200, but Mission 2 will be set at 205.

So, in the example image above, you can see that I started Mission 1 when I was level 200. I’m still level 200, so the Challenge Mode is level 210. Challenge Mode will continue to dynamically get harder as I level up, but Normal Mode for me will be 200 on Mission 1 forever, even if I replay the Normal mode at a higher level.

Producer's Notes on Season 2 Part IV Screenshot 2

None of these changes will affect Season 1 chapters.

Ok, you’ve got it. The missions are more challenging. But why? Well, first of all we hear people talk all the time about how they wish the Season missions were more challenging. Second of all we wanted to justify better rewards all around this time.

Just as with Season 1, the rewards will get better as you go and Challenge Mode will also offer better rewards. However, since Normal Mode is set to your current level when you start, it will ALSO feature customized rewards now. Rejoice!

Producer's Notes on Season 2 Part IV Screenshot 3

Above is an example of the very first weapon you receive in Season 2, from Sugar Man (the boss of Mission 1). On the left is the Normal Mode version dropped at Agent Level 200, and on the right is the Challenge Mode version dropped at Agent Level 200. As you can see, the gear in Normal Mode is equivalent to Challenge Mode gear from Season 1, and the Challenge Mode gear in Season 2 is much stronger.

So that’s drops - they are better than they were in Season 1 and most of them are Customized. While many drops will be familiar, we want to let you know we are planning to re-evaluate the loot tables between now and Season 2: Chapter 2. More on that in the future. Let’s talk about Tasks now.

Producer's Notes on Season 2 Part IV Screenshot 4

Recently the task system was greatly overhauled for Covert Tasks. We merged the progress bar concept from Spec Ops with our existing Task system to come up with something new. It was our plan all along to really utilize this with Season 2.

As you can see from the image above, you’ll see a Task Bar that resembles the one in Spec Ops. While we won’t reveal right now what all the tasks are (what fun would that be?) we can talk about those reward icons you see.

The first 4 images represent Chapter 1 missions 2-5 (as you’ve probably already figured out). The image of The Living Pharaoh represents unlocking Chapter 2. Unfortunately Chapter 2 will be launched at a later date, but we want players to know where the unlocking point is for it.

The next icons represent silver, command points, and gold. What amount? Some surprises are best left for release.

Of course there are more tasks than just those represented in the main task chain. When you start your first Challenge Mode for a particular Chapter, you’ll see a task chain that requires you to complete all the Challenge Modes in that Chapter for a reward. Here’s what I’m talking about for Chapter 1.

Producer's Notes on Season 2 Part IV Screenshot 5

This is where our Golden Weapons have been relegated to. Let’s move on to Chapter Mastery. When you hover over each of the progress bars for the individual events, you’ll see that completing EACH of them has a reward. For example, If you complete all 7 Incursions in Chapter 1 you’ll receive a pile of gold. A one-time reward for completing all the events of that type.

Producer's Notes on Season 2 Part IV Screenshot 6

So that’s 7 rewards, right? Wrong. We’re so nice we’re giving you 3 rewards for completing Chapter Mastery. Want to take a look at what all of the rewards are for the entire Chapter in one place? Click the “Chapter Info” button to see the new Chapter Info window. Here’s a sneak peak.

Producer's Notes on Season 2 Part IV Screenshot 7

Did somebody mention Professor X?

Professor X Dialogue

See how Iron Fist shows the Bruiser and Scrapper icons? You get BOTH versions of the Heroic Iron First costume when you complete Chapter Mastery. How sweet is that?

Producer's Notes on Season 2 Part IV Screenshot 8

Of course there’s a chance that you don’t own Iron Fist when you complete Chapter Mastery. In that case you will see some new icons that show you that you own a uniform but not the hero it goes to. See the above image for an example.

Alright so there is actually ONE more reward that you get for Chapter Mastery. That is the concept of a Season 2 Rank. Along with your current Tournament Rank, it will be displayed for all your friends on their neighbor bar. It can also be seen in the “Season 2 Rank” tab of your profile. This tells all of your friends how far you’ve come in your Season 2 quest for glory. As more Chapters are released, the highest possible rank increases (each with a new icon).

Producer's Notes on Season 2 Part IV Screenshot 9

Producer's Notes on Season 2 Part IV Screenshot 10

As a reminder this is just a summary of the rewards available in Season 2, and there are many specific items and drops available throughout the Chapters for players who are willing to pursue Chapter Mastery.

That’s it for today. Tune in next time for another exciting look at Season 2.

PART V: IRON FIST

PART V: IRON FIST

Yesterday we did a big post about rewards. Today I wanted to get you some notes from the design team about Iron Fist’s character update and his new Heroic Age uniform. You probably noticed yesterday that he has some additional skills on the team page.

Producer's Notes on Season 2 Part V Screenshot 1

Did everyone notice the little arrows below the character’s skills in yesterday’s reveal? If a particular character or uniform has more than 4 skills (such as Cable, Punisher, and Omega Sentinel) the Team Page will now allow you to scroll through and look at them. Another one of the many smaller updates going into this patch. Pretty neat!

Ok, so why does the Heroic Age Iron Fist have more than 4 skills while the Classic uniform does not? I’ll just post a preview of the patch notes below.

NAT Heroic Age Iron Fist

IRON FIST CHARACTER UPDATE

  • Scrapper
  • New Self-Passive! : Combo Breaker
  • When an enemy attempts to perform a counter-attack or follow-up attack, Iron Fist has a chance to prevent and counter that attack
  • Level 1 : K’un Lun Combo
  • One Enemy
  • Unarmed Melee
  • Combo Setup
  • The next unarmed attack against this target deals extra damage
  • Lasts 2 Rounds
  • Cornered
  • Removes and prevents Protect effects
  • Lasts 1 Round
  • Level 2 : The Iron Fist
  • One Enemy
  • Unarmed Melee
  • Deadly Crits
  • Deals extra damage on critical hits
  • Exploits Combos
  • Deals extra damage against targets with Combo Setup
  • Level 6 : Healing Chi
  • One Ally
  • Buff Heal
  • Heals a Single Ally
  • Remove Debuffs
  • Removes harmful status effects from the target
  • Stamina Recharge
  • Restores stamina
  • 3 Round Cooldown
  • Level 9 : Heart of Shou-Lao
  • Self
  • Buff
  • Costs 0 Stamina
  • Quick Action
  • Grants an immediate free turn after using
  • Does not trigger follow-up attacks
  • Tenacious
  • Can be used while Stunned
  • Heart of Shou-Lao
  • Increases all stats
  • Clears and prevents debuffs
  • Expires next round
  • 3 Round Cooldown

HEROIC AGE IRON FIST UNIFORM

  • Scrapper or Bruiser
  • New Self-Passive! : Pure of Spirit
  • Takes reduced damage from Magic attacks
  • Immune to harmful Magic effects
  • Heart of Shou-Lao unlocks Hidden Potential
  • Level 1 : K’un Lun Combo / Five Fingers of Death
  • K’un Lun Combo
  • No Changes
  • Hidden Potential: Five Fingers of Death
  • Unlocked by Heart of Shou-Lao
  • One Enemy
  • Unarmed Melee
  • Combo Setup
  • The next unarmed attack against this target deals extra damage
  • Lasts 2 Rounds
  • Cornered
  • Removes and prevents Protect effects
  • Lasts 1 Round
  • Wide-Open
  • Taking additional damage from melee attacks
  • Lasts 3 Rounds
  • Fatal Blow
  • Defeats normal enemies with less than 30% health
  • Greatly damage bosses with less than 30% health
  • Lasts 1 Turn
  • Level 2 : The Iron Fist / White Hot Iron Fist
  • The Iron Fist
  • No Changes
  • Hidden Potential: White Hot Iron Fist
  • Unlocked by Heart of Shou-Lao
  • One Enemy
  • Unarmed Melee
  • Stealthy
  • Does not trigger counter-attacks or protect abilities
  • True Strike
  • Ignores most Avoidance effects
  • Ignore Defense
  • Damage ignores enemy’s Defense stat
  • Attacks penetrate Shield statuses
  • High Crits
  • Increased chance of critical hits
  • Deadly Crits
  • Deals extra damage on critical hits
  • Exploits Combos
  • Deals extra damage against targets with Combo Setup
  • Level 6 : Healing Chi / Praying Lotus
  • Healing Chi
  • No Changes
  • Hidden Potential: Praying Lotus
  • All Allies
  • Buff Heal
  • Heals all Allies
  • Prevent Debuffs
  • Removes harmful status effects from the target and prevents new applications
  • Lasts 2 Rounds
  • Stamina Recharge
  • Restores stamina
  • 3 Round Cooldown
  • Level 9 : Heart of Shou-Lao
  • Added : Hidden Potential
  • Iron Fist’s next action will be an upgraded version of the old skill with a new name (see “Hidden Potential” versions above)
Producer's Notes on Season 2 Part V Screenshot 2

Sugar Man isn’t a big fan of the Five Fingers of Death. Again, all players who complete Chapter 1 Mastery will receive BOTH the Scrapper and Bruiser versions of this uniform for free! Stay tuned for another update tomorrow as we continue counting down to the release of Season 2: Chapter 1.

PART VI: MUSIC AND SOUND

PART VI: MUSIC AND SOUND

Not a lot of pictures to post today because this one is about what you’re going to hear in Season 2. As with everything in this update, no stone is being left unturned.

Here are the areas you’ll hear new music:

  • Pre-combat screen
  • PVP landing page
  • Combats
  • Mission Maps


The Pre-combat screen and PVP landing page will always feature the same track, while combat and maps will rotate randomly between several selections.

Some of our music may be familiar, as it comes from other Marvel properties. However, none are more notable than one of our new combat tracks - the theme song from The Avengers! When we heard this for the first time last May, we knew we had to find a way to get it into the game. Season 2 provided us the perfect vehicle to update the sound for the whole game. So while it was a long time coming, we hope you enjoy it!

Next we have more than tripled our actual combat sound effects! We went through character by character painstakingly creating and defining new sounds for everyone in the game. From Captain America down to the smallest Maggia goon, the game will sound greatly improved.

Producer's Notes on Season 2 Part VI Screenshot 1

Because we really want you to give the updated sound in the game a listen, when the Season 2 update finally hits on... oh I almost accidentally said the release date there... Well, anyway, when it finally hits everyone’s music and sound will be turned on by default. Please feel free to turn it back off if you need to, but we ask that you at least give it a chance since we put a lot of effort into improving it.

Designer Jim did most of the sound implementation for this update. I asked him what his new favorite sound was. He had this to say “I really like Dr. Strange's new Bolts of Balthakk sound. It syncs up almost perfectly with his animation and just has a nice crisp magicky punch to it. I also really love every sound for The Destroyer.”

Producer's Notes on Season 2 Part VI Screenshot 2

Meanwhile one of my (Justin) favorites is the SC Delta test subject punching you with his purple blades. They sound really sci-fi and awesome!

There are a lot of other sound improvements too like the loot spins and pointing and clicking everything in the game. Leave your sound on for a bit and just take it all in. Let us know what you think of the sound once it launches. And since I didn’t have any new reveal images today, I’m just going to give you a sneak peek at Chapter 2. Talk to you tomorrow!

Producer's Notes on Season 2 Part VI Screenshot 3

Producer's Note on Season 2 - Part VII

Part VII - Research

Today we’ll take a look at the update to the Research section of Marvel: Avengers Alliance.

As you all know, research is incredibly difficult to navigate and find the things you are looking for. Today we’d like to announce that we’ve added a number of filters, as well as category tabs, to research.

Producer's Notes on Season 2 Part VII Screenshot 1

As you can see, there are 5 category tabs - All, Gear, Uniforms, Supplies, and Resources. Each has 3 common filters (show all Available, Locked, and Completed) that you may toggle on or off in any combination. Each also has unique filters. We’ll look at each of those below.

Producer's Notes on Season 2 Part VII Screenshot 2

On the gear tab you can sort by Ranged, Melee, or Gadget.

Producer's Notes on Season 2 Part VII Screenshot 3

On the Uniforms tab you can sort by Scrapper, Tactician, Blaster, Bruiser, or Infiltrator.

Producer's Notes on Season 2 Part VII Screenshot 4

Supplies can be sorted by Offense, Healing, and Defense.

Producer's Notes on Season 2 Part VII Screenshot 5

And lastly, Resources can be sorted by Iso-8 color.

This is one of the many smaller updates going into the Season 2 patch that make it a fresh new experience all around.

We know everyone has been waiting a long time for Season 2, and we ask that you be patient for just a little longer. Because of the size of this patch, the code is very complicated and we really have to make sure it’s all working correctly before we let everyone play. In the end, we know the gameplay is really fun, and we think it will be worth the wait. We don’t have any more planned releases before Season 2, so hang tight and you’ll be playing before you know it.

Producer's Note on Season 2 - Part VIII

Part VIII - Collect & Resend All

The Flight Deck feature you’ve always wanted is here! Introducing “Collect & Resend All.”

Producer's Notes on Season 2 Part VIII Screenshot 1

Players have wanted this feature for a long time, and Season 2 finally gave us the avenue to get it done. Simply speaking, when you click a “Done” flight deck dock, this option will present itself. If you click it, all “Done” jets will return and automatically send back the heroes they were holding for the same duration as their previous mission.

Producer's Notes on Season 2 Part VIII Screenshot 2

Which looks like this.

We hope you’ve been enjoying these notes and our eagerness to share our thoughts and development process here at Playdom on the MAA team. Please let us know in the comments if you’d like updates like this for future content and we’ll see what we can do.

This will be the last update to the Producer’s Notes for Season 2. I want to thank everyone on the team for working late hours and weekends to get this content ready for the world. Season 2 is really fun, and that’s due to the incredible passion our team has to make something really great. From the writing and the design, to the art and programming - everyone did an amazing job on this release and it shows.

Most of all we’d like to thank our fans for being so patient while we finished up and added all the great features that make Season 2 a new and unique experience in the game. We know waiting is hard because we play the game too.

See you all in London...

We know many of our players are excited about the release of Season 2. We are working hard to make sure that the final product lives up to our own expectations as well as those of our players. While Season 2 will not arrive today, you should not have to wait too much longer. We understand that some players may be disappointed that the wait for Season 2 continues, but we also want to make sure we keep the community as informed as possible. Thanks for your continued patience!

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Start a Discussion Discussions about Producer's Notes on Season 2

  • Producer's Notes on Season 2 Part I

    49 messages
    • That looks pretty awesome.
    • <div class="quote">TrickMayday wrote:<br />Yeah, the thing I was trying to parse out of all that information was...
  • Producer's Notes on Season 2 Part II

    21 messages
    • maybe in the future we'll have a PVP live. That will be cool, there will be lagger but it will be cool
    • The image above came from ''New Avengers Vol. 3 #2'', but what it just show us are the basics in the Einstein-Rosen Diagr...

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