Alright, so it's been awhile since I have put a blog up here and this one probably won't be as long as my past 3 blogs, but it's something I'd like to cover anyways, even though I know plenty of people have made similar blogs and comments about this.
So getting to the point, this blog came about primarily because of my experience with Spec Ops 16 (the one where Apocalypse and the Horsemen of Apocalypse were introduced to the game). Although PVP existed long before this point, I had largely ignored it even though I had my issues with it. Because it was a subject you can find discussed on ANY M:AA forum or message board I felt it was covered extensively already and didn't want to beat a dead horse with this topic. However as I mentioned already, Spec Ops 16 is what really got me into the mood to do a blog about this, because alot of the troubles I feel PVP suffers from can also be found with most of the Spec Ops and really any reward system, but Spec Ops are a prime example, particularily this one.
Anyways, let me start by addressing the problems with PVP, and I'll try keep it short because like I said, I'm basically reiterating points you've probably heard before. First there is the balancing issue, mostly this comes from the fact that people can and do spend real life money on items, characters and leveling up heroes without actually having to gain experience and play through the game. Concerning PVP this is a big problem, because by doing this a agent can keep his level low, yet still recruit many heroes which bolster their PVP stats and they can buy sweet items to help in combat or again bolster their PVP stats. And obviously leveling up characters with gold makes them tougher in battle and as with item and heroes, helps bolster PVP stats. So really if you had money to burn you could stay at the minimum level in PVP but make it all the way to Adamantium League thanks to the purchases you have made, since the PVP system has heroes of similar level facing off against each other.
Now okay, I can feel for Playdom on this issue; Avengers Alliance is a free-to-play game and they do need to make money somewhere, so I can't really blame them for looking to make some cash in return. And if someone wants to spend hundreds of dollars for virtual items in this game I guess that's their choice too. Someone who is a lower level user or doesn't spend money will have a harder time because of this, but can tough it out and eventually become a powerful agent if they stick to it, and that's without spending cash.
However the real problem I see is the rewards system Playdom has in place for PVP. Because people who have been playing the game longer or who readily spend money can get FREE items and characters with ease, while newer players that don't spend cash on this game will really struggle. And this is something I am speaking from experience about, having only joined around July 2013.
Look at it this way, A player who has been around from day 1 will or could have all the heroes available in the game at this point. This will raise their PVP stats immensely and provide them with several different combinations to choose from. The same applies to items that can be used in combat or socketed to bolster PVP stats. Now a new user won't have many heroes and won't have accumulated as many items to use or socket. What's worse is even if they try their best some items and heroes are limited time only and may take a long, LONG time to wind up re-introduced to the game, if ever. A perfect example is past lockbox heroes like Magneto or Omega Sentinel. The same can be said of PVP reward heroes and Spec Ops reward heroes, although PVP heroes are usually released after the following PVP tournament and some Spec Ops heroes like Havok and Valyrie have been re-released as purchasable heroes, so it is possible that maybe something similar will happen with those lockbox heroes. But the point is at any given time, some heroes will be unavailable to new players even if they save up their gold and CP to purchase them.
And even if they are able to purchase them the price a new player has to pay for a Spec Ops hero, PVP reward hero or lockbox hero is significantly more than what those who have been around longer have had to pay. That is because they are completely FREE if you do all the tasks or win enough in PVP. So using myself as an example I am about to try recruit Mockingbird, which will cost me 200CP (or equivilent amount of gold, but I never spend gold on recruiting heroes). Now someone who was around for the first Spec Ops only had to do the required tasks to earn her (which I think was getting 5 stars in the Spec Ops missions). That would cost them absolutely NOTHING. That's 200CP they could use on recruiting other heroes like Daredevil, Nightcrawler or Thundra. Assuming that we both had the same amount of CP and Gold, let's just say 200 CP and 45 Gold at most I could recruit Mockingbird plus one other hero, but the veteran player would have gotten Mockingbird for free, and spent the 200 CP on 2 of the other 3 heroes and then purchased the remaining third hero with the gold.
Now maybe it sounds like I am overreacting to this, but then consider what happens during the next PVP tournament. Having an additional 2 heroes means his stats will be better than mine, even if we have the same weapons and have the same heroes at the same levels as part of our team. So he'll hit harder, dodge more and take mroe damage than me, making it easier for him to win. This makes it easier for him to win the PVP reward hero, plus any items that are available for that tournament as well, making him even more deadly next time we meet. This is a situation of Playdom helping the strong get stronger and works against newer players unless they spend money.
This same principle applis to Spec Ops as well. Because sometimes specific heroes are required for deploy missions this means if they need a Spec Ops or PVP reward hero you weren't around for that you cannot complete the deploy. That's not usually a bad thing, just a minor inconvienence. However when the tasks require you to beat an epic boss and you can't compete the deploys required it means you'll have to spend gold to complete the task. So that puts you out 10-35 Gold, whereas a veteran player didn't lose anything on completing the task. So he can keep his Gold and get the hero.
Again, maybe this doesn't sound that bad, if you skrimp and save you can amass enough gold between Spec Ops to pay those particular tasks off, I know because that's what I do. However it does mean that you will be out a bit of Gold afterwards which you could have spent on something else and a veteran player likely will buy. And Spec Ops 16 is a perfect example of this. Because if you paid to complete the Epic Boss task you'll be out 25 Gold by the time you manage to recruit Iceman. But lets say you want to get all the Horsemen of the Apocalypse costumes as well. Well you may be able to earn Iceman's Death costume for free if you put in alot of hard work, but you may not have enough money to buy all three of the other ones if you need to rely on Gold to buy more CP. This is yet again another situation in which all the benefits work for veteran players and against newcomers.
Like I said a newcomer can tough it out and work there way up the rankings, but boy is it hard. While there are a fair amount of cheap heroes to purchase the best heroes usually end up being Spec Ops, PVP or lockbox rewards, which cost significantly more to purchase. So then it comes down to whther or not you want a better hero for your PVP team or do you want to get as many heroes as possible to bolster your PVP stats? It's a situation in which there is no easy answer, unless you are a veteran player, because then you can do both.
So that's where most people would leave the discussion when it comes to this, however I don't think complaining about the issue will solve it, finding solutions will.
Now again I'll say I understand that Playdom is looking to make some money on this game, so it'd be unfair to them to ask them to get rid of the option to use real cash to improve your team. And I also feel that there should be some reward for long-time players for sticking around with them since the beginning, so I can see that they are entitled to that. But my solution is why not make it easier for newbies to get Gold or CP than it is for veterans to earn? I'm not saying veterans should have to work harder to earn the same CP and Gold as newcomers, but maybe the odds for winning Gold and CP in the roulettes could be higher for newcomer and go down as you level up. That way you can still earn the same amount of CP and Gold regardless of how long you've been playing, but rookies will get a little boost to help catch up to those who are already well-off.
Lol, so yeah that ended up being longer than I expected and focused alot more on PVP than I thought, but I think these points are all valid. As I said I am a relatively new player to this game, and while I am doing well it really ticks me off to come onto a forum lookig for help to improve my PVP team or beat a tough boss and everyone is talking about how easy it is to do with this item I don't have or this hero I wasn't around for. To me that seems really unfair, especially when it prevents me from getting limited time items like the Horsemen alts. Of course I could save my Gold and CP for these things, but aside from it being very difficult to amass that much gold between Spec Ops, you also have no clue what is going to be up for sale and how much it'll cost until it is introduced in game.
For instance, the Chapter Reward Heroes in Season 2 require you to finish several different objectives to complete. In the case of Iron Fists Heroic Age costume in Chapter 1 I am missing Psylocke, Union Jack and Black Knight, so therefore I cannot do the Epic Boss fight for the Excalibur tasks which will prevent me from earning the costume. And it's not just Epic Boss fights, but Heroic Battles and Incursions as well which can keep you from earning these costumes. But players who have been around longer can earn these things with ease and become stronger for it, which makes it tougher for new players to beat them. It creates a loop in logic that works against new players.
Anyays just had to get that off my chest, and am interested to hear what other have to think about this. So until something else pops up I guess that's it for now.