As mentioned in last week’s episode of Strike Time, we are working on a number of feature improvements and forthcoming new content. In light of recent elevated community concerns, we’d like to share those with you today instead of waiting until next week as we had indicated a few days ago.
Farmable Character Cadence
One of the big questions surrounds how we release characters to be farmable via Campaign nodes, Stores, Orbs, or other methods. Moving forward, our goal is to make at least two previously unfarmable characters farmable each month. There may be rare months when we fall short of this goal but, at minimum, you can expect one previously unfarmable character to become farmable on the first Wednesday of every month. As we enter February in a few days, the first character to become farmable according to this new schedule will be Namor, who will be available on February 5th. Additionally, we will also introduce farmable paths for a few more characters (including the long awaited arrival of Colossus) later that same month.
New Campaigns & Orange Gear Availability
We touched on upcoming new content, and next week we’ll release two new Challenge tiers for all Challenges. The following week we plan to have out Heroes Campaign Chapter 7, where you’ll be able to get additional Purple Gear material & Character shards, and for the first time, Orange Gear materials will become farmable. Specifically, we’re planning on having two different Orange Gear materials per node in this new campaign chapter, with a similar drop rate to existing Purple Gear materials. Paired with that will be the release of our most formidable challenge to date: Dark Dimension III! Following that, we are targeting to have a new chapter of the Villains Campaign out in March and a chapter for Nexus campaign in April -- those will also contain Orange Gear materials. For additional access to Orange Gear, we’ll be adjusting the Raid store to allow you to use your Raid Credits to purchase the Orange Gear Raid Orb. This will be coming in the second half of February. These increases should result in at least a 150% increase in Orange Gear material. By no means does this mean we're done with our goal of increasing the availability of Orange Gear -- we'll continue looking for additional avenues to give players access to more of these resources in the game.
improvements to Red Star System
We’ve also been working on improvements to the Red Star system and want to share some updates now. The last change to Red Stars was made in v.3.2 to enable direct progression and add value to duplicate drops with the introduction of Elite orbs and Promotion tokens. We’ll be making more adjustments to this system in February that will include the addition of a Silver Promotion Credit to your Dailies rewards, give players two more red star orbs every week, and add Elite 4 credits as a reward to Challenges. We’re constantly looking to improve players’ red star progression and the overall red star economy, and will continue to improve the output and feel of this system, but know that these revisions will be an ongoing and iterative process.
Reducing “Low Quality” Time
Another thing the team is looking into is reducing the amount of time players spend in existing modes like Blitz. We have some features we’re trying out that we hope will reduce the low-quality time spent in that mode. We’re not ready to discuss those features in detail yet, in case we don’t end up being happy with them, but we do want you all to know that this is a part of the game that we’re actively looking to improve. If these features pass muster, then expect to hear more about them in the coming weeks.
On the feature front, there are several things that the team is working on to release in the first half of 2020. We discussed the Iso-8 system with you last year, and in October we ran a community playtest that generated a lot of great, constructive feedback that we took to heart. So much so, in fact, that the team decided to overhaul the system significantly, changing the mode from one that dropped Iso randomly to a deterministic fusion/progression system that emphasizes theory crafting. We heard the community’s feedback against the random nature of the old mode, and we changed it. When the feature launches, you’ll be able to farm your Iso in a new campaign with a new energy allowing you to not only get additional Iso-8, but also more gear and gold. As you equip higher tier Iso, you’ll unlock new abilities for characters specifically of your choosing. Again, the ability to theorycraft and give players more agency over the choices made in this mode were two overarching goals for our team during its rework, and those were a direct result of community feedback. Iso-8 is still a few months away, but we’ll share more news to come as its release gets closer.
Raid Difficulty Selector
Another feature we want to announce is the Raid Difficulty Selector. This feature allows alliances who complete a raid at a specific difficulty to increase the difficulty of current raids for added challenges and rewards. It will be applied to Ultimus 6 and Ultimus 7 at release, but we hope to use it in additional raids going forward. One of the reasons we wanted to get this out is that the feel of Ultimus 7 for most players is simply too hard, and making a one-size-fits-all approach to raids just didn’t seem right. To that end, we will also be flattening out--and generally reducing--the difficulty of Ultimus 7 to create a better experience, and allow players to use the Raid Difficulty Selector to find their own sweet spot.
Ultimus 7 Raid Difficulty
On that topic, we want to acknowledge that we’ve heard feedback that Ultimus 7 has increased in difficulty from when it was initially released. This is by no means intentional, and after investigating we haven’t seen any changes in the data of this raid. We’re not saying that the experience has no discrepancies, but we haven’t been able to replicate the perception of any variance in difficulty that some in the community have raised. As ever, we welcome your help and ask for any additional information about how your experience has specifically changed in Ultimus 7 over time as we continue to look into the issue on our side. We recently were made aware of an edge-case bug with Black Bolt with the help of the community, and we are currently fixing it. Additionally, the community was instrumental in identifying a raid difficulty bug associated with Stark Tech in the past, which has since been fixed. Your reports can and do make a difference. We remain on the lookout for any other bugs that could be affecting the raid experience.
The next feature we’re excited to discuss is a quality of life improvement that we’re calling Contacts. With this feature you’ll be able to add direct contacts in the chat screen, giving you the ability to direct message your friends! We believe this will not only be useful for players in-game who are friends with each other (who may not necessarily be part of the same alliance) but also used as a tool to help players contact alliance leaders and ask questions about joining their alliance, and so on.
New Game Mode: Real-time PvP
Another way that this Contacts feature will be used--and this is the big exciting one we hinted about in the last Strike Time--is, for the first time ever in Marvel Strike Force, you’ll be able to battle other players in a real-time PvP mode. This is something the team is incredibly excited about and has been a ton of fun to play during development. The initial uses of this new mode will just be for friendly challenges between your contacts and Alliance members -- including the ability to draft a team from your roster and ban opposing characters -- and also as a useful tool to test tactics and team builds. As we continue to iterate on this feature after its initial release, we look forward to improving it with new functionality that encourages competition and drops rewards. We’re still in the early phases of that design, so we can’t share all of the exciting details just yet, but we look forward to hearing your thoughts on how we can use real-time PvP to make Strike Force more fun.
WRAPPING IT UP...
As you can see, we have a lot of stuff coming in a short amount of time, and that’s partially due to the fact that a number of these features were unfortunately delayed. There are things happening in February that we initially wanted to happen over the last few months, which is why things may have felt a little light on content recently. One of those pieces of content is Cyclops, which we know the community has been asking for and we don’t want to hold him back again. We take the community concerns raised this week very seriously, and we hope this early look at our roadmap and the areas of Strike Force we’re working to improve helps to show that we are listening to your feedback.
As ever, we appreciate the time and effort that our community pours into Marvel Strike Force every single day, and we especially appreciate the passionate and respectful manner with which these concerns have been raised. We know that they come from the desire to make this the best game for everyone involved, and as stewards of this game, we share that same goal with all our players. Please do continue providing feedback and we’ll do our best to take it under consideration. We won’t be perfect, but we strive to continually improve. In the meantime, we will announce further details on these topics as we nail them down in the very near future. Thank you.