How to insert foot into mouth. OR Unlock potential, build consensus, and drive positive change.

September 28, 2012

Marvel Avenger’s Alliance: Hero Level 13 and Beyond: Spirit of the Disciplines.

by Stan Faryna

Michael Jackson, Don’t Stop Until You Get Enough


Jack Steiner has a blog post about why it’s important to consistently write and publish blog posts.

What Happens If You Don’t Post Every Day

Among the topics Jack discusses therein… is his indecision about what is the best comment system he should be using on his blog. He’s using CommentLuv at the moment and I am in favor of it for several reasons – even if I can’t use it because this is a blog.

Among the things I had to say to him about this in my comment there, I suggested that he write blog posts about what is right and wrong about CommentLuv and his ideas about how CommentLuv could be better.

I mention Jack and my comment to Jack because this blog post is yet another exercise in me doing just that – unlocking potential, taking it out of the box, giving feedback, building community consensus for change, and, quite possibly, inserting foot into mouth.

The only other thing that I have to emphasize before I get into my epic proposal for changes in the game play of the Marvel Avengers Alliance…

Intelligent proposals have a structure and that structures looks something like this (more or less):

1. Introduction
2. Problem to be solved or advantage to be captured
3. Outline of solution
4. Potential contentions considered
5. Credentials
6. Call to Action

I haven’t listed these elements of a Proposal for Jack’s sake – in case that mistaken thought crossed your mind. Jack knows his shit. He is an effective writer.

But some of my fellow gamers tend to think that an effective proposal or counter argument should be a sprawling paragraph or two of attitude. They, however, will not succeed in life, business, leadership, and world-changing endeavors – if they keep on un-thinking like that. [grin]

I …

Hero Level 13 and Beyond

My proposal for Hero Level 13 and Beyond began here:

However, it’s obvious to me that not enough players have access to that forum. Also forum posts get buried.

This proposal reflects on how players of Marvel Avengers Alliance (FB or can advance heroes beyond level 12 because of the following reasons:

1. After all that effort and attention to leveling up a hero, Level 12 heroes tend become flight deck staff

2. There is little to no fun leveling up various “impotent” heroes or heroes that don’t personally excite me – and agent level ups alone, obviously, do not appeal to the majority of players.

There could have been 100’s of players at agent level 250 or higher on at this point of time, but we don’t see that happening. And there’s a reason for that. Alone, that kind of achievement just doesn’t excite most people. Myself, included.

I am not saying that the high level agent achievement is foolish or unworthy of respect!

3. The excitement, enthusiasm and story for a hero can not grow further – a bummer for the fan of a hero

4. PVP is monkey mindless-ness and, ultimately, disengaging at a certain high ranking: same top heroes fighting the same top heroes with (mostly) predictable and un-novel results

5. Playdom wants to add additional revenue streams but they need to do so in a way that does not un-balance the game

6. Playdom wants to retain more players for a longer period of engagement

7. Playdom wants to develop a game sustainability strategy that makes it number one in the social game industry

Spirit of the Disciplines

Hot Marvel Groupie: Remind me – what the hell is the point of the Danger Room?

Hawkeye: We build our strength, speed, stamina, agility and other things, baby.

[Hot groupie lights a cigarette and rolls out of bed – her long legs catch Hawkeye’s eye – again]

Hot Marvel Groupie: I think you need to put more time in the Danger Room, Mr. Flight Deck Manager.

[Hawkeye does a facepalm]

Heroes will level beyond 12, but there shall be no Gold-paid hero level speed ups after level 12. Every 3rd hero level, a hero trains in the disciplines. Training is initiated if the necessary experience is had (just like before) and at a fixed cost of say 500,000 silver (or 100 Gold) for each discipline training event.

In other words, discipline training would occur at the following hero levels: 13, 16, 19, 22, 25, 28, 31, 34

That is not Agent levels! I’m talking about Hero levels – in case you confused the two.

Discipline training does not prevent Playdom from adding additional Hero skills for training. And I hope that they would begin to add more skills by the Christmas commercial season (that starts the day after Thanksgiving – hint hint).

When a hero training session is completed, you have a roulette situation of 9 possible results. Permanent Stat increase “rewards” will look like this:

1. 300 Health
2. 300 Stamina
3. 50 Attack*
4. 50 Accuracy*
5. 50 Defense*
6. 50 Evasion*
7. 60 (Random Stat*)
8. 65 (Random Stat*)
9. 70 (Random Stat*)

The disciplines will create considerable variation among the same heroes of different players. Thus PVE and PVP game play will be more novel and less predictable. Such enhancement of heroes may also allow Playdom to develop more challenge and surprise in PVE within the context of future chapters and spec ops.

One more thing.

Omega Level Mutants will be able to roulette twice per discipline training event for an additional cost of 500,000 Silver (or 100 Gold). According to the Marvel storyline, Omega Level Mutants include Phoenix and Storm. I would elevate another two unlikely, problematic heroes to the Omega storyline. NightCrawler and Luke Cage, for example.

How dare we make new Omega Level Mutants without Stan Lee’s blessing?! Because our game should and must contribute and fuel the Marvel storyline. The direction of the Marvel storyline shouldn’t be so one-sided.

Questions and Problems

I’ve gotten some interesting and intelligent feedback on this solution. And I hope to get a lot more. Feel free to leave comments on this blog post!

Problem 1:

PVP will get a lot harder because some will level their heroes up and have higher stats.


As long as players can not pay for speed-up leveling, everyone has the same opportunity to level up their heroes and increase hero stats.

PVP has all sorts of problems, but as long as you aren’t matched to an opponent five (or more) levels above you, whatever their stat enhancements, such enhancements are not going to be grounds for a totally unfair fight.

Even though the business model is to sell Gold – paying players cannot have tremendous advantages at every vector – otherwise free players will be less interested and engaged in the 100+ side of the game and, ultimately, the community will dissolve.

Oh – fights are never fair. Especially in real life. [grin]

Problem 2: 

Random Variation of Enhanced Heroes is counter-intuitive to the player’s desire to develop the hero’s stats in accordance with their vision of the hero


Players would ultimately develop heroes in a popular manner based upon published formulas (as they do with ISO-8 socketing) and thus put us all back into the same situation of a lack of variation and novelty

Player vision (regarding hero development) can be supplemented by several means as illustrated below.

(1) Adding 8 additional ISO-Sockets – each socket comes with a fixed fee to use. Perhaps, 500,000 silver.
(2) Adding 8 tech sockets to the uniforms – we can talk about this later
(3) Player-choice between two or three skills per “skill addition level-up” as they level beyond 12

If you are a control freak and you want a free lunch, you ain’t ever going to be happy. Just like in real life. [grin]

Variety is the spice of life.

Problem 3:

People will only develop a few heroes (because of time and effort) and we’re back to the same problem of a lack of variety and un-novel results in terms of the same named heroes appearing in PVP.

Answer :

Yes and No.

Yes, the top heroes will be developed and have the same unprecedented representation in PVP. But they won’t all be the same because their stat enhancements were random results.

No, because we all have seen that there are some very passionate hero-fans that are so devoted to their heroes that they are going to throw themselves at making their hero relevant. Wolverine, Spiderman, etc. I’m willing to bet they put the most effort into developing their heroes in their bid to dominate the PVP scene.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see an uber Hawkeye – because someone is on a mission from GOD to show us all that we are mistaken about Hawkeye’s impotence. [grin]

Problem 4:

It’s too much work to level up heroes to a hero level 34.


You are free to play as you like. With as much or as little effort as you like. Just because it’s hard work and you don’t want to commit to that – doesn’t mean that it won’t make this a better experience for everyone else.

Part of the recipe for making a better world is supporting others, their vision and creativity – even when it doesn’t benefit you specifically and in an immediate and obvious manner.

Uplift others. This is the meaning of leadership. Not interested in being a leader and doing leaderly things? Then STFU and follow! [smile]

Problem 5:

The game is good as is (for me). When I’m bored, I’ll go find play another game. There is no need for me (or you) to think about how to make anything better.


The designers and programmers at Playdom need to produce value every fucking hour. They have to eat, pay rent, and acquire material verisimilitudes of happiness too, right?

If the design and programming teams aren’t making this game more engaging to new and existing players, making the most of Disney’s investment, and building new revenue streams through this game, then they can go home and – just like big daddy said…

“… hang, beg, starve, die in the street…”

– Romeo and Juliet, Act 3 Scene 5

Sorry, I get carried away when I imagine that people don’t have a fucking clue about why they get a paycheck.

Problem 6:

Random Stat Allotment is unpredictable and may result in disappointingly useless stat enhancements or overwhelmingly awesome stat enhancements.


Few rewards of human activity represent equal results and satisfaction. There’s a song by the Rolling Stones that explains it better than I could.

But if you try sometimes, you just might find you get you need.

In other words, opportunity is novel, interesting, and relevant. Results – they should be what they be.

Rolling Stones, You can’t always get what you want

Next Steps

If you like my proposal, you can act on one, two, three, four or all four calls to action:

1. You can go to this link and type, I Agree or whatever you say when you agree with something.

2. You can go to this link and type, I Agree or whatever you say when you agree with something.

3. Make a comment on this blog post and give it a five star rating

4. File a ticketed support request (category: suggestions) with this little message in the description:

I want hero level 13 and beyond!

For more info, read it here:

Stan Faryna (aka kobodaishi)
Editor of The Hero School Review – 30,000 readers strong
Omega Guild Facebook Group