After three days of struggling to implement the latest patch for Marvel Heroes (the servers were down were a bulk of that time), it has finally released. During that three days, I downloaded roughly 15GB: the initial patch that failed, the revert to the old patch, then the new patch again, so it was lucky for me I had recently picked up Kingdom of Amalur and had something else to play on my days off, instead of hounding Gazillion on the forums.
Human Torch, a.k.a. Johnny Storm, arrived with the patch, the first of many heroes to be released post-launch. From what I've been hearing and reading he seems to be a success, outside of a few bugs that have lingered from the test servers. He looks fun to play with a self heal, damage reduction, mobility, medium to high dps, and loads of sarcasm; he might even have funnier lines than Deadpool. Many players are hesitant to purchase him right away, and I don't blame them. The main concern is he'll be nerfed or altered after the devs see how he plays on live servers.
*Update: I realized this morning I had enough Gs saved on my account from when they compensated players to pick up Human Torch. Wow, he's insanely fun to play. I haven't found a bad attack on him yet, as most of them are fiery, aoe explosions (that includes an aoe attack that leaves the Fantastic Four symbol on the ground), so it appears he's going to have a lot of different builds. Plus, his movement animation is flying, something I wish Iron Man had. To top that off, he has a still-glitchy ability called Flame On that leaves a devastating trail of fire in his wake and also increases his speed. Safe to say, Iron Man and the rest of my heroes are being shelved. Human Torch is now my main.
Luckily, unless you're in a hurry, there's no reason to purchase a hero with real-world money. Ever. The biggest change in this patch is how players obtain new heroes. The random drop system, which was a nightmare (I ended up with only Cyclops as an original drop after 170 hours worth of play and 48% special find), has been thrown away. Instead, eternity splinters were introduced. They are a form of currency that drops at a steady click, and 200 - 600 splinters allow you to purchase the hero of your choosing. While it sounds like a high number, a dedicated, hardcore player could probably snag at least one hero a week. For me, who plays roughly eight to ten hours a week, I'll probably have a new hero in a month. Yesterday, I earned 25 splinters in a couple of hours while switching between leveling Cyclops and doing endgame on Iron Man.
There were a few additions to Story Mode in the patch but not enough to get me crazed about the game the way I was when it first released. I'm still a little bored with leveling new heroes, even after completing a new quest that involved fighting Venom's symbiotes in a NYC building. Gazillion would do well to add interesting quests and small villain stories such as this to liven up the low level experience, and I'm sure they plan to, yet that was not their main concern this time around.
Patch 1.11 was focused on a platform overhaul, and the improvements were noticeable the moment I joined a brand new endless dungeon called Midtown Patrol. As of this moment, I'm actually capable of group content without excessive lag, and Midtown Patrol, which replaced Limbo, might be my favorite piece of endgame. In it, players wander around Manhatten while swarms of mobs with accompanying mini-bosses appear. Eventually, supervillains appear, and they tend to arrive in supervillain groups. It gets a little crazy with nine or so players taking down Rhino, Wizard, and Bullseye or Magneto, the Blob, and Lady Deathstrike all at the same time. The best part of the new group terminal is players can come and go as they please. There's no timer or threat meter. You join, fight, and when you decide to do something else, you leave without punishment or feeling as if you're missing something.
Also, Gazillion tossed Bitraider for a new launcher. I was fed up with Bitraider before I fully downloaded the game before launch, switching to Steam, and from the countless complaints on Facebook and the forums, I'm not surprised they found something else. From what I've seen, there have been a few kinks but players seem to enjoy the new launcher more.
Possibly my favorite part of the patch is materials for crafting finally stack. I have three times the room in my storage than I did a few days ago due to this much needed change, and I'm no longer stressed or suspicious that Gazillion is trying to herd me into purchasing more space. They added more artifacts and cosmic gear that drop in the game, as well as items, such as potions, pets, and costumes, to the store, but I believe I'm beyond purchasing anything else...unless they release Silver Surfer.
Heroes were either revamped or completely ignored this time around, depending on which hero you play. I'm sure the developers will continue to balance them, but part of what frustrates me about this game is playing as Iron Man and feeling useless. By the time I clear a couple henchmen, heroes like Cyclops and Storm have cleared out an entire room with one attack. For one of the upper tiers of heroes, meaning one of the most expensive to obtain, it's confusing that Iron Man is so weak. On the forums, the compliments about his talent trees and abilities are few and far between, if present at all. As an example, he has an entire tree dedicated to shields, which after the shield bug fix, makes a lot of them worthless; Iron Man needs to be reworked, as do some other heroes.
All in all, Patch 1.11 is a major step in the right direction. Gameplay performance improved, as well as the UI. Heroes are chattier and faster in the hubs. Chat functions improved. Even small things like damage numbers appearing (if you toggle it) add much needed customization--for some reason, seeing my damage on the screen keeps me entertained, helps me adjust tactics and abilities. When scrolling over a terminal daily, there's a pop-up added that informs you whether or not you can earn a cube shard for the day; patch by patch, Marvel Heroes continues to improve.
I hope they can keep the current pace and start concentrating on adding new content, especially in Story Mode.