Marvel: Avengers Alliance - Players Assemble!

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A few months back, in conjunction with the mind-blowing success that Marvel's The Avengers garnered from the big screen, Playdom released Marvel: Avengers Alliance as a Facebook game, drawing fans from all corners of the globe to dwell on the ever expanding Marvel Universe outside the comic books.

Marvel: Avengers Alliance lets you take on the role of a SHIELD agent (with 'agent' as your first name *wink wink*) entrusted with the responsibility to take on the evil forces bent on throwing the world out of balance with the discovery of an element known as ISO-8.Yes, it's a Facebook game with an actual story.

The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!

One of MAA's winning features that still keeps me hooked on to it is the ever growing number of heroes that you can recruit to your team. As the cliche goes, variety is the spice of life; in this case, any game.

To date, there are 35 recruitable heroes, most of whom are in one way or another associated to the Avengers in the comic books. Recruiting them would require command points, which are earned by defeating a boss in every mission in order to gain access to the boss roulette. The roulette gives you a random chance to win a prize from among nine items, which include command points in numbers 1, 3 and 5. One of the most recent updates to the game is that you can now buy yourself a second shot at the boss roulette with 5 gold, though the way I see it, it's more economical to spend that amount of gold directly in exchange for 10 command points, considering your only concern is to accumulate as many command points to recruit as many heroes throughout the game.

The other alternative to earn command points is to receive a four-star mastery in any mission, which rewards you 1 gold that you can exchange for 2 command points, and, if you feel like it, a five-star mastery, which rewards you 5 command points, though I should warn you this would definitely take a big chunk of your time.

Battle System

MAA's battle system is basically turn-based, though the order of turns is always randomized in each battle. True, it may feel a tad tedious in the long run, and that's where the variety offered by the number of heroes you recruited comes in. You can only choose two heroes to enter a battle alongside your agent, one for battles with a predetermined hero. Let's do a bit of combinatory mathematics: we have 35 heroes to choose from, and 2 spaces in every standard team, so the number of combinations you can do would be approximately 600, which is a big enough number that will keep on growing with every new hero that Playdom and Marvel introduces into the game. Devise the most effective combination of heroes to handle a specific set of enemies, or to keep things intriguing, put together one that would in all probability be slaughtered by your foes in a matter of mere turns. Your call, agent.

PvP System

Also one of MAA's recent updates is the PvP (player versus player) system's 5-battle-per-day feature which rewards you 50 experience points per victory plus an arbitrary 45 bonus points. You will be confronted by a random opponent for every battle, regardless of the other party's combat statuses. Also, the members of your opponent's superhero team will not be revealed to you before a battle, so you'll have to choose your superpowers wisely.

Your party's overall offense and defense is determined by the PvP bonus every item you decide to add to your Armory grants. The way I see it, it seems the rarer an item is, the higher the bonuses you'll receive. All players start off with one 12-socket page in the Armory. Simply research for a PvP Bonus Expansion in order to unlock the next page for additional sockets. Note that there are only four unlockable pages in your Armory, excluding the first one you should be able to access by being a player.

The level of your recruits are also taken into account in determining your chances of triumphing over your opponent. MAA's superpowered cast can be divided into six categories: Tacticians, Blasters, Bruisers, Scrappers, Infiltrators and Generalists, each of which boosts a certain combat status in a PvP battle: HP/SP, Attack, Defense, Accuracy, Evasion, and All Stats, respectively.

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Hero Classes

Speaking of which, MAA uses something akin to the 'rock, papers, scissors' routine in its battle system, such that every class is set to be weak against one class, while being in a way more effective against the other. Below illustrates the strengths and weaknesses of all existing classes:

  1. Tacticians are granted two turns by attacking Blasters
  2. Blasters inflict defense-ignoring critical hits upon Bruisers.
  3. Bruisers gain the Enraged status, which boosts both attack and defense, by attacking or being attacked by Scrappers.
  4. Scrappers attack Infiltrators twice in a single turn.
  5. Infiltrators gain Combat Awareness (ability to counter any attack) by attacking or being attacked by Tacticians. The Combat Awareness status will last for only one turn.
  6. Generalists do not present any visible advantages over any other class.

In a nutshell...

Marvel: Avengers Alliance is unlike any other social games on Facebook (aside from the fact that the game is also available on Playdom's website) such that the game shows so much potential in keeping player experience fresh while laying itself out as a whole new universe, in addition to the near endless number of worlds in the Marvel multiverse, filled with a near endless reserve of possibilities to be explored. Did I mention it's the only game I've seen on Facebook with a narrative?

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