Saturday, January 18, 2014

Optimal Exp and the Cash Shop

If my records are right, the last time I added to the list of MMO's where I have capped a character was back in mid 2012(!).  I spent a decent chunk of late 2012 and all of 2013 re-capping characters who were not longer max level due to expansions, but failed to reach the cap in any new titles.  I finally broke the streak when I got Cyclops to level 60 in Marvel Heroes around a week ago.  The journey there is an odd commentary on exp boosts in the non-subscription era. 

Like most non-subscription titles, Marvel Heroes offers exp boosts in its cash shop.  You can get a limited number of these in-game; one exp boost and one drop rarity boost per character per difficulty from non-repeatable quests, and up to two random fortune cards (roughly 85% chance of containing a random boost) daily if you farm all the terminal missions and spend all of the cube shards accordingly.  They are also frequently thrown in with character bundles in the game's cash store, so I had a fair number of them in storage. 

Busting out the bonus potions for the last ten levels was a relatively obvious and easy choice - I spent the last 10 hours or so running anywhere from +50% to +200% in exp bonuses, and thus on paper shaved probably 10 hours off of my leveling time.  I had 30 minutes of bonuses adding up to +240% left on the clock when I finished, so I ran some legendary quests on Deadpool and advanced from level 25-29 as the last bonus expired (dropping me down to my new permanent baseline of 40%). 

In total, I definitely saved some time, I "wasted" some content (I didn't finish all of the story missions because they are tougher and less exp/minute, and I will need to do some of these later for quest rewards), and technically I didn't pay anything extra out of pocket since I got there entirely through thrifty use of stuff that came with hero bundles I was paying for anyway.  I wouldn't say the bonuses were required, but in a game where I will be continuing to repeat the content it's nice to be able to move on to the next objective early. 

Nothing here is broken - indeed, they're willing to "undermine" their own exp boost sales market by granting permanent bonuses for your alts relatively freely. (I'm currently at 41%, 42% soon, it's relatively easy to get to the mid 70's with four capped characters, and a player who caps all the heroes can actually have 210% permanently for all new characters that are added.)  It's just something to watch for, and something that games that don't use the exp curve as a revenue stream don't have to deal with.

(By contrast, Marvel Heroes has been very willing to add inventory clutter with currencies that don't go in its currency tab, massive variety of relics and boosts that are just slightly different so they can't be stacked, and a new runeword system that will add forty different runestones to the inventory.  They are very willing to make it easy to get more characters on which to acquire loot that needs to be stored but very inflexible when it comes to any discounts on storage.) 


ingvai said...

You have convinced me that, at the very least, my next goal is to get Cyclops to 50 for the Exp. synergy and that it is worth it to use some of the Exp pots. Got him from 40 to 43 in a about 1.5 hours the other night, so well on the way.

Now that I am firmly into alts, I am having trouble committing too much time to any one. In the long run, however, it is probably worth it to give high priority to getting Cyke to 60.

In other news, I dropped some cash on the gambling weekend event. Got Squirrel Girl as a random, which I didn't have nor would I buy, but she has a great synergy, so not a total loss.

Green Armadillo said...

I had some possibly ill-gotten G's from a reddit give-away of those nVidia codes before Gaz announced that they don't want people to give these out anymore. I spent most of these on the gambling sale, and got very lucky.

Bought Emma, got Scarlet Witch (new, okay I guess)
Bought Black Widow, got dupe Colossus (actually a 2nd ult token for him!)
Bought Hawkeye, got Spiderman (! new !!)

I.e. I spent 1800 in G's I didn't actually pay for and got 3600 G's worth of new heroes. The odds were that I was going to get one good hero out of three boxes, and I knew I would eventually play the guys I bought, but I wasn't expecting to snag the single priciest hero left on the board.

Meanwhile, I've gotten reasonably practiced at running new heroes through level 30 - Colossus in about a week and Gambit is looking about the same. As an aside, I don't understand Gambit - he does a ton of damage to enemies stupid enough to stand at the optimal range for his "shotgun" attack but he feels very weak in every other scenario.

mindofyngwe said...

That is some great luck. I have heard very good things about Hawkeye since his review.

I have a fairly wild and reckless hybrid style with Gambit. Sometime I bite off more than I can chew, but when I get his self-rez power, that should help things. I run with Black Suits (extra damage on melee after a ranged hit). Activate Ragin Cajun if up, Royal Flush, Bo Vault into enemies, then either 52-Card Pick-up or Grand Slam. Usually finish off with a basic power or roll out if I am going to die. I have the move speed relic on him to zip around a little better.

I have also heard that All In is a great melee power, sounds like Colossus's Siberian Express, but I am not high enough level yet.