News Article

Dev Blog 2: Items


I am TheArtofRawr, Lead Systems Designer for Marvel Heroes 2016, and in case you haven’t heard, we are working on the biggest systems update in the history of the game! Last week, we shared a glimpse of what we have in store for you, focusing on Hero Power Updates, and in particular, Power Points, Talents, and Traits. As we mentioned, we will be updating four core game systems over the course of multiple game updates:

  • Hero Power Updates
  • Item Updates
  • Omega System Updates
  • Personal Difficulty Slider

Last week, we discussed the changes to Hero Powers. Today we will be discussing Items, and more specifically, Bonus Power Ranks and what to expect from Item drops in the future.

Bonus Power Ranks

As we mentioned last week, Powers will now have the benefits of maximum Power Points allotment incorporated directly into their stats at all times, scaling with your level. So now that power scales as you level, bonus power ranks become obsolete, and Items will no longer need to grant power point bonuses. This expands the design space tremendously, but what does this mean for existing Items?

When this update launches, all current Items that grant Power Points will be adjusted in some way. The affixes that granted Power Points (e.g., “+1 Power Rank to Shield Throw,” “+1 Rank to Furious Lunge,” etc.) will be removed, and we’ll be performing a balance pass on Unique items to ensure their continued viability. One of the main ways we will be adjusting Items is through the addition of more Attributes such as, Strength, Energy, Fighting, etc. With the new Traits system, these will become far more desirable for all Heroes. This also means that Items in the first five slots (hereafter “slots one through five”) of common through cosmic rarities will be losing Power Point bonuses and Power Point grants in favor of Attributes and other bonuses that will be more advantageous. Here are some examples of Uniques in their current state in the game now compared to their new versions after the system update:

Furthermore, all Items and recipes that grant Power Points are being reviewed and updated. This also includes the cosmic tier of Cybernetics, which will get some fun new powers. Keep an eye out for the full list of changes down the road.

The Future of Items

Currently, Item rarity for slots one through five Items progresses from Uncommon to Rare, Rare to Epic, Epic to Cosmic, and Cosmic to Unique. Uniques have acted as a ceiling that’s limited us from expanding to new rarity tiers in the Item system. So we are replacing their spot in the item hierarchy with something far more expandable and powerful. As a result, Unique slots one through five Items will no longer drop in game. But don’t worry–any and all Unique Items you have earned will still work as before.

Starting with this update, instead of Unique drops, you’re going to get something much, much better...

Introducing: Omega Rarity

So if Uniques are no longer dropping, what loot will players hunt for? We are introducing a new Rarity Tier: Omega Rarity. As mentioned, these will replace Uniques in the rarity pool for slots one through five Items. They will only drop at level 60 and will be tightly integrated into our new Difficulty Slider system that we will discuss in an upcoming dev blog.

Omega Items are broken down into two distinct components. The first is a series of randomly rolled affixes from a shared pool. These are similar to the random affixes that can roll on uncommon through cosmic Items, but retuned and with new affixes added. The randomly rolled affix pool will be “filtered” for each hero. This means that you won't ever find things like summon ally damage on an Item for Blade.

The second component of an Omega Item is the Omega Power. The goal for Omega Powers is to enable players to modify their powers in ways that can palpably impact your build choices. Make no mistake about it–Omega Items will be build-defining mechanics rather than static buffs to Powers. While we don’t have any screenshots of the Items under development, we want to share a few mockup examples of the new Omega Items. (Note: these mockups are not final and may possibly change before going live).

The goal of these is to make some simple and fun options for players that will impact what powers you select. This Black Cat Omega Power is just that. This item adds a Caltrops power to Black Cat’s Quick Getaway much like the one Deadpool has.

This is one of the first Omega Powers that we designed. It is an elegantly simple, yet highly effective power. Notice how it makes Shield Bounce much more powerful and compelling to use.

For ages, Rocket Raccoon players have wanted Photon Minigun to pierce targets (damage projectile will continue through enemies and strike enemies behind them). In this update, it becomes an Omega Power.

Mjolnir is one of the most iconic and powerful Items in the Marvel Universe, and it will have an Omega Power tantamount to its status.

War Machine currently gains different ammunition bonuses depending on different abilities he uses. Before this update, this mechanic was limited to ranged builds, but with Omega Items, it will become available to melee players too.

We hope you enjoyed this sneak peek into Omega Items. There’s a lot more in the works where these came from! Lastly, there is one more order of business we need to discuss regarding the impact of the new Omega Item update: Any-Hero Uniques.

Rare Boss Items

If we are building our Omega Items to impact hero powers in a specific way, what does this mean for Any-Hero Uniques? Having Any-Hero Uniques compete with Hero Uniques has been problematic for a long time. First, it’s expected that Captain America should use Captain America’s shield, for example, and that Iron Man should use Iron Man’s armor. While the idea behind Any-Hero Uniques is mechanically innocuous, it is thematically inconsistent with the Heroes and the Marvel Universe. We still want bosses to have rare Items that you hunt for that are very powerful, but we are moving away from those going into slots one through five. Instead, they’ll be in different Item slots including Artifacts, Medallions, Rings, Insignias and others.

As you can infer, the Items Update extends to many areas. Some of the more nuanced subtopics involving Loot Tables, Medkits, crafting changes, and so on will be unpacked in future dev blogs.


This is the second in a series of dev blogs aimed at sharing some of the exciting changes coming in the biggest systems update in the history of the game! As we mentioned previously, we plan to open up a Test Center build in October. In the meantime, keep an eye out for the next dev blog in which we will be unveiling the Omega System Updates.

Or should we say the Infinity System?...


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