Marvel Heroes 20XX is a free-to-play, Marvel-themed, Diablo-like video game. It is based on the Marvel Universe, though it pushes elements from movies, cartoons and other video games for the non-hardcore comics readers.
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What I wish I knew when I started…
This guide was written in mid-October of 2015. It briskly reviews all the essentials so you can orient yourselves and know what you’re doing.
This is not an endgame guide about raiding, cosmic trials, etc., though.
Almost all heroes can be freely played up to level 10 ; to go further you need to “uncap” them. When you create an account, it comes with one free uncap – once a hero reaches level 10 you’ll be asked if you want to use your free uncap.
More hero uncaps can be bought for real-world cash, or with an in-game currency called splinters. Costs vary by character.
The rational strategy is to use your free uncap on a high-cost hero (you can check the uncap costs with Adam Warlock at the Avengers Tower). Then, on the second day you log in, you’ll receive 400 splinters in your inventory.
With this significant sum you could buy two random uncaps from Adam Warlock. Buying random character uncaps when you have only one character uncapped means very low chances of a duplicate.
Of course, you might be focusing on playing specific characters rather than random ones, which means that this rational strategy isn’t the optimal one for you.
The main place to see sample power allocations and gear choices is Marvelheroes.info . However, keep in mind that :
- These are ideal, end-game builds that often feature very rare equipment and runes, perfect rolls on equipment, unrealistic amount of Relics, etc..
- The game changes often and the equipment recommendations may be obsolete ; check the date of the builds.
- The builds are often all about DPS. This is appropriate when it comes to the endgame, but you may want a little more durability, quality-of-life and endurance if you just play casually and/or have an extensive heroes roster.
- For instance, the emphasis on Brutal Damage makes more sense for very well-geared characters, with a lot of Omega experience, focused on Critical and Brutal odds and damage.
The best use for loot isn’t to sell it to vendors, but to donate it (alt-click to donate rather than sell). It gives experience to the vendors, who will provide more interesting items and services as they level up.
Getting a vendor all the way to level 20 takes lots and lots of loot, though you can also donate the S.H.I.E.L.D. receipts you get with your daily login rewards.
As of this writing you should focus on the Crafter vendors (in Avengers Tower, it’s Henry Pym, but that’ll level all Crafter vendors everywhere). They have many key services, including the important costume core (more on that later) once they reach level 10.
Next is the Enchanter vendor. After that the Gear and Weapons vendors provide minor benefits, though a Pet is more immediately useful if you have one (more on pets later).
You can use matched sets of Uniques to craft high-value items and donate those to vendors to level them faster, but that’s only of interest if you’re really, terribly fed up with donating.
The costume is the equipment in the lower left corner. It determines the appearance of your hero, but can also be enhanced with abilities you build at the Crafter. These use the elements that abundantly drop as loot.
There are 4 ranks of enhancements for a costume. For each rank you chose to craft a defensive or offensive affix, and something is rolled up in that category. By keeping the Alt key pressed and hovering your enhanced costume, you can see how high you rolled – 100% means the best possible result, 0% the worst.
Example : you craft a defensive affix and get additional health on your costume as a result. Pressing Alt over your costume displays in red “75%” for that health total. This means that :
- When selecting a defensive affix, the game randomly picked additional health.
- It then randomly determined how much health, and rolled 75% of the maximum health score for that rank.
As you can guess, people generally burn through elements and credits until they get the affixes they want, and with a sufficiently high roll.
The most important bit is the costume core. On a level 10+ Crafter, each character can see what components they’ll need to craft their costume core – it varies from hero to hero. The non-elemental components of the core (Vibranium , Promethium, Radiation, etc.) start dropping circa level 30, and come with random properties. People thus craft new costume cores when they find drops that would bring better affixes.
The costume core also determines the numerical values of *all* enhancements on the costume. If my rank 1 enhancement on a costume is + Critical Damage rolled at 100% (the maximum), it will add a set amount of critical damage. That doesn’t change on its own.
However, it will align with the level of the costume core – so if I have a level 40 costume core rather than a level 32 costume core, suddenly the amount of critical damage I get from that enhancement rises. It used to be 100% of a level 32 rank 1 enhancement, now it’s 100% of a level 40 rank 1 enhancement.
If you get extra costumes you don’t use, you can create a new random costume with 3 such costumes and a level 20 Crafter vendor.
Finally, you can exchange A.R.M.O.R. points for high-end costume core components. These have +1000 defense among their affixes. More about currencies later on.
Early on, green or even grey equipment will be valuable and you’ll want to compare everything to see what’s best to equip. However, as you level up grey, then green, then blue, then even violet (“epic”) items become trash loot to be donated to vendors or pets.
Epic and Cosmic items (violet and gold, respectively) will be the bulk of your gear at high levels – keeping in mind that insignias and rings are harder to find in these grades, and tend to be green and blue. However, the goal of the game for most slots is Uniques.
Pay a lot of attention to Uniques, keeping in mind that :
- A low-level Unique with particularly good rolls (view with Alt pressed) may be kept to be upgraded to 60 via a high-level Crafter vendor.
- A set of four identical Uniques of any level can be exchanged via a high-level Crafter vendor for a new lvl 60 Unique usable by the character making the trade. If you have the storage space to keep many redundant Uniques, it can be very useful to equip a character who just reached level 60, using the leftovers from other characters.
- Uniques can be fed to Pets (more later).
- Sets of Uniques can also be exchanged for Relics (more later).
- Level 60 Uniques can be upgraded using recipes sold by Hogun in Asgard.
- Uniques can be waaaay better than even Cosmics – right now my Iron Man is still better served by a low-level Unique than by any Cosmic I’ve found recently for that slot, which are 18 levels higher.
To play comfortably you’ll probably need to buy an extra tab ($5), perhaps two. Heroes come with free storage if you buy them with real money, but these are hero-specific tabs (though certain unassigned bits of equipment like rings or uru-forged items will also fit in).
Quick considerations :
- There are some high-value pieces — such as good artefacts, certain Any Hero Uniques, Uniques for a character you intent to play soon, cosmic medallions, certain cosmic rings, certain high-roll epic insignia — you’ll want to keep for future characters if space is available, because these are a pain to find.
Note that the “best” equipment isn’t necessarily the one in popular builds, which tends to be very heavy on DPS at the expense of survivability.
- You only need to keep plenty of elements if you’re crafting and re-crafting costume affixes for multiple characters to get them right. Otherwise, each character will find the elements they need as they adventure ; just keep a full selection of tier 7 elements, which are the ones you need to craft new costume cores. If there is a need you can always split one into numerous lower-order elements at the Crafter.
- Likewise you’ll eventually have to determine which Runes not to stockpile. Keep in mind that not *everybody* has to use the highest-end DPS Doop runewords, many other runewords are just fine (such as River of Souls for Spirit-starved characters). Also see what runes you can buy with A.R.M.O.R. points.
- Unstable molecules and matrices of unbinding are important to keep, as are extra costumes and perhaps a few StarkTech cubes for characters you are levelling or are planning to buy.
Relics can be piled up (up to 1,000) in a dedicated slot ; they bring health and a small bonus (or just health for Relics of Chandilar).
Relics have diminishing returns for attributes other than health – the square root of the number of relics in the stack. So 36 relics bring six times the bonus of a single relic, 49 bring 7 times the bonus of a single relic, etc. These are likely sweet spots for casual players with multiple characters.
Pets are an equipment slot, though you can also summon the pet as a visible presence in the game world. They are “fed” loot – green loot raises the green bar, blue loot the blue one, etc. and you need 8 Uniques to max the last bar. Some loot (grey items, rings, medallions, team-up stuff, etc.) cannot be “eaten”.
The “J” key can also pick everything eligible on the ground and feed it to the pet – it doesn’t pick Cosmic and Unique items, so that’s perfect if you’re already clad in such equipment and lesser loot has become vendor trash for that character.
If you’re not happy with the affix from a maxed-out pet experience bar, it can be reset at the Crafter so you can fill it again and see if the new result is better. Levelling a Pet right can thus be a lengthy behaviour.
Pets are not bound to a character, and it thus makes sense to have your first Pet cover many bases so all your characters can use it (say 8% health, +50 Spirit, +10% to brutals, +1 to all Powers, +3 Fighting).
As of this writing the easiest way to get a Pet that all your characters can use is, without spending real-world money, to buy Old Lace from Adam Warlock for 350 splinters. An alternative is Doop for 2000 Cosmic Worldstones (more about currencies later).
Team-ups are computer-controlled characters accompanying your character. They aren’t as powerful but are nevertheless very useful.
As of this writing the two free Team-Ups are Pirate Deadpool (which requires a series of hidden achievements, with one bit taking place in Chapter 9 of the story mode) and a generic S.H.I.E.L.D. agent (recently made available in Chapter 3 of the story mode). More can be bought using splinters.
Team Ups have several modes. Most characters who melee will prefer their team-up to accompany them using the default mode. For ranged characters who engage at max range the “passive” mode can be preferable – since otherwise your team up will be too far away from the battle to react, unless they have an aggressive AI.
Team-Ups come with a small inventory space (shared among all your team-ups) and can equip specialized team-up items, some of which enhance the stats of your main character.
They gain levels and power points much like player characters, though their power menu is much smaller. Note that some of the skills only work in “passive” mode.
Legendaries and Odin Marks
Odin Marks are one of the game’s currencies. If you look at your quests window you’ll find Legendary Quests (short missions) that earn Marks, and Shared Quests (that earn all sorts of currencies including Marks, especially for the first one in a given day).
The first use of Odin Marks is usually to buy a Legendary item, for the Legendary equipment slot on the left. These can be equipped at any level. Legendary items gain experience along with your character, unlocking tiers of powerful bonuses as they level.
A common choice is a DPS-centered Legendary (Gungnir for mixed damage types, the axe for Physical, the Cosmic Control Rod for energy, etc.) though some builds prefer less DPS-focused items.
Later on Odin Marks can be used for various high-end bonuses, such as adding Blessings to your best artefacts.
Once one of your characters hits 60 you unlock the Hammer Bay hub. There you can get weekly and daily quests to raise your Influence (max. 200 influence/week), plus an Influence buff.
These quests give you valuable Commendation currencies, and the Influence itself will unlock important resources such as upgunned Legendary items, or recipes to upgrade medallions.
Event vendors and currencies
In Avengers Tower these are vendors in the room at the far left, behind Jarvis. Have a quick look to see what you can buy – random or set Uniques, pets, portals to special zones, etc.
Like with some other vendors, their inventory is *not* set – you need to refresh it to see more wares, but you can only refresh so many times during a given period.
These vendors correspond to week-long rotating events (A.R.M.O.R. week, Omega week, etc.) during which earning these special currencies (A.R.M.O.R. drives, Omega files, etc.) is much easier.
All currencies are shared among all your characters, and listed in the Currency tab under your inventory in the Character window.
Other currencies are :
- The splinters are the big one if you can’t/won’t spend real money on the game. It can buy character uncaps, a Pet, team-ups, rare crafting resources, an extra storage tab, etc. To simplify, splinters drop every 8 minutes when you are adventuring.
- Recommendations exist in several tiers. The most accessible ways to get Recommendations are the daily quest in Hammer Bay (that also earns Influence), and the Shared Quests in your missions window.
Terminals and one-shots
The Legendary Missions and the Shared Quests often take place in specific zones called “terminals” or “one-shots”, accessible from any teleportation pad.
Terminals are small zones based on story mode zones. Green terminals are easy and are accessible by level 20. Red terminals are a little bit harder. Cosmic terminals are more noticeably harder, and are accessible by level 60.
One-shots are larger, more original zones that will take longer to complete. They are noticeably harder than story mode or red terminals. As of this writing all one-shots have a sub-quest within, and an event with a countdown that can cause you to fail and be expelled from the zone before you can finish.
There aren’t many hotkeys on the interface, and it is common to be short by one or two. There exists a small fan-made tool to add hotkeys by editing an .ini file.
For instance, you could assign your movement power (something not used in combat) and a basic attack (for most characters, a stopgap measure for when they run out of Spirit) so that they are available but do not use up slot in your “core” bank of hotkeys.
At level 25 and 50, your characters unlock a bonus that can be used by all your characters. These are in the Synergy tab of your Powers window.
You have to toggle these bonuses on. For instance, if I want my Black Widow character to benefit from the bonuses unlocked by my high-level Luke Cage, I open the Widow’s Synergies list and toggle Luke on.
Each character can have 10 synergies active. If your roster is 10 characters or less, just have everybody activate everybody’s synergies. Beyond that, you’ll have to pick what’s most appropriate for any given character.
Once a character hits 60, they provide an unlisted Synergy-like effect – all your characters will level to 60 faster. Each additional character who reaches level 60 provides a further boost.
Prestiging resets your character to level 1. You keep all your bonuses from story mode quests (extra power points, health, spirit, etc.) but the equipment with a minimum required level to equip will have to be set aside until you level back again.
Prestiging comes in tiers and every time you need more experience to level. You can’t earn the story mode bonuses again if you already obtained them, including those story reward boxes that drop precious splinters. Experience from quests stills accrues, though.
Prestiging unlocks a pet that can be bought by spending credits (the Iron Buddy), but this Pet can only be used by characters who are on the matching Prestige tier.
The main points of prestiging are :
- Get to level again a character whom you like.
- You get a free base costume every time you prestige, and 3 extra costumes can be crafted into a new random costume (level 20 Crafter vendor required).
- If you have level 60 characters, your new characters can outlevel the story mode way too quickly due to the experience bonus. So you may choose to set outlevelled quests aside and do them during your green prestige run if you like that character well enough.
All experience you earn on any of your heroes also levels your Omega score, earning points you can spend on special abilities. This effectively becomes your experience bar once you reach the maximum character level. Omega abilities can be accessed from the Powers window.
It’s hard to go wrong by pouring your early points into S.P.I.N. technology (in the Nanotechnology section) since fighting bosses is normally where the rubber hits the road. Getting all ten levels in S.P.I.N. technology will take a good long while, leaving you time to understand where your Omega points will be best used.
MH is at this point a casual game, without a lot of difficulty involved – unless perhaps one raids or aims for the Cosmic Midtown play mode. It’s mostly good to relax and for the pleasure of building a character, though there’s little actual need to have everything maxed out with the best-in-slot gear.
Oh, and in the gameplay options there’s a tickbox for automatically collecting medkits and credits at a respectable distance. I almost forgot to mention that one.
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Writeup completed on the 20th of October, 2015.