I’ve been around enough to see some very strange patch notes. Square-Enix has some for March 18th that are really a head scratcher.
Extending the Leveling Process
The single player campaign gets you to around level 15 of 50. From that point forward, you need to play repeatable missions (e.g. grind) to get to 50. That process is linear today, so 1-2 takes as long as 45-46. That entire process is pointless, as it’s not possible to have the best gear drop until you’re 50. If you’re actively grinding (I had a post on this), you can do 1-50 in about 2 hours.
The patch notes indicate that the time to level between 25-50 is going to increase. No idea what the value will be, but certainly more. Why? The levelling experience is nearly identical to the one at 50 (minus Hives), so what? The explanation is that new players get skills too quick, which is a business twist if I’ve ever seen one. If the process is mindless, it’s effectively impossible to have any player groups form, this seems more like it will reduce player retention. Very odd. Or not…
Replacing the Cosmetic Reward Structure
Currently, cosmetic rewards come from leveling, lockboxes, and random drops. Once you’ve hit 50, there’s no real way to target a cosmetic aside from gambling or outright buying it on the store, which itself appears random. Avengers is a weird game where there is no partial cosmetics, it’s an entire player skin with no customization. I get why, the IP needs to be protected, but it’s also a horrible model when you end up with 4 hulks who are identical. The good news here is that cosmetics have zero impact on power levels, so there’s no link to gear drops and your look.
There’s no real clarity at what the end goal is here. However, they are stating that all random drops and leveling rewards are being removed and added to the cosmetic vendor. So read into that I guess.
Combined, these types of changes remove interest in people who have bought the game already. From that, I would bet dollars to donuts that Avengers is going to convert to F2P before the summer. Hawkeye will be the last ‘free’ item provided to the player base, and from then on, everything will be in the F2P mode.
If you’ve been following Avengers, then this really is the only logical conclusion. The single player experience is still frankly amazing, and then after 5 hours or so, it’s done. A F2P swap won’t really change that, just make it more accessible I guess. Until there’s a serious effort to put in content with value at max level (Mega Hives are not that), then there really isn’t any long term view here. It’s similar to Anthem, just a different set of problems that are going to end with the same conclusion.