One of the bigger complaints from Marvel’s Avengers beta was that loot was invisible. Today, we finally know why picking up and equipping loot doesn’t have any cosmetic effect on your character.
During any one of the 80 co-op missions in the game, you have the chance to pick up loot boxes to upgrade your character. Typically, we think of loot boxes as having items that are not only a boost to the actual equipment that you have—armor, weapons, etc—but also look cool. Avengers doesn’t do that. Instead, cosmetic changes and character upgrades are separate elements of the game.
Speaking to our editor-in-chief Kirk McKeand, Marvel’s War Zone director, Philippe Therien, discussed exactly why they decided to go this route. When asked why the developers decided to go against the grain and prevent loot from changing the look of the characters, Therien said,
“The look of your character is really different to the functionality of your character. It’s always a design decision to choose how you’re going to address that, but the heroes have such cool, iconic looks that it would be nearly impossible to make something that stays cohesive with the amazing look these characters have. There’s so much thought and detail that went into these outfits that it would be really difficult to break these apart. Then if you did, it wouldn’t be the same heroes anymore. It would just be this weird mix of different outfits. So we decided to split it up.”
Therien further contended that “There’s so many of these games now that just added a cosmetic system on top of the game because a lot of people would rather just look the way they want, rather than be bound to equipment. I think that was the right choice for this kind of game, for superheroes.” The development team and Marvel discussed this particular issue and mutually decided that this was the best route to go in, rather than having loot that changed the way the characters looked in any meaningful way.
All of this ultimately amounts to the idea that loot boxes should be purely for stats boosting and cosmetic choices should be purely for the sake of aesthetics. Based on feedback from the beta, many of you disagree with this choice and would rather have loot boxes that feel more substantial, more rewarding than a stat boost that you can’t see. Part of the problem that the development team ran into was that standardized loot boxes just wouldn’t work for every character. For example, armor or weaponry for the Hulk would be useless for Black Widow and vice-versa.
The raw arguments for separating cosmetic changes and stat boosts in the loot boxes makes sense. However, when you embark on a 90-minute mission and come away with nothing to show for it, it can be extremely disheartening. You have to wonder if there wasn’t a better option. Surely there is a way to show that you did something difficult and earned a reward. As it is, all you’ll get at the end of your missions is a stat boost – grinding XP for the sake of XP. Hopefully, things will change with an update.
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