When Marvel's Avengers debuted at E3, players had a lot of questions about how the game worked. On stage, head of studio Scot Amos mentioned a lot of features of the game that didn't necessarily seem to fit with the linear, single character gameplay demo that was shown. The four player co-op, multi-year live-service game Scot described contradicted what had just been shown, and left fans confused and skeptical. Further, the promise of free new characters, while exciting, was also a head scratcher considering the cinematics and story-driven approach that opened the presentation. Players were confused, and understandably worried.
At a closed-door meeting during PAX West this weekend. Scot Amos offered a detailed breakdown of the campaign, multi-player, and the over all vision for Marvel's Avengers. During our hour-plus session we got not only got to play the game (which was a blast) but also had the opportunity to ask Scot all of our questions about game, and specifically, how co-op works. Here's everything we learned about playing co-op in Marvel's Avengers
Hero Missions And Warzone Missions
There are two types of missions in Marvel's Avengers. Hero missions are the main campaign missions of the game. These missions are unlocked in a mostly linear fashion, and not only progresses the story, but also unlocks your hero roster, restores their powers through upgrades, and expands the number of playable areas in the game. These missions are single player only and each one is locked to a particular hero. You'll need to progress a certain amount in the campaign to have access to all of the heroes in multiplayer, as well as unlock a variety of Warzone missions to play.
Warzone missions are the side-missions, endgame, and multiplayer all rolled into one. These missions expand upon the story in scenarios that can be played solo or with up to 3 friends. Warzone missions are initially unlocked by progressing the story, but new warzones will continue to open up as you complete them. Warzone missions can be selected in any order and played at any time. If you chose to play them before progressing the story (Scot explained that this didn't mean complete the story, but was unclear about exactly how far into the story it would be necessary to progress) you will be presented with a spoiler-warning as these Warzone missions are still part of the story.
Progression And Team Play
Beyond the story-driven cinematic single-player campaign, Marvel's Avengers is highly customizable looter shooter (or looter puncher, in the case of The Hulk). Gear comes in more than 5 stages of rarity, including set pieces which are found and rewarded from specific Warzone missions. Scot explained that the best gear comes from the hardest missions, so it is neccessary for players to not only progress through better and better loot but also to build their character into archetypes that fit their play style.
The heroes are highly customizable, both cosmetically and with their abilities. Scot explained that he enjoys playing Thor as a tanky brawler with hard hitting combos, while another team member builds his Thor has more of an AOE support with big charge-up abilities. Taking either version of Thor into team play means different and varied team compositions. This variety seems to be core to the Avenger's multiplayer experience. Avengers is offering an endlessly replayable experience for players that want to collect the best loot and min-max their heroes, and that should be very exciting for a lot of people.
A Constantly Growing World
Crystal Dynamics has promised a multi-year story that will continuously expand, bringing new characters, new missions, and new narratives all without any additional cost. Hero Missions will continue to be single-player, character locked story missions, while Warzone missions will serve as the multi-player component.
As an example of the amount of content that will be available in the game, Scot showed a screen shot of region, the American Southwest. This region had a dozen or so Warzone missions and a Hero mission. Scot explained that zooming out from there would show a collection of regions in the US, and zooming out from there would show a bigger collection of regions in North America, and continuing to zoom out would eventually show the entire world. Scot said that the number of mission types in these Warzone missions is extremely varied, and always story-driven.
Marvel's Avengers is effectively 2 games, a single-player story, and a multi-player mission based looter. Your character progress carries over from the story missions of course, but players expecting to jump in and team up with their friends should be aware that the studio expects everyone to play the Hero missions first before playing multiplayer. There are still many questions about the game, but as these questions get cleared up, it's becoming clear that Marvel's Avengers is something to be really excited about.