After four weeks, Marvel’s Avengers attempt to make paid boosters part of its revenue stream has come to an end.
Nearly a month after what I called ‘pay-to-grind’ elements were added as a premium currency purchase on the store, the developers released a statement that they will be going away. In a message posted to the game’s Twitter account, the team at Crystal Dynamics apologized for not acting sooner, indicating that the decision was made in response to the weeks of player backlash.
“We apologize for not responding sooner to your concerns about the addition of paid consumables in the Marketplace,” the statement reads. “We introduced them as an option for an evolving player base, and did not see them as pay-to-win since they don’t offer power directly.” To be honest, that last part about not seeing them as pay-to-win makes the statement read a bit like “we’re sorry but…”
In any case, Fragment Extractors and Hero Catalysts will no longer be available for purchase at the in-game Marketplace for Marvel’s Avengers, putting an end to these paid boosters. These boosters increased the reward rate of XP used to gain levels and in-game currency used to purchase and upgrade gear. Effectively speaking, these boosts allowed players to reduce the game’s built-in grind.
Before the consumables emerged on the store, they were awarded through play and given as log-in rewards but never sold for Hero Credits, the game’s premium currency that can only be bought with real world money. By adding them for sale, Crystal Dynamics walked back on a previously stated promise to only sell cosmetic items for cash.
It’s worth noting the context from which this controversy emerged. Earlier this year, Crystal Dynamics nerfed XP gains in Marvel’s Avengers stating the choice was for the game’s benefit as players were gaining skill points too quickly and that they didn’t want leveling up to become “too overwhelming.” They also added more progression in the form of post-cap Paragon points.
Yet by promoting the game with double XP weekends and quadruple XP events and selling paid boosters, the team behind Marvel’s Avengers are demonstrating to the community that reduced XP gains are simply a ruse to make these things appear more appealing, incentivizing player engagement during events and encouraging booster use.
The paid boosters led to weeks of backlash from its player community as well as the withdrawal of support by high profile content creators and influencers who anchored their output on the troubled superhero brawler. A surge of negative coverage — including from us — surrounded this addition. For weeks, Marvel’s Avengers continued to update its socials but maintained silence on the fan outcry.
“We hope that this can be the first step in rebuilding your confidence in us as a team,” the statement reads. “It continues to be our goal to make the very best game possible.”
In other Marvel game news, Square Enix recently released Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, a single-player narrative action adventure from Eidos Montreal. We gave it an 8/10 in our official review, in which I wrote: “Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy deftly avoids the quagmire that would hold back other videogames [and] homes in on what truly matters — an exciting cosmic ride.”