I have always enjoyed action RPG games, but I have recently been torn between Marvel Heroes and Diablo 3. Both of these great games have excellent features yet are very fundamentally different. Especially when considering price.
I will start with the similarities between these two games. They both have a pretty good story line, with individual chapters that have boss fights at the end of each. These are accompanied by fun little cinematic pauses that can add to in between moments or separate the chapters. Both games a different characters that play differently from one another while having skills that allow players to craft their characters to be different from those of other players. Gear falls from enemies allowing you to better equip your character for combat.
These of course are requirements for a good action RPG and are done very well by both games, however there are by far a lot more differences that split the games apart.
Price is always a big decision maker when picking a game, and with that Marvel Heroes is free to play, while Diablo 3 costs about 90 dollars (US) or so if you want the expansion as well. There is more to the free to play aspect. In my opinion, for it to be truly free to play, everything should be purchasable through some form of in-game currency. This is not entirely accurate with Marvel Heroes. There are some things that could only be obtained through in game purchases. Most of the items you can choose to purchase, without using the in-game currency (called Eternity Splinters) are generally going to be used to purchase other heroes or even team up heroes (like Kormac, Lyndon, and Irena). However, some things can only be purchased using “G’s” which are bought using real money. This includes S.T.A.S.H. (Starketech Armory and Supply Hoard), which basically allows you to store items, and Boosts, which increase either XP gain, or Item Finding mechanics. Depending on how much space, boosts, costumes, characters or more that you buy, you could easily go to $400 (US) or more. However, for some that is acceptable, and if it is what they enjoy doing, more power to them.
Up next are the differences in the items. The two games really differ on how gear drops for players. Diablo 3, after having released loot 2.0, has changed how it’s loot drops, by increasing its drop rate for rarer gear while decreasing that of more mundane gear. Marvel Heroes has seemed so far to already adopt this same method from the get go, the main difference though is the frequency of drops. Diablo 3 has a very small amount of loot drop from most mobs, while the key boss will drop a nice seven to ten pieces or so. Marvel Heroes will have a similar situation but will generally have two to four bosses up at once, provided you are not in story mode. Marvel Heroes also has loot containers that will have sometimes twenty five to thirty five pieces in it for the taking, therefore having loot, “drop like candy” as the phrase usually goes.
Character differences are up next. Diablo 3 has six very different character classes each with their own unique skill sets that players can shift around at will. Marvel Heroes instead uses skill points placed into skills in one of three different trees (Marvel Heroes Yoda maybe? sadly no, due to no continually updating online skill calculator) allowing the player to pick and choose from skills, instead of having them all available once they hit a certain level. Even with the change on how skills functions, the number of options also shines for Marvel Heroes, as well as the fact that most people know the Marvel characters and love at least a few of them. Already Marvel Heroes has more than thirty different characters that can be unlocked or purchased. This ranges from all different Marvel sources from Fantastic Four, Spiderman, X-men and Guardians of the Galaxy. Even Blade will be joining the fray sometime in 2015. I wonder if Howard the Duck will join in…. Either way, there are a lot of toons to choose from, but this is where some issues may come up. Some characters will eventually begin to be semi clones of others, at least may seem it at some points. Some players say that Nova, the human rocket, plays very similarly to Iron Man (however I don’t have either toon so I can’t say for sure). Eventually though, the more characters you add, there will be some overlap. There are only so many variations you can do. The main thing is though, as long as that character feels like they do in the lore they come from, is there really a problem? Even more so, as long as you enjoy the game you play. I know I for one will continue to enjoy playing both!