Guide to the Marvel: Avengers Alliance Game on Facebook
A few weeks before The Avengers movie premiere, I found Marvel: Avengers Alliance on Facebook. It appears to have 8.7 million monthly users right now and after playing for roughly a month and a half, it is my opinion that this is one of the better FB games available for free on the internet. Players start off with a limited number of heroes (Iron Man, Black Widow) and as they accumulate Command Points, can unlock other characters and various outfits for particular benefits. Accompanying two chosen classic Marvel heroes is their SHIELD agent, who they can name and equip with powerful weapons.
Your SHIELD agent and unlocked heroes progress through a growing series of missions, fighting lesser and more notorious Marvel villains. The basic and simplest player vs computer missions can be completed within a few weeks of dedicated play, while the larger endgame consists of accumulating high-end weapons, Command Points to unlock heroes, leveling those heroes, and player vs player. The developers did a fairly good job of putting together a cohesive game to be played, as the unlocked heroes sufficiently leveled plus your agent well equipped can participate in regular PVP battles and gain rating to move up the ladder against the player pool and one's friends. In this guide, I'll be detailing how and why to gain friends playing the same game, which heroes are best, accumulating silver and command points, best PvP combinations, and the items worth playing to secure.
Having Friends Who Play Marvel: Avengers Alliance
One of the biggest advantages for any player of Marvel: Avengers Alliance on Facebook is to have many active friends who play the same game. Perhaps the easiest and simplest ways to gain those friends is to network within the Marvel: Avengers Alliance page and request within their status updates to be added. It would be best to do this only occasionally and in a polite manner as spamming can result in one's Facebook account being banned. Depending on how much play you intend to put into this game should reflect how many total friends you intend to gain. Personally, as someone who likes to put in hours and hours at a time and then take long breaks for work, there are not too many Facebook friends to be had. If you wish to play less, 50 allies are more than sufficient.
These Facebook friends provide two important benefits: gifts and the opportunity to visit them. There is a cap on how many gifts one may accept per day and the most efficient use of that limit is to click the X on anything that isn't "2 Energy" and accept and reciprocate energy to use for missions later. Whether I intend to play on a given day or not, I spend the minute accepting energy so that I have the option to play once a week for hours or until I get the weapon I want. Furthermore, once a player has finished using all of their energy and they still wish to play - they can click on their friends, visit them, and click on the five total buildings to get energy, challenges (pvp energy), silver, and distress calls. Without Facebook friends playing the same game, one is left to simply wait for their energy to regenerate or not play at all.
Gaining Silver and Command Points
There are two ways to gain silver, which is used to purchase weapons, research, and train heroes. First, one can upgrade their flight deck and send heroes for as much time as one plans to be away from the computer. If you are going to be online all day, sending heroes 20 minutes at a time, three times per hour, all day can yield huge sums. If you're going to bed, sending your heroes out for 6-12 hours will yield something generally useful for a casual player. Second, as a player completes missions and wins pvp battles, items will generally drop with critical hits. Those items can be used or sold back to the store. Personally, I don't waste much time with the flight deck and instead send heroes out for 6 hours at a time, and play for hours using saved energy to sell those items to unlock what is important. Command points drop like items do, from completing missions and player vs player challenges. They also can be gained upon defeating mission bosses. The best way to stack up command points quickly is to fight epic bosses, which is the topic of the next paragraph.
Other than the first chapter, each available story chapter (consisting of six missions) has one secret epic boss. To unlock that boss, one must have all necessary heroes for deploy missions, beat every available quest, and defeat all mini bosses. As of today (June 26th, 2012) there are seven unlocked chapters and the missions with secret bosses are 2.3, 3.5, 4.4, 5.3, 6.3, and 7.3. Each epic boss has a random possibility of dropping an extremely powerful weapon for the SHIELD agent to equip. I recommend that each epic boss is beaten again and again until all epic drops are had, as one's style will dictate which items are truly best. Personally, I'm a big fan of the Electrostatic Arm from Chapter 6 Mission 3. If one of those powerful weapons do not drop, there are other possible results - three of them being command points in greater number compared to those gained from defeating a normal mission boss. Defeating epic bosses again and again can result in serious benefits - many great items plus important command points to unlock the best heroes.
Best Heroes/Best Combinations
While each hero has benefits and drawbacks, those which cost 90 command points are the strongest and most valuable. Currently those heroes are Captain America, The Hulk, Wolverine, Spider-Man, Thor, and the Black Panther. From my experience, Captain America is the best because of Shield Guard, followed by The Hulk, and then Black Panther. More important than "Who is the strongest hero in Marvel: Avengers Alliance?" is which combinations of heroes are best. Here is what I believe to be best due to specific abilities complimenting each other:
Hulk Killing w/ One Hit:
There are hero team-up bonuses for using specific heroes in battle, but they only allow a player to gain a higher score on a mission for the various XP, gold, and command point benefits for gaining stars. This advantage, plus overkill (doing way more damage than necessary to kill an opponent) matters very little, unless you're on the cusp of a star and you have no inclination to repeat that mission again. This thread on the Marvel: Avengers Alliance forums covers the bonuses and who must be used to secure them.
Equipping Your Agent
Providing the SHIELD agent with the Electrostatic Arm(1), Galvanic Arm(2), and the S.A. "Pincer" (3) can result in very quick kills. This is particularly impressive because the Galvanic Arm provides the debuff of "Negative Static Charge," the Electostatic Arm provides a self-buff of "Positive Static Charge," and the Pincer provides an immediate turn after attacking. If one uses (1) on the first turn and then (3) plus (2) on the second turn, that often kills the target without any additional attacks. Perhaps that wasn't worded well, but give it a shot and see how it works.
Outside of epic bosses dropping high-end weapons, the premium missions have bosses which drop powerful items in their own right. The Galvanic Arm written about in the paragraph above was gained from the Doctor Octopus premium mission, and while it required me to purchase Spider-Man with Command Points, that has been a worthwhile expenditure. Personally, I would unlock and play every premium mission as they drop fantastic items and once all missions have reached 5 stars, a Chapter Master Reward of a gold weapon that scales with the SHIELD agent level is gained. While having many Epic Drops, Premium Boss drops, and Chapter Master Rewards are great - your agent can only equip four items at a time. I recommend keeping anything that you may wish to use in any combination, and taking the other items and spend them towards a huge PvP bonus. To do so, click PvP, then PvP Bonus, click the item, and then click the open slot. Know that this will remove the item from your inventory and it will not be able to be retrieved!
Multiple uniforms are ideal as they allow you to outfit your heroes to capitalize on the weaknesses of opponents within missions, but the Gold level 65 Tactician uniform is the most important one to pick up. The benefit to the Tactician is it allows an extra attack against Blasters and the negative is Infiltrators can attack the Tactician back for free. The reason the Tactician is best is twofold: The Hulk is a Bruiser and Captain America can become a Bruiser by purchasing a specific uniform. Blasters always crit against Bruisers, so being able to attack an extra time allows the Tactician to take out a dangerous opponent quickly. Also, if you equip the Digital Decoy or the Magnetic Field Generator for your SHIELD agent and you only have the option of attacking an Infiltrator, you can buff your team rather than be attacked in retribution.
ISO-8 and PvP
With respect to Isotope-8 and equipping your heroes, it may be a good idea to spend Gold (gained when leveling up and reaching 5 stars on a mission) on the Refined Chaotic Iso-8 shards found in the store under the "Resources" tab. If one wants to have a huge edge in PvP and doesn't mind spending real dollars, buying gold and then using that Gold to buy a bunch of those shards can result in a massive advantage. Once equipped to a hero or agent uniform, those items cannot be removed - so make sure that the uniform you add these shards to is the uniform you intend to keep. Given new uniforms and heroes become available as the game updates, you may end up spending money on a massively powerful uniform you don't intend to use again. For instance, I spent all of my available Gold on those Chaotic Iso-8 shards for my Bruiser Captain America and then they rolled out the Avengers Captain America outfit. While it is no longer available for purchase, when using a hero with an Avengers uniform equipped - the first hero provides "Coordinated Attack." When using two heroes with an Avengers outfit, the second hero also provides "Coordinated Defense." Planning to play a lot of competitive PvP, I had to toss the expensive basic Bruiser outfit in lieu of the more potent Avengers uniform. These sorts of changes can make limited resource allocation decisions very complicated.
Finally, PvP is something best left to experience. Yes, the combinations above are great. Adding the found high-end items to your PvP bonus will be important. Outside of those obvious realities, repetition and learning will result in the best ratings. Good luck and I hope this guide has resulted in more fun!
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