Finally, Marvel’s Avengers latest War Table has arrived to showcase the next major DLC, Clint Barton. Sadly, it seems we still have a month to go until it finally releases. So, I tried to give the game another few rounds but was having a hard time getting into it as I did a few months ago. It also helped me realize that the game’s biggest challenge has been the Avengers Initiative. It’s the hub for any multiplayer-driven content in the game. The content mainly recycles what we see in the story missions, especially the campaign operation Reassemble. In the first DLC, we learned that some of them are only accessible in their specific story. Not only does it make the game’s content feel scattered, but it also highlights the issue. The hub that serves as our primary source for replayability recycles existing content in a limited way. It makes it repetitive fast. As such, here is my pitch on how they could redesign the endgame.
Let’s start with how it affects the overall game’s structure between the Initiative and its endgame. The stories are available as they are now through different operations. You can access the storylines in this menu to continue where you left off. As they are working on a replay function, it could also offer you the possibility to restart it, so you don’t miss out on any cinematics Crystal Dynamics worked hard on. The current Kate Bishop missions do, in fact, not give you all cutscenes, which is a waste. Any cutscene that isn’t related to a specific mission cannot be accessed. The story is one of the best parts of the game. Plus, once we have various operations and characters, it will get difficult to access a lot of content for the game’s full context.
So, why would I create this distinction between the operations and the Initiative? Well, I don’t think they need to change the game drastically. They have all the pieces n place. It would only require a restructuring of how it is accessed. Instead of selecting story missions, you have starting areas or specific environments that you can access. Each biome could include different locations that are surrounding AIM facilities. The original scripted events are accessed once you get near an area. JARVIS will point out if you are near a mission area, so you can accept while exploring. To add variety, they switch up every week to include unique aspects. It gives you an incentive to visit specific biomes, such as to access various gear types. I decide I need cryo-based gear, so I select a starting point that leads me to a cryo-research lab. You jump into a mission similar to how you do now. It just isn’t as restricted to a story mission you probably have played multiple times by this point. Once they add other villain factors, they could start turf wars throughout different biomes, so the enemies you face switch up in the rotation as well.
In addition to finding gearboxes, elite enemies, or captured allies as you can now, you can also uncover random mission types. AIM has spread out throughout the world, so there are enough opportunities to find a new secret location hidden in these levels. Your incentive to visit them connects to the unique rewards they offer. So, you may find a launch platform that only activates if you finish a puzzle. Now, you have a chance to access the space station for cosmic gear. The best part is that it will change regularly, as the space station has moved on in the obit. So, you might access a new underground area that got added secretly in a recent patch. We already explored this concept with the SHIELD bases, so why not make it a natural progression of the environments instead of restricting it to specific missions? At this point, it is too easy to find them, as they are always in the same missions at the same spot. This new direction allows CD to add small additions that still keep it fresh without relying on massive content drops every time.
Now, imagine you are about to access the location for the cryo lab. All of a sudden, you realize that the entire forest area got frozen over. It seems that the AIM Lab you were going to infiltrate had a malfunction, and now you have the option to solve the issue causing the environmental change. Not only does it make the map feel fresh, but it could also cause your characters to slide around, which would make the combat more difficult. People want to share their experiences. As such, by adding randomized events, they could offer just that. What if Taskmaster is on a training field trip in the Eastern Seabord? So, while exploring New York City, he would randomly attack you as an excuse for a combat showcase to his trainees. After the addition of new villains, we could see an AIM Hive getting overrun by HYDRA agents. We uncover a massive lost SHIELD base, where wildlife took over after it got abandoned. They can even add some secrets that tease future content, such as Monica testing out miniature time travel bridges. So, if you don’t pay close attention, you’ll take the wrong detour and land in Hawkeye’s Wasteland.
What would I do with the existing Faction, Priority, and Tachyon Rift missions? Well, Tachyons can be randomized events that happen at any time. You find yourself running through the frozen forest when suddenly you are pushed back in time, and everything is on fire all of a sudden. It adds to the feeling of excitement as anything seems possible as the game expands. Faction missions could replace the current Priority missions with the unique gear you can only get from them. So, if you help the Inhuman Alliance, you can have a higher chance to get your hands on Pym-powered gear. So, you tie the gear branding to correlating missions. These would act as unique mission types that are only available in the Initiative with unique challenges. The reward could also mainly serve to help develop your ally factions. The Mega Hive would be a unique mission type that works separately from the rest and offers a higher drop rate for exotic gear, as is the case now.
What about the Villain Sectors? I think most of us are a little sick of fighting Taskmaster and Abomination in the same location over and over again. As things are now, we are going through three levels with a similar structure that tends to end in the repetitive boss fight. Even if it switches between different locations and villains, the overall experience with Villains Sectors is basically the same right now. So, why not allow them to show up in random environments, as mentioned previously, but also give us a randomized gauntlet fr each character. They don’t have to be overly complicated but act as mini-dungeons. Let’s imagine you infiltrate a former SHIELD base that was taken over by Taskmaster. There, he is training goons from various fractions. So, to get through it, you have to survive the same brutal training his goons have to. Each villain has the potential to be an Omega Level-Threat that can be adapted with the seasonal changes. What if the cryo base also spread to Taskmaster’s fort? Now, you are dodging environmental hazards while slipping around. Of course, if he has a week where he is training only HYDRA goons, he might have a completely different set of traps and puzzles. That way, they can be slightly altered and randomized without changing much of the original set-up.
You can tackle the various environments alone or with a friend. Now, players can coordinate the locations based on the rewards they are looking for rather than replaying the same mission for a luck on cryo-based gear. It feels like they are earning and experiencing something together rather than going through the motions. Plus, players won’t get frustrated that the mission they want to tackle isn’t selected. You aren’t restricted to a specific mission for specific gears anymore. The small or large randomized elements offer something new to share and an incentive to look for more. Small additions can go a long way, especially if you add easter eggs that make the world feel alive. It would highlight that each operation affects the world you are in. Each new operation adds something to the Initiative, may it be a new environment type, a unique biome, or an Omega Level-Threat. It is just a concept and I can’t claim this could take endless hours to realize. I want to see the game’s full potential realized and for it to stick around longer.