Marvel Heroics: How to get the most for free in Marvel Heroes

One of the questions that I received after my debut Marvel Heroes column was, “Can you explain how to play this game for free?” And sure, I could’ve been snarky and replied, “You just boot up the game and play without spending money on it,” but then I realized that this was asked by one of my friends who is twice my muscle mass and I should probably not tick him off.

Actually, it’s a good question. Players going into Marvel Heroes for the first time are often understandably wary about the ins and outs of its business model, all the while nervously twitching in anticipation of the moment when the game decides to slap down a pay wall or shove a guilt trip down their throats for not coughing up cash. The truth is that this game is remarkably generous in what it gives for free and rarely if ever pressures you to buy. I spend money on this game because I want to, not because I have to.

But if you wanted to play 100% for free and get the most out of it? There’s a guide for that too, and it’s after the break!

1. Patience and the long game

First things first: Marvel Heroes doesn’t sell power, and it doesn’t even really sell advancement (XP boosts aside). Most of the money that this game makes is through selling characters, team-ups, pets, and costumes. Acquiring as many of those as possible is a goal for many players, one that is accessible by paying, playing, or both. Choosing not to drop a penny on the game will require some patience as you settle in for the long game, but it’s totally feasible.

Gazillion gives you a nice start in the game. Right off the bat, you’ll get to select one hero join your roster as an “unlocked” level 60 (the game allows you to play all characters to level 10 to get a feel for them). On day 2, you’ll be gifted an incredible sum of 400 eternity splinters, which is one of the rarest currencies in the game (more on that later). With those splinters, you can purchase one additional hero at 400 splinters or two heroes for 200 splinters apiece. So by the dawn of day two, you could have three full characters in your roster to level — that’s not a bad start!

2. Giveaways

Marvel Heroes is well-known among its playerbase as a game that genuinely seems to love giving you free stuff. You’ll want to keep your eyes out for the freebies, such as this month’s second anniversary giveaways or various promo codes that you can apply to your account. Orcz keeps an up-to-date list of these codes, and I’ve verified that they work.

Of course, the biggest source of presents is the daily login rewards. Get into the habit of logging in at least for one minute every day to click on the gift icon (occasionally there’s more than one if there’s an ongoing event). You’ll accumulate a lot of great stuff through this, including more splinters, a free pet on day 100, a free team-up on day 200, and a free random hero token on day 300.

3. Achievements

The achievement system is relatively new to Marvel Heroes, but is well worth checking out for its rewards. Many achievements will gift you goodie chests, which are always welcome. However, there are a handful of categories that go the extra step with premium rewards such as costumes, team-ups, ultimate upgrade tokens, and pets. Those are worth scoping out as long-term goals. I know they’re on my radar right now.

4. Free fortune cards

Fortune cards are Marvel Heroes’ version of lockboxes, although they don’t drop in the game; they are simply sold in the store. I’ve never been super-tempted to buy any of them (they’re $1 each), but for some people they’re desirable because they have costumes and other “chase” items that are impossible to get anywhere else.

However, did you know that Marvel Heroes will give you free fortune cards? One of the vendors, Clea, will sell you cards from the first series for 10 cube shards apiece. These shards are not hard to get — running terminals is a good way to snag them daily — and the cards are usually good for boost potions. Once in a while you’ll get a costume too; I think I got a Wolverine one a while back.

5. Prestige and story bonuses

Speaking of costumes, I’d say they’re probably the hardest to get in the game for free. Once in a blue moon one will drop, but most of the time you’ll need to pay or just accept your default outfit. However, you do have a path to getting more costumes by playing through the prestige system.

Prestiging is a topic for a future column, but the short version is that it entails voluntarily going back to level 1 on a hero in exchange for a few extra rewards (like a name color change or the ability to buy an Iron Buddy pet). One of the rewards is a copy of your basic costume, which might seem silly until you realize that you can take three identical copies of a costume and exchange them at the crafter for a new (random) costume.

I’d also encourage you to clean out your story mode on all three difficulty levels. Not only do you get power points and other permanent stat boosts, but there are some nice freebies here, including fortune cards and potions. Free is free, right?

6. Eternity splinters

If you’re really looking for the free in Marvel Heroes, eternity splinters will soon become your world entire.

It used to be that Marvel Heroes would make hero tokens random drops, but players didn’t like the “random” part of that so much, so Gazillion went back to the drawing board and decided to introduce eternity splinters instead. Now, every eight minutes or so of combat gameplay, you’ll see a pink splinter (and occasionally more than one) drop. Save up enough splinters, and you’ll be able to buy any of the heroes and team-ups you desire.

Most heroes are 400 splinters each, although there are some that are 200 and some that are 600. That’s a lot of saving up to do, particularly if you want to collect all 48 heroes. One strategy is to buy random hero tokens for 175 splinters apiece, particularly if your roster isn’t very large. Any hero you get will be worth more than what you paid for it, although you do run the risk of getting a less-desirable hero or a repeat (in which case you get a token to upgrade that hero’s ultimate ability). I bought two in a row and got Hawkeye both times, so now I prefer to pay more and be assured of what I’m getting.

There are ways to speed up your eternity splinter acquisition. One is through boosts (splinter boosts are particularly rare; I’ve seen only one from a Christmas event). However, the main way is to increase your special item find (SIF) stat, either through gear or boosts. The more SIF you have, the higher your chances of getting a splinter drop on a kill.

If you do spend money…

Whether or not you spend money on Marvel Heroes is your business. I’m not here pushing you one way or the other. But I did want to end this column by giving you one last piece of advice that I learned over time.

If you’re tight with your money and want to pay just a little, I would say the most important thing you could buy is more stash (bank) space for your account. Inventory space is in short supply in Marvel Heroes, and until or unless the rumored splinter-purchasable stash space comes, money is the only way to get more.

And because costumes are much harder to come by than heroes, team-ups, and pets, I consider it money well-spent to buy an outfit that I particularly enjoy.

I’ll turn it over now to the comments section. What advice would you give to players looking to enjoy the game for free?

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53 Comments on "Marvel Heroics: How to get the most for free in Marvel Heroes"

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IanMacDonald2
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IanMacDonald2

Is there a Massively OP supergroup? It’d be one I’d like to join, if only to tell Bree, Justin and the gang what a good job they’re doing every other day…

flatline4400
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flatline4400

wild_abyss Lol… I got Magnus as one of my 400splinter random heroes… wasnt sure about him at first.  He’s pretty squishy… but that voice acting!  So delightfully pompous lol, have really grown to love him.

Bionicall
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Bionicall

Linaea After the latest patch, I have to change my statement about Bullseye in Chapter 4. No longer rewards a fortune card. Now awards a matrix of unbinding.

mysecretid
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mysecretid

Reesracer 
Amusingly, I once saw a post on the internet where the guy was raging about Marvel Heroes’ handling of storage — “Gazillion are evil and money-grubbing, and it’s all a conspiracy to push players into spending money … rage rage rage, froth froth froth” …
Until another poster calmly pointed out that you really don’t need to keep all the dropped stuff to play the game and survive, and to have fun doing so — that crafting, and hoarding runes, and all that is a choice.Not something which will break your game, or your fun …
Rage Man shut up pretty quickly after that. :-)

mysecretid
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mysecretid

Kass40 
Marvel Heroes and The Secret World pretty typify what you describe, at least for me.
They get more of my money, because I never feel like they’re conniving to squeeze money out of me.

mysecretid
Guest
mysecretid

wild_abyss 
Yeah. I got burned on that also.
For new players: if you decide to spend money, purchase game cash directly through your Gazillion game account.
Steam prices are higher (probably because they factor in their “Steam cut”) and, last time I checked, Steam didn’t offer the full range of individually-priced heroes and costumes, like Gazillion does.
Cheers,

BKone
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BKone

Just a heads-up, this weekend they give out an Ironman team-up. I think it’s one the best leveling pet. Don’t miss it.

wild_abyss
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wild_abyss

Yup, “accidentally” spent $60 getting Loki/Thor/Purple Mags costume. I wish I hadn’t gone through Steam, though. Because MH prices G according to USD and Steam now charges me CAD, I ended up having to buy $60 of wallet cash IN THREE PURCHASES (I thought $55 was enough, it was not) to get enough to the buy packs I wanted. Basically, it would have been so much easier to just use my credit card directly instead of going through Steam.

MyCatIam
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MyCatIam

Really good tips.  
My advices for you and your wallet:
If you know that you have some kind of compulsive hoarding: DO NOT TOUCH THIS GAME;If you are willing to invest more in this game I advice you to simply buy 3 more general stashes and, 2 crafting material stashes for a total of 2100 G. Keep 1 general stash for really good artifacts;
Keep 3 general stashes for uniques and relics and others items like portals;
You will have 1 crafting material stash to keep runes and, 1 crafting stash to keep the crafting elements;Always keep really good artifacts: Even if the numbers on the artifact are bad just keep it. You will be able to reroll the numbers later at the crafter. And if you do not think to use it then you could simply trade it. This post lists all worthy artifacts to keep:
http://forums.marvelheroes.com/discussion/135118/list-of-artifacts-runes-insigs-current-prices-and-trading-courtesy-updated-26th-may-2015/p1 Always keep unique items: Uniques are used as a currency at the crafter in exange for a stack of a random relic OR 500k credit chests (later is very less important);Use credits to roll costume affixes: normally I only roll for critical damage rating on all of my heroes and it work;
Only unlock the heroe you really like: What is matter in this game is the fun that YOU get. And do not worry much if you think your heroe sucks a bit; all heroes get their review and get tweaked at some point;Remember RNG (Random number generator) and Trade: the core of this game is RNG… remember RNG. So if you are too eager to progress than I suggest you too trade with other players. Do not underestimate trading, it could avoid you alot of “rage quit” situation because of the RNG (awww evil RNG);Heroe build: Check this website: http://marvelheroes.info if you want to know on what item to focus on for your heroe. It will be easier for you to sort worthy items from the worthless.

I bought the Mega Pack MK III that unlocks 43 heroes with their respective stashes. Plus, I bought 15 “general” stashes and 2 “crafting material” stashes. Most of my stashes contain crappy items. And most of the heroes stashes contain only epic insignias with mostly bad affixes lol. So my advice is hold on your self and focus only on what you want. Avoid the “pokemon” minding because at the end it’s not fun (at least for me).

wild_abyss
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wild_abyss

Bionicall wild_abyss “I am the master of magnetism! I am power incarnate!” Yes, it puts me in a better mood just playing him. I might shell out for the costume, though, since I’m enjoying it so much and would rather have it while I’m getting into the game than months down the line.

BalsBigBrother
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BalsBigBrother

Bionicall BalsBigBrother thickenergy yeah pretty much as you say.  It would be possible to write entire articles getting into the nitty gritty of all the gear / items in Marvel Heroes.
I know in some cases when I have rushed a hero to 60 I have done it still wearing blues / purples I got early on because I was so boosted I ended up just blowing through the levels.
That said I do have a fair few omega points and those can help make up gear deficiencies a lot at least while you are levelling. That is not really useful for people who are just starting out or do not have that many heroes as it does take a fair bit of effort to build the omega points but a handy thing for people who have played a while..

thickenergy
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thickenergy

Bionicall BalsBigBrother thickenergy I played for about a month, and am currently just logging in for daily rewards as I have a couple other games taking up my play time. After about a week I did just start vendoring almost every drop I got. Once I realized just how often even Cosmic loot drops.

Regarding costume drops, one of the very first drops I got was Spiderman’s noir costume. The coolness of that costume is the only reason I play Spidey at all.

Quicknthedead
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Quicknthedead

As someone who has played the game on and off since the game was released, play the game free as much as you.
The best advice I can give to new players that don’t want to spend too much money is that when the winter boost potions come back is to pick those up.
200% xp, sif and rif, with Odins blessing and eternity boost baked in = Win. So damn addicting those boosts.
If anyone needs any other advice they can add me in game with the name on the forums here.

Bionicall
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Bionicall

wild_abyss If you are lucky you can get his ‘original’ costume from the blender(what is referred to by trading in the 3 costumes), or buy it. “And Lo, Magneto the mutant has defeated them”

Bionicall
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Bionicall

BalsBigBrother thickenergy the addendum here would be: if it is an upgrade, and you can use it, keep it/equip it, otherwise vendor/donate it. The only notable exception to this would be uniques and special items. 
Special Items would need there own section explaining, example being runes, and the value of each rune varies greatly, from the hard to acquire(e.g Doop) to the overly common(e.g. Joy). I personally have never seen a costume drop, but most of my characters don’t have a particularly high SIF. Also included in the special items is relics, while some are highly sort after (Atlantis, Lemuria) some are downright useless (Cthon), but keeping a stack of each relic does save on inventory space/management in the long run.

Bionicall
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Bionicall

Linaea Midtown Madness Fortune cards have a (relatively) high chance to drop during the Midtown event(usually every Monday). Killing Bullseye in chapter 4 awards a fortune card Mk 1.  Also in tip 6 above, improving your special increases your chance of not only multiple Eternity splinters, but your chance for cards to drop randomly in the world like you have had.

wild_abyss
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wild_abyss

Yesss, thank you for this. I just started playing and I must collect all the mutants! I love listening to Mags but he really needs to be wearing purple, you know?

Enikuo
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Enikuo

I’m loving this article and all the tips in the comments guys. Thank you so much!

Jetfan007
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Jetfan007

Splinters will always drop once every 8 minutes, it’s not random aside from quantity of what drops. Raising SIF reduces the timer down to a minimum of 6 minutes.

Kanbe
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Kanbe

I’ve looked at the post again and did some web searching and while I think you are right that this is not just for the duration of the anniversary, I can’t find anything concrete saying either way.

woolydub
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woolydub

Regarding section 1(and you covered it later on) is I think good advice for players that like the whole of the Marvel line-up of Heroes is not to spend the Eternity Splinters on specific characters. Buy the “Random Hero Boxes” for 175 Eternity Splinters each. That way you have the opportunity to get expensive heroes for cheap and if you get a hero that costs 200 Splinters, well you got it for 25 Splinters cheaper. If you get a hero that costs 600 splinters you just saved yourself quite a bit of Splinters. Same goes for the Heroes at the 400ES rate as well. You will also have 50 splinters leftover which is a nice cushion as you level your first hero.

My second piece of advice is: Always login even if you take a break from the game. Just do it. Thank me later. At day 100, 200, and 300 you get some really great rewards. Even if you aren’t playing these will give you a team up hero, a mini pet and a random hero box.

Damonvile
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Damonvile

When the game first got announced I was super excited and bought the $60 founder pack. When it actually launched I was so disappointed and thought I totally wasted my money. Those extra store credits are long gone and I’ve got a few hundred hours into the game. I play mostly for free now but I regret noting! :)

Damonvile
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Damonvile

BalsBigBrother bjwkkm Armsbend welovekah I totally agree. My pet now eats everything. It’s like I’m married to it……

Wakkander
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Wakkander

Armsbend BalsBigBrother I’ve had bad luck with the random heroes, with total of 7 heroes out of 48 or so I’ve gotten 2 duplicates, and none of the ones I’ve gotten have been ones I have been too excited about. That said I got the thing way back and had no interest in him, but took him to cap following his recent update, and enjoyed him a lot.

BalsBigBrother
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BalsBigBrother

bjwkkm BalsBigBrother Armsbend welovekah Hey I was there I know the pains.  As you say agree to disagree its all good now that I guess we have both done it and got it out of the way o/

bjwkkm
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bjwkkm

BalsBigBrother bjwkkm Armsbend welovekah heh i guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree. Just try an imagine a time when your inventory was almost half as big as it is now and leveling your crafter involved you running back and forth to it with purple gear and clicking donate , donate, donate then repeating that process about every 3 minutes  if you were in full level crafter mode.

BalsBigBrother
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BalsBigBrother

bjwkkm BalsBigBrother Armsbend welovekah By harder I meant that you don’t just have the crafter that wants to eat up your gear.  You have pets, enchanter and so on all wanting to eat your gear and you can only feed it to one of them.
While there are a few tricks such as the credit chest there is still more competition for those items and things to level up these days hence why I said harder. 
Now you get off my lawn  :p

mrbreck
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mrbreck

Now that you can play every hero to 10, you can do the mission to kill Bullseye on the rooftop and get a fortune card on each one of them. Good way to get some XP boosts for the heroes you actually play.

bjwkkm
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bjwkkm

Also something you forgot to mention with those achievements is some reward super rare boss uniques  , like Gem of the Kursed , Hand of Doom or Spider Clone Serum to name a few. To someone playing for a bit or looking to outfit the hero for raids these can possibly be more valuable than anything else even other heroes or costumes.

bjwkkm
Guest
bjwkkm

BalsBigBrother Armsbend welovekah in no way is it harder than it used to be. I remember leveling the crafter one purple at a time no event currencies , no credit chests…….one……purple………..at….a……time. Kids dont know how good they have it these days :D ;p

BalsBigBrother
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BalsBigBrother

Armsbend welovekah That is actually harder to do now than it used to be thanks to the pets eating a lot of the gear people used to throw at the crafter. 
I would always suggest you do the crafter first as it does offer you a nice option to help speed up the others such as the enchanter and so on.
That being you can trade in 3, 4 or 5 of the same unique item for either a 50k, 200k or 500k credit chest.  Now you can sell that to a vendor for the equivalent amount of credits or you can donate it for the same amount of exp to said vendor in a similar way to donating an item.  As long as you are not desperate for credits it can speed things up a lot.

Linaea
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Linaea

Fortune cards aren’t store only — I’ve had a number of fortune cards and fortune card components drop for me in game, often during special events, so free players can look for those too.

BalsBigBrother
Guest
BalsBigBrother

thickenergy Essentially follow the gear progression colours and replace with each with the higher colour.

white – normal gear/ medkits
green – regular gear
blue – rare gear / crafting items
purple – epic gear / special items(costumes)
yellow – cosmic gear
orange – unique

With regard
to actual stats of the gear don’t worry too much about that until you
get towards 60 and start progressing into the cosmic stuff.
Obviously
you want high rolled stat gear that compliments you particular build. 
To tell if you gear has got a good roll hover your mouse pointer over
the item and press the alt key.  This will bring up the
number range that each stat can potentially have and obviously the more
of the stats that are near the higher end the better it is.
It is
possible to reroll stat on some items via the crafter but you can end
up spending millions of credits trying for perfection.  So I tend to
stick with as long as I am not dying then its good enough for me:-)

BalsBigBrother
Guest
BalsBigBrother

Armsbend Kanbe I am pretty certain that all the heroes are now permanently unlocked to level 10 from now on not just for the anniversary.  https://marvelheroes.com/news/news-articles/all-heroes-10

JohnDaniels1
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JohnDaniels1

Kanbe I thought that they were going to keep the 1-10 thing in the game after the Anniversary. I know for me its been just enough of a taste to decide I wanted certain characters. Its not a bad business strategy.

thickenergy
Guest
thickenergy

One thing that could help free players, especially those just starting, is guidelines for what loot to keep and what to donate to the crafter. An overwhelming amount of loot drops in this game and attempting to hoard even a teeny tiny fraction of it with the basic stash space is an exercise in futility.

Armsbend
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Armsbend

welovekah getting the crafter to lvl 20 is no easy feat though.  Grindy grindy.

Armsbend
Guest
Armsbend

Kass40 As soon as I have to spend money I leave the p2w game fields for greener pastures.  It hardly takes anything out of me at all to reward companies with a good price model.  I generally toss them a tip even if I dont love the game just to keep good models going.

welovekah
Guest
welovekah

Excellent article, minor correction:
You can combine 3 of any costume when making a random costume at the crafter. They don’t need to be identical.

Armsbend
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Armsbend

Kanbe I thought I read that was permanent.  It really only helps them, with no downside since you can basically insta-10 in Midtown and dont get the lvl 25 bonuses.  It would be foolish to take it away imho.

Armsbend
Guest
Armsbend

BalsBigBrother was that before some of the bigger changes though?  I remember early on Gaz giveaways were usually the trash characters…like Hawkeye.  My guess is they see many ppl arent playing Juggs so they lean the RNG that way,

I doubt many get free Iron Mans…since Gaz designed the entire game around the popularity of IM :P

Kanbe
Guest
Kanbe

Nice article Justin but I want to point out that all hero’s are only playable up to lvl 10 right now due to the anniversary event. Unless I missed something they’ll be going back to a set amount of starter hero’s in about a week.

BalsBigBrother
Guest
BalsBigBrother

Armsbend BalsBigBrotherI gambled and got three Hawkeye ultimate upgrades when I already had him from a promo. So I kind of decided that gambling wasn’t for me and prefer to stick with knowing that I will get hero x when I spend y amount of splinter :-)

BigMikeyOcho
Guest
BigMikeyOcho

Armsbend BalsBigBrother Thats how I roll, too. I think I really had my eye on one or two specific characters. I bought one of them straight out, and used the 2nd anniversary to snag the other. So I really don’t mind taking a gamble on the rest and playing characters I would’ve never considered otherwise. :)

Armsbend
Guest
Armsbend

Reesracer ARPGSs are games i wouldnt find fun without extra storage.

Armsbend
Guest
Armsbend

BalsBigBrother when you dont have many heroes it is a reasonable gamble though?  I only had 5 and gambled the random and got Juggs.  Not a bad one at all.

Maybe Im different though I like pretty much all of the comics and will play anyone.

BalsBigBrother
Guest
BalsBigBrother

With regards to splinters I personally would suggest that you just save up for the hero you are after rather than going the random hero token route.  That way you know what you will be getting and it saves you being frustrated if you end up with one you don’t like or get multiple repeats.  I have three Hawkeye ultimate upgrades sitting in my inventory that I will probably never use because of random hero tokens.
As for fortune card they do drop in game though rarely, probably about the same ratio as it does for costumes as far as I know. The story mode also awards one for each time your kill Bullseye in each difficulty mode (and remember you can port straight to the location these days as all teleports are unlocked so you needn’t play through the entire story each time to get to him.)

BalsBigBrother
Guest
BalsBigBrother

Wakkander Reesracer It is certainly doable and I managed for the longest time with minimal storage space. You just have to learn what you should keep and what to throw away.
That said since my roster has expanded a lot I have spent G’s for hero specific storage and a few extra general tabs to make things a little more manageable as my roster expanded.  I generally make it a rule for myself these days that if I acquire a new hero I get their hero specific tab too.
As many have stated I don’t begrudge them the money I spent either as they certainly earn every penny of if

MatthewRiddle
Guest
MatthewRiddle

Yeah that last part is the truth. Storage space is just so important. Whenever I get a few dollars, I need to buy a storage space because currently my inventory is half full of all the different kinds of Runes. I moved all the Relics over to the one free storage space you get, so that helped. But now I’m getting all kinds of Artifacts.
Usually I have about 5-10 slots open to pick up gear. :X

Wakkander
Guest
Wakkander

Reesracer I’ve played a lot of hours and have multiple 60s, and have managed to get by without buying storage. It can be painful to the pack rat in me to let go of some stuff, but it is possible.

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