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Marvel Heroics is a Marvel Heroes column by Justin Olivetti. [Follow this column’s RSS feed]

Marvel Heroics: The joys of pet ownership

I've always been a sucker for vanity pets in MMOs. It's not just the layer of customization and ownership pride that lugging along one of them provides but the feeling of having a loyal companion join me on my many adventures through these worlds. Plus, they're something else to collect that can actually be used, albeit typically in limited ways.

So I was overjoyed when I first started playing Marvel Heroes to discover not only that the game had a pet system but that pets actually had a purpose. Since then I've accumulated a half-dozen pint-sized pals and almost always had one of them out, even if Doctor Doom ended up giving Doom H.E.R.B.I.E. the stink-eye because of the pale imitation.

Today let's talk about how you get pets and what they do for you!

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Marvel Heroics: Rating Scarlet Witch and Rogue

I'm back with another installment of rating two Marvel Heroes characters that I've leveled up to 60. Last time I looked at Squirrel Girl and Cyclops, and so today I'm going to turn my attention to two fascinating and powerful female characters that many players have picked up over the past couple of years: Scarlet Witch and Rogue.

I had a great time for different reasons going on the leveling journey with each of these heroes. I hadn't even heard of Scarlet Witch prior to Age of Ultron coming out in theaters (that should tell you how anemic my Marvel knowledge is these days), although I will admit to a schoolboy crush on Rogue from the '90s X-Men animated series. I've tried to get my wife to call me "sugar," but no go on that front.

So how do these two ladies stack up? Let's run down the categories and find out!

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Marvel Heroics: Rating Squirrel Girl and Cyclops

Like many kids who grew up in the 1980s, I developed a deep fondness for action figures, including G.I. Joe and Transformers. I'll never forget the care that these companies put into the packaging of these toys, including little dossiers that delivered backstory, personality, and traits for each of the figures.

I like how Marvel Heroes has done a great job replicating this approach in the game, with bios and verbal quotes and loading screen tidbits. Even though my knowledge of the Marvel universe is mostly limited to '90s comics and the films, this game has gone a long way in filling in the gaps of my ignorance.

In the spirit of collectible dossiers, I thought I'd occasionally pen a column rating the different aspects of each of the characters that I've leveled up to 60. Today I'm going to tackle my first two: Squirrel Girl and Cyclops.

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Marvel Heroics: My Marvel Heroes wish list

If there's one constant in the gaming universe, it's that every MMO player has a wish list. It's almost impossible to spend any length of time in a title without thinking of what you would love to see added or improved or changed. When you see others echoing those desires, it can be both comforting (you're not alone!) and maddening (why won't the studio listen?).

In many respects, I think that Marvel Heroes is a terrific and highly accessible game. I wouldn't change a thing about its business model, for example, nor how the devs continually add new characters and costumes. But I can't help but note some of the weaker parts of the game and crave some features that simply aren't there.

So today I'm going to get it all out of my system and give you my six-point wish list. Let me know your own wish list in the comments!

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Marvel Heroics: Fighting the inventory blues

Diablo-type games balance on a see-saw of distribution and acquisition; the games explode with loot while giving you limited space to store all of your treasures. The agonizing decision of what to keep in your precious inventory space is a minigame unto itself (and probably helps us from becoming digital hoarders).

Everyone I've met in Marvel Heroes has, at one time, struggled with how to handle the game's inventory space. When starting out a new account, you'll be given a 60-slot character inventory (shared between all characters) and a single 48-slot S.T.A.S.H. (bank) tab. Now, 108 slots might sound like a lot, but that's only before you see how much stuff you'll end up picking up in Marvel Heroes and how many types of goodies there are.

To make matters worse for space-limited players, right now there's no way to earn more S.T.A.S.H. tabs without forking over cash. So how do you get a handle on your inventory before it buries you? I've formulated a few strategies over the past year that have served me well.

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Marvel Heroics: Help! What hero should I play?

Superheroes are quite used to hearing cries of distress and pleas for help, but who lends a hand when the caped crusaders need assistance? I do, that's who! Also the wider Marvel Heroes community. And probably Daredevil; he seems like a good sort.

Probably one of the most-asked questions that's asked both in-game and on the outside -- and the one that is the most difficult to answer -- is, "What hero should I pick? Whom should I play?" When Gazillion recently gave away a free superhero of one's choice to everyone for the game's second anniversary, players formed countless threads and spammed the in-game chat with entreaties for others to help them decide. After all, Marvel Heroes is going on its 49th hero with no signs of stopping, and making decisions which characters to save up for or buy can be one of the toughest calls that any player has to continually make.

With the assistance of a lot of observation, research, and my own personal experience, I put together the following guide to hopefully guide such seekers in finding the hero who best complements them and their playstyles. However, the true answer to that question will always be the hero that looks like the most fun!

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Marvel Heroics: Ten Marvel Heroes resources to bring you from zero to hero

Before a few months ago, the time that I spent in Marvel Heroes was largely uninformed and aimless. I figured it was just a Diablo click-fest that required very little knowledge other than how to work my index finger. That led me to meandering through the story mode and experiencing leveling that was so painfully slow that it almost drove me away from the game.

This all changed when I decided to buckle down and do some actual research into how Marvel Heroes was set up and its different systems functioned. After a few days of this, everything started to "click" for me, and I found my excitement and enjoyment of subsequent game sessions skyrocket.

Since I ended up bookmarking half of the internet in this journey to get my Marvel Heroes diploma (I imagine that Mr. Fantastic is the one who gives it to me), I wanted to share those resources with you in the hopes of passing along some great information that could take you from zero to hero in no time at all.

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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!

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Marvel Heroics: Six leveling tips for Marvel Heroes

Welcome to Marvel Heroics, my look at the superhero exploits of Marvel Heroes! Just about half of Massively OP has gotten hooked on this title, so it felt right to devote some space to talking about this OARPG. And what better place to begin than grappling with the leveling game?

While dealing with around 50 heroes, legendary items, omega levels, and prestiging (re-level those characters for added benefits), there is no shortage of leveling to be done here. It might seem like a herculean task at the start -- even with one character -- but the game is designed to accelerate the process so that subsequent trips up the level ladder go faster and faster.

Here are six tips that I've discovered and others have shared with me to make the most of my efforts in leveling my roster of comic book wonders!

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