How much can change in a year...
Back at launch, the game got some pretty decent to mediocre reviews with many calling the game out on its performance, its free-to-play model and being unable to make your own hero. As a huge supporter of the game, believe me when I say the game deserved those reviews then. Prices were steep, getting heroes was cumbersome or another money sink and there was little to no end-game progression. Yet the remarkable turnaround is one of the huge success stories about the game as anyone who's played since launch can tell you how much has changed while those who were turned off will probably be amazed at just how much has been added since. It's not always perfect but persistence and listening to feedback can really pay off.
The game is a free-to-play MMO/ARPG hybrid in the vein of Diablo 2, Torchlight 2, Path of Exile etc where instead of creating your own character, you choose from fan favorites to lesser known Marvel heroes and level and gear your way up to 60. Unless you bought a founder's pack or hero pack, you were only given access to 5 heroes: Daredevil, Thing, Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye and Storm. It also had the rather inane system of every other hero besides those 5 had to either be bought with real money or a loot drop (which ranged from occasionally to rarely seen at all). The starting lineup has been raised to near 10 (out of 30+) and a currency called Eternity Splinters drops from enemies; save up enough and you can exchange them for a hero and not have to pay a cent or try your luck at a random hero. It's a much better system than previously and not to mention the more expensive heroes at launch (Iron Man, Deadpool, Spider-Man) dropped in price, making it a much more attractive option.
There's not a whole lot that differentiates the game in terms of skills to say Diablo 3's rune system or Path of Exile's wacky passive tree but there's plenty to itemize in. Skill trees are the familiar 3-tree form and items can range from ring slots to pre-set legendaries that give you stats and procs as you level it up to uniques (any hero and hero-specific flavors), there's plenty to find and gear for. Another benefit is that the game's many heroes allow for different types of archetypes so a ranged character a la Hawkeye can function completely different to a Rocket Raccoon and while many powers will repeat themselves, many heroes add their own flavor to make them standout a bit more.
Another large component of the game just launched with their one year anniversary and that's what they call the Omega system. Taking a page from Everquest's alternate advancement system, Diablo 3's paragon levels and Borderlands 2 badass ranks, this system is for those who really wish to delve into a long-term end game scenario and with a large point cap and some talents requiring as much as 2500 points, it's a huge time-sink. Way it works is doesn't matter what level or what hero, as long as you gain XP from it, you'll gain omega XP which is earned in tandem with regular level XP. Earn enough, you gain an omega point which you can use in different specialized categories with a myriad of talents ranging from more defense, more damage, furthering the use of more niche, wackier builds to unique procs. It's hero specific so your Iron Man's point distribution will be entirely separate from a Wolverine's like Diablo 3's paragon levels. The only real downside to the system is that for many talents requiring 50 or more just for one rank, the "real" fun doesn't really kick in until you have 1000+ which can make the system great the more you play yet near useless at early levels.
Different modes help with the questing which can range from X-defense (5 player horde mode) to Holo-sim (2 player horde mode), to Midtown Manhattan (one map with constantly respawning enemies) and, to my knowledge, the first ever raid in an action RPG added just recently. Legendary quests can help with gaining XP fast as completing specific objectives will net you much more XP than usual and a currency called Odin marks which you use to buy legendaries or bless stat-giving artifacts with additional benefits. The 9 chapter story mode is pretty decent the first time through but eventually once it's over you'll probably avoid re-playing it on the 2 harder difficulties and level somewhere else.
Like I mentioned earlier the game isn't without faults and my number one issue is optimization. Now granted I don't have the greatest of computer rigs with the 4k resolutions and such but for a computer than can handle Metro games and Crysis 3, it seems odd that my framerate can literally dip into the 10's when things get too busy. And the reason why is the 2nd issue which is the spell effects and I get why they're here: powerful heroes should look and feel powerful but when you have 10 heroes onscreen (or more) with many having really visual elaborate powers, the game looks like a mess with too much going on at once and can even perform like a mess.
Also while the microtransactions aren't as egregious as they were at launch, my main issue is what are called fortune cards. These cards, costing a dollar, are somewhat similar to many other games usage of a "chest", get a chest, open it with a key and get some random bonus. In this game, cards you right-click can give you a chance at certain bonuses such as costumes that can only be found in those cards so for example let's use Ultimate Deadpool from card 3. You buy 10 of these, no costume, but you get a form of currency that comes with the items you gain so if you save up enough currency, you can just go to a vendor in-game and get it outright that way. And the price for these costumes? 95 of that currency (and each card's currency is separate). It's completely optional and no way power boosting but the idea of bare minimum 95 bucks for one costume sounds quite messed up to me.
Re-branded as "Marvel Heroes 2015", the game would easily win or at the very least be nominated if there was a "most improved game since launch" award somewhere. With 30+ playable heroes and more along the way, reduced prices on microtransactions, more game modes (including a PVP and the first ever ARPG raid), it's quite something how much the game has changed, whether you were along for the ride or planning on coming back and all of it for the better.