Previously, I’ve written up guides for both Injustice: Gods Among Us (Free) and Marvel: War of Heroes (Free) to help players get a little more bang for zero bucks. Well, I’m capping off my superhero guide trilogy with some advice for those of you playing Marvel’s Avengers Alliance (Free), a neat little game that migrated over from Facebook. If you thought the games I talked about before were grindy and full of nasty ways to get you to open your wallet, friend, you haven’t seen anything yet. The team of costumed adventurers you would like to have and the team you will have are likely to be very different things for a long, long time if you aren’t willing to pay up. At the same time, Avengers Alliance certainly offers up more in the way of gameplay and strategy than War of Heroes, so it’s pretty fun to play. With that preamble out of the way, here are some tips to help you out.
Don’t waste your Gold. Okay, that one should go without saying, but please, don’t waste your Gold. You should be using your Gold for picking up exclusive items or changing it in for Command Points. Under no circumstances should you ever use your Gold to kill a timer or re-spin a bonus roulette.
Pay attention to types. The different job classes in the game (with the exception of the Generalist) follow a big rock-paper-scissors routine. If you can help it, you don’t want to put yourself at a disadvantage. Types can make or break a fight, and using them effectively is one of the best ways to win in PVP mode.
Use your items freely. You’re going to be absolutely swimming in them in the long run, believe me. Don’t feel bad about using a health pack or a stamina pack when you need them. They might seem scarce when you start, but you’ll find that enemies are like item pinatas.
Your Agent’s level is most important. In the beginning, you’re not going to be able to afford to level up your heroes. There just aren’t enough S.H.I.E.L.D. points to go around. Don’t worry too much, though, because your Agent’s level will determine how strong your team is on the whole. You don’t need to sink your points into leveling up your starting guys. In fact, you certainly shouldn’t do that. Why? Well…
Your starting heroes kind of suck. Yes, I know, Iron Man is really cool. I loved his movies, too. But like all things given for free in a free-to-play game, he’s not very good in the long run. If you have the patience to level him up to level 9, his Unibeam can make him a workable character, but those are S.H.I.E.L.D. points almost certainly better spent elsewhere. Hawkeye is almost completely worthless. He’s really only useful against enemies with high evasion, since his special move has a 100% hit rate. Black Widow is probably the best of the lot. She’s quite useful almost all the way through, with a great set of special moves. She’s not the best Infiltrator class hero by any means, but she’s worth keeping around.
Choose your heroes wisely. Command Points are not all that easy to come by. Particularly in the beginning, you’ll want to make your hero purchases count. The best pick-ups from the cheapest tier (15 CP) are She-Hulk and Ms. Marvel, both of whom are speedy enough to take two turns in a row. She-Hulk can fill in the Bruiser spot on your roster quite well for a while, and is one of the few characters who can handle her cousin, Hulk, fairly well. Ms. Marvel can take Mr. Stark’s place on your team with gusto, thanks to her Kree Speed ability. Other good choices at the 15 CP level are Cyclops, who has an attack that adds the weak point status to the enemy, and Invisible Woman, who is not only hard to hit, but also gains a very useful ability to lock down an opponent at level 9.
In the 23 CP tier, the only two heroes really worth looking at are Colossus and Dr. Strange. Colossus is an incredibly useful combination of defense and offense, while Dr. Strange has strong attack power and nearly bottomless energy. In the 33 CP tier, there are another two characters that are very good. The Human Torch is pretty much overpowered. If you’re patient enough to save 33 CP for your first hero, he’s certainly the best choice, hanging quite well with the 90 CP tier characters. His level 1 attack, Fireball, is disgustingly powerful. His passive abilities not only give him a 25% chance of avoiding attacks and light anyone who melee attacks him on fire, but also turn burning attacks into free heals. Given how many players are rolling with Iron Man or an Agent with a flamethrower, Human Torch is a PVP beast. The other great character at this tier is Kitty Pryde. Her ability to phase offers both offensive and defensive advantages.
Command Points are worth more than sentiment. Now that we’re getting into the more expensive tiers, I have to warn you off of certain characters. With heavy heart, I have to tell you to avoid one of my favorite Marvel characters. The ever-lovin’ blue-eyed baby boy from Yancy Street, the Thing, is probably the worst Bruiser class character in the game. That he costs more Command Points than two considerably better Bruisers is a crime. Another comic book fave of mine, Nightcrawler, is also a pretty poor pick-up, especially at the very high price of 48 CP. If you’ve got 48 CP to burn, pick up Phoenix, an amazing Blaster, or War Machine, the best Tactician in the game apart from Captain America himself.
It should come as no surprise that the 90 CP tier heroes are all very strong. Special note goes to Spider-Man, whose ability to defend his entire team and avoid attacks make him a guy you want to have on your side and not your opponent’s, and Captain America, whose abilities to block attacks, buff his teammates, and inflict a variety of debuffs on the enemy make him the game’s deadliest Tactician class hero. Is it worth saving up for these high-priced heroes? I would say yes, but only after you’ve picked up a couple cheaper heroes, like Colossus and the Human Torch. At that point, you’ll be holding your own well enough to wait out the time it’ll take to grind the CP.
You’re going to have to grind to gather CP. There’s no way around it. Even buying Gold and exchanging it offers a ridiculously meager amount of CP for your cash. You can earn CP by earning five stars on each mission, winning it in the various roulettes, or changing in your Gold for it. Either way, you’re in for a long wait if you want to fill out your Avengers roster.
Don’t forget the PVP. As ever in these games, it’s a great way to earn rewards. The roulette offers beefier rewards than the usual one, and the daily XP bonus is substantial. It’s also pretty fun. You’ll get a chance to see other heroes in action, and that can help you decide which ones to buy. Having my butt whipped over and over again by Human Torch certainly tipped me off to his strength.
While I can’t promise you’ll be the strongest player around if you follow this guide, these tips will definitely give you a leg up on the average joe and keep you from wasting valuable resources (and by association, time). With this guide to Avengers Alliance presented to you, dear readers, my trilogy of superhero free-to-play guides comes to a close. Following the usual pattern of superhero movies, I will not be doing a fourth, because it would be sure to be awful and regrettable. Excelsior, True Believers!