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Saturday, March 4, 2017

Marvel Contest of Champions community calls for boycott



The Marvel brand has a passionate fanbase, and it is no different in the community playing Contest of Champions, a Marvel branded mobile game developed and distributed by Kabam. This fighting game available across iOS and Android allows players to collect their favorite Marvel characters and compete against fellow fans, but with the latest update the player base has turned against the game developers.

Kabam has undoubtedly been very successful with this franchise, earning high revenue and topping app store charts. However, with their latest 12.0 update, they have left a bitter taste in the mouth of their loyal player base.

The update appears to have four components:
  • Introduction of new content (Act 5, X-Men Quests, etc)
  • A new arena system
  • Adjustment of Champions (some abilities reduced, some enhanced)
  • Introduction of a new Combat system
Not all of these changes are necessarily bad, but going into the details of these changes has revealed why the players are so unhappy with the release

New Combat System

With the release of the 12.0 update, Kabam stated on their forums that they would be switching to a flat value based system to make calculations in the game. They reasoned that converting to this system would help them ensure the longevity of their game and bring new content to their users.

However, specific details of this new system were very scarce. Player questions were mostly unanswered in regard to this new system, and players only got to experience this change when the update was finally released.

The new system allowed rarer (more costly) champions to have an advantage over common ones, and selectively reduced abilities on some of the stronger champions. Players accused that Kabam's intentions here were to increase revenue, making content harder to complete.

Champion Adjustments

The Contest of Champions offers a diverse roster of characters... However, overtime some champions have risen to rule as top picks for players. Kabam made several adjustments to characters, but severely reduced abilities of three of the most popular champions - Scarlet Witch, Doctor Strange and Thor.

While players understood the need of balancing these characters, the update showed Kabam had taken extreme measures against these once powerful characters, making them less effective in completing content they were once able to. Coupled with the new combat system, it made content lengthier and less appealing to players.

Credit has to be given where due though, as Kabam had addressed a long term request to update a Marvel classic, the Hulk.

However the choice to reduce abilities of champions that offered regenerative abilities, showed financial motives behind their adjustments. When asked why newer champions were not affected, Kabam simply replied that they didn't have enough information on how they were used.

This posed an issue for players, where they would spend money on newly released content, only to have it de-powered months later. While free to play customers who waited for that content would likely never get to experience it as it was released.

Community Response

Within hours of the update going live, the community flooded the game developer's forums with complaints about the update... On top of the massive changes, the update was also riddled with several new bugs.

While it is not uncommon for bugs to slip the watchful eyes of Quality Assurance staff, the sheer magnitude of the bugs with the update showed the release was rushed and unplanned by Kabam. 

The game's unofficial Reddit forum, and several content creators voiced the concerns about the release, allowing players to channel their frustration.

The community has currently banded together to boycott spending on the game, and leaving negative reviews of the update on both the Apple and Google app stores. While the community is not looking for a complete reversal of the update, they want to be treated fairly by the developers, who have continued to push Contest of Champions towards a profit first attitude.

Kabam Response

After forum staff denied anything was wrong with the update at first, fell under the pressure of their customer base, finally apologizing for the poorly planned release, and promising to come up with a positive response to their customers on Monday, March 6th. 

Be sure to stay tuned for more coverage

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