With #SaveMSF gamers challenge elements they see as problematic
Marvel Strike Force (MSF) is a turn-based role-playing multi-player mobile game owned by Scopely, a privately held company that is currently valued at around $3.3 billion. Increasingly players have been expressing concerns that Scopely seems to no longer care about the player community and instead is focused solely on the bottom line. They appear to be honed in on how they can best monetize the game, rather than balancing that interest with player experience, and have turned a largely unresponsive ear to players' complaints about it.
This is not the first time that players have banded together to try to have their concerns with MSF addressed. Last year top alliances changed their names to add FixMSF to bring attention to another game-wide bid to improve issues. #FixMSF was an open letter to MSF’s owners about gear bottlenecks and lack of agency in the game, related primarily to Red Stars, which grant a huge power increase to characters, although getting them was RNG-dependent. In other words, the game shifted to an emphasis on luck over skill, much to the players' dissatisfaction.
The owner at the time, FoxNext, made some changes to address complaints, but not everything was sorted to player satisfaction and Scopely appears to be dragging their feet even more with this current round of desired improvements. Refusal to take these concerns seriously in a timely manner has caused some long-time players to quit.
Player frustration with the game has continued and has gotten so deep that on February 27, 2021, a player in a top alliance, YAGS, who was supported by content creators in his campaign to be the first to beat Dark Dimension IV, the games most difficult mode, made a bold protest statement. One of the prizes for winning this level was to have your name immortalized in the game, so YAGS changed his name to ScopelyFixPrices in a bid to get attention paid to the concerns of the community. Interestingly, when he won and Scopely announced it, the name had been changed so as not to have this protest memorialized. Frustration and upset in the MSF community coalesced, sparking another movement: #SAVEMSF. Quoting from the Reddit posting SAVEMSF Movement:
At the beginning of February, alliance leaders and content creators from all over the world joined together to discuss the state of MSF. This group represents late, mid and early game players with the intent to address the issues affecting us all. We proactively drafted a letter to Scopely which identified and offered solutions to a variety of issues.
In both of the blogs from Scopely, they took some of our suggestions and put forth a number of their own changes to help address some of our concerns. These are welcome changes and we appreciate the gesture, but more needs to be done to help players in the early and mid stages of the game. Additionally, nothing was done to address Gold and Red Star/Promotion Credit concerns, nor have we received any concrete details in terms of how much of an impact those changes will end up having on players from all parts of the game.
We ask Scopely to specifically revisit and address:
Unaddressed Bottlenecks: -Gold -T4s -Red Star Promotion Tokens -Purple Gear(Specifically for new and mid game players)
New Player Experience: -Catch-Up Mechanics -Blitz
What we have received are numerous notices about how delayed these changes are going to be, but when an issue that benefits the players occurs, it is immediately fixed. RTA and War are “being looked at” with no definite dates for resolution, and many of the other QoL concerns which the community has been asking for are all “coming soon” or ignored completely.
Content Creator, Tauna explained some of them to me:
- In the game, there is a mode called Blitz. This mode essentially pits every player against each other to see who can earn the most points. It’s split into 2 “shards” and you compete against players in that shard.
- The Beginner Shard, which lasts until you hit level 65
- The “Normal” Shard, which is EVERYONE else
- That means players who have only just hit level 65 (around 100 days gameplay) are competing against players that are millions of collection power above them, and have been playing for around 3 years.
- That means they can NEVER get the top rewards from the gamemode, or really even be competitive. It’s insanely poorly designed, and my wife for example quit the game because there’s no way for her to even catch up.
My husband is a long-time MSF player and a former Leader of a top-400 alliance, but lately, he has been thinking of quitting Marvel Strike Force. “It’s just not that fun anymore,” he said. “The bottlenecks make it really frustrating to try and level up your favorite characters.” He’s a high-level player with a 1,000 days in the game, so I can only imagine how frustrated newer players must be as well.
Game leaders are asking players to exert pressure on Scopely by changing their reviews of the game.
“We are calling on all players to leave a 2 star review for Marvel Strike Force on the Google Play and iOS App Store. If Scopely continues to leave critical issues unaddressed, we will proceed with 1 star ratings. We ask all players to not copy and paste reviews, and to include text in your review, so that the App Stores can not delete the negative reviews as easily.”
But, they also end on a hopeful note:
“Internet communities have shown they can accomplish great things when united. Let's carry that momentum and spark positive change for the game we love.”
© Copyright Elle Beau 2020
Elle Beau writes on Medium about sex, life, relationships, society, anthropology, spirituality, and love.