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Marvel’s Avengers starts selling XP boosters, angering players

Fans say the change goes against a pledge to only sell cosmetics

Ms. Marvel, Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and Black Widow from Marvel’s Avengers Image: Crystal Dynamics/Square Enix
Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Marvel’s Avengers is now selling XP boosters — paid consumable items called Hero’s Catalysts in the game’s marketplace — as part of an update to Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics’ game that rolled out Thursday. The change isn’t sitting well with Marvel’s Avengers players, who say that the developer has gone back on its pledge to only offer paid microtransactions for cosmetic items, like skins and other flourishes.

The latest patch for Marvel’s Avengers updated the in-game marketplace to add a Consumable category, which now sells Hero’s Catalysts and Fragment Extractors, two consumable items that already existed in the game. Previously, the Marketplace only sold cosmetic items, like costumes and emotes.

“You can purchase a consumable with a one-day duration for 100 Credits, a three-day duration for 250 Credits, or seven-day duration for 500 Credits,” the developer explained on its blog announcing the marketplace change. (Square Enix currently sells a pack of 500 Credits for $4.99, while the highest priced bundle, at $99.99, offers 13,000 Credits.)

A screenshot of the Marketplace menu in Marvel’s Avengers Image: Crystal Dynamics/Square Enix

The game’s new consumable purchases quickly angered portions of the Marvel’s Avengers player base, who say that Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics “have destroyed player trust” and “broken promises on pay-to-win mechanics” by selling the consumables. Many point to the game’s recent addition to Xbox Game Pass as a catalyst to sell consumable XP boosters to a new audience.

Marvel’s Avengers’ consumable XP boosters follow a change to experience gain in the game that Crystal Dynamics rolled out earlier this year. In March, the developer said it was slowing XP gain (and therefore, how quickly players leveled up their Avengers heroes) to avoid overwhelming players.

“The problem we were seeing, and hearing, was that you would immediately get more skill points than you had time to review, apply, and get used to, before embarking on your next mission and gaining your next few levels,” Crystal Dynamics said at the time.

More important, it seems, to angered players is what appears to be the developer and publisher reneging on a promise. “We’ve also committed that content purchasable with real money in Marvel’s Avengers will be aesthetic-only additions, which will ensure we can keep the game fresh for years to come,” Crystal Dynamics said in August 2020, just prior to the game’s launch.

Polygon has reached out to publisher Square Enix for comment and will update when the company responds.

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