How Events in Marvel Strike Force Keep Players Engaged

Previously we looked at how Candy Crush, a casual match 3, ran their events, now let's look at how a more hardcore RPG runs events.

 

Overview 

Marvel Strike Force (MSF) is a turn-based mobile RPG primarily focused on building and battling with teams of heroes and villains from the entire Marvel roster. Players create a team of five with these characters and, using each one’s unique abilities and attacks, defeat the opposing team. Players can take part in campaign, blitz, arena, raid, and alliance war modes, each with the same core gameplay. Each mode gives different rewards that boost player progression, incentivizing players to participate in all of them. 

 

This post will take a deeper dive into the types of events in MSF and how they contribute to keeping players engaged. 

Events

Events are any type of limited-time content that keeps gameplay fresh, interesting, and rewarding. They typically either add gameplay, or enhance existing gameplay, giving players something new to experience. These events serve to keep players engaged in the game by switching up their sometimes repetitive nature. 

 

To help players with progression, with either obtaining characters or upgrading characters, MSF holds a few different types of events. These events can come in two types, milestone events, and events that release limited missions. 

Milestone Events

Some events will be point milestone events. Players can earn points by completing battles with a special requirement depending on the event. The more points the player earns, the higher milestone tier they will reach. Each milestone tier has increasingly better rewards, pushing players to reach as high as possible by playing often within the time window of the event. 

 

There are special milestone events that happen every Sunday, as many people have free time to spend on MSF. In this event, players earn points by winning ‘Blitz’ battles. 

Figure 1: Both ‘Red Stars Rampage’ and ‘Orb Assault’ are Sunday events whose rewards help with upgrading characters. Red Star Orbs are especially hard to obtain outside of this event. 

Every week, a weeklong event is released, focused around earning points by winning battles using certain characters or collecting a certain material. In this event, players earn points for opening ‘Iron-Willed Orbs’ or by spending ‘Power Cores’.

Figure 2: Closer look into the ‘Vision of Tomorrow’ event, showing its milestone tiers and rewards. 

 

Every month, a month-long event is released, where players earn more points based on their participation in the weeklong events. The better they do in the weeklong events, the more points they earn in the month-long events, pushing them to play actively throughout the month. In August, points were earned for participating in the weekly events throughout the month.

Figure 3: Closer look into the ‘Techno Future’ event, showing its milestone tiers and rewards. 

 

Rewards in these events can include in-game shop currencies, character orb shards, material orb shards, and much more. These rewards are more generous if a player puts more time and effort into the  game, so more experienced and dedicated players will reap more rewards.

 

The second type of event releases limited time missions. These types of events are specifically geared towards unlocking new characters. 

Events with Limited Time Missions

Once or twice a week, a two-day event will be released. One day increases the drop rates of a select pool of characters, making them easier to obtain and unlock, and one day for special missions only available to those characters. Harder missions with more rewards in these events can be accessed by more experienced players. 

Figure 4: Far right: day 1 out of 2. Far left: day 2 out of 2. The event ‘Block Party’ is only available to ‘City Hero’ characters, which were easier to obtain because of the ‘Neighborhood Watch’ event. 

 

Sometimes a legendary character will be unlockable for a limited amount of time. These characters are only unlockable through these events. Unlocking them requires beating missions only open to certain characters. Harder missions in these events can be accessed by more experienced players. 

Figure 5: The mission ‘Black & Ebony’ to earn shards for the legendary character ‘Ebony Maw’  was only available to ‘Inhuman’ characters. 



Key Takeaways

What can we learn from MSF’s events, and how can we apply their tricks into your own games? 

 

  1. Special events during high traffic times, like Sundays, allow the highest number of players to take part in them. 

  2. Events with scaling timeframes, like how the participation in weekly events increases score in monthly events, releases content to players without overwhelming them. Spreading out monthly content into weekly chunks can keep things fresh while also keeping players engaged the entire month.  

  3. Creating events that build off of one another, such as MSF’s two day events, not only incentivise playing for the increased rewards during the first day, but also to participate in the subsequent day’s event. Players with more reasons to play will be more dedicated.

  4. Events with different levels of difficulty and better rewards from harder missions allow for players in all stages of the game to be challenged and satisfied.

 

Ultimately, events in MSF are used to keep players engaged over a long period. Since the events are limited time, players are pushed to play during these time windows to fully take advantage of all the rewards. With the action-packed event schedule MSF has, players are always constantly logging in. 

 

Events are one strategy for player retention. More information about player retention will be covered in the next blog post.

 

To learn more about MSF, you can check their wiki page here or their YouTube channel here to find out more. 



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