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Marvel’s Avengers could be even worse on PS5 and Xbox Series X — here's why

marvel's avengers
(Image credit: Square Enix)

Marvel’s Avengers has had a rocky path since Square Enix announced it at E3 2019. Before it launched, people criticized its lackluster character designs; when it launched, people criticized its short campaign; after it launched, people criticized its multiplayer grind. In spite of that, the game is still very much alive, and optimized versions for the PS5 and Xbox Series X will debut on March 18.

But so will a patch that makes leveling up your characters even more difficult. In other words, the most tedious part about Marvel’s Avengers is about to get even worse.

Information comes from a Square Enix blog post entitled “Upcoming Cosmetic and XP Rework.” The Cosmetic updates are pretty straightforward. Rather than giving players a random chance to unlock the costumes they want, Marvel’s Avengers will soon let players purchase desired costumes directly, using in-game currency. As such, the selection of Cosmetic items will be limited between now and March 18, but if you just hang tight, you’ll be able to get your favorite outfits in a much more straightforward way.

The XP reworking, on the other hand, seems like it will slow the game down even further, rather than streamlining it.

“In most RPGs, the amount of XP you need to level up increase as you gain levels in a curve, but our system is a straight line,” the post reads. “This has led to pacing issues, such as skill points currently being rewarded too fast, which may be confusing and overwhelming to new players.”

To alleviate this issue, Square Enix will drastically increase the amount of XP required to level characters up, starting at level 25. This should, in theory, address the “new players gaining too many skill points, too fast” problem. But in practice, it doesn’t seem like anyone’s very happy about the change.

Marvel's Avengers: Now with more grind

For those who haven’t played it, Marvel’s Avengers is already a very grindy game. After the initial campaign (which is not that long, but still requires a fair bit of grinding to get through easily), you have a seemingly endless progression of multiplayer missions at varying levels of difficulty. You need to run these missions again and again to gather XP, gear and other resources. While it’s true that character XP doesn’t currently run on a curve, it still takes quite a while to max out each character, and there are at least six characters to go through — more, if you buy the DLC packs.

It’s not hard to see Square Enix’s logic here. Gamers who max out their characters tend to stop playing the game afterward, and only come back when there are new characters available. Since Avengers is a live-service game, Square Enix needs them to play constantly, or else the multiplayer community will slowly but surely dry up. Elongating the XP curve does force completionists to play for longer — but out of obligation, not because they’re having fun. There’s also the risk of players becoming fed up with the grind and leaving anyway.

The oddest thing about Square Enix’s decision is that, as far as I can tell, no one requested anything like this. The social media response to the XP reworking has been almost universally negative, with many players pointing out that the last thing Marvel’s Avengers needs is more repetitive grinding. High-level players seem to want more varied, meaningful endgame content instead.

Square Enix could, of course, change its mind before the patch goes live alongside the PS5 and Xbox Series X versions of the game on March 18. But if it doesn’t, it may disincentivize hesitant players even further.

Marshall Honorof is an editor for Tom's Guide, covering gaming hardware, security and streaming video. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.