Today is the official countdown to Marvel’s Avengers launching post-beta, at least for folks who were granted early access via pre-orders. And as launch is only hours away at this point, Square Enix has been rolling out new information on the game’s minutia, including features that weren’t part of previous testing phases. One of those features, Hero Challenge Cards, has proven to be a bit controversial due to some unclear messaging. So, let’s clear it up some shall we?

What are Hero Challenge Cards in Marvel’s Avengers?

To get this part out of the way early, yes, Hero Challenge Card is the Avengers euphemism for Battle Pass. With the Battle Pass model, players generally pay a fee to gain access to the Battle Pass, then climb up a new ladder of tasks and goals in order to unlock things like currency and cosmetic items for their accounts. Typically you see this in free games like Fortnite, or long-term service games like Call of Duty or Destiny 2. In Avengers, the Hero Challenge Cards are a little different than usual. 

For starters, the Hero Challenge Cards are static. Normally a Battle Pass model includes cycling, with an expiration date baked in that makes the rewards limited-time offers. This is to encourage purchases, of course. In Marvel’s Avengers, each hero has a single Hero Challenge Card, and they have no expiration date or time limit. No matter when you start playing, for example, you’ll always be able to work through Iron Man’s Hero Challenge Card. The pricing situation is also a little different, due to this game’s character-based structure.

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Each character has their own, individual Hero Challenge Card. And for every hero that comes with the game on launch, there is no cost associated. So for Hulk, Captain America, Ms Marvel, Black Widow, Thor, and Iron Man, you effectively get six “Battle Pass” ladders for just the price of admission. A more traditional pricing model won’t kick in until post-launch characters are added, which themselves are free.

We already know Hawkeye is the first post-launch character, so let’s use him as an example. If you want to play as Hawkeye, you don’t have to buy him. You’ll be able to play through whatever content he comes with (missions, etc) at no additional charge. And of course, cosmetics will be available to earn in the game, as well as for individual purchase in the marketplace. The Hero Challenge Card is another route for items, which has both a free and premium version, which costs the equivalent of ten dollars. The Cards have 40 tiers to go through, and the rewards are clearly labeled as free or premium. Also, like some other Battle Pass games, if you get all the way through you’ll end up with enough premium credits to get the next Card without shelling out another ten bucks, if you hold onto that currency. Of course, you can also use it for other costumes and cosmetic items in the Marketplace.

There was some initial confusion about how this feature applied to the starting heroes, which presumably are part of the initial cost of the game. This is true, and while the core team does have Hero Challenge Cards, there is no fee to unlock them. Obviously there is a service model or long-term plan for Marvel’s Avengers, so presumably the marketplace and Hero Challenge Card purchases are present to offset all the playable post-game content (characters, story, missions, etc) being free.

Does that clear things up? What do you think about this Hero Challenge Card system in Marvel’s Avengers? Do you think it’s an appropriate modification of the “Battle Pass” model for a normal retail game? Or do you think it isn’t good enough at justifying its presence? Let us know how you feel over at the Prima Games Facebook and Twitter channels!