The Rise of Marvel Player Alliances in Their Popular Mobile Games


Today I’d like to take an in-depth look at the rise of marvel player alliances in their 3 major mobile games. Spider-Man Unlimited has been teasing a new content drop for quite awhile now, and the team over at Gameloft hinted at a new social mode during the interview we at Whatever A Spider Can conducted with them last month. They’ve released two teasers in-game in the past few days, with a graphic depicting five different spider related symbols in various colors set below the tagline: suit up and unite in a quest for control. A follow up preview appeared today with a new tagline –team work is the key to victory. There has been speculation on what the new content will bring, but many agree (and some may have data-mined) that the upcoming mode will be some form of guild or alliance system. The symbols appear to indicate five factions, one which you will be able to choose and unite under along with fellow players, and work together to meet milestones in order to “reap new rewards.”

alliances /

It would not be surprising that Spider-Man Unlimited would implement a system such as the one described, as it is both an easy way to add fresh content to the game, as well as improve on the community aspect of the mobile runner. Furthermore, SMU will follow suit with a guild-system trend that the other Marvel mobile apps have adopted, namely Marvel hits Contest of Champions (CoC) and my personal favorite Future Fight. The influence of these guilds vary from game to game, and it remains to be seen what kind of impact it will have on Spider-Man Unlimited’s meta-game. I’d like to examine the player alliances in the latter games to analyze the significance the guilds have in each of Marvel’s app, and how they affect gameplay, milestones/rewards, and the player community. Note that I will use the terms alliance, and guild, interchangeably.

Let’s start with Future Fight. The spiritual successor to Marvel’s Ultimate Alliance implemented player alliances in their last big update. Harboring a decent sized roster of 30 members, each alliance allows players to unite and grind out goals together. At the moment the goals and rewards are fairly benign. There are two main quests that the alliances work toward: a weekly quest that usually rewards energy (the currency used to keep playing) or gold (in the amount of xx,xxx), and a daily quest that rewards smaller units of the same resources. Unlike Contest of Champions which we’ll touch upon further down, the quest rewards are almost inconsequential -energy is abundant for most players who are high leveled, and amounts are bolstered by frequent energy gifts from daily check-ins or GM rewards, and although any amount of gold is a nice addition to the coffers it isn’t exactly too hard to come by. The alliance has its own level, with the cap resting at 20, and every stage a member runs and completes successfully without clear tickets (a resource that auto completes a stage) grants the alliance 100 experience points. It’s through these levels that the true value of the alliances shine through; the alliance provides each member a variety of buffs that enhance various stats. These boosts scale with alliance level -here’s a picture for reference.

Future Fight Alliance
Future Fight Alliance /

As you can see these aren’t small buffs, and as the alliance level grows, these buffs begin to apply to more game types, eventually encapsulating all modes from arena (Player vs Player) to VS (a set of 9 boss battles). In essence, the alliances in Future Fight are more of a background feature that enhances one’s gameplay through buffs, and provides additional goals that one could theoretically complete through regular playing. It doesn’t quite change how one would approach the game, aside from not using clear tickets to complete levels, but it did improve the connections between Future Fight players. Although the app has an in-game chat menu, it is fairly wonky and rarely used; instead, many of the guilds communicate over a chat system (such as LINE or GroupMe) and when the alliances were announced redditors took up arms and formed groups with a quickness; so while alliances may not have much on the content side of things, it certainly has increased the amount I have chatted and discussed the game with other players. Keep in mind that this system is very young and has the chance to evolve over time, unlike the guild system in Contest of Champions, which we’ll take a look at next. For a better analysis of Contest of Champion’s alliance system, I asked my good friend and long time CoC player, who goes by the handle


, to share his perspective.

“In Marvel’s Contest of Champions, the alliances were introduced to promote interactions between like-minded players and friends. Similar to what you’ve described in Future Fight, the alliance consists of a leader, and up to 29 other players, for a total of 30 members. The players are then divided into ranks, a hierarchy reminiscent of those found in Massively Multiplayer Online games -and includes a separate in-alliance chat system. These alliances let players socialize among each other, while participating in alliance-based quests and events. These quests are daily, and can be completed in full by most alliances; though it’s worth noting that Kabam (the game’s developer) is planning to revamp the daily quest system. Alliance events are in the same vein as the individual events, but differ in that the total score contribution is cumulative from everyone in the alliance. There are milestone rewards for every chunk of points reached, which is balanced for the varying strength values of every alliance. What this translates to, is that the stronger the individual players in an alliance are, the stronger the total strength value is and the more points a guild will net under the same time constraints as every other guild. At the end of each event, each alliance is ranked against the other alliances and are awarded various rewards depending on how high their final scores were.

Some context: the game revolves around crystals of various types. Certain hero crystals can be rolled to unlock a random hero of a certain star-tier. Typical milestones reward crystals that contain prizes ranging from upgrades and power ups, to lower tier heroes. Reaching higher milestones will generally net more hero crystals, and certain 3 and 4 star heroes (with 4 star heroes being the epitome of rare and the goal of everyone in the game). Everyone can see each player’s strength values, which is the typical benchmark that established alliances look at before recruiting someone. Generally, a stronger player will contribute more to the alliance as a whole, and each player can see how much any one player has contributed to any event’s score.

CoC stats
CoC stats /

For many, most of the alliances will be used as a stepping stone towards stronger alliances, and stronger alliances will find it easier to reach higher milestones during the events, which in turn rewards the entire alliance with more hero crystals, hero upgrades, in-game monetary rewards, and upper tier heroes. It’s difficult to win 4-star heroes from individual events unless you already own 4-star heroes, but it’s possible to get these heroes through events or in-app purchases of crystals. This creates a power creep where the stronger alliances will reach the top milestone quicker, simply because the guild’s members already own various 4-star heroes, which leads to them earning more 4-star heroes. The game tends to reward already established players, and the way the alliance influences the game reflects that.”

As you can see, the alliance system in Contest of Champions affects the game more than Future Fight’s, and it seems to create an ecosystem where the strong continue to get stronger, and the weak struggle to keep up. On the other hand, Future Fight does not offer inter-alliance competitions or alliance wars, which leads to a more docile guild meta-game. It’ll be interesting to see which method Spider-Man Unlimited leans towards, or perhaps it’ll be a completely different system from its fellow apps; one thing worth noting is that Spider-Man Unlimited’s reward infrastructure seems to relate more to Contest of Champion’s structure in that those who already have strong units (whether it be 4-star heroes or Titan level spideys) will continue to gain the highest scores in events and gain even more strong units. Given that SMU is a game that consists entirely of running to achieve milestones, it’d be reasonable to think the elite players who have many strong spideys will form alliances and win every contest… alternatively, they could take a page out of Future Fight and the prizes of the alliance events will not be very strong (though it’s doubtful). In any case, this is all speculation until Gameloft releases their new mode, and I’ll be sure to write about that when it releases and refer back here to see which way the game went.

(Big thanks to T.G.R for his point of view).