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Tips For Playing Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order is here, and there’s a lot to it. There are more than 30 different characters at launch, each with different abilities and skills to juggle, and menu after menu of ways to enhance and upgrade them. There’s so much to keep track of while you take on the most challenging entry in the action role-playing series yet. In lieu of harnessing the power of the Infinity Stones, we’ve got some tips that should help.

Know How To Do Synergy Attacks

Before we get deeper into the game’s systems, there’s one important mechanic Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 doesn’t explain very well. Holding down the R button on the Switch controller gives players access to the special abilities of the character they are controlling. When characters with complementary abilities activate them when nearby to the character you’re controlling, players can press the A button to fire off their own special ability, which then combines those two abilities into a new, more powerful form. That’s called a Synergy attack. What’s not really explained is how players can initiate Synergy attacks on their own.

Holding down the ZR, or trigger button, also opens the ability menu, but now abilities are only highlighted if a nearby character controlled by another player or the computer can perform a complementary ability, activating a Synergy attack. In the screen above, I am controlling Black Panther. Holding down ZR shows I can perform a Synergy attack with either Captain America or Crystal.

VG24/7 has a great guide to Synergy attacks, including a table showing which abilities types work together and what they do.

Know Which Attributes Do What

Each character in Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 has six attributes.

  • Energy (ENE): Influences how much energy a character has to perform special attacks
  • Vitality (VIT): Influences how much health a character has
  • Durability (DUR): Resistance to physical damage (punches, swords, bullets)
  • Resilience (RES): Resistance to energy and magic damage (fire, lasers, sorcerers supreme and otherwise)
  • Strength (STR): Enhances physical damage
  • Mastery (MAS): Enhances magical and energy damage

Know Your Characters

Now that we know which stats affect which attributes and abilities, it’s pretty easy to figure out which stats to focus on when upgrading a character. These upgrades involve assign points to the Alliance-wide enhancement grid or assigning stat-enhancing ISO-8. Let’s look at Ms. Marvel.

Ms. Marvel is a brawler. All of her attacks are physical, as denoted by the fist icon under he abilities on the left side of the screen. That means to do more damage, she needs strength. Since she’s going to be in the thick of battle, having a good amount of vitality is helpful, though good durability will keep her from getting too roughed up. Her resilience could be better, as magical attacks tend to tear her up. She is desperately in need of more energy, as her special attacks hit hard, and I would like to be able to use them more often.

Storm is a ranged attacker, and her abilities all energy-based. She’s equipped here with a chunk of ISO-8 that greatly increases her health. I focus on energy and mastery for Storm’s attacks, because I want her to hit hard and often.

Level Up A Variety Of Different Characters

It’s tempting to create a party featuring four of your favorite Marvel characters and to just stick with them, but there are good reasons to have a wider range of party members at your disposal.

  • Exploiting Enemy Weaknesses: Special abilities have types—piercing, melee, ethereal, and energy, to name a few. Certain enemies and many of the bosses are weak to specific damage types. If you’re up against an enemy who is weak to piercing, swapping in a character like Black Panther, who is heavy on piercing abilities, can make a big difference.
  • Resisting Enemy Attacks: Check out Ororo’s Hero Traits. Note the Electricity Resistance. Suddenly, that fight against Electro isn’t so difficult anymore. Captain America isn’t the most interesting character in the roster, but his defensive shield ability saves lives in the right situation.
  • Avoiding Environmental Hazards: At multiple points in Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3’s story mode, characters have to avoid a barrage of ground-based hazards. Traps and explosions on the ground are nothing to a character who can fly or web-sling.
  • Mixing Things Up Is Fun: When a game gives you more than 30 characters to play with, play with them. You never know when you’re going to find a new favorite.

Team Bonuses Make The Dream … Wonuses

Team bonuses reward players with attribute bonuses for forming parties of heroes who share common ground. There are 29 different groups characters can belong to, from spider-themed heroes to the Women of Marvel to Ultimate Alliance newcomers. Teams consisting of two, three, or four members of a certain group gain small, medium, and large attribute boosts, respectively.

Team bonuses overlap and are cumulative, so a team can earn enhancements from multiple categories at once. I’m sure members of the game’s Reddit community are hard at work calculating the most bonus-laden team possible.

Have A Plan For The Alliance Enhancement Grid

Most of a character’s attribute bonuses come from the Alliance Enhancement grid. It’s a series of hex-shaped clusters where players can spend credits and enhancement points earned through playing to increase attributes for every character across the board. The center hex in the grid is filled with less potent enhancements that don’t cost much. Filling out each corner of the central hex opens up six additional hexes, with upgrades that are more expensive and much more powerful.

I filled out the center hex and then started buying enhancements from the surrounding hexes at random, whenever I could afford to activate a spot. That was dumb, and a waste of points. Had I paid more attention, I would have realized earlier on that the center spot on each hex contains an extremely useful upgrade. The blue hex, for example, grants a 10 percent experience upgrade when fully unlocked, making it easier to level up characters. I wasted so much time and so many enhancement points on the other hexes, when I should have been focusing on that one first.

Also keep in mind the composition of your party when unlocking Alliance Enhancements. If you’ve got a group of melee berzerkers, save the mastery upgrades for later, focusing on strength instead.

Don’t Be Afraid To Futz About With ISO-8

In the game’s third chapter, you start collecting ISO-8, which are magic space crystals that offer a wide variety of bonuses, from attribute increases to boosts to specific damage types. Soon after, players gain the ability to break down ISO-8 and reinforce it using credits and other in-game resources. Don’t be daunted by the menu. Tear that crap down and build it up.

Between ISO-8 gathered or rewarded during the story mode and that which is acquired via the game’s optional Infinity side missions, you’ll be swimming in extra ISO-8 from here until Ultimate Alliance 4. There’s plenty for deconstructing and experimenting with crafting more powerful versions. The biggest, most rare pieces are protected from deconstruction automatically, and players can tag their favorite bits to preserve them. Safeguards are in place, so there’s no way to pull a Tony Stark here.

Farm Those Infinity Missions

By the latter third of the game’s 10-hour story mode, enhancement points needed to unlock spots on the Alliance Enhancement grid become incredibly sparse. Higher level enhancements require a lot of points, and the story gets really stingy with them. What’s a player to do?

Infinity missions, that’s what. Enhancement points are one of the many rewards that can be harvested in the game’s side mission challenges, along with credits, ability points to upgrade character skills, alternate costumes, and the odd unlockable hero. Along with a wealth of resources, Infinity missions are also excellent bitesize bits of action that are perfect for a quick bathroom gaming fix.

If Something Drops, Pick It Up And Throw It

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 does not have a lot of random destructible environmental stuff. If an object appears with the option to pick it up and throw it, there’s usually a damn good reason for it.

For example, during the battle with sentinels at the X-Mansion, the mutant-hunting robots drop mechanical cores when destroyed. These little explosive goodies deplete a sentinel’s stun meter significantly, opening them up to serious damage more quickly than normal attacks. When a boss sentinel shows up, tossing the cores is an integral part of taking it down.

And if throwing the dropped thing doesn’t work, give it a sec. Sometimes items need to be charged by a boss’ attack in order to be weaponized. Which leads me to my penultimate tip.

Think Strategically

While many mini-bosses in Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 can be blitzed, going down in a relentless flurry of attacks, every major boss I encountered required more than just an all-out assault. They’ll fire attacks that must be avoided. They’ll spawn lesser enemies that have to be taken out first because they drop important items when killed. They’ll set up massive, screen-clearing onslaughts that can only be avoided when characters are in just the right place.

In mid-battle, Ultron flies to the edges of the screen and commands drones to sweep the battlefield with beams that do a ridiculous amount of damage to characters caught in them. Later, he summons a group of drones onto the field that will explode unless avoided or quickly destroyed. I wiped on his metal ass three times before I got the patterns and timing down. Frustrating, but it made victory so sweet.

If a boss gives you trouble, don’t agonize, analyze.

Have Fun

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 is an entertaining game with colorful comic book characters doing important comic book stuff. If it’s giving you trouble, don’t be afraid to dial down the difficulty. If you hate Scarlet Witch, despite her being one of the game’s heaviest hitters, don’t use Scarlet Witch. Play the way you want to play, and ignore everything I just wrote. What’s important is having a good time.

That, and harassing* Marvel Games and Nintendo until we get Squirrel Girl.

*Politely asking. Please. Please!!

Source: Kotaku.com

A Gamer’s Guide To Not Getting Hacked

If you play video games, you are an ideal target to get wrecked by hackers.

Sure, you’re tech savvy—you know what a hard drive is and have seen an HDMI cable or two in your day. Still, there are some unassailable, totally exploitable truths about gamers: They are very online. They log in to a lot of stuff. They have some money. They want to be better than other gamers. And they like to use the password “Dragon.”

This post originally appeared 5/1/18.

In 2018, hackers broke into thousands of Fortnite players’ accounts and siphoned hundreds of dollars at a time. How? Those players had used their username and password combinations somewhere else on the world wide web. And somehow, they got leaked. Now, they’re begging for big refunds and scurrying to protect themselves from further financial harm. It was a preventable disaster. And we’re here to teach you how to prevent it.

Here some some tips on how to stay safe while gaming.

What matters when it comes to security?

Everything matters. That sucks to hear, I know. Security is like a balloon. If there’s even one hole, it’s not a balloon anymore. When it comes to your gaming apps, if you have unique passwords on your Blizzard and Epic Games accounts, but not on your five favorite gaming forums’ accounts—and if you use those same passwords on PayPal, e-mail or Facebook—then you’re vulnerable to hacking.

Password leaks happen all the time on all sorts of sites. Hackers can input your niche Everquest forum password into, say, your banking site if you use the same password for both. And then you get screwed. It’s that simple.

Think about everything you have an account for. Your PlayStation Network account, your Microsoft account, your Battle.Net account, your Steam account, your Reddit account… when you add it up, that’s a lot of stuff! And each of these accounts contains at least a little personal information, whether it’s your first and last name or your credit card number.

It can seem really intimidating to stay vigilant about so many accounts, but with good habits in place, keeping everything in check can become second nature.

Where do I start?

Start with your passwords. We all know “Password123” is easy to guess. But so is “Dragon.” “StarWars,” “monkey” and “football” are extremely common for the same reason—turns out a lot of people like popular stuff. It’s also likely that your unique, fun password you’ve kept since the fourth grade—“Pikachu,” maybe—is just as easy to figure out.

You need to have crazy passwords for everything. According to our sister site Lifehacker, passwords that are long and include numbers, capital letters and symbols are great. Don’t use common phrases or words. BiRdSaNdBeEs_123 isn’t as great a password as bVWx633HVN7Z.a!=.

Changing your passwords is totally tedious, but on the back end of a security breach, extremely worth it. Spend a few days recording which websites and apps you use regularly. Likely, it includes some combination of Facebook, Gmail, Twitter, Reddit, YouTube, Discord and Amazon. For gamers, that list might include Battle.net, Steam or Xbox Live. Write all of it down. Then…..

Download a password manager

You simply cannot remember 20 very strong passwords. If you can, your passwords probably aren’t strong. You need a password manager. And a lot of password managers can even help you come up with secure passwords.

Since browser-based password managers like the one in Opera have been hacked before, I recommend downloading a password manager onto your phone. I use LastPass. Other people like 1Password. That way, you’ll only have to remember the password to your password manager (or you can just use your fingerprint).

Enable two-factor authentication

Two-factor authentication is a fancy way of saying, “the app asks you to verify yourself.” All it means is that, when you log in to something, you’ll receive a text message or an e-mail with an additional code. You can also get a special app that generates this code on your phone. No one will be able to log into your account unless they enter that code into the client.

Opting in to two-factor authentication can mean the difference between someone else logging into your MMORPG account and stealing all your hard-earned gold and, well, that not happening. Getting a two-factor authentication code when you’re not trying to log into something is also a great way to know someone’s trying to hack you!

Lots of gaming apps let you enable two-factor authentication. Here’s a list from TwoFactorAuth.org plus links to instructions on how to enable it:

If you just scrolled through this and wondered, “Where’s League of Legends?” or some other service not listed, then I have some advice for you: E-mail them! Make sure they know you want this security feature. Basic two-factor is something worth demanding.

Opt out

Here’s a fun fact: Random Call of Duty players you add as friends on your PlayStation might be able to see your first and last name! Maybe that’s cool with you. Maybe it’s not. Either way, you should know whether you’re leaking personal information you don’t want leaked.

Your PlayStation, Xbox, Steam account, etc. all have privacy settings. The Switch has very limited customization options here, but that’s because Nintendo’s online service doesn’t show friends your real name, anyway. You should familiarize yourself with the privacy and security settings for all your gaming accounts and modulate them to your liking. The PlayStation Network’s settings, for example, ask whether you’d like people on your friends list to see your real name. Microsoft blocks Xbox users’ real names by default, although there was once a bug that temporarily revealed people’s names. Now on Steam, you can even hide how few hours you’ve actually played of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.

Recognize Phishing

Wow, free Fortnite V-Bucks! Booyah! All I need to do is enter my social security number into the website f0rtn1te.net!

Nothing cool is free in online gaming. Even if all your passwords are perfect and you have two-factor enabled on everything, that won’t stop you from falling for hackers’ tricks.

Any sites or people offering free video game skins, currency, etc. are shady, and especially if a stranger messages links to you through an online game. If you receive an e-mail from a strange address telling you that your Elder Scrolls Online account has been compromised, and that you need to give them your username and password, type that address into Google to make sure it’s legit.

Sometimes, hackers will copy the look and feel of sites you frequent to make their scam see legitimate. If a website starts with http:// and not https://, that can be a red flag. If the website is http://www.ep1cgames.com, and not https://www.epicgames.com, that’s a big red flag.If the website is asking you to download something before proceeding, and that something is not Adobe Flash Player, Google what it is before just automatically downloading it. Most computers these days come with decent antivirus software that will let you know whether you’re downloading insidious malware, but it doesn’t hurt to double up. Here are some good options.

Don’t put your personal information out there

A decade ago, your parents probably warned you about the “strangers” and “dangerous people” haunting AOL chatrooms. Maybe they said that telling MMO buddies your first name could mean inviting some 50-year-old mouthbreather to stand outside your window all night. We’ve been on the internet long enough to know that, for the most part, people who play games online are not going to stalk you because you told them what city you live in. That said, it’s hard to vet how safe online friends are. And it’s easy to leverage even the tiniest bits of personal information against someone.

Somtetimes, even just knowing your mom’s maiden name can be the key to your goods. Other times, someone can impersonate you to your cell phone provider’s customer service rep using your birthday and the last four digits of your social security number. It might not even take that much. People voluntarily overshare on Twitter and Facebook all the time.

If you are playing video games online—or streaming yourself playing video games—here’s a handy list of topics to avoid to protect yourself from potential harm:

  • Your full name
  • The full names of the people closest to you
  • Your exact birthday
  • Your address or a picture of your home
  • Your phone number
  • Your social security number
  • Any banking information
  • Where embarrassing photos of you live
  • Physical places you frequent (i.e. schools, restaurants, stores)

Any combination of this information can spell out exactly who you are, where you live and how to find you. You will need to rely on your own judgment when it comes to trusting strangers. Suffice to say, there isn’t any reason to give out any of the above information to anyone you’re gaming with. (Bonus: You can get a gaming-specific VPN—or, a private network that masks where you are—to really protect yourself from getting tracked.)

Don’t do anything stupid, stupid

One time in 2008, I tried to pirate a copy of Spore and got a virus that bricked my computer instead. Did I deserve to have my $600 laptop destroyed? Probably not. But did I have it coming? Definitely.

Listen, if you’re trolling darkweb marketplaces for high-ranked League of Legends accounts, you’re inherently putting your security at risk. Games’ Terms of Service exist to protect developers, yes, but also, to protect gamers. If you’re doing something that flagrantly breaks a game’s Terms of Service, like purchasing in-game currency or installing cheat software, you could be giving an opening to hackers.

The sad, solemn truth is that it is impossible to account for everything. It really is. Good hacks happen to good, vigilant people. However, with these tips, you can exercise a little more control over the chaos that is the internet.

Source: Kotaku.com