The more I see of Marvel Heroes, the more I dig what it's attempting. It's taking the Diablo formula into full-blown MMO territory (sans Diablo III's "is it, or isn't it?" waffling) and letting us loose in the Marvel universe without forcing us to knit our own totally-not-Wolverine costumes. We get to be all the heroes; we get to hack 'n' slash 'n' Hulk Smash all the baddies. Will it have long-term staying power? At this point, who knows? But now, you can take the first step in finding out by signing up for Marvel Heroes' closed beta. A word of warning, though: it's no glorified demo.
In a post inviting fans to register for the soon-to-kick-off closed beta, community director Stephen Reid explained Gazillion's stance on beta testing:
"Notice I did say ‘testing’ and not ‘play a demo’ or ‘play the game early’. When we say ‘Closed Beta’ it means that you’re testing unfinished software. Marvel Heroes is still in active development, and everyone who applies for Closed Beta should realize, quite simply, that it’s not done. We hope you’ll enjoy playing, but we also hope you’ll help us make the game even better with great constructive feedback and dedicated testing. Taking part in a Closed Beta can sometimes be more like work than play – but it’s a unique chance to see a game taking shape, and to get an insight into development."
Registering, meanwhile, involves simply creating an account on Marvel Heroes' website, filling out a survey, and waiting for Nick Fury to show up in your most personal and intimate of settings at a horrendously inopportune moment with a vaguely threatening invitation. He's such a rascal, that one.
The first batch of invites will apparently be pretty limited, so make sure to emphasize (read: lie) that you only think DC's villains are a little bit more interesting. This beta's got a pretty substantial life ahead of it, though, so Gazillion added that "over time we’ll be adding many more people to Closed Beta, so there’s a really good chance that if you want to get in, you’ll be able to at some point."
So then, have patience, diligence, vigilance, and any other -ance, -ence, ants, or ents you might require. Well, if you're interested in participating, anyway. Are you? Is Marvel Heroes up your seedy, crime-infested alley?