I didn’t get to mention this about Spec Ops 8 because I hadn’t really read up on the Avengers Alliance updates, but Playdom introduced a cool new game mechanic involving Ultron, one of the Avengers’ most dangerous foes.
First of all, there are several Ultron drones scattered across the Spec Ops missions, such as this one:
At first, Ultron looks like a typical Spec Ops boss – the fight costs 20 Unstable ISOs and 10 Energy. But the first differences that you’ll see is that Ultron is labeled as a “Group Boss”, and that there’s a time limit indicated, after which he’ll get to “escape”. In the image above, it looks like I have 70 hours to defeat Ultron. These Ultrons come in five different modes, each representing the five different character classes in the game. It’s easy to determine the class/mode of Ultron, just look at the lights in it’s head:
When the fight starts, you’ll see some other differences. First, Distress Calls are not allowed, and the Inventory and the Store cannot be accessed. So you really have to rely solely on the strength of your team to beat Ultron.
The second difference is Ultron’s life meter. Instead of the usual health bar, Ultron’s health is represented in percentage values. And there are markers at 0% and at 10% less than Ultron’s health at the start of the fight. Some examples:
The image above has a marker at 66% and 0%, with Ultron’s health at 75%. This means that the fight started with Ultron’s health at 76%. Note that the marker at 0% shows a Lockbox with a x4, and the marker at 66% shows a Lockbox with no numbers.
The image above has a marker at 15% and at 0%, with Ultron’s health at 23%. Another Lockbox is at the 15% marker, and a Question Mark is at the 0% marker. What does this all mean?
So the Ultron fights work this way – you have two objectives, the first is to reduce Ultron’s health to 10% less than his health when the fight started. When you meet that goal, you win a Lockbox. The second is to reduce Ultron’s health to 0%, when that happens you get 4 Lockboxes. But getting Ultron to 0% health is impossible unless it’s already close to dying – Ultron will either kill your team off if they’re not strong enough, or run away and flee. The most damage I’ve done to him is reduce his health to 20% below his starting health before he ran.
Remember how the fight was called a Group Boss? When Ultron flees, your friends actually get the chance to help you out for free. Like most Social Games, Avengers Alliance has a list of your friends at the very bottom, arranged according to their level. Every day, the game allows me to help either 1 or 2 of my friends in their fight against Ultron:
The only difference when you fight Ultron when helping your friends and fighting Ultron in your own game is that there is no cost involved – it’s free. Oh, and the prize when you help your friend defeat Ultron (get it to 0% health) is random, instead of the 4 Lockboxes that you get when Ultron is defeated in your game. And you also get 4 Lockboxes when one of your friends manage to defeat Ultron. I don’t have a screenshot, but you’ll have an indicator on the city map to show that Ultron was defeated – clicking on the indicator will give you the 4 Lockboxes.
What are these Lockboxes for, anyway? The last time I mentioned Lockboxes was during Spec Ops 6, where the lockboxes gave you the chances to collect comic book covers.
Like the last time, there are 8 unique comic book covers. I currently have 5 of them already:
Last time there were lockboxes, collecting all 8 would allow you to recruit Magneto for free. This time around, you get to recruit another X-Men villain-turned-hero: The Omega Sentinel!
I have to say, this new mechanic embedded into Spec Ops 8 really makes it feel worthwhile to play again. There’s always the potential to win something, whether it be Lockboxes for recruiting the Omega Sentinel, or completing tasks to get closer to recruiting Vision, every thing just means more. I haven’t been as entertained with the game as I am right now, so good move there, Playdom!