So the open beta for avatars is up, and with it the revalation that we won’t be getting any new master-specific avatar models – instead Wyrd will be releasing bases you can slot your master into when they manifest. Additionally, due to balance issues avatars won’t be tournament-legal, but instead intended for campaign or casual games.
While it is a shame that I can’t look forward to any new avatar sculpts, or seeing what avatar Lucius or Molly would look like, I can completely understand why Wyrd are taking this approach to avatar design. Justin’s post (which, if you haven’t seen it, can be read here) is a very honest and open explanation, and that level of transparency with their customer base makes me respect Wyrd as a company even more.
The new direction of new abilities rather than a completely different playstyle after manifestation is far more interesting to me – I’d rather Seamus kept his flintlock (and clothes on!) and gained new abilities. It’s also far more suited to the upgrade style of M2E, since nowadays masters can be ‘built’ in various different ways with the differing upgrades. To stick with the hatter as an example, how would you balance avatar Seamus so that it fits both his Limited upgrades? I can imagine that the classic 1.5 style avatar manifestation wouldn’t really work, since you’d have to carefully balance avatar Seamus to work with both his terror bomb playstyle as well as his more melee-centric Bag o’ Tools approach. This new design of adding in abilities while letting masters keep their stat and upgrade cards suits M2E far better, in my mind at least, making avatar manifestations something new and scary while not completely changing the crew you’re playing. Plus, avatar Seamus has an ability called ‘Run and Hyde’ now, so that’s pretty awesome!
I for one am looking forward to seeing the new base inserts, and this should offer some nice modelling opportunities too. And finally, I think we’re all missing the big point – a ‘fairly major’ character is going to die trying to manifest! Who’s it going to be?