Story mode (or PVE, Player Vs. Environment) is pretty much the heart of Marvel Puzzle Quest for many players. Everyone starts out in the Prologue and if you dip into Versus (or PVP, Player Vs. Player) you quickly find that low level rosters are eaten alive by PVP opponents, so Story mode is where you will see the majority of your rewards and progress through the beginning stages of the game. It’s also the home of Deadpool’s Daily Quest but the focus of this section is on the rotating story events that run on the site, which are usually 3-, 4- or 7-day long events.
SHIELD Clearance Level
Starting August 6, 2017, the level of the enemies you play in Story mode is determined by the SHIELD Clearance Level (or SCL) you choose to be in determines the levels of the enemies you face.
Progression vs. Placement
There are two ways to play for the most rewards you can get in Story mode. Going for progression rewards or placement rewards. The balance between the two have shifted considerably in the years of MPQ’s existence, and currently rewards are focused more on progression than they are in placement.
In the beginning of MPQ, the only way to make reasonable progress in the game was to aim for placement. Currently, the bulk of the rewards are at the end of full progression, meaning you get rewarded in a large amount of in-game resources (covers, Hero Points, ISO-8, Command Points) as long as you play each battle a certain number of times each day.
For a long time the number of times you needed to play each battle daily fluctuated and was not able to be predicted. Then, in September 2016, the developers announced that there would be a set number of times you needed to “clear” or finish each battle to reach full progression: four. On May 21, 2017, Story progression rewards changed again. The number of rewards increased significantly (especially for 7-day events) and the developers announced that in order to reach full progression you need to clear each battle five times (two times if it’s a wave battle, three times if it’s a Join Forces Mission).
If you are just going for progression rewards, you do not need to worry about timers or how quickly you are finishing battles. You have either 24 or 48 hours (depending on the length of each section of a Story Event) in order to clear the battles five times each. You can do all the clears in one playing session if you want, or spread it out throughout the day. It wasn’t always like this — at the start of the game, points would refresh hourly, then it changed to every four hours, then every eight hours. In order to hit progression (and aim for placement, which was more important then than today) you had to play the game on a timer. Now the first four clears of a battle have no timer related to them at all. After clearing the battle four times, a 24-hour timer starts, where the points will slowly refresh back to their full value after 24 hours. The timer and the points only need to be worried about if you do not have all of the required characters for an event, or if you are trying for as high of placement as you can.
If you want to place highly in a Story event it is all about timing and finishing your battles as quickly as possible. At the start of a sub-event (which lasts for either 24 or 48 hours), you will need to clear all the battles in that event up until the timers start (four times for regular battles, twice for wave battles) as quickly as possible. Once you’ve done this and the timers are started on all the nodes in a sub, you then wait.
The next time you play depends on whether it’s a 24-hour or 48-hour sub. If it’s a 48-hour sub, you want to start playing again at the 24-hour mark, as your nodes have moved back to their full point values. The next step, for either 24- or 48-hour subs, is to start playing one last gaming session as close as possible to the end of the sub event. You will need to play each battle three times if it’s a 24-hour sub, or two times if it’s a 48-hour sub. The longer you wait to start playing, the higher the points of each battle will be, but if you wait too long you may not finish all of the battles before the sub ends. A good rule of thumb is to allow yourself 1.5 to 2 hours to do your final clear of a sub.
Once that sub ends, and the next begins, you then repeat all of the above steps, finishing battles as quickly as possible. Repeat for each sub of the event, and hope that you are finishing the battles faster than the people you’re competing with. In the highest placement finishes (Top 10 and Top 2), the difference between placement could be just a few points, which means they completed their battles seconds earlier than the other players.