Pay to Win Microtransactions – I Don’t Want to See the Rich Gamers Win

If you were angry when you learned that Dead Space 3 had microtransactions, prepare to get even more annoyed. Gears of War: Judgment is the latest game to feature microtransactions, and they’re a lot more pay-to-win based than Dead Space 3’s.

The extra packs, which range from 80 Microsoft points to 800 MP, offer players a temporary XP boost in multiplayer matches. For example, for 80 MP, for the next 10 matches you’ll earn double XP and for 800 MP, you can earn double XP for the next 200 matches. XP in Judgment is used to level up your character, unlock weapon upgrades and character skins, as well as earning Epic Prizeboxes, which contain rare loot. Not to mention 240Gs of the achievement list is made up of XP based achievements.

Microtransactions in full retail games are becoming more common, as just last week Black Ops II introduced microtransactions in the form of gun skins. Developers and publishers tell us they are a necessary evil. Personally, I have no problem with single player based microtransactions as long as they’re not forced upon you.

I also have no problem if, like Black Ops II’s, they simply add more customization or if the boosts are for a co-operative multiplayer such as Mass Effect 3, but the real problem is competitive multiplayer. That’s the reason why Judgment’s addition of microtransactions is the worst so far. The rich kids win. Those with more money than sense will be able to level up their characters faster, get better weapons and skills quicker, and generally kick your ass just because you’re poor.

Competitive multiplayer levelling up can be bad enough without being boosted – those of a higher level than you not only have more practice, they’ve also unlocked better equipment. The only thing worse than sitting there and moaning about how it’s so unfair that N00bface69 is spawn camping you with an RPG, is knowing that the only reason he or she can do that is because he or she paid to get ahead.

With game companies closing down all the time, I can see why publishers and developers alike want to introduce as many money making add-ons as they can, but microtransactions are further harming the relationship between gamers and game makers. Gamers are already annoyed that DLC is planned during a games early development stages and that those expansions are released on the same day the game launches. Now, gamers are being asked to fork out more money so that they can be better at the game quicker. Not only does it take away any need for skill, it also seems like quite a big slap in the face when it’s taken you forever to save up $60 to buy the game in the first place.

Games companies need money but so do gamers. Almost every single game that’s released these days has several different special editions, asking you to get together even more money so you can get a plastic statue plus a ton of DLC you will never even use. Of course, it’s your choice to pay extra or not but often what we get for our money is disappointing. There needs to be more focus on giving gamers what they want – if you’re going to do microtransactions, do them right. Don’t offer boosts for multiplayer. In fact, Black Ops II had the idea right – add customization options or anything that won’t effect overall gameplay for everybody else.

It’s bad enough us gamers have to put up with spoilt ten year olds screaming profanities at us down a headset. Please don’t give them the opportunity to beat us just because they have unlimited access to their dad’s credit card.