Tomb Raider Syndicate: A micro-transaction disaster

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Honestly, I feel like a broken record every single time I begin to speak to anyone about microtransactions.

Let’s start with some good news though; whatever happened to Augment Your Pre-Order?

‘After much thought and reflection, we decided to close down the program and make all of the incentive content available to anyone who pre-orders Deus Ex: Mankind Divided or purchases a Day 1 edition of the game. Additionally, the release date will no longer be changed in accordance with pre-order numbers, and everyone will gain access to the game on February 23rd, 2016.’ – Sacha Ramtohul, 1st October 2015

Oh, happy day. Not only did the spectacular outcry against this scheme meet with success, it was entirely thanks to a community decision to make a stand. Now if only the pre-order and Day 1 edition of a game that will never run out of copies prior to release didn’t contain content locked off to the rest of the community.

We were heard. Image taken from Sacha Ramtohul’s post previously quoted.

And now, sadly we come to the meat of this discussion. Microtransactions have been announced as being present in both Assassin’s Creed Syndicate and Rise of the Tomb Raider.

*Disgusted sigh*

A little over a week ago when speaking to IGN about this topic, it was essentially stated that (although the transactions are ‘100% optional’) players will be able to pay to ‘save time and accelerate progress’. There was also a strong inclination that this could even contribute towards a player’s possession of ‘the game’s most powerful gear’.

Believe it or not, I would rather not have to point this out as often as I do. Image taken from assassinscreed.wikia.com
Believe it or not, I would rather not have to point this out as often as I do. Image taken from assassinscreed.wikia.com

This is NOT simple cosmetics, and no matter how much “balancing” has been applied to these fees to ensure their optional nature, the fact remains that this is yet another full price, triple A release which is asking us to drip feed its’ bloated corpse directly from our already drained coffers. If the transactions were truly in the interest of helping players with less time to reach the end-game content, why not instead allow the player to use these fast-track methods at the price of their completion rate?

No matter how this is addressed, make no mistake that if a company truly wanted to provide this as nothing but a service to the community, there would be no reason as to give the option of forking out the Queen in order to do so. However, the most heinous blow is that this week we’ve had a double-whammy of big games with even bigger corporate stomachs!

First off, we’re all aware by now of the whole timed-console-exclusive rubbish that has already tarnished what should be a fantastic release this year.

For those who don’t know, Rise of the Tomb Raider is being released on Xbox 360 and Xbox One in November 2015. Fair enough. However the PS4 and PC releases have been pushed back by a whole year. Frankly, no matter how much Crystal Dynamics, Microsoft or any other party has stated that this timed-exclusive deal was somehow beneficial to the consumer, in reality all it does is wall off the sequel to a highly successful cross-platform game for an ENTIRE YEAR. But that’s old bad news; we now have yet another bone to pick with ROTR.

No... Not you too Lara. Image from an article by Thom Edwards on twinfinite.net
No… Not you too Lara. Image from an article by Thom Edwards on twinfinite.net

Micro-transactions, if you haven’t already guessed, will indeed be present in this full-price release.

Not only that, but yet again the veil of their “optional” nature has been thrown over this insult to the fans and consumers. In this instance, in-game customisation items called Expedition Cards can be purchased with either in-game or real-world currency. These cards will then allow players to create and play their own custom missions, with enemies, weapons, objectives, etcetera. These missions will also function as a multiplayer feature, as these missions can be shared with friends with a competitive aspect. Once again, if these cards are easily attainable through in-game currency then there is absolutely no need to scrounge for money beyond the game’s asking price. What’s worse is that these cards come in packs of different rarities, which as far as I can understand are a watered-down version of the loadout cards from Dirty Bomb.

The cards will be separated into different rarities, thankfully only being “Common” or “Foil”; commons are one-time uses whilst foils last forever. Essentially, Rise of the Tomb Raider will encourage players to buy packs of these cards for real money with (again, as far as I am aware) no guarantee that these cards are a permanent fixture. In this sense, Expedition Cards are nothing more than finite in-game currency which we shall have the honour of being able to pay through our teeth for.

The only saving grace of these transactions is that they do not appear to be able to affect the main campaign, but honestly that is a small boon by any account. For the love of all that is holy (note; this is coming from an agnostic) and good in this world PLEASE refrain from buying into these transactions. Instead protest against them, see these systems for what they are; nothing but a full-release title hiding your money behind its’ back, begging for more with crocodile tears and a leering grin.

Well, at least they aren’t also locking off content behind a season pass for unannounced DLC…

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