This is a couple of days old, and I think the games has been out for a week or so, but this is the first I've seen this article.
The most prominent payment brick wall is the game’s chest system, which is so bad Bethesda has already said they’re altering it in some way, but unless they remove it entirely, it won’t matter. You do missions and get chests of loot. While some you find in dungeons can be opened right away (in five seconds), Silver Chests, gotten at the end, each take 3 hours to open. Gold Chests, which appear maybe 5% of the time, take 6 hours to open. And to skip that timer you are asked to pay the equivalent of a few cents or a buck. Per chest.
But that’s not all! There is a hard limit to how many chests you can have at any given time, and given that I have 150 hours worth of Silver Chests waiting to be opened in a few days of play, you will constantly be at that limit and there is no way to scrap chests you already have. And then the game presents you with a devil’s choice. Once you’re at the cap, you can no longer keep the chests you find, meaning you either A) have to destroy them permanently, B) pay to open them instantly or C) pay to increase your storage space which doubles in price each time you do it. This is particularly awful when you run into a rare Gold Chest because you feel like you literally must give them money or else destroy the most valuable thing you’ve come across in several hours of gameplay. This feels like gamer hell, where Bethesda has devised some of the cruelest ways to torture players you could imagine in a title like this.
Chests can also be bought in the store for $5, $10 and $30 for Gold, Elder and Legendary rarities. In a full week of gameplay getting to level 22 I have never seen a single Elder or Legendary chest drop in the game itself, but I can buy one any time I want and instantly get better loot than whatever I currently have playing for free. Pay-to-win in its purest, most unapologetic form.
The same goes for loot itself, as the game is constantly giving me “special offers” on ultra-powerful legendary weapons that are 50x better than anything I have. I just got an offer for the famed Mace of Molag-Bal where it can be mine for fifteen dollars. Being asked to buy iconic Elder Scrolls weapons for $10-15 each is one of the most nauseating moments I can remember in my gaming career.
Think we’re done? We’re just getting started. The town part of the game has a zillion different ways you can spend money too. You can pay to skip wait timers on buildings going up, which at first took an hour or so, but now houses are taking 12+ hours to build, and sometimes story progress is hard limited by your “town level” meaning you cannot progress unless you build more stuff in your town. You can also pay to speed up crafting for armor or weapons or potions or enchantments because of course, those aren’t instant either. And if you run out of room for all the stuff you’re making, you can pay to increase your inventory space.
One of the strangest revenue paths is the ability to pay to simply auto-complete the procedurally generated “job board” missions that rewards you with XP, gold and essential building materials. Oh, and if that’s not good enough, you will also be periodically offered building material bundles at a price as well as more “special offers.”
Possibly the single worst monetization path in the game other than the timed chest system is the fact that you can just…pay for extra lives on missions. As in you die, you can either start over from the beginning or pay gems to revive yourself. I got about 12 enemies deep into a mission once and I died with a sliver of life left on the final ultra-tough troll. So I paid the gems. I killed the troll. And then I found there were two more trolls further down. I died more times, but now, every time I died the gem price doubled. But I’d already paid the first gems so I was in too deep now. 25 gems became 50 which became 100 and at that point I just rage quit the entire game. The way combat is designed, you have no natural way to heal in between enemy encounters besides potions at ultra-low health or environmental edibles that may or may not appear with RNG, so death almost becomes inevitable in many of these harder missions. It’s a nightmare.
The article mentions Bethesda is changing a few things in regards to monetization, but this is frustrating to see in a historically PC/console game.
I did not even know that it was already playable, going to check it out to see if it's really that bad.
Man, I kind of expected this but I had hoped for a clean and neat dungeoncrawler on mobile.
Just a small point, they reduced silver chests from 3 hours to 1 hour today.
It's a mobile game, nothing new here.
True, but it should not be the standard and especially coming from a developer such as Bethesda. Well, that name does not seem to mean much these days after all these blunders.
This "wait to loot" turns me off like nothing else.
It's just sad that we accepted this fate for mobile games
Don't be surprised if stuff like this leaks into PC and console games, after all, Bethesda was the first to bring paid DLC to the market.
The issue with mobile gaming is it's still fairly young, most people haven't had a great deal of time with it like they have with Console and PC gaming, so their exploitation of it doesn't really cause a reaction like if they tried to do with this Console/PC gaming, if it had been with us for like 10 years longer and they tried it then, you know it'd be getting a lot more coverage and more negative reactions.
The thing is, the word 'blunder' implies this was an accident, but it definitely wasn't. Bethesda know what they're doing and it's sad. The game actually looks like it could be a fair bit of fun if the monetization wasn't so egregious.
They went for the jugular - at this point they should just have a micro-transaction to let a twitch steamer play the game for you while you watch them enjoy it more than you. But you have to pay for extra gems to go to the bathroom
Indeed. I would say that the absolute worst monetization model I have seen on a mobile game is EA's Dungeon Keeper, where you had to wait an absurdly long time to mine one tile (or pay.)
Its one of the reasons, if not the biggest, for me to not take mobile gaming seriously.
Mobile gaming has been going strong for a decade now. The way it's headed, it will never change. The mobile market is primarily kids and people not really into gaming beyond simple time wasters. All those people know is mountains of shovelware free garbage or games with effort but full of microtransactions to even beat them, there's almost no in between these days.
Those kids grow up to play more games, and the "casual" gamers might breach into pc/consoles, and again, all they know is microtransactions. It's been completely normalized.
Mobile gaming is young in relation to gaming as a whole, but it's not fair to say its unique because of that. PC gaming now compared to PC gaming 10 years ago is vastly different, and compared to 20 years ago it's nothing alike.
Honestly thinking about it in detail I would see games pretty differently if I grew up when microtransactions were already a huge mainstay in the industry. Sucks that a big amount of gamers only know this predatory business bullshit.
Isnt Blades suppose to come to PC VR as well?
Apple's mobile game subscription service might change things, the games released through that will not have microtransactions
Actually no, that honor belongs to Microsoft and Day 1 Studios for Mech Assault in 2002. They had a selection of Mechs for the Xbox Live multiplayer modes that could only be obtained by purchasing them in Xbox Live. Horse armor gets credited with that a lot but they weren't first by any means.
nothing we can really do when whales rule mobile games. honestly theres no reason for devs to do anything else when you have people who casually drop 10+ grand on a game just to be relevant in pvp. You see it in basically every mobile game, even not so popular ones. I play a few mobile games at work and the top spots are basically full of whales who spend hundreds of dollars every week on their game just so they can stick in the top spot of pvp ladders.
Yeah. The practices outlined here don't surprise me and are even already in use on some console and PC games. Timed loot with pay skips are nothing new, especially in the free to play space.
As for those that "didn't see this coming from Bethesda", Fallout Shelter was filled with microtransactions, and Fallout 76 just now introduced pay to win microtransactions essentially. That's not to mention what is essentiall paid mods 2.0 for Skyrim and Fallout 4, each of those only purchasable with real cash and providing very little in terms of content.
Bethesda at this point has fully switched over to the whole "games as a service" model even for their single player RPGs that don't need to be that. I'd expect Starfield and TES VI to follow suit.
Man, now I miss Mech Assault
It sucks that this is the norm for mobile games when honestly, there are a good portion that won't nickle and dime you every chance they get. But those aren't the ones made by the Supercells and Bethesdas of the world so they get looked over.
Can it just be modded and installed on a rooted phone and played without MTX? That would be ideal
I mean with GTA Online it pretty much already has. Either grind for 3 hours or buy shark cards. And they got away with it because when it comes to Rockstar, people have blinds on.
we all know what happens to pc games with hardcore mtx by now....
Hearthstone was very succesful on PC. And I think Shadow of Mordor did well too.
To be completely fair, Fallout Shelter is completely playable without paying a cent and save editing is trivial.
But they didn't, it was just another scaremongering by YouTubers, who didn't understood the situation, and even reacted a week after the event in question finished.
You can purchase repair kits for your weapons now.
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