from the nickel-and-dime dept
Konami’s Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is a fantastic game. I’m about 70% through according to the game’s completion status, and while in typical Hideo Kojima fashion the plot is an incoherent mess, the level of polish and detail in the game is unprecedented. But sometimes a great, well-reviewed $60 game just isn’t good enough. What do you do when your game breaks all manner of sales figures and is universally acclaimed? Why, you suddenly decide to saddle it with a brave new form of annoying microtransaction, of course.
Konami’s latest microtransaction for the game went live last week, and is essentially a protection racket for users who’d like to keep their character’s home fort (aka “mother base”) intact. Players can spend hours collecting resources in-game to build up their mother base with weaponry, staff, and other defenses. As you grow your micro mercenary empire you can also expand into what’s called forward operating bases (FOBs), which other players can not only invade, but steal resources and staff from. Here’s what it looks like in-game:
“Your FOBs are always at risk of coming under attack. Now, you can rest easy with FOB insurance (paid service). If you sign up for insurance, then during the insurance period you will be compensated for any materials and staff lost due to rival infiltrations…Staff/materials stolen by the rival will in fact remain on your base, and an identical amount of staff/materials will be handed over to the rival instead.
In other words, those who paid $60 for the game will have things stolen from them periodically, but those willing to pay more will avoid such a fate. Amusingly, just like real insurance, you have to keep consistently paying to remain covered, and there are a number of things the insurance won’t cover:
“FOB insurance isn’t a one-off payment either, with players required to renew the virtual insurance policy periodically in order to remain protected. Just like real-life, not everything will be covered by the policy either, including abducted staff being held in the Brig; wounded staff (although, staff lost due to death or extraction will be compensated); staff used in defence of the FOB; and nuclear weapons.”
You pay for the insurance with MB coins, which can be bought with real cash payments ranging from $1 for 100 coins to $50 for 6000, or acquired (slowly) in-game for completing tasks. One-day of coverage will cost users 50 coins, three days costs 100, a week costs 200 and two weeks costs 300 coins. Now I personally don’t give a damn as I tend to focus more on offline play to misanthropically avoid human beings, but for those who appreciate a little something called in-game balance, making the entire point of competing with other users irrelevant has justifiably raised more than a few hackles.