This piece is all about the currencies found in the game Raiders of the Broken Planet. I wrote this as a way to get all my thoughts about the economics of the title out without making my review the length of a term paper. It is my hope that readers will choose to check out both the review and this article to understand the pain I went through while trying to get this out to you all. Without further ado, I will now rant about the virtual system of money in a game I was given for free (might just be the most first world problem I’ve ever had).
I’m going to list all the currencies here then explain what they’re for and how to earn them in the hope I convey my issues with the entire system. The various currencies players will deal with include Faction Points, Character Points, Weapon Blueprints, Gold, Antagonist Rank, and Mercury Points (and one that’s “Coming Soon” that I won’t be commenting on).
First up, Faction Points. These points are used to buy cards for the various characters in the four factions. Cards provide boosts that can help out while playing missions. This is all well and good, but due to how the game handles matchmaking (see my review) and rewards, it can be rather frustrating when trying to earn points for a particular faction. The good thing about Faction Points is that they can be used on anyone within the same faction, so if you earn the points with Character A, Character B can still reap the benefits if you so choose.
Speaking of characters, Character Points are like Faction Points with the caveat that they can only be used on the character they are for. This is again muddied by matchmaking, but trust me, my review covers that. The next ‘currency’ may sound out of place, but I put Weapon Blueprints as a currency because they cannot be bought and are only ever received as a ‘rare’ reward from missions to be used to create weapons. So Blueprints are a payment that is in turn used to ‘buy’ something else. My only issue with these lies more in how the reward system works, but I’d rather not go on that tangent… again.
I mentioned that Blueprints make weapons, but what I hadn’t mentioned previously is that this is in conjunction with both Gold and Antagonist Rank. The construction of these guns is the only purpose of these three currencies, and yet they are all a pain in the ass for their own reasons but Gold has got to be the one that pisses me off the most. Without going into too much detail, I’ll say that Raiders can be played in three different ways: Matchmaking, Antagonist, and Solo. Matchmaking is better described simply as Co-op and Antagonist is just when a player’s only goal is to kill off the Raiders that are playing together. Then there’s Solo, a mode so limp and lifeless that it would be better off if it were taken to a field and shot.
This is wholly due to what it rewards the player with. Gold is the only reward available in Solo mode. Although this Gold can only be earned once per mission per difficulty setting. With the free prologue, you only get one mission you can earn anything on, while the $10 Alien Myths campaign has four more. Of course you could buy the $40 Founders Pack that includes a Season Pass and early access to three characters. This means that there are only five missions you can earn Gold on through Solo. All this is made far worse when it becomes clear that despite the difficulty you pick, you only actually earn 1,500 per setting. For example, if you beat a mission on Easy, you earn 1,500 Gold. If you beat a different mission on Medium, you’d earn 3,000 Gold. But if you beat the first mission on Medium, you’d only earn 1,500 Gold since you already earned Easy’s share of the mission total of 6,000. Since there’s currently only five missions available, this means Solo can only earn a whopping 30,000 Gold if all five missions are beaten on Very Hard.
I attempted a mission on this difficulty and can say there is no chance in hell I’ll be able to complete even one. Getting back on track, that 30,000 sounds like a lot when in reality, it’s barely a drop in the bucket. With one unlockable character costing 25,000, another goes for a whopping 120,000 ,and some weapons costing as much as 20,000, the entirety of Solo is simply pathetic. Finally, Gold can be earned through the Co-op mode as well, but suffers the same issues the previously mentioned Faction/Character Points do, being tied directly to how missions reward players. Back to the list of currencies, Antagonist Rank is the simplest to understand and criticize.
This Rank is earned by being decent at stopping Raiders from completing their missions. It is earned as the sole reward for playing (and winning) as an Antagonist. Earning solely Rank in this mode makes sense but since the single reward from Solo is Gold, that means that nearly all the currencies are only given out from Co-op. Either way, my biggest issue with Antagonist Rank is the fact that it can be taken away. It may not be that hard to earn in the first place, but taking it away for anything other than buying something is absolute bollocks.
The last currency on my shit list is Mercury Points. These are not earned in any of the modes and no number of special actions can obtain them. They are bought with real money and are solely used to buy characters and skins for characters. Microtransactions are already a big enough issue in free games and hugely popular titles without taking into account games that seem to think they’re doing players a favor by offering a single free mission before having them buy all future content. I would have given Mercury Points a pass if the content they were used for wasn’t so overpriced. Hans, one of the characters I could buy with these points would cost me just under $9, nearly as expensive as the entire first campaign, while Mikah is valued at $20 alone (twice as much as one campaign).
This isn’t even the worst offender, either! There is a skin for the character known as Shae that costs 2,500 Mercury Points which is equal to $20! I would like to reiterate that there is no in-game way to earn these points and that the people behind this title have valued Hans, Mikah, and all the skins for the other characters at around $120 (over 12,000 Mercury Points). Even if you think that players that buy into scams like this only have themselves to blame, I believe that it is despicable to spend development time on content that changes next to nothing and charge absurd amounts of real money for it. If this time had been spent on other things, maybe someone would have been able to see how matchmaking works and point out that it’s just stupid, but that’s covered in my review.
I hope that you can see why I felt the need to write about this. It is clear that this game’s direction is run by money-hungry suits that are so out of touch that they believe gamers like you and I are stupid enough to fall for a trap like this game. Unless some serious changes are brought to this title (or the higher ups beg me), I don’t plan on covering this title again. WIth that said, I truly hope you at least enjoyed my mad ramblings about the ridiculousness that is the economics of Raiders of the Broken Planet.