Pay to Win and Mobile Games

It’s a well known fact among gaming communities that microtransactions are something we as a whole have mixed opinions on. Some think it adds a special flavor to the game that the casual players don’t get, some think it takes the fun out of it. I know I feel my hand twitching to my wallet when I see the cosmetic microtransactions for games like Warframe or Black Desert, but that might just be me because I like my characters to look fancy.

But whereas microtransactions are more of a “you want it but you don’t need it” matter for console and PC games, they are practically game breaking on a mobile scale, due to the advent of “pay to win” microtransactions. Finish this action quicker, buy the materials you’re missing, earn a few more of these little non-existent cash items by watching videos because they like to put the button right in front of the mission board and boy is that hit box sensitive.

I play Marvel Avengers Academy religiously. I’m always trying to time up my actions so they get done at a convenient time, and I can honestly say I’ve sworn at the fact I foolishly told Tony Stark to study historic ladies for 8 hours. This game however is a prime example of where microtransactions actually break down the game, because in an effort to get people to spend more on the gems that make the game move quicker, they make the events which are the most fun part of the game practically impossible.

Let me give an example in Marvel Avengers Academy. Right now the game is playing through the Ultron storyline– of how he waged war with machines against the Avengers. From the looks of it there’s four stages, and you can get four characters (five if you wanna spend ten bucks and buy Lucky, Hawkeye’s dog). In the Jocasta stage, you have to do quests to get materials to build drones. The quests can take up to 8 hours to give you those materials, depending on if they are heroic or not. Then, building the drones takes 4 hours to give you 3 drones. Then, you have to use those drones (which its never the same how many you need), to take out Ultron’s security cameras and have Wasp sabotage the building (with virus materials, which also come from quests that can take up to 8 hours). Once she sabotages the building, you get ONE nanowasp and ONE boomerang arrow. You save up the arrows playing every day to get Hawkeye at the end of the event, and you need two nanowasps to fight Jocasta. If you don’t get 100 arrows by the end of the event, you don’t get Hawkeye. And if you don’t fight Jocasta enough, you don’t get the green Iron Man helmets you need to unlock this episode’s hero.

I’ve played almost every day since this event began, and I think I have 10 of those arrows. By this point I’m supposed to have over 30. But I bet if I spent gems I’d be up to speed and ready for the next episode right?

My point is that they build these games to be impossible. They build them so that yeah, they’re kind of fun, but you’re not doing as well as you think you should be because you aren’t dropping hard cash on their game. But that’s not how I play. In a lot of cases, if you’re stubborn and don’t indulge in the pay to win, you can still have fun and get the objectives done, however slowly and agonizing it is, but if I have to pay to make the game playable, that’s kind of unfair, don’t you think?

(p.s. I dropped 10 real dollars on Marvel Avenger’s Academy to buy Loki’s Frost Giant skin because I love me some cosmetics.)


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