A new trailer for Halo Online gives us a brief look at the game’s built-in microtransactions, revealing an extensive pay-to-win style structure.
While the footage for 343 Industries’ brand new free-to-play PC shooter does indeed look pretty, it showcases something quite troubling that manifests as a cheap cash grab. Halo Online pay to win microtransactions are a thing, and its something I predicted in my recent editorial.
Halo Online is set up like Halo: Reach, where you earn credits from matches to spend on armor permutations and such.
But in the Russian PC shooter, players will get to customize every little thing about their Spartan: weapon loadouts, armor sets, and even equip a number of extra attachments to make your weapons stronger.
And you’ll have to pay for every little bit of it–every scope augmentation, every armor set, every little change to your Spartan will be monetized. The real balance is how much silver you can earn per match, and if that’s handled just right, the skewed ratio won’t be so bad.
But if you earn hardly any silver? You’ll be pushed and pushed to just snag the gear for cash. Plus the game has weapon rentals.
That’s right, you can rent your weapons for 30 minutes, 6 hours, or 24 hour periods.
Anyway, let’s take a look at the microtransactions and their rates.
It looks like Halo Online will have Silver, which can be earned by free players, and Gold, which is the game’s premium currency. Some of the ratios are pretty exorbitant, sometimes ranging to 50,000Silver to 50 Gold.
The trailer didn’t show us how much the premium currency will cost, but it’s a bit unsettling to know that the game embraces such an obvious pay-to-win structure.
The main Spartan hub screen showcases a variety of different sections that act as their own different marketplaces:
- Tactical Packages
In the footage we only ever get to see the Weapons and Armory section. The Bundles section is probably straight-forward, having a variety of pre-sorted bundles that come with weapons, tactical packages, and armor sets.
The Weapons section is a tailored marketplace for all the destructive weaponry in Halo, and to the game’s benefit, there is an amazing array of guns. There’s Primary and Secondary slots that include just about every gun in the franchise, along with a slew of different grenades
But you have the opportunity to pay cash for all of them, as well as a number of different accessories. You can, of course, earn them the hard way, but you’ll be grinding for quite some time I’m sure.
The Tactical Packages is a bit worrying, considering Halo 4 had a considerable RPG structure that let gamers customize their Spartan with a number of passive abilities.
Considering the game uses the Halo 3 engine, and we see instances of Bubble Shields and the like used in-game, this might be a marketplace for Halo 3 equipment (Rengerators, Bubble Shield, Trip Mines, etc) rather than actual Halo 4-style passives, but we really don’t know.
The Armory is where you buy your stylized armor. It looks like the armor will have passive bonuses like increased melee damage or boosted shield recovery, further incentivizing the pay-to-win structure.
Restock might be where you can buy grenades, ammo and such, but again we weren’t shown this screen so there’s no telling.
So far this is like Halo from hell, where combat is just abysmally skewed towards players who are willing to shell out cash for victory.
This isn’t the Halo I grew up with. Although there’s a substantial RPG presence going on here, the whole game looks like it was optimized to get you to spend as much money as possible in order to win–a concept that should be abolished in any competitive PVP space.
The Halo Online beta is scheduled to start this Spring exclusively in Russia, but 343 Industries hasn’t ruled out an expansion across the globe.
So we might see this pay-to-win shooter make its way to North America and Europe, but at this point I’m glad it’s an overseas exclusive.