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Ghost Recon Breakpoint’s Microtransactions Explained

Illustration for article titled iGhost Recon Breakpoint/i’s Microtransactions Explained

Ghost Recon Breakpoint is in early access before its full launch on Friday. It offers a somewhat generic but capable military shooter to hardcore fans. Looming over everything has been the specter of microtransactions. The game offers lots of them. So far, we’ve seen that you can easily ignore them.


First thing first: none of Breakpoint’s microtransactions are required for a comfortable experience. They suck, but they can be avoided. Many options are cosmetic, and while there are options that can help you get quality gear, it’s pretty easy to loot new weapons and rewards. That core loop—sneaking around to pilfer supplies and new blueprints—is a big part of Ghost Recon Breakpoint. You’re trapped on the fictional island of Auroa, hunted by a villainous former comrade portrayed by Punisher actor Jon Bernthal. Breakpoint is about scrounging what you can and adapting to your situation. Hunting down new gear can take some time, but there’s not really a need to speed it up with in-game purchases. That’s a scam, and one best avoided. On the off chance that you really do want a fancy sniper rifle or can’t wait to snag stylish armor, you can. You’ll just need to toss down a few bucks.

Breakpoint has two currencies. The first are Skell credits. These are the basic unit of currency in the game, gained through looting fallen enemies and completing missions. Skell credits are spent at a shop back at your home base, where you can purchase a few things. There’s a random collection of weapons to buy, all of which tend to be of a slightly higher gear score than what you currently have. You can also buy modifications for your weapons or a small range of cosmetic items like sunglasses, flak vests, and other attire. If you have found weapon blueprints by exploring parts of the game world, you can buy the weapon as well. Skell credits are extremely easy to come buy, especially if you sell off excess gear. However, you can purchase them and use them in the basic shop. For example, you can buy 8,000 credits for 1200 Ghost Coins, the premium currency, which you buy with real money. That many Ghost Coins can be obtained for about $10.

Illustration for article titled iGhost Recon Breakpoint/i’s Microtransactions Explained

Buying Skell credits is a bad idea for a lot of reasons. The first is that you can acquire them easily. Items in the shop aren’t too expensive and unless you’re on a spending spree, you’ll always have the credits you need to buy knick knacks. But there’s also little reason to do that. Enemies often drop gear, you can scavenge from hostile encampments and bases, and the gear you do find in the field tends to be better than what you can buy. Let’s be blunt: if you’re buying Skell credits, you’re a chump. Don’t waste your real money.

Beyond Skell credits, you can also purchase the aforementioned Ghost Coins. These are the more premium of the currency and they can be used to buy some more drastic upgrades. Ghost Coins can be used to purchase many of the things previously mentioned: cosmetic items, weapon modifications. But they’re also used to buy weapon blueprints, unique cosmetics, and crafting material to upgrade weapons. Out of all of those, it’s the blueprints that offer the most advantage. In order to craft new weapons, Breakpoint requires players find the corresponding blueprint. Locating weapon blueprints usually involves scanning intelligence found in enemy bases or interrogating soldiers. From there, you’re given the location of the blueprint and need to infiltrate whatever hideout or base the item is secured in. Combined with travel time, this means that finding blueprints can take a while. And because the intelligence can point to many different possible weapons, it might not even be a weapon you like. Ghost Coins bypass this, giving immediate access to whatever weapon you want. If you buy bundles containing multiple blueprints, you are even give the credits required to purchase them in the normal item store. It doesn’t necessarily give an automatic advantage, either in single player or PVP, but it can give access to more accurate and reliable weapons early on. You can also purchase weapon modifications and upgrade parts, meaning that you can buy a gun and literally all of the remaining attachments.

Before launch, a Redditor broke down some of these microtransactions, listing one additional option: the ability to buy skill points. It understandably caused a stir. Skipping a portion of the grind? Having a stronger character in exchange for cash? Skill points unlock passive bonuses like increase weapon range, as well as active abilities like different drones. Having the ability to instantly unlock skill tree perks would drastically upend the game even if many of these upgrades don’t care over into multiplayer. (Picture Star Wars Battlefront II without the additional sleaze of random loot box drops. Not great!) In some ways, the ability to purchase skill points could be similar to Assassin’s Creed Odyssey’s experience point booster, which similarly stirred controversy, but as of today they cannot be found in the store. We’ve reached out to Ubisoft for details and clarification, but haven’t heard back yet.

A picture of the supposed purchasable skill points. This does not appear currently in the store as of this article’s publications.
A picture of the supposed purchasable skill points. This does not appear currently in the store as of this article’s publications.

Breakpoint’s microtransactions have rightfully concerned some players. The good news is that the most disruptive purchases have been removed from the store, though it’s troubling they were there at all. We’ve asked Ubisoft if their removal is permanent or not. If they come back, the game will inevitably feel to some as if it’s pushing them to buy upgrades to forgo a grind. The bad news is that there’s still a lot of other options to buy, including weapon unlocks.

The microtransactions are easy enough to avoid but there’s a lot of them. That might not be a problem for many players, but it’s a damning factor for others. My advice? You don’t need to buy anything and shouldn’t. That’s what grubby executives are counting on. Playing Breakpoint normally will still give you access to plenty of loot, outfits, and having blueprints to find offers a great excuse to wander the game world. Grab some friends, scout some bases, and keep away from the store for the best possible experience.

Former Senior Writer and Critic at Kotaku.

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My advice? You don’t need to buy anything.

Including this game. The only way game companies are going to stop jamming microtransactions all throughout games that they nonetheless demand we pay $50-60 for just for the base package is if gamers stop paying $50-60 for games with copious microtransactions. Not like there’s anything remotely unique about Military Shooter #473 anyway.