In previous Forza titles, whether it was Forza Motorsport or Forza Horizon, progression was a rather straightforward affair. You raced cars and the better you did, the more credits (CR) you received. Save up your credits and you could use them to buy cars or upgrade your vehicles. As I covered in my review, Forza Motorsport 7 shifts this progression a bit with the introduction of Prize Crates.
Prize Crates represent another thing to spend your CR on in Forza Motorsport 7. You can still buy many of the cars with CR, but if you want to boost your experience or CR earnings, you need to turn to Mod Cards. As the name suggests, these cards modify races-you can equip up to three per race, each with their own objective and resulting bonuses. If you want to maximize your time spent in Forza 7, you use mod cards.
Forza Motorsport 6 also had mod cards, but most of them (Dare and Crew types) were unlimited use, with single-use mods being rather special. You'd open Card Packs, collecting a deck of full range of unlimited use mods, using them whenever you felt like it. The issue now is Forza Motorsport 7's mod cards are limited use, offering between 1 and 5 uses before they're consumed. Basically, if you want to use mods, you'll have to have a rolling supply, meaning you're always picking up prize crates.
In addition, many cars are locked behind Tiers, meaning you need to own a certain number of vehicles before you even get the option to purchase them. So folks race to gain CR, to buy prize crates, to get consumable mods, to gain CR, to buy other vehicles, to raise their Tier level, to eventually buy the vehicles they want. Worse, some cars are only available within crates.
For some Forza fans, this smacks of free-to-play mechanics within a paid $60 title. The charge is led on the Forza forums and Forza subreddit via a recent video by Jim Sterling, who has long had an issue with microtransactions and loot boxes.
"You are literally paying CR or real life money for the chance to make that same CR to buy more lootboxes. It's just a pointless cycle of money.," said Reddit user OshSwash.
"I am utterly disappointed with the direction that Turn 10 took with Forza 7. To me it feels a lot like playing WoT, War Thunder and other free games with pay-to-win content. Racing isn't rewarding anymore and limiting the cars you can buy by using a 'garage level' is preposterous. It feels like I am forced to buy cars in order to be able to be able to buy the one I'd like to own. Not to mention that some cars prices are absolutely insane (200K credits for a BMW 850i ?) and it reeks of upcoming micro-transaction," says Forza forums user Leryohji.
"In the interests of full disclosure, I don't particularly care for this loot box mechanic either. I'd much rather see something similar to what we've had the past several games but a lot of people have been asking for innovation when it comes to single player, and well, here it is," said Forza forums moderator Hieronymus1967.
"I hate the loot boxes. They're terrible. Every time I go to race, I realize that in order to make half-decent money, I need to use a mod card. What happens when I use up all my cards? Oh I gotta take money that I was saving for a car and use it to buy a stupid loot box. I didn't mind wheel spins in Horizon 3, because that was just a bonus on everything. But in FM7, there is so much content locked behind loot boxes, Speciality Dealers, levels, other pointless nonsense," said Reddit user DucRiderSFS.
Some folks don't have ssues with the system though. Again, mod cards were in the previous Forza Motorsport; all that changed was a shift towards all cards being consumable. The system in Forza Motorsport 7 is a bit more annoying in terms of progression, but some players have figured out which types of races and prize crates maximize CR gain. Others also point to the fact that avid Forza players would end up with millions of credits in previous games.
"As long as I don't have to spend dozens of hours grinding to get whatever cars I want to play with I don't really care if loot crates exist. I ended FM6 with somewhere near 700 million credits, if that's how this goes the loot crate thing is just a semi fun, gee whiz side distraction," wrote Reddit user SgtFancyPants98.
"I think the whole invasive microtransaction thing is lousy as fuck, and I especially dislike that some cars are being locked behind loot crate rewards, but the whole thing about making money is way overblown. I only just started playing today and I've earned like 8 free cars and am sitting with 600,000 credits in the bank and that's after buying a few cars myself. This is just from a few hours racing. And since they got rid of all the uber expensive prices for the super rare cars, I feel pretty good about the 'economy' of the game in terms of your earning potential and buying power," added Reddit user Seanspeed.
"I really like FM7, I made over a million on my first day, even after buying few cars. The graphics are good, the game runs fine and has everything I like about Forza. I am just happy I can finally play a proper Forza game on PC," said Reddit user RadioShackTRS80Mod3.
For my part, I feel overall that the addition of Prize Crates makes the progression system for Forza Motorsport 7 a bit more complicated for the player without adding any real benefit. I don't think the system is a net loss completely-I don't share Sterling's view that microtransactions and loot boxes are a great evil-but I think it could be better. One player noted it might be better if prize crates had versions that only dropped cars. Right now, it just feels like an extra step I don't need, not a design choice that ruins an otherwise excellent game.
Currently, Turn 10 Studios has yet to attach any real-money option to the game. They are planning to do so in the future, but only after ensuring that everything is tuned correctly.
"Once we confirm that the game economy is balanced and fun for our players out in the wild, we plan to offer Tokens [a real-money currency that works like CR] as a matter of player choice. Some players appreciate using Tokens as a way of gaining immediate access to content that may take many hours to acquire in the normal course of play. There will also be an option within the in-game menu to turn off Tokens entirely," Microsoft said previously.
So have you picked up Forza Motorsport 7 yet? How do you feel about Prize Crates and Mod Cards in the latest entry? Let us know in the comments below!