Last week, I wrote about Ghost Recon Breakpoint's Battle Pass system and its accompanying microtransactions. With the Faction System and Battle Rewards, players complete missions in-game to gain tiers that can unlock further rewards. In two weeks, Ubisoft also plans to offer a booster, increasing the rate at which you gain Battle Reward tiers.
Now that Ghost Recon Breakpoint is in its pre-launch access period, the full scope of the microtransactions are becoming apparent. Essentially, Breakpoint sports many of the additional purchases that have become common in Ubisoft games, alongside the Battle Reward system. It's a lot, and honestly might end up being the "breakpoint" for some players in terms of supporting the game.
There are two types of currency in Breakpoint. There's the Skell Credits, which you earn at a fairly nominal rate from completing missions or dispatching enemies. Then there are Ghost Coins, the currency that you can only buy with real-world money. There are five different packs of Ghost Coins available for purchase:
- 600 for $4.99
- 1300 for $9.99
- 2800 for $19.99
- 5800 for $39.99
- 12000 for $79.99
What's in the store? Pretty much everything. You can purchase weapon blueprints in every category of weapon, weapon attachments, vehicles, cosmetic gear pieces (backpacks, helmets, shirts), full body costumes, tattoos, emotes, gear camos, weapons, crafting materials, weapon upgrades, and even packs of Skell Credits. That runs the entire gamut of everything you can get in Breakpoint.
And while you can unlock many of the available items through pure gameplay, not all of them fall into that category. Take the Fury Crye AVS backpack, which is an item you can only pick up with 720 Ghost Coins. Or the VectorBlade motorcycle, which can only be had for easy summoning for 940 Ghost Coins in the store. And as far as I can tell, the signature weapon blueprints, which are highly tuned and come with unique weapon paint jobs, only come from the store or outside campaigns.
Many of these transactions have direct gameplay benefits, especially the weapon attachments and weapon blueprints. You can find all the attachments in-game, but it takes a good deal of time to find the intel and the attachment itself, versus spending 350 Ghost Coins. Weapon blueprints allow you to sidestep the random roll nature of loot; if you prefer a certain weapon, just find its blueprint and you can craft the equivalent at your current level. (You still need the Skell Credits to purchase the weapon though.) And since progress is shared between the main campaign and Ghost War PVP, this stuff can matter.
For the purposes of this article, we're going to assume you purchased the middle Ghost Coins bundle: 2800 GC for $19.99. With that baseline, let's break down some of these prices. We've picked a few specific items that are indicative of the price players can expect on the Store.
|Item||Ghost Coins||Cash Price (USD)|
|AK47 - Weapon Blueprint||300||$2.14|
|416 Shorty Brown - Weapon Blueprint||1200||$8.57|
|MH1 Sight - Attachment||350||$2.50|
|Attachment Class Bundle||4800||$34.27|
|IC-8 Incursion - Vehicle||1500||$10.71|
|GX Spider - Vehicle||1200||$8.57|
|Blackhawk Cyane - Backpack||720||$5.14|
|Fury Vest - Chest Armor||600||$4.28|
|Rosebud Top - Shirt||480||$3.43|
|Flycatcher - Figure Outfit||1200||$8.57|
|Fixed Bowie - Knife||240||$1.71|
|Khaki Netting - Gear Camo||360||$2.57|
|Alfa Tactical Gear Bundle||2800||$19.99|
Most weapon blueprints cost 300 GC, but signature weapon blueprints jump up to 1200 GC. Many of the other items tend to have the same prices across the board, like weapon attachments. Players are pretty angry about the last item in the chart, the Alfa Tactical Gear. That set is one that allows players to look like a real-world special operative, leading to dismay among military sim fans that they have to pay $19.99 to access it directly.
The inclusion of Skell Credit packs also mean we have a rough idea about how Ubisoft values players' time with the monetized time savers. In an hour of play, I had gotten around 7200 Skell Credits. Eight Thousand Skell Credits costs 1200 Ghost Coins, and a 1300 Ghost Coin pack costs a cool $9.99. So roughly an hour or your time is worth $9, give or take.
The huge number of microtransactions is causing further anger in a community that already wasn't happy about the state of Ghost Recon Breakpoint. "I admit I am very disappointed with the Wolves Camo Pack. They charge 10 bucks for it and it does not even look like the Swedish M90 they claim its based on. Putting the G3 Crye Shirt behind a paywall is kinda mean when the pants are easily accessible," said Reddit user JonathanRL in a thread that accuses Ubisoft of putting the most wanted cosmetic items on the store.
"The microtransaction potential of this game was visible from the very first time anyone entered Maria's shop. I had a feeling they'd paywall the most used cosmetics and camos from Wildlands since they were watching us and they knew authenticity resonated with the playerbase. Business-wise it's the decision that nets the most money. I was hoping the devs would find a way around it," said Reddit user Hamonate1 in the largest thread on the microtransaction topic.
"This is why the game is a looter shooter. I'm not even upset that they're selling packs, but the prices are ridiculous. They really don't expect a lot of people to buy their game and are hoping these prices will make them money and offset the canceled preorders," added Reddit user Antoineflemming.
I haven't felt the need to pick up a Store item so far, but they do touch every aspect of the game. Making sure all these microtransactions are up-and-running at launch while still working out Breakpoint's kinks isn't the best look. It feels like a game that's prizing monetization over the game itself; even if that's not true, the perception you establish within your first weeks of launch is hard to shake within a community. That's the kind of struggle Electronic Arts had with Star Wars: Battlefront 2—a game that some in the community find they're enjoying these days—and there was no reason to start Breakpoint off on the wrong foot. Ubisoft is well known for hacking away at its games until the community is happy with them, but it looks like Breakpoint's road will be a rough one.
We're still diving into the game for a proper review, but in the meantime, you can check out our guides hub. If you want to know Ubisoft's own thoughts behind the latest Ghost Recon, you can take a gander at our interviews about the difference between Breakpoint and The Division 2, the studio's work-life balance, and the mission statement for Breakpoint as a whole.