I’m sure many were surprised to find out that Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare, the third-person shooter based off of the popular Plants vs Zombies games, will not be shipping with built-in microtransactions. To me, it was even more surprising that EA out of all publishers would do this. However, EA has stated that the game wouldn’t have microtransactions “at launch”, and now after two months since launch, the inevitable has happened.
Starting next week, players can purchase in-game coins with real money to unlock content faster. The system for unlocking content is similar to Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer, using trading-card-like content packs containing different random character content in various rarities. The more expensive the pack, the better chance you have of getting rare stuff. In both games, the money used to buy these packs can be earned by playing the game.
There is a big difference between these games with regards to this system that is worth mentioning. Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer is only co-op and Garden Warfare’s co-op is only one mode, with the other modes being competitive multiplayer. While this card game design works fine in cooperative play, the ability to use it in competitive modes can be seen as “pay to win”, since things like weapons and weapon upgrades can be found in these content packs.
On the plus side, there is other content in Garden Warfare that won’t cost a dime. All DLC for the game will be released for free, like Zomboss Down released last week, adding a new map, Cactus Canyon, and new character variants for each class.
It’s possible that PopCap and EA see microtransactions as a means to support free content updates as opposed to charging for map packs, so the logic behind it seems reasonable. In my opinion, it would just be nice to just be able to buy a console game without worrying about it asking me if I want to buy money like the free-to-play mobile space.