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It’s almost without fail these days that any big budget multiplayer game (and plenty of single player ones) will have microtransactions in them. This helps support ongoing development in general and gives companies an ongoing stream of revenue from the game instead of just relying on new sales. There are a multitude of methods that have been used, ranging from purely cosmetic like Overwatch‘s loot box purchases, which just mirror what you can earn in game, to pay-to-win set ups that players despise, and plenty of gradients between them. The newest game to confirm that they will have microtransactions for online play is Gears of War 4. While more information will be forthcoming in the future, there’s plenty to dig into here so let’s take a look!

Gears of War 4 will be using a card system for how it handles its progression. These cards are found by opening packs, and they come in a rarity range of common to legendary based on the odds of finding them in a Gear Pack. The types of cards are:

  • Characters – A Character to use in multiplayer either as a new character or special customized versions of other characters
  • Weapon Skins – Each Skin is for a particular weapon to customize, and for the first time in the series when Power Weapons spawn you can customize them
  • Emblems – Emblems are for customizing your player identity behind your username
  • Bounties – Special Challenges that provide XP or Credit Awards for doing a particular challenge, like getting 7 kills in a Team Deathmatch match. They are consumed once successfully completed, and they come in both Versus and Horde Mode variants.
  • Horde Equipment and Abilities – There’s no information available on it.

Gears of War 4 Cards

For versus multiplayer like Deathmatch, there will be no gameplay impact, only cosmetics and bounties. Bounties may be a mild concern if you dislike things like EXP boost microtransactions as bounties fulfill a similar role in Gears of War 4, but the bigger note here is that the Coalitions post is quite clear on it stating versus multiplayer will only have cosmetics and bounties, nothing that impacts gameplay. What this, in conjunction with “Horde Equipment and Abilities” is that microtransactions will impact gameplay in Horde mode, as well as possibly in other things like co-op. 

How you get cards is through something called Gear Packs. Gear Packs can be bought with credits—the in-game currency you get from playing online multiplayer and from some bounties. With those credits you can buy one of the gear packs, of which there’ll be a variety, although how that will be arranged hasn’t been explained yet. Gear Packs, can, of course, also be bought for real money to “accelerate the growth of your Card collection” as the post puts it.

Gear Pack GoW4

Additionally, cards that you don’t want can be scrapped for the imaginatively named “Scrap” currency. Scrap is an in-game currency that you get when you destroy particular cards and you can use it to get the card you wanted. The amount of Scrap a card gives when destroyed depends on its rarity, as is the amount it costs to create a particular card. Scrap can only be earned from destroying cards according to The Coalition and provides the game a way that even when you get stuff you don’t want, you’re moving towards something you do want.

Gearpack Gears of War 4

The final way you can get cards is The Coalition’s attempt to bring Gear Packs into the physical world. Called Physical Gear Packs, these are available at major events for Gears of War 4 right now, and come launch there will be a way to get them at retailers. Right now, pre-ordering Gears of War 4 at GameStop in the U.S. will get you a pack including the Vintage Reyna character. Details about which physical gear packs will be available and where will be coming in the future. When you get a Physical Gear Pack, you get 5 cards and right now that includes One Crimson Omen Sticker card, a Gears Avatar t-shirt card, and three customization cards. These also will unlock special customization items and bounties in-game, making them a bit like the toys to life idea that has been implemented by Amiibo and Skylanders. 

Gears of War 4 cards 2

If you want to read more on it, you can see The Coalition’s blog post, and their FAQ on Gear Packs. Stay tuned for more information on this heading up to the Gears of War 4 launch.

What do you think of having microtransactions that can alter horde mode’s balance? Do you think that focusing on cosmetic only for versus mode is enough? Do you think that The Coalition will balance progression in game enough so that microtransactions don’t feel necessary? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Don Parsons

News Editor

I've been a gamer for years of various types starting with the Sega Genesis and Shining Force when I was young. If I'm not playing video games, I'm often roleplaying, reading, writing, or pondering things brought up by speculative fiction.