Konami has continued to illustrate that they are nothing if not innovative in ways of creating new revenue streams from products. Following on the news that Big Boss had been pressed into trademark by their Pachinko company (take a guess where that’s going) and various other issues with the company of late, Metal Gear Solid 5’s microtransaction system is deciding to get predatory with users.
Metal Gear Solid 5, while being a very well-received game, has had more than it’s share of drama surrounding its launch, with how Konami has handled it with various things, and a new update today adds in “FOB Insurance.” The Forward Operating Base (FOB) is the current online way to play until Metal Gear Online gets added on, and in that mode you build bases in various regions that can also impact the single player experience in some ways. This caught a lot of attention leading up to launch, especially with the cost of those bases in the games micro-transaction currency MotherBase (MB) Coins, which are occasionally provided for free as login bonuses or other activities. With FOB’s being PvP based, there must have been some frustration, as the new service starting today allows you to sign up for a period of time to have insurance and cover you in case of raids.
While under insurance, you are reimbursed for some losses. Essentially, anything stolen that you owned fully is to be reimbursed. Staff who are wandering about and get killed or stolen will be reimbursed. However, you will not be reimbursed for staff that were deployed in defense, abducted staff in your Brig, wounded staff, or nuclear weapons. We are still waiting to see what the cost for this service will be when it goes live tomorrow, if it will scale according to the number of bases you have, and the length of time insurance covers you for.
There were other updates announced in the patch and some of them have microtransactions, though others are far more benign and possibly help improve the game experience.
“Event FOB” missions are designed by the game developers to allow people to take part in FOB without having to fear retaliation or people swarming over. The choice to lay out and design them could also lead to some more interesting optional missions or tasks that can change the base of FOB or different map designs. It also means those who don’t want to get into the endless games of revenge can avoid that while still benefiting from the multiplayer component in essentially an online single player way (although they are still vulnerable to being attacked).
Continuing the idea of improving the amount of ways to play in FOB, stealth has been a concern for some users because of players being alerted as soon as an invasion happens negating that. In the new update, if you avoid being spotted by enemies and are able to restrain yourself from killing or extracting staff, containers, or equipment, you can do the infiltration without the opposing player being notified.
As stealth abilities go up though, so do the guards capabilities, as new Night Vision equipment can be developed. These must be developed but can grant your security guards an advantage against night-time invaders or those trouble people who use vision controlling tactics like smoke grenades.
Of course, its not all just cool gadgets and fixing the notifications, weapons need to be upgraded to keep track as well. There will be new Grade 7 weapons available for you to develop and give to either security guards, or those who are helping you on the assault. Three were provided as examples:
- The S1000 AIR-S is a Grade 7 pump-action non-lethal shotgun that you can use to send enemies flying and knock them out with a single hit. Hopefully, ramming into a wall or something won’t result in them breaking their neck. This will give your FOB security guards a bigger punch.
- The HAIL MGR-4 is not at this time confirmed to mean that you should expect 3 more Metal Gear Rising sequels. Instead, it’s a Grade 7 magazine-fed grenade launcher, which gives this grenade launcher a lot more lasting power with the amount of ammo than most had. You can use it to quickly burst enemies in the open field in groups or smartly aim around at those in cover, giving a versatile weapon useful for assault, diversions, or defenses.
- The AM MRS-71 Rifle is a Grade 7 semi-automatic sniper rifle. Beyond greater stopping power and accuracy, this 7.62mm sniper also has an additional option slot to give you more options than before and allow you to adapt the base weapon to a wider range of situations.
Now if after seeing this so far, your thought is that you need to expand your FOB more, well as you know that takes time. Seeing an opportunity to provide a new service to players, there is a new MB Coin transaction to help you out.. Now you can spend some MB Coins to speed up the construction of new platforms for your FOBs and make it more difficult to infiltrate. Again, we don’t know the cost, but this at least is more of a convenience feature, even if its impact means you likely have to wait longer for them to complete for free than you should.
Also joining in the time reduction micro-transaction is Combat Deployment (Online) which you can spend MB coins to speed up return time on these missions. Konami is quick to point out that normal offline missions cannot be shortened, and this only applies to the online mode. However, the Combat Deployment (Online) has also added in some new missions and has boosted rewards. They have said that some missions may now reward you with extremely high-rank soldiers, or rare medicinal plants such as Haoma, or Digitalis (Lutea).
To help insure that you stay online, though, Konami has added a way for you store more GMP and materials in Metal Gear Solid 5. While the local limit on your computer is still the same, you can store additional amounts on the server, and this according to them is a large increase. If you are offline, you will not be able to access the GMP and materials stored on the server.
The UI has also gotten an overhaul for FOB, which is meant to give better data on results for it, so you can see how you did on your espionage easier, or see exactly how much damage was inflicted that you could have avoided by purchasing FOB Insurance to reimburse you against that awful invader. Other improvements include improve staff sorting by combat ability or skills, staff assignment methods adding “Security Team Prioritized,” and various balance or bug fixes.
I tried to keep my feelings on this mostly out of there, but this feels like a downright predatory loop here by Konami with the FOB Insurance in Metal Gear Solid 5. You get it, you want to help your single player, so you do a mission, then you get into fights and find you’re losing stuff … and if you don’t want to lose more you spend insurance to make it feel better. The cost here will determine whether or not it really is a huge issue, as if it is payable on the cost of what they tend to give for free, it could actually be a boon to let people opt out mostly of those bad moments. Combining that with speedups and such makes it feel like Konami is trying to shake every penny they can get from this title.