If you look at Ubisoft in the last couple of years, it’s difficult to fault the quality of the products that they are pumping out (…with the possible exception of The Division). These games are polished works that are genuinely engaging and fun to play and I have personally put many hours into both Rainbow Six: Siege and For Honor.
Rainbow Six: Siege
Rainbow Six: Siege, whilst an online multiplayer and nothing more, is far more interesting than any of the shooters that have been released in the last few years. It is a welcome relief from Counter-Strike and a nice change of pace in the testosterone-fueled, focus tested farce that is the current multiplayer shooter ecosystem.
My love for this game is great, which is precisely why I’m so disappointed that men in suits have turned the game into a marketplace. Here are my main gripes with this game:
Firstly, I would like to address the issue of season passes. Do you remember when you paid £40 for a game and you got the game? It seems like such a distant memory now, with the mass use of season passes and DLC in games.
Season passes, especially in largely multiplayer experiences such as Battlefield, mean that you are going to end up paying more like £80 for a complete game, the developers knowing full well that you will need to buy all of the new maps in order to play the thing online.
Rainbow Six: Siege currently has two of the things, which retail at over £20 each on release. Whilst i prefer a game that has continued development over a CoD-style annual release, this is somewhat taking the piss.
Following from my previous point, it is theoretically possible to unlock the content hidden behind the season pass paywalls through ‘renown’, the in-game currency, but the marketplace is so rigged, that the amount of grinding required to unlock even a single character is obscene.
Let’s be generous and imagine that you can make roughly 1,000 ‘renown’ in an hour. A new character costs 25,000 renown. You will need to play this game continuously for over a day to unlock a character.
OK, so Ubisoft release 8 characters per season pass, and it’s going to take in excess of 200 hours for you to unlock all of them. if you pay £20 for the season pass, Ubisoft values your time at roughly 10p per hour? Bollocks.
For Honor (or ‘For Honour’, if you want to spell it correctly)
Wow, this game blew me away. While I may not be great at it, but it is a fantastically satisfying and tense experience. This game at it’s best in the dominion game mode, where two teams of four heroes compete over a number of points strewn across the map.
You plow through basic spods with ease and encounters with other players feel significant and exciting. This is usually when this game ceases to be fun, through no fault of the game itself.
Yet again, Ubisoft’s money-men fiddled with a well-crafted game, with no consideration for the user experience… they added a loot system that not only makes you look snazzier, but also makes you better than everyone who doesn’t have as much gear as you.
You will enter into a game and you will see the other team’s loot level is far higher than yours and ask yourself, ‘what is the point?’. You cannot win at that point because the game is unbalanced and those with the loot will win every time.
Loot takes a long time to grind and in the meantime you’re essentially barred from the best mode in the game, because the game doesn’t even allow you to play the dominion mode with the loot statistics disallowed, which is perfectly possible in other game modes. The reason is simple; introducing this would remove the reason to put money into micro-transactions.
So here’s the most baffling thing about this… it creates an unnecessary barrier to entry for new players and will cause players to turn off. This will absolutely lead to a reduction in sales of this and future products and DLC. This money-grabbing behavior will not only lose the company money in the long term, but it shamefully reduces the audience of a game that developers have clearly put so much effort into.
How frustrating it must be to put your heart and soul into something, only to have it ruined by someone further up the corporate ladder, who not only has zero respect for the product, but who clearly doesn’t understand it.
Ubisoft have a team of brilliantly skilled developers who they simply don’t respect. There seems to be a real culture problem, where short-term gains and making the most cash from each customer is having a significant negative impact on the experience of the customer.
If we want to combat this terrible attitude, we need to hit them where it hurts:
- Withhold your purchase until the full game (i.e. the base game plus all DLC) is available at the price you want to pay.
- Request a refund for a game that you aren’t enjoying as a result of pushy or essential micro-transactions.
- Buy the games that are sold ethically (without micro-transactions or excessive paid DLC)