Why Using Metal Gear Survive Booster Microtransactions Defeats the Spirit of the Game

When I first heard Metal Gear Survive would have microtransactions I feared the worst. Crafting games are rife with opportunities to nickel and dime players, so I figured there would be timers and items for sale for premium currency galore. Fortunately, Konami didn't go all out with microtransactions in Metal Gear Survive, instead opting to use them for Premium Boost Passes and cosmetics, but that doesn't mean there's not an issue with their implementation.

What are the Microtransactions in Metal Gear Survive?

The microtransactions in Metal Gear Survive aren't too obtrusive. There are some cosmetic items you can buy with the game's premium currency, SV Coins. These consist of gestures (emotes), weapon colors and cosmetics and player accessories like masks. None of these have any bearing on gameplay, and they're purely vanity items.

The main draw for players to spend real money on SV Coins is the in-game booster microtransactions. These Premium Boost Passes work a lot like premium accounts do in World of Tanks and World of Warships. As I'm reviewing Metal Gear Survive for Game Revolution, I doled out the money to see what effects the boost passes have. For 1,200 SV Coins (around $11 worth) you can get a 30-day pass. You can get a one-day, week, or two month pass as well, and SV Coins do get cheaper the more you buy. However, the month pass hit the sweet spot for me as far as value went.

Metal Gear Survive Microtransactions Premium Boost Pass

The description of what benefits the pass gives you is somewhat vague if you've just started the game. According to the text in-game, you get the following list of effects:

  • Kuban Energy acquisition booster.
  • Shared resource production booster.
  • Battle Point acquisition booster.

What do Premium Boost Passes do in Metal Gear Survive?

The first one is easy to figure out, even if the description isn't very explicit. A Kuban Energy acquisition booster doubles the amount of Kuban Energy you pick up from all sources. However, if you're just getting to base camp when you activate one of these passes, you'll likely have no idea what the latter two effects do unless you've looked it up already.

Basically, the pass makes it twice as easy to collect Kuban Energy the in-game currency which is used for leveling, crafting, replenishing your O2 tank, and about every other action you take. It also will double production of resource producing buildings like farms and rain catchers (Shared Resource production booster), and you'll get double the Battle Points from multiplayer co-op which can be used to purchase rare and powerful items and blueprints.

Whether or not this makes the game pay-to-win or the ethics of charging for microtransactions in paid games is outside of the scope of this article. Instead, I want to argue that regardless of your feelings on MTX you should be careful of activating a booster pass lest it ruins the core gameplay for you.

Not Enough Metal Gear Without the "Survive"

Metal Gear Survive is about, well, surviving. I've struggled more with keeping enough food and water around to stay alive than I have the enemies in the game or having enough air to explore in the Dust. A big focus in the game is resource management, and these booster packs take a lot of that weight off your shoulders.

For some players that'll be a welcome relief. Having to choose between leveling with Kuban Energy or forgoing it this time around so you can have enough to craft and fill your O2 tank is a decision I ended up struggling with several times during the early hours of Metal Gear Survive. However, since I activated a boost pass, those struggles have largely disappeared.

For example, when you kill Wanderers you can harvest them for their level x 100 in Kuban Energy. There are some areas in the game where 20 or more of these low-tier enemies congregate. Given the right equipment and tactics, they're incredibly easy to herd together and harvest in droves. Without the boosters, you'd get a good haul of Kuban Energy for 20 Wanderers. If they were all level 10, you'd end up with 2,000 Kuban, but, with boosters, it's double that at 4,000 Kuban.

The game actually seems balanced towards the player not using boost passes so far, and with twice the amount of Kuban coming in you end up overpowered pretty quickly. The enemies tend to somewhat level with you as you proceed through the map, but all that does is make them worth more Kuban. Also, since you can refill your O2 tank with Kuban, the area you can explore in one run is a lot more expansive than someone who has to watch the amount of energy they have. I've gotten lost in the Dust for over 30 minutes or so before and just kept pushing Kuban into the air tank until I finally wondered out. If I hadn't had the booster pass, I'd have died.

In addition to the huge Kuban increase the boost pass gives you, farms are water collectors will give you twice the amount of material when they're ready to be harvested. This starts making the struggle to hunt for food and manage your resources appropriately less and less vital as time goes on. Without having to worry about resources at least a little the "survive" part of Metal Gear Survive becomes less important, and unfortunately, there's not enough "Metal Gear" in the game for that to hold it up alone.

If you're more excited about playing multiplayer co-op and don't really care about the single-player and exploration aspects of the game, you probably won't care if the booster passes make the game a little too easy. However, if you want the full force of the survival aspects of Metal Gear Survive you're likely better off to wait until after you complete the single-player storyline before you grab a boost pass.