The Latest Transformers Game Had Me Until I Spent $20 On Nothing

The Latest Transformers Game Had Me Until I Spent $20 On Nothing

Forming a team of four Transformers characters from throughout franchise history and participating in online turn-based battles? Transformers: Battle Tactics had me written all over it. Then I dropped $US20 on… well, nothing much.

The core game behind DeNA’s Transformers: Battle Tactics, available now for free on iOS and Android, is pretty sweet. Create a team of four robots (complete with disguises), each with their own strengths, weaknesses and skillsets, and take them into battle against online opponents. Spend ability points on special skills, roll unseen dice to determine who goes first and how much damage their characters do, and repeat until one side is dead.

It’s like a Transformers miniature game, played with miniature virtual Transformers. As players win they earn points to advance them to the next tier of competition, each new tier bringing a selection of three new robots to recruit to their teams using resources won in battle.

I was really enjoying myself with the game, but then things started to go south.

I began getting matched up against players in my own tier with characters much more powerful than mine, with much more powerful attacks, incredibly useful skills and many more hit points than my team could whittle down before being obliterated.

So I went to the Space Bridge to see if I couldn’t secure one of these Rare or at least Uncommon creatures.

The Latest Transformers Game Had Me Until I Spent $20 On Nothing

At the time of my visit to the Space Bridge, it didn’t look quite like this. The Superior Drops option was there, offering a chance — a slim chance — at a special character. Timed Deluxe Drops and Basic Drops also offer chances at characters, but I’ve not seen one since release.

The only premium option I had was a 750 coin Welcome Drop. Surely that would have some sort of special reward for early adopters. I was going to need some coin.

The Latest Transformers Game Had Me Until I Spent $20 On Nothing

Ouch. That’s pretty steep, $US20 for 750 coin. Dreams of powerful robots in my head, I took the plunge. I was given a choice of three of six boxes. I opened my three and won… resources. Resources I couldn’t use until I advanced to a further tier. For $US20 I unlocked nothing.

Looking at the Space Bridge now, it seems DeNA tweaked the choices quite a bit since I wasted $US20 two days ago. Now for $US30′ worth of gold I can get three uncommon robots. For $US55 or so (1600 plus $US9.99 for 250 more and $US4.99 for another 150) I can get a guaranteed rare.

The Latest Transformers Game Had Me Until I Spent $20 On Nothing

Or I could just stick with what I’ve unlocked through natural progression and hope I don’t run into someone wielding Pay-To-Win-O-Tron.

I’m not saying no one should play Transformers: Battle Tactics — again I quite like the gameplay. I’d just consider my finances carefully before investing the amount required to start making the game sad for other people. I wish I had almost immediately.


  • I jumped into 1 or 2 Pay-To-Win games. Dropped a few dollars to see how far it would push me. The answer – not far at all. The rewards with pay to win are always short lived and you have to keep paying if you want to stay on top. It’s a disgusting tactic and tantamount to scam. Like Pyramid scams but relying on you paying more than everyone else to stay on top.

      • At least with Magic: The Gathering there is some resale value.
        Plus the fact that once cards rotate out of standard, you still have modern, EDH, vintage, etc that they can be used in.

        • I know, I was being a smartass.

          Only game I found that to kinda be true was Yugioh. I just noticed that once I stopped buying new cards I stopped winning games.

          • I can agree with that. Cardfight Vanguard went down the same route too, which isn’t surprising since the guys who made Vanguard used to work on YGO

  • Didn’t realise Kotaku was the writing staff’s company grievance tribunal. Have you contacted the company to ask if they will offer compensation for them changing the tier structure and you being essentially shortchanged? If they then refuse to come to the party, then you have a decent customer support article to write.

  • Marvel Puzzle Quest has this same problem. For $24 you can get enough “Hero Points” to purchase a 10x pack of “Heroic” tokens, which yield the highest probability of opening a random “Rare” or “Legendary” character… problem is that “highest probability” means going up from .8% (of the “standard” token) to 3.2% at best. Given that the odds are per pull, not aggregated, you have quite a good chance of opening 10 “uncommon” characters, which you can normally get by basically breathing on the game. And if you manage to open 1 or 2 rares? Well, they come from a pool of around 60 possible covers so the chances of getting a particular cover that you need are astronomical.

    Thankfully, the game gives ample (if slow) ways of getting those covers by playing. Arguably, this makes the game less P2W, as to actually get ahead with money alone would literally cost thousands of dollars gambling on those heroic tokens, and only a handful of people in the world are capable or willing to do that.

  • Wow – next level microtransactions. Now they throw a ‘random roll’ on top so they only give you a chance of something useful?

    “How do you sleep at night?” … “On a big pile of money, with many beautiful ladies”

  • The reason prize boxes don’t have guaranteed items is because there are people out there who will purchase until they win to justify that first purchase.

    In experiments done in some US university whose name escapes me, subjects started bidding in 1c increments for a $1 note. The final bid was $20. To get the feeling of winning there are people willing to pay $20 for a $1 note and take a $19 loss.

    Now it’s all hidden with Microtransactions! Most of the time they don’t have real world currencies your converting dollars to donuts (The Simpsons game) and than spending the Donuts. Clash of Clans does it by selling you Gems, most of these games have a special currency you buy to then spend your money. For a lot of people remembering the price of the premium currency is hard, especially when they blur it by handing out 2 or 3 free a day. Despite the fact you need 1000 to do anything with an actual game impact.

    The pictures above make my point quite well I think. 1600 coins are worth $39.99, to get the Rare you need 2000. Essentially $50 for a single character who will be crap in a couple of months as the new characters get ever more powerful. $50 US Dollars… A Brand new Console Game is $60. World of Warcraft is only $15 a month. If the game is anything like their other Transformers game your going to be spending $200 a month for a random character.

    I’m starting to wonder how the term Microtransaction even applies. It’s more like Transaction addiction, it’s like giving you all the free drugs you want, but charging you for the method of getting high.

    Sure it’s only a small percentage of users who will be paying the $50 a week, most will buy nothing, some will buy but 1 and others will spend $300 a week. These things don’t feel like games, they often feel like the greatest fraud ever conceived and called a game. “Snakes and Ladders” where the entire purpose of the game is not to have fun, but to waste your time with lots of busy work rolling and moving and going backwards more than you go forwards. The reason I don’t see Snakes and Ladders as a game is you make no choices during the entire course of the game. You must roll the die, you must move the appropriate number of spaces and you must follow the result you land on. I once won two rounds of this abomination by simply rolling 200 moves in bulk.

    It’s kind of late and my rant is getting off track, but when they start asking for $50 purchases can we still be calling these things a microtransaction. There is a $100 freaking dollar option with the words best value on it, best value would be to go spend $100 on real Transformers and play with them.

Show more comments

Comments are closed.

Log in to comment on this story!