Ghost Recon Breakpoint's Microtransactions Explained

Ghost Recon Breakpoint is in early access before its full launch on Friday. It offers a somewhat generic but capable military shooter to hardcore fans. Looming over everything has been the spectre of microtransactions. The game offers lots of them. So far, we’ve seen that you can easily ignore them.

First thing first: none of Breakpoint’s microtransactions are required for a comfortable experience. Many options are cosmetic, and while there are options that can help you get quality gear, it’s pretty easy to loot new weapons and rewards. That core loop — sneaking around to pilfer supplies and new blueprints — is a big part of Ghost Recon Breakpoint.

You’re trapped on the fictional island of Auroa, hunted by a villainous former comrade portrayed by Punisher actor Jon Bernthal. Breakpoint is about facing difficult odds, scrounging what you can, and adapting to your situation. Hunting down new gear can take some time, but there’s not really a need to speed it up with in-game purchases. On the off chance that you really want a fancy sniper rifle or can’t wait to snag stylish armour, you can. You’ll just need to toss down a few bucks.

Breakpoint has two currencies. The first are Skell credits. These are the basic unit of currency in the game, gained through looting fallen enemies and completing missions. Skell credits are spent at a shop back at your home base, where you can purchase a few things. There’s a random collection of weapons to buy, all of which tend to be of a slightly higher gear score than what you currently have.

You can also buy modifications for your weapons or a small range of cosmetic items like sunglasses, flak vests, and other attire. If you have found weapon blueprints by exploring parts of the game world, you can buy the weapon as well. Skell credits are extremely easy to come buy, especially if you sell off excess gear. However, you can purchase them and use them in the basic shop. For example, you can buy 8,000 credits for 1200 Ghost Coins, the premium currency, which you buy with real money. That many Ghost Coins can be obtained for about $15.

Buying Skell credits is a bad idea for a lot of reasons. The first is that you can acquire them easily. Items in the shop aren’t too expensive and unless you’re on a spending spree, you’ll always have the credits you need to buy knick knacks. But there’s also little reason to do that. Enemies often drop gear, you can scavenge from hostile encampments and bases, and the gear you do find in the field tends to be better than what you can buy. Let’s be blunt: if you’re buying Skell credits, you’re a chump. Don’t waste your real money.

Beyond Skell credits, you can also purchase the aforementioned Ghost Coins. These are the more premium of the currency and they can be used to buy some more drastic upgrades. Ghost Coins can be used to purchase many of the things previously mentioned: cosmetic items, weapon modifications. But they’re also used to buy weapon blueprints, unique cosmetics, and crafting material to upgrade weapons. Out of all of those, it’s the blueprints that offer the most advantage.

In order to craft new weapons, Breakpoint requires players find the corresponding blueprint. Locating weapon blueprints usually involves scanning intelligence found in enemy bases or interrogating soldiers. From there, you’re given the location of the blueprint and need to infiltrate whatever hideout or base the item is secured in. Combined with travel time, this means that finding blueprints can take a while. And because the intelligence can point to many different possible weapons, it might not even be a weapon you like. Ghost Coins bypass this, giving immediate access to whatever weapon you want.

If you buy bundles containing multiple blueprints, you are even give the credits required to purchase them in the normal item store. It doesn’t necessarily give an automatic advantage, either in single player or PVP, but it can give access to more accurate and reliable weapons early on. You can also purchase weapon modifications and upgrade parts, meaning that you can buy a gun and literally all of the remaining attachments.

Before launch, a Redditor broke down some of these microtransactions, listing one additional option: the ability to buy skill points. It understandably concerned some players. Skill points unlock passive bonuses like increase weapon range, as well as active abilities like different drones.

Having the ability to instantly unlock skill tree perks would drastically upend the game even if many of these upgrades don’t care over into multiplayer. In some ways, the ability to purchase skill points could be similar to Assassin’s Creed Odyssey’s experience point booster, but as of today they cannot be found in the store. We’ve reached out to Ubisoft for details and clarification, but haven’t heard back yet.

A picture of the supposed purchasable skill points. This does not appear currently in the store as of this article’s publications.

Breakpoint’s microtransactions have concerned some players. The good news is that the most disruptive purchases have been removed from the store, though it’s strange they were there yesterday. We’ve asked Ubisoft if their removal is permanent or not. If they come back, the game will inevitably feel to some as if its pushing them to buy upgrades to forgo a grind.The bad news is that there’s still a lot of other options to buy, including weapon unlocks.

The microtransactions are easy enough to avoid but there’s definitely a lot of them. That might not be a problem for many players, but it’s a damning factor for others. My advice? You don’t need to buy anything. Playing Breakpoint normally will still give you access to plenty of loot, outfits, and having blueprints to find offers a great excuse to wander the lush game world. Grab some friends, scout some bases, and keep away from the store for the best possible experience.


Comments

    The question I find myself wondering isn't if you can experience the game without spending money on microtransactions, it's how much does the game experience suffer with such a staggering amount of microtransactions.

    I have to drawn the line for myself somewhere, and alas it's here. Ubisoft has destroyed Tom Clancy for me :( Please, please someone else get the license.

    It's grungy that they're there, and people might spend money they can't afford to out of compulsion, but I've been playing (hey, it's free with uplay+ and my free trial hasn't rebilled yet), and the MTX is not noticable so far.

    Everything for purchase front-and-centre has been heavily focused on the Skrell credits, rather than the premium currency, and as the article says, that's easy to come by.

    There is no 'being pushed into the MTX to bypass the grind' so far. The arcade mode is so laughably easy that it's effectively god-mode. Anyone not able to easily complete the game in arcade difficulty without MTX probably isn't going to do any better with MTX-purchased power, either.

    If you want to play higher difficulties but consider them too grindy without MTX, I uh... I don't know what to tell you. Play the lower difficulty? The only possible complaint I could see about this is someone who wants to play on a higher difficulty but wants that difficulty to be easier through MTX they don't want to buy, and that kind of person is a lost cause who can safely be ignored.

      Oh, just FYI on game quality, some of my biggest concerns about the game have been either fixed or at least partly alleviated.

      The BP Open Beta both looked and ran like garbage for me, compared to Wildlands, but the day one optimizations appear to have fixed that significantly. It no longer runs like ass on similar settings, and a great deal of graphics improvements came with (especially around terrain, grasses, draw distance, etc).

      Also, the looter-shooter aspect remains annoying, but inaccessible loot pops straight into your inventory, which is nice, and you can turn off the garish pillars of light that tell you something dropped. As far as I can tell, the actual numbers don't appear to mean much outside of high-level drone fights. 95% of the enemies I've found so far are human, and Ubi stayed true to their word on head-shots being one-shot-kills. They did provide a caveat for helmeted enemies needing to have their helmets knocked off first, but even the max-level enemies who you're meant to run away from in the tutorial were able to be one-shot through their helmets, so I think they might have done a re-balance patch to play it safe.

      Some of the dialogue/cutscene facial animations have been improved, but that remains a fairly garbage aspect of the game relative to Wildlands. Still missing the AI squad, too, but I get that's a personal preference.

      You might want to double check you're not still subscribed, I think the free period was supposed to run out end of September.

        Good point! It did say that on the advert's T&Cs that you had to cancel before Sep30th to not be charged for the trial, but I did, and have not been charged, and am still active, so I assume you get a full month out of it even if the billing specifically is only charged on the first of each month?

        Either that or I'm about to lose access today/tomorrow.

          yeah dunno, I've lost access already but I jumped in right at the start of Sept. Fingers crossed you've fallen through the cracks and get to keep it for free.

            Haha, unlikely! My uplay launcher this morning said that my uplay+ subscription was active, so I assume that's the only reason I have access to all the stuff loaded on from the trial.

            Gotta say, though, I really enjoyed playing New Dawn for free on the free trial, and Breakpoint isn't terrible (it's not as good as Wildlands, but it's not awful, either), so if it does cut me off later today or whatever, I'm leaning towards giving them the fifteen bucks or whatever it is to re-up for a month. I definitely got more than that worth last month for free and I didn't yet finish New Dawn, so there's incentive. It's only been a few days since I last played New Dawn, so I wouldn't be surprised if come the weekend I'm itching to finish it off.

            ...That's probably how they get you.

            Last edited 02/10/19 4:15 pm

              Ah yeah fair enough. I had the FarCry 4 DLC stay on my Uplay account for quite a while post-refund, but yeah, pretty sure that was a one off unfortunately lol.

              I'm probably going to throw them some cash for another month or two as well hey, mostly because of New Dawn - what a massively pleasant surprise! Doubt I would have liked it anywhere near as much at full price. And getting to try out the more time intensive stuff as well - AC Odyssey, Anno, Breakpoint, Division 2 - all fantastic, but like, who has the time. Glad I got to give them a go though.

            I decided to let the trial renew itself for the month with the explicit purpose of playing Breakpoint, but I honestly havent been charged yet either. The account page that showed the next billing date for uPlay+ said 1/10/19, but has since changed to 1/11/19 and yet I still haven't had my PayPal charged, nor have I received any receipts/invoices from uPlay.

    So standard microtransactions. Sounds easy enough to avoid.

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