Raiders of The Broken Planet is a perfectly fun game. It has clear and simple progression paths to build into a generous set of heros. Each of which take time to learn how to use to good effect. It has a strong melee system with solid game design propping up dependable attacks from behind cover or over chest-high walls. In fact, successful melee attacks are the only way to replenish your ammo. This was a great move to force the player to switch things up on the fly. That wasn’t Mercurysteam’s only good idea either.
Raiders of The Broken Planet Drips With Potential But…
Play Raiders of The Broken Planet for any longer than ten minutes and it’ll be clear to you, this is a game that wants to be something special. It has the “grind the same levels over and over to improve in time for the next one" kind of ethos – not too dissimilar to Vermintide or Warframe. So there’s already an existing market and audience for that kind of setup. The other games I just mentioned that use this setup have enjoyed great success. So why is it that whenever I want to join an online co-op mission, I’m waiting for as long as five minutes in some cases, to find a group? That’s right – there’s just nobody about.
This is a big shame as, when I do get to play, I have a blast. Each and every level (of which there are many) is a separately designed map. So, unlike Warframe, you won’t be running copy and pasted environments. This is multiplied five times over with each of the DLCs available. Furthermore, Mercurysteam has done something nobody else has – they’ve incorporated story based cutscenes into the rhythm of joining and leaving matches. It’s a simple “vote to watch” system, where if one player is running the level for the first time and votes to watch, we all have to sit and watch the clip. A tad annoying at times, but nice to know my first run through of a level won’t be tarnished by impatient players.
Without going on too much, Mercurysteam have created a great game here. In fact, it’s like they made a beautiful painting and threw it out the window, lost to errant gusts of wind, destined to arrive wherever it may through sheer dumb luck. What do I mean by this? Raiders of The Broken Planet’s monetisation strategy is booting players out the door. It asks for 22,000 credits to unlock a level. Each mission run will reward you with just 3,000 at best. Alternatively, you could ignore a money reward and go for faction points or weapon blueprints instead, elongating your build up towards the next level. Then there’s all the other things that require credits for levelling up, stunting your progress to the next mission. Once you unlock the level, you have access to it for two and a half hours, then you need to spend credits on it AGAIN. On top of this, now that the offer is over, Raiders of Broken Planet (minus the DLC) is still free to play. Although, it may as well be a demo dressed in fancy clothes. Meaning, you own the levels of said story, but still have to unlock them with credits, NOT by, y’know, completing the previous level.
You Likey? Well Give Us MORE Money
Where Mercurysteam hope to make their money is off the character cosmetics, sometimes costing just as much as the story DLCs at $10 each. They also have packs of currency that can be bought with real world money. At this stage, it just makes the developer look… cocky. As if to suggest their game is so incredibly awesome, that players couldn’t possibly resist the money funnel they’re expected to dive into. It’s less community driven monetisation smarts as seen in Warframe and more blind “let’s copy the mobile market.” It tarnishes the entire Raiders experience and Mercurysteam have seriously shot themselves in the foot here. It’s clear to see huge amounts of effort have been poured into world design, characters and the incredibly solid gameplay. But there’s little point in having done all that work if none of your players are willing to pay to see it, preferring to save their money for… heck, anything else.
Imagine Battlefront II asking you to pay a kind of in-game toll for access to each of the maps. Then, if you weren’t prepared to do that, you’d have to play the same map over and over until you had enough in-game credits to play a different one… for two and a half hours – before going back to square one, faced with the prospect of grinding even more than you already have to play different maps sequentially in one session. THAT is what Raiders is doing. I’d love to sell you this game on its merits, of which there are many. However, until Mercurysteam pull their heads out of their asses, I can’t in good faith do that. Each match I played, I never encountered any players higher than level twenty. I played for about five hours and I was already level eleven. That means people just aren’t sticking around and frankly, it’s no surprise.
If Mercurysteam don’t seriously consider rebalancing things, Raiders of The Broken Planet will become a neglected gem. A game that could easily garner a massive and loyal fanbase if it weren’t for such greed. It’s simple – increase money rewards at the end of missions to make the other reward choices more appealing. Unlock missions sequentially as players complete them and PERMANENTLY, y’know, like every other game in existence. That’s it! That’s literally all you have to do to help your staff sleep better at night. It’s all you have to do to drag your game out of the dirt, which is a damn site less effort than The Division had to do. A damn site less than Rainbow Six: Siege had to do, but they put the effort in and brought those players back.
Finally, I figured, let's do the math. Just how much do Mercurysteam expect me to spend on their game to experience all of it? Including the DLCs. Let's say I bought every one of the DLC storylines – that's instantly $50 (this converts to exactly to £50 for the UK buyer too). Where Mercurysteam gets a little sneaky is this idea of temporarily unlocking missions. This requires 22,000 credits for each mission. To unlock every one of them for ONE storyline, of which there are eleven, I would need 242,000 credits. To get those in a pinch I would need to buy 3780 Mercury Points. This is a fair bit over the odds, but the price tiering means we have to buy the largest pack THEN also buy the second largest to have enough points. This would cost me a further $30. If I applied this to playing all of the game including the DLC, I would have spent $200 dollars IF I never upgraded any of my weapons… Which is of course, necessary as the levels get tougher. After all this, I still haven't permanently unlocked… ANYTHING. Mercurysteam expect me to repeat a process of spending $200 indefinitely. This is nothing short of disgusting. You thought Battlefront II was greedy?
Yes, I’m pissed. Majorly. Mainly because I want to be singing Raiders’ praises from the rooftops. Like I said earlier, the tall, thick paywalls that hinder my experience at every turn mean that I cannot and will not in good faith do that. Who at Mercurysteam thought this was a good idea?