Earlier this year, I wrote a bit about how Halo Infinite is changing up the franchise’s multiplayer formula. In that piece, I wrote a bit about the changes coming to customizing your Spartan. Overall, I was pretty satisfied by what I saw in the trailer. It looked as if players were going to be given more avenues of self expression to create more unique Spartans. On November 15th, Microsoft surprised us by releasing an open beta for the multiplayer and well, there’s a slight micro-transaction problem.
The first thing I did when I loaded into Infinite the first was go straight into the customization. It’s honestly my Achilles heel when it comes to gaming. Give me a good character creator or allow me to tailor my character’s appearance and I’m all there for it. For what it’s worth, Halo Infinite sports great customization options however, it’s deeply marred by its status as a Free to Play game.
I understand that Halo Infinite’s multiplayer is free to play and I support their decisions to monetize cosmetics. It just feels like they went overboard and it’s almost immediately noticeable how tailored toward micro-transactions the experience is. Players have immediate access to one armor core, the Mark VII but the Mark V [B] is unlocked for free at level 1. The Samurai inspired Yoroi core is also showcased but currently inaccessible until the “Tenrai Event” launches.
There are very few options offered at the beginning of the game if you’re not willing to buy your way into the Battle Pass. Out of the 66 free items in the pass, 24 are actual cosmetics. The rest are challenge swaps and experience boosts. If you’re patient, you can slowly (and I do mean slowly) earn levels by completing challenges. However, if you’re like me, not patient at all, and obsessed with customization, you’ll have to shell out $28 USD to unlock 25 tiers of the battle pass to earn some basic accessories and an armor kit for the Mark V [B]. Unlike games like Fortnite, which offer the in-game currency throughout the pass, Infinite does not offer such a perk as of yet.
The intent of this article isn’t to shame 343 Industries for monetizing the game. With the way they intend to support Infinite going forward, I want to support them. I just think it needs to be clear how heavily monetized the game is right now. I’m honestly no good at math but everything just feels so expensive. If you were to unlock every level in the battle pass, you’ll be spending close to $200 USD. Buying the premium will knock off about $22.
Want to buy the legendary armor set that’s currently in the store? That will cost you $20 and it’s only accessible with the Mark VII armor. If you want to support the Halo Championship Series, buying every skin and accessory will run you $126. Vehicle skin packs will run you $15, packs with “Epic” helmets cost $10 and small accessory packs are $5. If I were looking for a divorce, buying everything (Premium Battle Pass included) without playing the game at all, it would cost me $334. This isn’t taking bonus funds into account either (which will offset some of the costs) and I’m honestly begging for someone to correct my math.
Obviously, that would be an extreme case. Not many people are going to spend that much money. Some will utilize their Microsoft reward points. A lot of players probably won’t even spend a dime and I applaud those guys. I will unashamedly admit to buying the premium battle pass and some armor off the store. However, looking at the big picture, Infinite’s pricing structure is unreasonable, no matter where you stand on the subject.
On the bright side, those that opt to not spend money do get some items from the past. Those who buy the Battle Passes will have access to them for as long as Halo Infinite exists as well, so FOMO shouldn’t be a problem. 343 Industries has also acknowledged the backlash and added in a permanent challenge that gives players 50 experience for completing a match. With that being said though, there was already a challenge that gave you 100 experience for playing two matches, so I’m not really sure where they expect this “new challenge” to help much. They’ve also fixed some bugged challenges and increased the duration of boosters, which will help with progression going forward.
Halo Infinite’s multiplayer truly feels like a return to form. However, with the way armor coatings, helmets and accessories are locked to specific cores, this bit of Halo Infinite doesn’t feel consumer-friendly in any way. As I stated above, I’m all for supporting Halo Infinite’s future endeavors but almost everything is locked behind a paywall. Not to mention that this is a beta and factoring in the snail’s pace at which you progress through the Battle Pass, I just think that maybe, there should be small price adjustments made in the near future. As it stands, Halo Infinite‘s pricing structure feels much more predatory than it’s intended.
Author’s note: Don’t forget to claim your free HCS armor coatings in the HCS section of the store. There’s also a free 20th Anniversary coating for logging into Halo Infinite before the 22nd!