Raiders of the Broken Planet is the worst kind of free-to-play game. Behind the microtransactions, insane grinds and DLC expansions, is a decent game that is fun to play. It’s just all the other things that make it so unappealing, something that ruined the first expansion. Since then there have been changes, improvements and plenty to make the second expansion better, but is it enough?
On a fundamental level Raiders of the Broken Planet’s cost structure and plan make absolutely no sense. The basic idea is pretty simple. Players can start for free, but only those with the expansions can freely choose anything besides the first two missions. The main benefit for expansion holders is the ability to play four new missions and unlock one new character, at least in the case of the first two expansions, with the ability to basically refer free players to become paid players.
This is done through an item you seem to get after every successful mission called an invitation. Hosts with an invitation can use them to bring people who don’t own expansion into said content. Hosts get 110 Mercury Points, which is the cash shop currency, if this is the persons first time, with any repeat visitors giving the host 5000 Gold. The problem is that this is set up like a pyramid scheme.
Even though the expansions cost $9.99 a piece, they’re only four missions and a character. If you want the, at the time of posting, five other characters, you need to grind. Also, if you want 10+ missing weapons, alternate skins and more, you better be prepared to grind a lot. This is where the main benefit of the expansions come into play.
On average you’ll get about 1,000 Gold a mission, with characters costing anywhere from 25,000 to 360,000 a piece. This means you’d need to realistically do roughly 360 missions just to unlock one of the five characters. Even getting a different weapon, which is done by getting lucky at the end of a match and ending up with it –if two or more players want it, only one will walk away with it and the others will get no reward-, it still requires a lot of progression, plus thousands of gold.
The only way to actually make this grind bearable is to constantly recruit and bring in new players. That previous estimate of 360 missions could be dropped to <72 if you simply used a ticket during every mission and even less if you brought multiple people. In fact, the truly horrifying thing is cost of simply buying Mercury Points/Gold far exceeds the value of simply recruiting more players.
In terms of Mercury Points, the most expensive character would cost $60 to unlock, plus another $80 for the additional characters. Once you factor in costumes, which can also cost $20+ a piece, or weapons, the cost far exceeds the value. Especially when you consider you’re basically being asked to pay $160 for the current package that amounts to 11 characters and 10 missions.
Needless to say, these facts, along with so so marketing, make up Wardog Fury’s biggest problem, there aren’t a lot of players. On average it took me about 15 minutes to find a match, with some wait times exceeding an hour. And, even then, there is no telling how good or bad your team will be.
Most of Wardog Fury’s missions required completing specific tasks, like bringing bombs to certain locations or defeating certain enemies with melee to disable something within a time limit, making it easy to fail. This adds some thrill, though it really isn’t enough to make the insurmountable grind worthwhile. Especially with terrible design choice like excluding players from picking a weapon blueprint as a match reward if said player lacks that character. I mean, there is enough of a grind without such a limiting feature, yet it’s there to further discourage progression.
In the end, Wardog Fury adds some interesting stages and mechanics, with a rather lewd ending that was, admittedly, kind of funny, with one of the least, if not the least, consumer friendly base out there. With almost everything costing 10 times what it is worth, weak base content and an impossibly long grind for what limited content there is, it’s practically impossible to see a bright side to Raiders of the Broken Planet. Well, besides the fact practically no one is falling for it.
[Editor’s Note: Raiders of the Broken Planet: Wardog Fury was reviewed on PS4 platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]