Bungie today released a handful of new “microtransactions,” those in-game digital goods you can buy with real money, for Destiny, a game people love to hate on and then play for hundreds of hours anyway. These ones allow players to immediately skip a character from Level 1 to Level 25. Other new boosters let you speed up “leveling” a particular gun, or unlock all the abilities in a character’s subclass—all things that usually take hours of play to accomplish.
Fans are annoyed because for $30, or half what the full release of Destiny costs, new players can skip several hours of grinding. Then again this mostly just lets players skip some of the more tedious gameplay. With the changes in The Taken King, though, even the early stuff isn’t all that bad—so this is mostly a thing for lazy people or players who want to instantly boost a new character into the latter part of the game.
And Bungie needs to make money from Destiny, as its new plan isn’t to sell big content packs like it has in the past, but to drop a constant stream of smaller content updates throughout the year. We’ve already seen some really cool ones, like the Halloween-themed Festival of the Lost and the currently running Sparrow Racing League. So maybe the angry fan reaction to such boosters is a bit overblown.
Then again, there are very few good examples of microtransactions in games that didn’t encourage developers to purposely make playing un-fun in order to encourage people to spend money. “Don’t follow the dark path, Bungie, or forever will it dominate your Destiny”—Yoda said that, more or less, so you know it’s serious.