One gamer managed to get their hands on a copy of Mortal Kombat 11 early ahead of its April 23rd, 2019 release on home consoles and PC. He managed to leak some of the alternate costumes for the characters, the modes, the stages, and options. One of the things he revealed was that he couldn’t unlock anything without going online, and that was later confirmed by Daanish Syed, the senior UI artist at NetherRealm Studios.
On April 16th, 2019 Reddit user RIPMrMufasi posted a thread on the Mortal Kombat sub-reddit linking to Syed’s original tweet confirming the always-online requirement to access the Krypt, the Towers of Time mode, and to unlock new gear pieces and characters via the story mode.
Unfortunately, hours after confirming what gamers basically had already learned from the initial leak, Syed deleted the tweet.
Furthermore, the cache for the tweet has been removed, and the current cache for Syed’s timeline is currently situated at March 27th, 2019.
Some users speculated if Syed decided to simply delete the tweet to prevent panic or if someone at Warner Bros., or NetherRealm instructed him to delete the tweet.
Nevertheless, this news definitely hit a low chord with some gamers because not everyone has access to high-speed internet; not everyone has unlimited data caps; not everyone can afford to update the game with a day-one patch just to play offline. Yet it appears as if that’s the case with Mortal Kombat 11.
In the leaked images that revealed Frost as a playable character, we learned that you could either unlock her by playing through and completing Chapter 4 in the Story Mode, or by purchasing her with real money from the cash shop.
The user managed to complete Chapter 4; but even upon completion he was still unable to unlock and play with Frost because it required him to connect online first, and it couldn’t connect online because the servers aren’t live yet.
To make matters even worse, it meant that none of the customization or unlockable gear pieces could be accessed, nor anything from the Krypt.
In plain ‘ole English what this means is that if you purchase a physical copy of Mortal Kombat 11, you will not able to progress or access any of the unlockable content in the offline mode.
Now some users argued that a day-1 patch would solve all these issues, but actually creates an all new problem: when the servers hosting the day-1 patch are no longer available, the original physical disc of Mortal Kombat 11 will be completely useless since it will be indefinitely incomplete until it’s patched.
Some believe that this always-on approach was done to limit potential cheating, since it’s possible to unlock new items using the cash shop, which requires a virtual currency known as “Time Kyrstals”. NetherRealm could be attempting to mitigate any workarounds to unlock the in-game items via cheating, so forcing players online allows them to run checksums for cheaters and also attempt to ensure no one exploits the in-game’s virtual currency system.
(Thanks for the news tip Jack)