NetherRealm Studios confirmed back in mid-April that Mortal Kombat 11 would not have loot boxes, as reported by PCInvasion. While they expressed that the game would contain “Time Krystals” that could be purchased with real money to unlock cosmetics, costumes, poses, intros, outros, and gear pieces, they claimed that you couldn’t use real money to pay-to-win. However, the way Mortal Kombat 11 is structured, the game is built around endless grinding that will surely incentivize players to start looking at spending real money to speed up the process in which to unlock gear and goods for each of the characters in the game.
The entire chronicle into the Krypt, the Tower Mode, the gear pieces, and how the currency works in Mortal Kombat 11 was put through a deep-dive grinder by Prateek Shekhar from over on Test Your Might. On April 19th, 2019 Shekhar goes through the painstaking detail of explaining how it all works.
So the basic gist of it is that every single customization piece you unlock in the game for each character has to be leveled up separately. Each milestone level (which requires a minimum of 25 fights for the first level unlock) will allow you to fit it with an augmentation. You then have to grind through the Towers to acquire augments for each gear piece, but not every augment you acquire will be the right fit for the piece or character. So there’s an RNG element to grinding through the Tower Mode to unlock augments and then leveling up the gear pieces in order to use the augments you unlock. Shekhar explains how it works in the video below.
But that’s not the bad part.
You see in order to access the augments from the Tower Mode you have to unlock different towers for each character. So how do you unlock different towers in the Tower Mode? Well, the tutorial towers and timed towers are free. The summoned towers are accessed via Tower Keys. Character towers are summoned in exchange for coins, but the higher level character towers will require specific conditions, such as 100,000 coins, 10 Soul Tokens, and thousands of pints of blood.
Shekhar explains in detail how the towers operate and how much grinding is required to unlock higher level towers. He outlines how much more grinding is required compared to the towers in Injustice 2.
But wait, there’s more!
Shekhar believes that you might be able to unlock Tower Keys through the Krypt.
So that seems cool, right? Just go into the Krypt and get the Tower Keys, yeah? No.
There are rooms in the Krypt and accessing rooms with the chests require a certain amount of coins to open the chests. The chests give you random items, much like a loot box. The chests are very similar to the way the chests were setup in Mortal Kombat: Armageddon’s story mode, but you can reset the chests in a room to acquire different rewards.
While NetherRealm said that the game didn’t have dedicated loot boxes, the way the chests work are practically identical to loot boxes, if not worse!
What makes the chests so bad is that according to Shekhar they give out a lot of useless items, with Fatalities/Brutalities being the rarest item you can acquire, so you’re going to be compelled to keep resetting the chests in a room to get the items you want. Obviously if you don’t feel compelled to keep grinding for coins to open the chests the next best solution is what? Pay for Time Krystals.
This was something that Nerdette covered in a video over on YouTube.
Shekhar explains in his post that the Krypt is packed with a lot of filler content to unlock, including Krypt keys to open doors to access other rooms in the Krypt, Tower consumables to help aid you during the Tower Mode, Forge recipes to craft Krypt keys, ray materials to craft Krypt keys, concept art, new music, and character renders, as well as some augments.
Shekhar then details how players can get caught in a grind-loop for coins in order to unlock chests in the Krypt, writing…
“So now you have chests that might cost you 14,000 coins to open, and yet only give you a bunch of consumables and tokens that you probably wont end up using. While I have not forged any Krypt items using recipes, I get the sinking feeling that there are areas in the Krypt that will only be accessed by using one of these items. Once you use the item, it’s used up, so you will either have to get another as a tower of time reward, or as a reward in a krypt chest, or get lucky with a crafting recipe for it, but then still have to find the materials that go into the recipe to craft it.
“There is also an item that you start with that references Kronika that let’s you reset the chests in a room for 2000 coins per chest. So say you clear out all 10 chests in a room, for 20,000 coins you could reset that entire room and open the chests for different rewards. Seeing as how this game has more items to obtain and a lot of filler and padding icons, I believe there are less chests than there are items and you will have to reset the chests a few times to get some exotic stuff.”
This was heavily criticized in a post made over on the Mortal Kombat leaks sub-reddit, where user Oishiimaru outlined and condensed all of Shekhar’s points down into a “Too Long; Didn’t Read” post. The gist of his post is that Mortal Kombat 11 has a lot of artificial pay-walls setup in order to encourage gamers to either grind for the gear they want or pay real money for it.
Many of the users over on the Test Your Might forum are fine with it, and don’t mind paying $60 as an entry fee and then paying more money like some kind of software mortgage to unlock content.
But Oishiimaru also reiterates what was previously reported on: The game has an always-on element that requires you to stay connected to access unlocked content. He explains…
“Most content-unlocking REQUIRES ONLINE CONNECTIVITY, and any content left unlockable offline, must then establish server connection in order to be saved to the player profile, upon subsequent log-in (*confirmed by developer, Derek Kirtzik — “…So you’re not trying to give yourself rewards that you don’t have”).
“No information has yet been given as to whether OFFLINE PvP VERSUS PLAY WILL PERMIT THE USE OF CUSTOMISED CHARACTERS. Meaning, if MK11 gimps player-2 to default / vanilla characters only (as the game it’s borrowing so heavily from, Injustice 2 did), all customisation and the acquisition thereof, will be for versus-dumbot or “kasual” online mode/s only.”
It’s like a game that combined the worst elements of loot-box culture with SJW agenda pushing, and then blended them into one cursed product.
We’ll see just how much of the coin-grinding elements will be retained in Mortal Kombat 11 after the day-1 patch drops on April 23rd, 2019 for the Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch, and PC versions of the game.
(Thanks for the news tips Nerdette and Avery)