With the recent news about Mortal Kombat X’s microstransactions for simplified Fatality inputs, the internet is in an uproar about being ripped off with terrible anti-consumer DLC practices. I already posted a couple of tweets about my stance on this, but want to go in some further detail for a moment.
First of all, it’s important to note that the Fatality, mostly, is an insult to injury move. It’s what you do when victory has already been secured. A player who can do a fatality in no way has an advantage over other players in a direct sense. Indirectly, it can usually be argued that the player who can perform a Fatality is a player who has a better understanding of the game and has better mastery over it, especially if they can do them consistently, with different characters.
Looking at it that way, we can immediately discard all the jokes about payment comebacks and paid movesets to secure victory. It’s also worth noting that any argument against the complexity of inputs is immediately swept off the table as Fatality moves are intentionally over-complicated so you have extra bragging rights if you pull them off. There is no real gain beyond perhaps a psychological one after making someone suffer the humiliation of being on the receiving end of one. Even then, that’s something that’s only sure to leave a lasting effect in the lowest of capable players, which is what this payment option was created for.
Is the payment option being there scummy? Does is take advantage of incredibly stupid uninformed players who don’t know any better?
But I don’t even know if that’s something that’s always a bad thing. Anyone paying of Fatality tokens has more money than reason or skill, and is likely to funnel that money in a direction it doesn’t belong. It’s not an insidious payment scheme that forces you to buy things to stay competitive or have an edge over players who didn’t pay for it. The DLC characters are much closer to achieving that sort of negative effect, and even those are mostly just DLC characters because there was probably a lot of money involved in allowing them to be there in the first place as they’re not part of the Mortal Kombat franchise.
Does this ruin everything for the hardcore playerbase that wants to play competitively? Fuck no. If anything, winning with what’s clearly a simplified Fatality input is sure to be seen as something lower than clearly messing up the actual button input. I’d personally suggest the animations for the simplified input be slightly altered from the original so everyone can see the difference between the guy who did the move because he can and the guy who had to pay for his flashy animations just to bring more shame to the players who had to pay for them. It works for games like Team Fortress 2, where bought cosmetics have a note on them saying they can’t be traded, which is often seen as a mark against the player for owning it.
In the end, it’s a form of payment to show off you’re incapable of keeping up with other players. The shame doesn’t belong on the company for allowing this to happen, they saw a way to keep their franchise funded and that’s good. The shame is with anyone who paid for it, even if they don’t immediately think of it that way.