Mortal Kombat is one of my most beloved franchises – I have genuinely fond memories of playing the original Mortal Kombat with my older brother, and I can vividly remember the day we received a copy of Mortal Kombat II via mail order. Its bloody gameplay was easy to grasp for my young impressionable self, even it doomed me to grow up to be a serial killer who rips out spines for a living.
File Photo, Circa 1990-something (Colourised)
However it appears that in modern times, the series has employed far more sinister subtones than (apparently) promoting apathy towards violence* – I speak of course of the currency/grind malarkey.
I won’t be explaining it in detail here, other news outlets have already flayed Mortal Kombat 11 alive for the choices the developers have made. The long and short of it is the fact that the game is encouraging some really hard-arse grinding to unlock the goodies within, to the point it feels fairly oppressive for players. To answer this, the developers have already acknowledged that the game is definitely erring on the side of too much, with a rebalance coming to how things are unlocked, as well as a stimulus of in-game currencies (kurrencies?) to get players back in the mood.
MK11 PSA 😀
In case you missed yesterday’s Kombat Kast: We have a hot fix/improvements koming to address those super hard Towers of Time as well as better rewards/economy to be used in the Krypt.
Hoping/expecting it’ll be more like HOURS than days.
Will keep you posted👍🏻
— Ed Boon (@noobde) April 23, 2019
These changes would do a lot to instil some goodwill into the community, considering (konsidering?) just how much of a bummer wave has crashed into fans of the series. I actually watched a Twitch Stream of long-time fighting game fan Maximilian Dood as he first stepped foot into MK11’s Krypt, and I got to watch the crushing disappointment settle into his heart in real time. This is a guy who lives and breathes fighting games, particularly the Mortal Kombat series – so seeing him utter the words, “This makes me not want to play the game,” was a sobering feeling.
The Dood wasn’t impressed either, but like me he is optimistic
I suppose my stance in this area is that I wanted to make mention of an interesting occurrence from Warner Brothers’ publishing past – namely the controversy surrounding the lootboxes/microtransactions in Middle Earth: Shadow of War.
Now, first off – I know that the issue with Mortal Kombat is not that it has microtransactions, or lootboxes per se, it seems to be a common misconception by most that MK11 is suffering from that age-old issue. MK11 does not actually have lootboxes at all, and all of the grind issues within the game can’t be solved by money. You are unable to buy the things that make unlocking things in the Krypt so slow, only the occasional cosmetic via the store. What I am instead referring to in regards to the Shadow of War example is the fact that a developer was able to not only rebalance a bad economy system within their game, but actually outright remove it.
It’s easy for us all to get lost in a sea of negativity towards player-unfriendly systems within the games we love, but there is evidence of goodwill from developers who go above and beyond to fix those same issues. Ed Boon’s comments regarding their plans is a good start, and if further work needs to be done then we can hopefully look forward to more fixes. Now I am not saying that the Krypt should be removed – far from it, the experience is fantastic. Instead, some changes to how it operates would promote better player reward for investment and leave everyone feeling a little better. I mean, remember the Real Money auction house in Diablo 3? That thing got taken out back a long time ago. The fact that WB Interactive allowed such a drastic change to remove some thorny bits from Shadow of War gives me the benefit of the doubt towards MK11, so only time can tell.
It really is fascinating to see players act as better spokespeople towards the games they play, and with the internet serving as a platform of communication for the rational minded perhaps we can start to see an upswing of games working to be more transparently consumer friendly. I will definitely be touching on how the changes to MK11 work to placate people’s concerns in coming days.
*This is a satirical statement, I do not actually endorse the idea that video games cause violence.