Mortal Kombat 11 controversy - microtransactions, Towers of Time, Krypt chests

Mortal Kombat 11 released last week to critical praise and a metric ton of hype from eagerly awaiting players. Many, including us, touted it as the best entry in the series to date with tight gameplay, a fun story mode, and oodles of content for players to pour through. Since then Mortal Kombat 11 has met with some controversy (or would that be kontroversy?). We are not going to address some of the odder ones that have been brewing since before the game’s release. What we are here to address are the actual issues facing the game and what is being done about it. The biggest thing we would like to clear up are the presence, or specifically the lack thereof, of microtransactions.

A failure to kommunicate

“Microtransaction” is a dirty word in the gaming world, and it’s one of the things players hate to hear the most, right up there with “live service.” A few days ago some outlets started publishing stories about how it would cost over $6,000 to pay for all of the unlockable content in Mortal Kombat 11. This is simply not true. This information was gathered from players data mining early copies of the Switch version before the official release, running on assumptions and bad intel. Data miners took all of the unlockable content in the game including skins, gear, brutalities, etc. and added them all up to come up with the $6000 figure. This information, however, was under the assumption that all this content would be available for purchase in the game’s store. As anyone who has played the game knows, this is not true. Less than an hour after these stories started circulating the web, Ed Boon, the co-creator of Mortal Kombat, sent out a tweet.

As Ed states, the large majority of skins are not purchasable with real money in-game. Only a very small amount of content is available for purchase with real-world money, but all content is available for purchase with in-game currency earned by playing the game. This explosion of misinformation has caused players to unfairly accuse Mortal Kombat 11 of being stuffed with microtransactions, when this just isn’t the case and is fairly obvious to anyone who has actually played the game. This does tie into what the game’s actual problems are though. Namely, the Towers of Time and The Krypt.

Many kontrollers were thrown

When the game launched April 23, many players noticed that some of the towers in Towers of Time, a mode where players fight timed challenges that eventually rotate out, were incredibly hard. By that, I mean actually, unfairly hard. Enemies had absurd amounts of health, the modifiers that affected the player and AI opponent stacked the deck with insurmountable odds, and overall it was just a frustrating mess. This problem was compounded by the fact that when you did manage to beat these challenges, you were given a pittance of currency for your efforts. The amount of Koins, Hearts, Souls, and Time Krystals were not worth the effort being put in. Mortal Kombat 11 was not draining players’ wallets with microtransactions, but it was draining their time.

This, in turn, affected the Krypt, a mode in which players traverse Shang Tsung’s island unlocking chests and completing puzzles to get gear, skins, and other in-game items. With currency being given out like bonuses from Scrooge McDuck at Christmastime, it felt impossible to be able to unlock everything within the Krypt in even a semi-reasonable amount of time.

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Mortal Kombat 11 controversy - microtransactions, Towers of Time, Krypt chests

Kleaning up

The very next day after release, NetherRealm held a special Kombat Kast to address these issues. The difficulty of Towers of Time and the lack of rewards were directly addressed, as NetherRealm acknowledged their mistake. This was not what they had intended, and they were going to fix it. On the server side, they were able to make some changes immediately. The server side fixes included the following:

  • Lowered AI health
  • Reduced number of modifiers
  • Severely reduced frequency of unblockable modifiers

These fixes made an immediate difference, as you can see FGC YouTuber Maximilian Dood discuss as he livestreamed the Kombat Kast when it dropped on the 24th.

However, these server side fixes can only do so much, as a full patch would be necessary to make further changes, which takes time. On this Kombat Kast, it was announced that the following changes would be made with a new patch slated to drop early this week:

  • Adjusting of currency rewards
  • Tweaking modifier values (e.g., making unblockables blockable)

While the specifics of how the currency rewards would be adjusted were not given, it is very clear that NetherRealm understands the issues at hand and is striving to fix them in a prompt manner that will please fans. They further stated that hard missions would still be hard, as they should be, but the oppressive unfairness of most towers would be dealt with. As an addition, it was revealed that this patch will give players a whole bunch of in-game currency as an apology for the frustrations with the game’s launch. These rewards will include the following:

  • 500,000 Koins
  • 500 Hearts
  • 1000 Soul Fragments
  • 1000 Time Krystals

This will allow players to make a huge dent in the Krypt and let players get up to two skins on the house, as skins cost 500 Time Krystals.

Krypt konundrum

Another misconception that was cleared was about the Krypt itself. Some players were under the assumption that all the chests in the Krypt were completely random, thereby leaving some players out of luck for certain pieces of content. It was made clear in the Kombat Kast that this is, again, not the case. When players first enter the Krypt, the about 600 chests hidden throughout the island are the same for every single player. What is different however is the location of these chests.

But this only applies to the lower-cost chests that contain items like concept art and the like. The higher-tier chests, the ones emblazoned with the visage of Shao Khan and Scorpion, contain items for one specific character, and their locations are fixed for all players. So, if you are looking for a certain character’s chest, it will be the same for all players no matter what. In fact, the fine folks at Twin Galaxies already compiled a list of each character’s Shao Khan and Scorpion chest locations. This is why, in the bottom-left corner of your screen in the Krypt, you have a latitude and longitude indicator.

Mortal Kombat 11 controversy - microtransactions, Towers of Time, Krypt chests

To summarize, the actual issues with the game — Towers of Time and The Krypt — were addressed immediately by NetherRealm and are in the process of being fixed, and the game is not littered with microtransactions as some would claim. Mortal Kombat 11 is arguably the best entry in the series’ long and storied history, effectively making it one of the best fighting games ever made, and it is an absolute shame seeing the game torn down unfairly. Hopefully, this clears up any questions anyone has about Mortal Kombat 11‘s launch issues and will help me from having to type out an explanation to every misinformed person on social media. Which I should probably stop doing anyway, but I digress.

Kevin Carignan
Kevin has been a fan of fighting games since he first walked up to a Marvel vs. Capcom cabinet at the tender age of 8 at the local arcade. (Kids ask your parents what an "arcade" is) He may not be very good, but that doesn't stop him from enjoying them.

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