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XDefiant won’t make you pay up for Ws on PS5 and Xbox

You won’t have to worry about XDefiant being pay-to-win, as Ubisoft has stressed any gameplay goods that can be bought can also be earned on PS5 and Xbox.

XDefiant pay-to-win: a man in a green outfit wearing a gas mask aiming

XDefiant is finally upon us. The long-awaited arcade shooter will hopefully buck the trend of Ubi games (reportedly) stuck in development purgatory not turning out great on day one. What’s reassuring though is that it looks to be far less aggressive on the monetization front than some of the studio’s other games on PS5 and Xbox. On top of this, there are all sorts of ways to cosmetically kit yourself out without spending a dime – in-game, at least.

In its latest post on XDefiant’s in-game purchase philosophy, the team is quick to make it very clear that the FPS game won’t be pay-to-win – at least, “any gameplay impacting content that is purchasable is also unlockable through challenges.” Exemplifying this, Ubi states that the DedSec faction can either be purchased or unlocked by accruing 700k XP.

There is, of course, a major point of contention here – how long will it actually take to notch up the required XP on the release version of the game? Based on our beta experience, it shouldn’t be too time-consuming, though the XP cost for DedSec has more than quadrupled since last year’s beta. I’d posit that the lower price point back then had more to do with ensuring beta players got timely access, and the increase isn’t some egregious plot to incentivize spending to bypass the grind. Still, some may feel the pull to spend.

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Nonetheless, it’s good to see that Ubi won’t be gating entire gameplay elements behind monetization – I think most studios have learned from EA’s Star Wars Battlefront 2 fiasco by now (it’s certainly been more than long enough). Though I’ve still got a bone to pick with Ubi over its paywalling of day one single-player game missions behind more expensive editionsStar Wars Outlaws and Assassin’s Creed Shadows both fall foul of this – it’s clearly confident that it’ll be able to upsell in XDefiant elsewhere, namely through the litany of cosmetic categories present.

On top of character and weapon skins, XDefiant will let you kit out your characters with “MVP player animations” and player cards, while emoji packs will let you flex your feelings in progressively more sophisticated ways – by the sounds of things, at least. As with most other live-service multiplayer games, access to a lot of these extras will be bundled in as free-to-play rewards alongside in-game purchases. According to Ubi’s blog post, this is how your time in (and out) of the game will chiefly be rewarded.

“Our goal is to be providing amazing customization options that reward all of the matches, victories, and even defeats that you put into the game,” Ubisoft says. “As you play that one more match, all of your time and energy will work towards unlocking content either through the Battle Pass or challenges.”

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Here are the ways Ubisoft intends to reward your time for no extra cost:

  • Free Battle Pass Rewards
  • In-Game Challenges, both Daily and Weekly
  • Ubisoft Connect Challenges
  • Weapon Mastery (with regular updates)
  • Community Participation Rewards like Twitch Drops, giveaways, and in-game events.

By the looks of things, it’s all pretty standard fare – some of the best free shooting games like Apex Legends and Overwatch 2 regularly have Twitch Drops running, as well as free reward tiers or tracks on their battle passes. Perhaps most interestingly will be the Ubisoft Connect Challenges which themselves typically yield extra XP, in-game items, and other goodies.

In Ubi’s shooters, they’re usually pretty basic milestones. In Rainbow Six Siege, for example, their difficulty ranges from equipping a select number of weapon attachments to winning five matches on the bounce without losing a round. While XDefiant will, naturally, have its own suite of challenges, I can imagine there’ll be some crossover when it comes to the basic pew pew stuff.

For more of the latest on the best PS5 games and best Xbox games in the realm of shooters, check out the new Ruby tier that could be coming with Season 3 of The Finals. If you’re after more XDefiant goodness, meanwhile, here’s why its lack of skill-based matchmaking is the key to avoiding a “stale experience.”