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The Dragon's Dogma 2 microtransactions are real and bafflingly silly, since nearly all of them can be found in the game without too much trouble

 An image of a medusa screaming in Dragon's Dogma 2, her eyes glowing a violent red.
An image of a medusa screaming in Dragon's Dogma 2, her eyes glowing a violent red.

I want to say up-front that I am, by no means, defending the choice to slap a bunch of microtransactions onto Dragon's Dogma 2. I'm also not surprised by the current state of the game's Steam reviews—sitting at "Mixed" at the time of writing, in the same way that I'm not surprised when kicking beehives gets your ankles stung.

Two important points of context: firstly, Dragon's Dogma 2 came out recently, and despite some nasty performance issues it's a smashingly fun and weird RPG—we gave it a solid 89 in our Dragon's Dogma 2 review. Secondly, it came saddled with a host of very dumb microtransactions, a lot of which are just hacked off the Deluxe Edition "A Boon For New Adventurers - New Journey Pack" and sold piecemeal.

An image of Dragon's Dogma 2 DLCs, located on the game's Steam page.
An image of Dragon's Dogma 2 DLCs, located on the game's Steam page.

Cue a barrage of (understandably) negative reviews from players who, quite reasonably, have no context for how rare any of the items listed are. I can't imagine a world in which this decision would've gone down well with anybody—but here we are.

If you're opposed to the idea of microtransactions in fully-priced games in general, I don't want to tell you that you're wrong for abstaining. However, if you were looking forward to Dragon's Dogma 2, I want to reassure you that you can find almost all of these items just… lying around, or in shops.

One particular bugbear at the moment is the poorly-named "Art of Metamorphosis - Character Editor"—namely, there's a perception from players that the game's one-save-only policy is to help drive up the sales of this thing. While you can have your own opinions about save files, the Art of Metamorphosis book itself costs about 500 rift crystals, or RC.

That's a little expensive early-on, but you'll be flush with RC eventually. Hilariously, just buying 500 rift crystals straight-up is cheaper—which highlights the actual problem I have with these microtransactions. By and large, they're just paid convenience skips for a game where inconvenience is the point.

The only two microtransactions I have a problem with is the Explorer's Camping Kit (which appears to be lightweight, and notes that purchasing the DLC makes it available in-game) and the Portcrystal, which our guides' writer Sean Martin has only found a handful of in around 50 hours. You still need Ferrystones to use Portcrystals, however—and you can't buy those with your wallet.

But even then, both of these options just kneecap what makes Dragon's Dogma 2 a fun and unique game—which does lead me to my conclusion that these microtransactions are, frankly, just a very stupid decision likely created at a publisher level rather than a developer one.

Part of what makes this whole debacle frustrating is that this is all context you'd only get by playing the game—or by reading this article. But it's confusion that was completely unnecessary for a game that (performance problems aside) is doing a lot of things right.

If the microtransactions here have put you off Dragon's Dogma 2, that's completely fair enough. But it's important to note that none of these purchases are necessary, and that the game is not designed around you having them. It's just baffling business choices and bad optics from top to bottom.