How Gears 5 Confusing Microtransactions Work
If you want to get every single cosmetic item available, you can’t just earn them all through playing Gears 5 and never spend any money. There is a costume in the shop right now that costs 1000 Iron. You can’t earn enough Iron from playing Tour of Duty to buy anything that good, basically, because it’ll take you weeks to even earn one dollar. However, playing Tour of Duty challenges will give you costumes that aren’t available in the shop, or in Supply Drops. Also, getting regular Supply Drops will provide you with a lot of other cool stuff.
You can also buy a Boost pack in the store (admittedly, for real money) that will double both your XP rewards and also double the speed at which Supply Drops come your way. The Gears 5 store doesn’t say that Boosts give a Supply Drop boost in addition to an XP boost, but it’s stated in this post on the Gears 5 website.
One interesting exception to all of this is the Pride banners, the item in Gears 5 that I happen to be most excited about. These banners are only available to be purchased with Scrap currency; they aren’t categorized as “Supply” like the other items that can appear in Supply Drops. These banners are also not available to be purchased with real money. So you can only get them if you save up Scrap currency. They cost 100 Scrap apiece, and I’ve earned 5 Scrap after playing two and a half hours of multiplayer matches.
In addition to all of the aforementioned cosmetic unlocks, there are cards players can earn through playing that can give them special skill abilities in multiplayer. As far as we can tell, you can’t buy these. Instead, you earn each skill in a predictable fashion and then upgrade them in a more confusing one.
As you play multiplayer, you earn overall experience points that raise your player ranking. You also earn experience points specifically for the character you just played (in the image above, you’ll see that Kait is Level 2). As those characters level up, they unlock new equippable skills, each presented as a card. The whole XP and skill card system is, understandably, based on skill. Each of the skill cards has some stats associated with them. As you play more multiplayer, you will earn random duplicates of these cards. You can fuse duplicates to make better versions of a card-based skill or rush those upgrades by spending Scrap currency to level up the cards. Cards have rarity, and you’re more likely to receive rarer Skill Cards if you play matches on harder difficulties. There’s no money involved in this whole process.
Cleven also said that the plan for Gears 5 is to release sizable multiplayer expansions every three months. These will include new content, characters, and more and sound a lot like the season system you see in many modern multiplayer games. One of the things players can expect is the map builder coming to Horde mode.
Gears 5 releases for Xbox Game Pass subscribers and Ultimate Edition owners on September 6, while its official launch is four days later on September 10.