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[Discussion] Controversy Surrounding The Launch of Nexon's "The First Descendant" and Its Monetization Policies

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The Storm Around The First Descendant's Launch

Accomplishing an impressive launch on Steam, Nexon's free-to-play looter shooter, "The First Descendant", has been embroiled in controversy. Designed along the lines of Warframe and meant to be played co-op, progress in the game is hinged on an intricate grind that involves a multitude of mission completions and boss fights. A large part of the early gaming discussion about The First Descendant circulates around its monetization policies and issues with delivering players their due rewards, propelling the Korean company into compensating players.

Monetization and Controversy

Nexon, known for other multiplayer-centric free-to-play games including Kartrider: Drift and Maplestory, infused The First Descendant's launch with an expansive cash shop. It offers everything one might expect from such a game, including a premium battle pass, new characters, premium skins for both characters and weapons, and bonuses like experience boosts and additional inventory space. They also introduced a premium virtual currency called 'Caliber', sold conveniently in bundles that marginally undersell the price of a new character, forcing players to purchase extra virtual currency. To exacerbate the dissatisfaction among players, there is currently no way to earn Caliber through gameplay.

The game allows you to attain new characters with extensive grinding or you can expedite the process by buying them outright. The First Descendant also presents an option to gain immediate access to an 'Ultimate Descendant', a character with superior stats, for a hefty sum of over $55. The game locks a paint to a skin, meaning any reutilization demands another real-world monetary transaction. This practice has garnered critique from players, labeling The First Descendant as 'predatory'. Besides the monetization model, other aspects of the game like gunplay and game mechanics have also stirred conversation. While some dismiss these practices as consistent with Nexon games, others condemn the microtransaction model.

Gaming Community Reaction and Popularity Despite Controversy

The conflicting opinions on the monetization model and gameplay mechanics are reflected in the 'mixed' user review rating on Steam. However, not all reviews are negative, some players have expressed positive aspects of the gameplay. It hasn't been a smooth road for those who made microtransactions either, with some experiencing delays in receiving the items they purchased. Nexon has acknowledged this issue and promised compensation for the concerned parties as a token of apology. The listed compensations include boosts in gold and Kyper Shard gain, an increment in Descendant EXP, and Weapon Mastery EXP gain boosts which are all valid for 3 days, along with 2 Matte Red Paints.

Despite these controversies, The First Descendant managed to secure the fifth spot among the most-played games on Valve's platform, boasting a whopping concurrent player count of 224,229. The game launched on PlayStation and Xbox consoles too, though player counts for these platforms are undisclosed by Sony and Microsoft. As the narrative continues to unfold, we'll deliver more updates and insights.

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