A slew of multiplayer previews of Gears of War 4’s multiplayer are out today, and there’s also news on The Coalition’s post-launch plans. Microtransactions are in. This isn’t a surprise. We’ve seen several Microsoft games adopt this approach since the launch of the Xbox One. Forza did it. And so did Halo.

Don’t worry. The microtransactions come in the form of crates and are cosmetic. There will be a system in place similar to Halo, where you can earn the points needed to unlock the crates through in-game means.

“The notion that everything is earnable just through play means the only reason you would ever use real money is when you want to accelerate it. We’re going to be balanced where you’re going to be constantly getting crates, or enough credits to get crates through the game, so it really is just about your choice,” The Coalition’s Rod Fergusson told GameSpot.

So yeah, pretty much like Halo’s system. They are not going to balance it so much that no one will ever feel the need to spend money. That defeats the purpose of microtransactions. Still, it won’t be too bad for those of us who don’t want to spend money.

The Coalition also plans to release a steady stream of multiplayer maps. But there is an odd catch. Multiple reports state the multiplayer maps will be free (except for private matches), but will be rotated in and out of the multiplayer’s main playlists on a monthly basis.

If you want to host a private match on these new maps, you will need to purchase them. Only one person in the party (the host presumably) needs to own the map for everyone to play them in private matches. It’s a weird setup, but at least the maps are free in public playlists. For a game that is focused on competitive gaming, having to pay for DLC maps (at least one person) in private matches is an odd move.

Gears of War 4 will reportedly launch with 10 maps. Nine of these are new, and the 10th one is a remastered Gridlock. Because you can’t have Gears of War without Gridlock. Hopefully, a refreshed version of Canals makes an appearance at some point.

Gears of War gridlock

Each month, new maps will be released and cycled into the multiplayer playlists. I still have some questions about how this works. The way many websites phrased it was the rotations happen on Gears of War 4’s “regular playlists.” Are these ranked? Are there unranked playlists? Would the unranked playlists have all the maps in one pool rotation?

The map rotation system and charging for private matches just seem unnecessary. Limited the maps in a rotation mean the maps need to be good. The last thing we want is a good portion of a map rotation to have shitty maps no one likes. I haven’t played Gears of War 4 yet, but there’s rarely a multiplayer game where every map is good. Then again, I guess the odds of playing Gridlock a bunch will be good.

Besides the strange sounding map rotation system, free map DLC is always a good thing. More and more developers are jumping on board with the idea of not fragmenting the player base.

Why did it take this long? Who the hell knows, but it’s great to see. They can add all the cosmetic stuff in the game they want, just give me free maps and modes. The thing is, people will be more apt to spend money on cosmetic things now that premium DLC is free. Hell, I bought all the cars for Rocket League because the game was so much damn fun.

What do you think of the map rotation of free DLC maps? Am I overreacting? Honestly, it’s probably a case of not knowing everything about Gears of War 4’s playlists yet.

The Gears of War 4 beta fires up next week, April 18, for anyone who played Gears of War: Ultimate Edition. April 25 for everyone else.

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