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Has Dragon’s Dogma 2 taken microtransactions too far?

Is Capcom justified in releasing the game with 21 downloadable items?

A close-up image of a menacing dragon's head with detailed scales, sharp teeth, and horns against a dark, cloudy background.

Quick Answer: Capcom has argued that all DD2 microtransactions are for items that can be found in-game, if players would prefer not to pay for DLC items. It also cites a number of inbound improvements to improve the overall player experience.

Dragon’s Dogma 2 was released alongside 21 downloadable items, which included some of its rarest in-game artifacts. Can Capcom justify such a high volume of microtransactions, or will all this mud just stick?

Dragon’s Dogma 2 was one of the most hotly anticipated titles of 2024. It is a long-overdue sequel to the 2012 original that many players fondly regarded as a flawed masterpiece.

The original blended a sprawling fantasy RPG landscape, diverse character classes, cool mythical beasts to fight, and an innovative yet occasionally infuriating pawn system.

Yet the release of Dragon’s Dogma 2 hasn’t quite been the slam dunk Capcom anticipated. In addition to some performance issues on the PC, further controversy has been stirred by the surprising number of microtransactions that were released without warning alongside the main game.

DLC, DLC, and more DLC

dragons dogma 2 xbox series x game with dlc
Image: KnowTechie

At the time of writing, there are 21 individual DLC items for Dragon’s Dogma 2, including some of the rarest items in the game. These dropped onto Steam without warning, like a Griffin ambushing your party of adventurers, causing mayhem among the gaming community.

Preying on less hardy and more impatient questers, Dragon’s Dogma 2‘s microtransactions make rare commodities like Portcrystals (which allow you to create in-game fast travel points) easily available if you’re prepared to part with some coin. So far so cash-grabby, right?

But the real controversy with DD2‘s microtransactions is that a number of the DLC items grant access to features that should already be part of the main game.

They’re microtransactions all, you can’t go wrong

Screenshot of a list of in-game items and prices for "Dragon's Dogma 2," with one item highlighted for purchase.

Bartering for items and gear is par for the course in RPGs, and the lure of better equipment is a big part of this game’s appeal, as you level up and take on bigger and badder enemies.

Generally, the purchase of in-game items isn’t quite the blight that it’s made out to be. Yes, there are DLC items for sale with most games that can offer you cosmetic improvements, more in-game currency, and a plethora of items that can offer you an easier time with some aspects of the game.

This is, to a large extent, what Capcom has offered with its microtransactions for Dragon’s Dogma 2. You can buy items to help you get out of jail (or gaol, in this case), Wakestones that can resurrect deceased companions, or Rift Crystal packs that allow you to shop for more powerful party members at one of the game’s many (ahem) pawn hubs.

All this stuff is completely optional and can be found in-game through general exploration and questing. And as with any other optional purchase, you can choose not to buy it. Easy.

However, what about changing your character’s appearance? How about paying for this privilege, after you’ve already forked out $60 for the main games? Stings like a Chimera’s tail, doesn’t it?

Changing your character’s appearance? That’ll be $1.99, please

Screenshot of an in-game equipment menu from a role-playing game, featuring a character named "Kruger" in medieval armor holding a sword and shield, alongside an inventory interface displaying a selected "Trusty Sword" with its stats and description.

In Dragon’s Dogma 2, if you want to change your character’s appearance, you’ll need an Art of Metamorphosis Tome. And in terms of in-game currency, one of these bad boys will set you back 500 Rift Crystals.

Rift Crystals can be hard to come by, particularly in the early game (unless you choose to buy some in a DLC pack!), and the in-game Art of Metamorphosis Tomes are few and far between.

You can find two Tomes available for sale from the vendor in Vernworth, but (currently) these two Tomes don’t appear to restock after being bought. So for the time being at least, you’ll have to offer up some real-life coin for the chance to change up your character’s appearance in the game.

Thanks to Capcom microtransactions you can buy an Art of Metamorphosis for $1.99. And there’s the rub. By monetizing a function that’s usually available for free in the game (even without in-game currency), Dragon’s Dogma 2 has invited a fierce backlash from would-be players.

The reaction to this particular microtransaction plus some less-than-enthusiastic reviews on Steam has prompted some damage limitation by Capcom.

Responding to the criticism, Capcom decided to increase the number of Art of Metamorphosis tomes that are available in-game. These will be available at all Pawn Guilds, which will be stocked with 99 single-use tomes.

Free Dragon’s Dogma 2 character creator DLC on Steam

A character with white hair and a leather outfit stands on a wooden platform overlooking a mountainous landscape in a video game, with control prompts visible on the screen.

Another main criticism of Dragon’s Dogma 2 was the inability to start a new game when you already had saved data. This was a baffling decision that prevented players from running two separate campaigns alongside one another, due to the single save file that was granted.

Previously, starting a campaign meant that you were stuck with the character (and pawn) that you created, whether you liked it or not, and were actively prevented from creating a new character.

With the now-released Dragon’s Dogma 2 Character Creator and Storage DLC, players can store up to five custom characters and five main pawns, so you can chop and change between playthroughs as you please.

It’s a step in the right direction and one that seems more in keeping with Dragon’s Dogma 2‘s emphasis on freedom and exploration.

The choice to buy in-game items as a shortcut to progression always comes down to individual choice. If you don’t like the grind, they’re there to be used. Don’t like it? Don’t buy it.

However, cutting out features and functions that should always be included as part of the main game (character customization, starting a new game at will), is a bad look.

Thankfully, it seems that Capcom is listening to the fans. With free DLC already in place to smooth over some of the damage, and more on the way, it’s a relief to see the shadows cast by microtransactions won’t eclipse Dragon’s Dogma 2.

Here’s hoping we all get to experience the very best of Dragon’s Dogma 2, an enthralling action RPG that is equal parts ridiculous and brilliant, and quite unlike anything else out there.

Are you frustrated by the microtransactions in Dragon’s Dogma 2? Drop us a line below in the comments, or carry the discussion to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Rob is a freelance tech writer currently residing online in the dungeons of Faerûn, and offline in the UK's beautiful Cotswolds. Rob loves all things gaming, smart home, and audio related. When he's not working, Rob loves to show appreciation for his favorite bands by screaming and Dad-dancing at their gigs.

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