clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain's microtransactions explained (update)

Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Konami is selling an in-game currency called Mother Base Coins for Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain a currency that players purchase using real-world money and spend to expand their base in one of the game's multiplayer modes.

Doing so not only benefits players in the game's one-versus-one multiplayer mode, called Forward Operating Base, it also boosts the rate at which players earn resources and other currencies in the single-player campaign.

According to a post on Metal Gear Network, citing listings on the PlayStation Store, Mother Base Coins will be sold in bundles ranging from $1.65 (for 100 coins) to $79.99 (for 6,000 coins). Those prices are in New Zealand dollars; we're waiting to verify U.S. pricing, but the game's servers are currently in maintenance mode.

Konami reps have said that Mother Base Coins are only available to purchase with real-world funds, but a FAQ for The Phantom Pain says "players "will sometimes be awarded MB Coins for free, for instance as a daily bonus." We didn't acquire any Mother Base Coins during approximately 60 hours of playtime, but we weren't playing on live servers.

In The Phantom Pain's Forward Operating Base (FOB) mode, players have the option to expand their headquarters, Mother Base, by building an external base. That base is an optional, online version of Mother Base — they can only be built if you're playing online — and establishing a FOB "will complement Mother Base by funneling increased profit, resources and manpower to Diamond Dogs," your private army.

In other words, the more FOBs a player has, the more money they'll earn, making it easier to upgrade and research new technology and weapons in The Phantom Pain.

According to Konami, the first FOB players can build is free — meaning it won't cost Mother Base Coins. If they want to build additional FOBs, they'll need to spend real money. A demo of The Phantom Pain's FOB mode from Gamescom showed that additional FOBs will cost somewhere between 1,500 and 1,700 Mother Base Coins each.

We didn't get to spend much time with FOB when reviewing The Phantom Pain. We did test the mode out briefly in a one-on-one match against another player who invaded our base in an effort steal resources and personnel. But since we played The Phantom Pain primarily offline, our time with FOB was extremely limited.

Building FOBs can have an impact on how quickly players will unlock new tech, weapons and cosmetic items in The Phantom Pain. The more FOBs a player has, the more combat deployment missions players can undertake at once. The more combat deployment missions they have access to, the faster they'll harvest resources, add new recruits and earn money, known as GMP in the game.

It's possible to enjoy and complete Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain without spending any money on Mother Base Coins or building FOBs. That's how I did it over the course of playing the game for some 60 hours — though if you're looking to speed things up, and want access to those late-game unlockables faster, the option to spend some extra money exists.

Update: This story has been updated to reflect that the currently available pricing for Mother Base Coins reflect New Zealand dollars. We'll update with U.S. pricing when it becomes available. Details on earning Mother Base Coins as daily rewards and a link to Konami's The Phantom Pain FAQ have also been added.

Metal Gear Solid 5: Gamescom 2015 trailer

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for Patch Notes

A weekly roundup of the best things from Polygon