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Ghost Recon Breakpoint: The Gear System Controversy

September 7, 2019Will Leffert

I've been playing Ghost Recon Breakpoint's beta, and I've gotta say, the gear system isn't nearly as controversial as people seem to make it out to be.

There have been numerous complaints regarding Breakpoint's gear system. People are even going as far as saying it's just another The Division loot shooter. Is there any truth to that?

Not really, no.

First, let me start with this: I've worked in the game industry on the indie side. It has been many, MANY years since I've done that, but my experience, in this case, is still relevant. Game designers create what THEY envision. Sure, major publishers like Ubisoft do try to make things that they believe will sell, but that isn't their sole focus, and there are still people who are making the a game that they envision themselves. If they envision a new loot system & gunsmith, then that's their vision, and they are allowed to do it.

Anyway, on to the Breakpoint gear system.

I've got a series of videos I've produced of raw, unedited gameplay (3 as of posting) showcasing the beta. The second and third discuss the gear system, but the 3rd really covers it in its entirety, so watch it if you're curious about the gear system in Breakpoint. I've also embedded it below.

Here's the basics, though, if you don't want to watch the video.

First, in order to acquire new weapons, you have 3 choices. One is to pick them up while out doing missions, exploring locations and taking out bad guys. The second option is to buy them directly from the in-game vendor, with a stock that'll randomly refresh. Third, and the best (in my opinion), is through the "Weapons On Demand" blueprint system that's part of the same vendor. Here's how that works.

You start the game (at least, in the beta) with a series of weapons already unlocked via blueprints. I'm actually pretty happy with the selection; There's a good variety, including th MK14 DMR and the TAC-50 sniper rifle (Can I also mention that I'm glad Breakpoint separates out DMRs and sniper rifles?), so you're not stuck with crap from the start.

You unlock blueprints by discovering their locations through intel, and through equipment missions, much like you might acquire weapons in Wildlands (this just has an extra step involved).

Once you've got a blueprint unlocked, you can purchase the weapon (yes, purchase - not craft) using the in-game currency (Skell credits), and it'll randomly generate a version of the weapon for you. The gear score system is subtle, and the stats it generates aren't super dramatic or game-changing, so you're not going to necessarily need to re-roll constantly to get the "best version" to match your build.

Upgrading a weapon is done in 2 ways: in the gunsmith for each weapon, you can use parts from dismantled weapons to upgrade various bits of stats (damage, range, reload speed, etc). As well, you can upgrade your favorite rifle, and those upgrades will carry over to every version of that rifle (so, if you're like me and enjoy the TAC-50, you can upgrade it and not have to worry about wasting parts when you get a new TAC-50).

The second part of upgrading is a bit more familiar to Wildlands players; you change out parts, including scopes, muzzles, magazines, etc. One thing that you'll notice is missing is the barrel; that's right, you can't switch out long/short barrels anymore. That part DOES suck, but you know what? That's about the only real complaint I have about the gear system.

Why do this? I feel like the system gives you more variety from the start, which makes gameplay more varied.

Still don't like the gear system?

That's fine. Less server strain for me when it goes up for early access pre-orders, and I'll be having fun with the game.

Breakpoint isn't The Division. Not even close. It still plays like an enhanced, stealth-focused (and the stealth system ROCKS) Wildlands. If you want ultra-tactical mil-sim games, grab the Arma series. Get the ACE mods. You'll get all the realism you crave. While Breakpoint isn't The Division, it also isn't a hardcore mil-sim game.