The First Descendant Enjoys Big Player Numbers on Steam Despite ‘Microtransaction Hell’

Nexon’s free-to-download looter shooter The First Descendant has enjoyed a huge launch on Steam but players have hit out at ultra aggressive microtransactions.

The First Descendant is a Warframe-esque action game designed to be played co-op with friends, with progression tied to a deep-rooted grind that involves completing missions and defeating bosses. Check out IGN’s The First Descendant review in progress to find out what we think of the game so far.

But it’s the monetization that has sparked debate during the early days of The First Descendant’s launch, as well as issues giving players rewards they’re owed that have forced Nexon into offering compensation.

Korean company Nexon, which is behind other multiplayer-focused free-to-play games such as Kartrider: Drift and Maplestory, launched The First Descendant with a packed cash shop that sells everything you’d expect from a game of this type: a premium battle pass, new characters, premium character and weapon skins, and even experience boosts and increased inventory capacity.

New characters, called Descendants, are sold for real-world money, but the premium virtual currency, Caliber, is sold in bundles that come in just under the cost of a new character itself, forcing players to buy more virtual currency than they need and, thus, having some left over.

Caliber can only be obtained by buying it with real-world money or by buying the premium battle pass. There is currently no way to earn it through gameplay alone.

While you can grind (a lot) for new characters, you can save time by spending money to buy them. You can also pay to gain immediate access to an ‘Ultimate Descendant’, which is a Descendant with better stats and an exclusive skin. Expect to pay upwards of $55 for one.

The First Descendant also locks a paint to a skin, which means if you want to re-use a paint you’ve already obtained, perhaps from the premium battle pass, you have to spend real-world money on it again.

Some players have called The First Descendant “predatory” because of its monetization, while others have said it’s par for the course when it comes to games from Nexon. On Steam, The First Descendant has a ‘mixed’ user review rating, with many of the negative reviews focusing on the microtransactions, but others are also delivering their verdict on the gunplay and mechanics. One Steam user called the First Descendant “microtransaction hell.” Another said: “This game released with more real money purchasable items than actual gameplay mechanics.”

Even those who have spent money on microtransactions are having a tough time, Nexon apologized to players who have yet to receive items they paid for by offering compensation. “We will continue to strive to provide a more stable service,” Nexon said.

Here are the compensation details:

Gold Gain Boost +30% (Duration 3 days)Kyper Shard Gain Boost +30% (Duration 3 days)Descendant EXP Gain Boost +30% (Duration 3 days)Weapon Mastery EXP Gain Boost +30% (Duration 3 days)2 x Matte Red Paints

Despite all this, The First Descendant hit a Steam concurrent player count of 229,257, which was enough to put it in the top five most-played games on Valve’s platform. The game also launched on PlayStation and Xbox consoles, but Sony and Microsoft do not make player numbers available.

Wesley is the UK News Editor for IGN. Find him on Twitter at @wyp100. You can reach Wesley at or confidentially at


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