Despite not having any direct (and now infamous) loot boxes like Netherrealm Studio’s last game, Injustice 2, Mortal Kombat 11 does feature some microtransactions. While these microtransactions are not designed to be “pay-to-win,” they do currently affect how some gamers will experience the game.
The game features a mechanic called “Time Crystals,” which you can purchase with real money to buy cosmetic items in the game, like skins. All of these skins and cosmetics can be unlocked through playing the game’s Towers of Time and Krypt modes, but if you want to bypass the grind, the time crystals are the key.
You can also purchase an in-game unlockable character for early access if you do not wish to play the story mode.
While the time crystals are completely optional, the current requirements to unlock a lot of the cosmetics are pretty hefty.
Some towers that have these skins and gear require another in-game currency—coins—to even participate in the tower. Other towers require you fulfill certain requirements with characters to then be able to play the tower, like performing a certain move 100 times or doing a certain number of brutalities.
Also, the difficulty cannot be changed in the Towers of Time mode, so if you do complete the requirements to access the tower, you might not be able to complete it.
The towers have a lot of modifiers that give the player a disadvantage and are seemingly designed to be frustrating, which makes it seem like, despite not having loot boxes, Netherrealm Studios is trying to get you to pull out your credit card for the cosmetics you want.
However, the game is not officially out yet and all the modifiers and requirements to unlock items for your characters could very well change.