Is Dirty Bomb Pay To Win? A Detailed Look

The free-to-play shooter Dirty Bomb has developed a reputation among some players for being ‘pay to win.’ In this in-depth article, we’ll examine whether there’s any truth to these claims.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: While paying real money in Dirty Bomb can provide some gameplay advantages, particularly early on, skilled free players can remain competitive at high levels through practice and unlocking content naturally over time.

We’ll look at how the monetization model works in Dirty Bomb, analyzing the impact of paying for mercs, loadouts, cases, and boosters. We’ll also assess whether free players are at a true disadvantage compared to paying players at both low and high skill levels. Let’s dive in.

How Monetization Works in Dirty Bomb

Dirty Bomb, the fast-paced multiplayer first-person shooter game developed by Splash Damage, offers a unique monetization system that has sparked debates among players. In this article, we will take a detailed look at how monetization works in Dirty Bomb and address the question of whether it can be considered pay to win.

Mercs and Loadouts

In Dirty Bomb, players can choose from a variety of mercenaries, each with their own unique abilities and playstyles. These mercenaries can be obtained through gameplay or by purchasing them with in-game currency or real money.

While some argue that purchasing certain powerful mercenaries with real money gives players an unfair advantage, it is important to note that all mercenaries can be unlocked through gameplay progression as well.

Loadouts, on the other hand, determine the weapons and abilities a player can use. Players can obtain loadout cards through gameplay or by purchasing them with in-game currency. These loadout cards come in different rarities, with higher rarity cards offering more powerful weapons and abilities.

It is worth mentioning that loadout cards can also be traded between players, allowing for a thriving in-game economy.


Dirty Bomb features a case system where players can obtain cosmetic items such as skins, trinkets, and weapon skins. Cases can be earned through gameplay or purchased with in-game currency or real money.

Some argue that the randomness of case openings creates a pay to win scenario, as players who spend more money on cases have a higher chance of obtaining rare and powerful cosmetic items. However, it is important to note that these cosmetic items do not directly affect gameplay and are purely for aesthetic purposes.


Boosters in Dirty Bomb are temporary enhancements that provide players with increased experience points, credits, or drop rates for cases. These boosters can be obtained through gameplay progression or by purchasing them with real money.

While boosters can give players a temporary advantage in terms of progression, they do not provide any permanent or game-breaking benefits.

Impact on Low-Level Play

When it comes to low-level play, Dirty Bomb’s pay-to-win aspect has a significant impact on the overall experience. Let’s take a detailed look at how it affects different aspects of the game:

Wider Merc Options

One of the main advantages of paying in Dirty Bomb is access to a wider range of mercenaries. While free players have a limited selection, those who invest in the game can unlock additional characters with unique abilities.

This gives paying players a strategic advantage, as they have more options to tailor their team composition to their playstyle. However, this can create an imbalance in low-level matches, where free players might struggle against opponents with a broader range of mercenary choices.

Powerful Loadouts

Paying players also have the opportunity to acquire powerful loadouts for their mercenaries. These loadouts come with superior weapons and perks, providing a significant advantage in combat. While free players can still earn loadouts through gameplay, the chances of obtaining top-tier loadouts are significantly lower without spending real money.

This can lead to frustration for low-level players who find themselves outgunned by opponents with better loadouts.

Less Grinding

One of the major drawbacks for free players in Dirty Bomb is the amount of grinding required to unlock new content. Progression can be slow and tedious, as players must earn in-game currency to unlock mercenaries, loadouts, and other upgrades.

Paying players, on the other hand, can bypass this grind by purchasing content directly with real money. This creates a disparity in progression between paying and non-paying players, making it more difficult for low-level players to catch up in terms of equipment and abilities.

It is important to note that while the pay-to-win aspect can be frustrating for low-level players, Dirty Bomb still offers a solid gameplay experience and the option to compete on an equal footing with other players.

However, the advantages that come with paying can create an uneven playing field, especially in lower-level matches where skill levels may not be as varied.

For more information on Dirty Bomb’s pay-to-win aspect, you can visit the official Dirty Bomb website at

Impact on High-Level Play

All Mercs Unlocked

In Dirty Bomb, high-level play is greatly impacted by the fact that all mercs are unlocked from the start. Unlike other games where players need to grind or purchase additional characters, Dirty Bomb levels the playing field by giving players access to all mercs right from the beginning.

This means that every player, regardless of their financial investment, has the opportunity to choose from a wide range of characters and playstyles.

This approach not only promotes diversity in gameplay but also ensures that high-level play is based on skill rather than financial advantages. Players can experiment with different mercs and find the ones that best suit their playstyle, allowing for a more personalized and strategic approach to the game.

Skill Trumps Loadouts

When it comes to high-level play in Dirty Bomb, skill trumps loadouts. Loadouts, which consist of weapons and abilities, can be customized for each merc. However, having the best loadout does not guarantee victory.

In fact, skilled players can excel with any loadout, making it less about the gear and more about the player’s abilities and decision-making.

Dirty Bomb places a strong emphasis on player skill, rewarding those who can outmaneuver and outplay their opponents. This means that even players with basic loadouts can compete with those who have more advanced gear.

It levels the playing field and ensures that high-level play is determined by individual skill rather than the equipment at hand.

Boosters Less Important

In Dirty Bomb, boosters are less important in high-level play compared to other pay-to-win games. Boosters, which provide temporary bonuses to experience gain or in-game currency, can be purchased with real money.

While boosters can help expedite progression in the early stages of the game, their impact diminishes as players reach higher levels.

At higher levels, the focus shifts from grinding for experience or currency to honing one’s skills and mastering the game mechanics. Boosters become less relevant as players are already well-equipped and have a solid understanding of the game.

This ensures that high-level play remains competitive and balanced, without giving an unfair advantage to those who choose to purchase boosters.

Verdict: Not Truly Pay to Win

When it comes to the question of whether Dirty Bomb is pay to win, the verdict is clear: it is not truly pay to win. While there are advantages that can be gained through purchasing in-game items, these advantages diminish significantly when skill comes into play.

Additionally, there is a tradeoff between grinding for in-game currency and paying real money, allowing players to choose their own path to success.

Advantages Exist, But Diminish

It’s true that purchasing certain items in Dirty Bomb can give players an advantage in gameplay. These items may include powerful weapons, special abilities, or cosmetic upgrades. However, it’s important to note that these advantages are not insurmountable.

Skilled players can still outperform others who have purchased these items, relying on their abilities and game sense to come out on top. In the end, the advantage gained from purchasing items is not overwhelming and can be overcome with skill.

Skill Matters Most in the End

While having access to certain items can be helpful, skill is ultimately the deciding factor in Dirty Bomb. The game rewards players who have a deep understanding of its mechanics, map layouts, and teamwork strategies.

No amount of purchased items can replace the experience and skill that comes with time and practice. In fact, there have been instances where players with basic loadouts have dominated matches against opponents with more powerful gear, simply because of their superior skill level.

Grinding vs. Paying Tradeoff

Dirty Bomb offers players the choice between grinding for in-game currency or paying real money for items. This tradeoff allows players to progress in the game without spending any additional money, or to speed up their progress by purchasing items.

This system ensures that players who are dedicated and willing to put in the time can still unlock powerful items without spending a dime. It also gives players who are looking to progress faster the option to do so through microtransactions.

This balance between grinding and paying ensures that the game remains accessible to all players, regardless of their financial situation.


While paying in Dirty Bomb provides some real gameplay advantages, particularly for new players, skilled free players can remain competitive at higher levels through practice and progression. The ‘pay to win’ claims are overblown.

However, the monetization model still appears intentionally grindy to encourage spending money. Players must decide if they’d rather slowly unlock content through grinding or pay for instant access.

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