Compared to the experience in EA's FIFA Ultimate Team, or Mass Effect 3's multiplayer mode, the system will allow users to progress organically by playing; fast-track upgrades by making in-game, real-world purchases; or combine the two to offset the shortfall of in-game currency.
"When we talk about the progression system for multiplayer, it's armour based," the game’s producer told the website during a Gamescom demonstration.
"The way that you get armour is very similar to how you get it in like Mass Effect or FIFA. You only earn gold while playing multiplayer [and] you use that gold to buy booster packs. Those booster packs contain random sets of loot. The different tiers of loot that you get--whether you buy bronze, silver, or gold packs--determine whether you get rare or common items.
"One of the things that we did a little different is that you can buy them with in-game currency and real-world currency. The difference is that if you're close, we also have small microtransactions."
"Say, for instance, a gold pack costs 15,000 gold, [and] you've only got 12,500, you can actually buy the difference and only spend a little bit to make it go to a gold pack. So we offer some variety there."
The gameworld is reportedly being created to allow players to prioritise their upgrade path, be it for more gold, or experience.
"We were very good about designing stages as you play multiplayer, so the stats can change whether you're focusing on grinding for money, grinding for experience, or whether you're playing with a new player or an old player. There's a lot of ways to change and customise your gear," they said.
UPDATE: Some additional details on how the player progression system will work in tandem with microtransactions, courtesy of Xbox PR:
"The progression system in 'Ryse: Son of Rome’s' cooperative multiplayer experience offers players the freedom to customize their gladiator with a wide range of armor customization options and upgrades which are accessible across five tiers. Players must advance through each tier by earning experience through gameplay before being eligible to acquire ‘booster packs,’ which contain in-game upgrades. Once players have reached a new tier, they may either purchase ‘booster packs’ using in-game Gold earned through battle, real-world currency or a mix of both, and then must continue to play to advance to the next tier (there is no way to ‘buy’ your way to the next tier). Players who purchase ‘booster packs’ with real-world currency will only receive a minor boost in how quickly they acquire the items they’ve earned compared to those who only use in-game Gold."