As of this writing, EA has removed all microtransactions from the game. Details with the updates on this story are below.
Between the most down-voted comment ever on Reddit, a miserable AMA and attempts to bring their fans back around, EA and DICE’s Star Wars Battlefront 2 has come under a lot of fire during its’ official release this Friday. Seriously go read that AMA and all the massive cringe responses within it. The problem here is that the game was filled with loot boxes that give players access to Star Cards that can grant various buffs in multiplayer. Through some bone-headed move, they also decided to lock various heroes behind credit amounts that were so high at first, players were estimating it would take dozens of hours to unlock them through regular play. EA did lower the amount in a patch before release for those who have the game early, but the damage seems to be done. Really the question is why lock them in the first place? They would claim it’s for the sake of progression, but there are plenty of other unlocks to chase after without locked heroes.
Ah, the classic and traditional box of loot. Remember all the great times we’ve had throughout the years? That time Metal Gear Solid had you unlock boxes with extra weapons in them, or maybe when Ocarina of Time let you open loot packs for a chance to get a 20% length boost for your hook shot. Perhaps most memorable of all, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare’s wondrous loot boxes filled with weapon camos and emblems! Honestly, that last one isn’t even funny because Activision actually put loot boxes in a damn remake of a game that never needed them in the first place.
Loot boxes are literally everywhere. Typically reserved for Free-to-Play, or F2P titles, loot boxes have become the larger part of the gaming industry’s way of tricking people out of their money or time. Star Wars Battlefront II is currently in the middle of a perfect storm of sorts. The fever pitch had to come at some point, but it seems to have taken Star Wars fans to rally together and cause a bit of a ruckus for EA and DICE over the last couple weeks. EA responded to fans by lowering the cost of their heroes from 60k credits to 15 and 10 for others, and they changed the loot box structure to no longer include high tier Star Cards. Sure, the effort is nice I guess. They listened to their fans and made changes, but why were they necessary to begin with? Did they honestly think the game would launch like this without pissing people off?
I’ve had this game since Monday night because I’m a rube for Star Wars and got the Deluxe Edition which allowed for early access to the game. I have had ample time to see how affecting the loot box system really is and whether the root problem is their effect on the gameplay or the entire system in the first place. The first major thing I wanted to tackle is how long it would actually take to unlock the expensive heroes. As of this writing, I have unlocked Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker with about 8 hours in multiplayer and a bit of campaign. I have also gotten a fair bit of decent cards and weapon mods etc.
The most efficient way to increase the number of credits gained is by completing objectives that grant you credit rewards. Get 50 kills with an assault rifle, play as this class for ten minutes etc. These are not difficult most of the time and offer good rewards. Once these run out, however, it would be a long grind with the current rewards earned for just completing matches. The difference between me scoring 17k and my friend scoring 7k is about 20 credits which is laughably dumb.
So overall, it probably wouldn’t take that long for the average player to unlock a decent wealth of things, but the real issue is why does there need to be an option to pay for these in the first place? They could have increased the number of rewards gained for various modes and had no loot boxes. There still would have been a large amount of in-game unlocks for players to strive for. Not to mention that some of the cards are just ridiculous. One of the Starfighter cards literally has auto-aim for one of your ships. Seriously? Auto-aim?? This is along the likes of shorter cooldown times, incendiary rounds for heavy troopers that can practically one-shot people and really powerful additions to heroes. It’s all a little stupid honestly. Without the loot boxes, it would still be an unnecessarily unbalanced system.
Granted, Battlefront is not a series known for being an overly competitive title to begin with, but that doesn’t mean it just needs to throw balance to the wind and say fuck it. I still managed to out-perform players who had three-star cards compared to my two, or get lots of kills with starting classes and weapons. In a fair fight with myself on the other side of me though, the one with the better cards will win and that’s a problem. EA and DICE are actively trying to fix the public perception of this process by making small, almost insignificant changes to how players get them. This really fixes none of what’s wrong with the system in the first place.
Loot boxes are quite literally unregulated gambling stuffed into games that already cost a premium value and are trying to squeeze every last penny out of their players. They’re citing the rising costs for making games and DLC being too expensive. This is just bullshit. Call Of Duty WWII made 500 million already. Games have been around for a long time without loot boxes and can continue just fine without them. We got hit hard this year. Almost every major release has some form of this garbage. Assassin’s Creed Origins, Middle Earth: Shadow Of War, Need For Speed Payback, Call Of Duty WWII, and Star Wars Battlefront II. It doesn’t seem to matter what kind of gamer you are. Shooter fan, Action-RPG fan, racer fan. Everybody had to take a bit of this junk system this year.
It really is a shame because in a lot of ways Star Wars Battlefront II is a beautiful game. It’s fun, frantic and full of great maps and improvements over the first title. Look out for our review later this week where we’ll try to find a way to separate the sludge from the actual game!
UPDATE: EA has decided to turn off micro-transactions in the game “temporarily”. Here is the full statement.
Thank you to everyone in our community for being the passionate fans that you are.
Our goal has always been to create the best possible game for all of you – devoted Star Wars fans and game players alike. We’ve also had an ongoing commitment to constantly listen, tune and evolve the experience as it grows. You’ve seen this with both the major adjustments, and polish, we have made over the past several weeks.
But as we approach the worldwide launch, it’s clear that many of you feel there are still challenges in the design. We’ve heard the concerns about potentially giving players unfair advantages. And we’ve heard that this is overshadowing an otherwise great game. This was never our intention. Sorry we didn’t get this right.
We hear you loud and clear, so we’re turning off all in-game purchases. We will now spend more time listening, adjusting, balancing and tuning. This means that the option to purchase crystals in the game is now offline, and all progression will be earned through gameplay. The ability to purchase crystals in-game will become available at a later date, only after we’ve made changes to the game. We’ll share more details as we work through this.
We have created a game that is built on your input, and it will continue to evolve and grow. Star Wars Battlefront II is three times the size of the previous game, bringing to life a brand new Star Wars story, space battles, epic new multiplayer experiences across all three Star Wars eras, with more free content to come. We want you to enjoy it, so please keep your thoughts coming. And we will keep you updated on our progress.