EA Tries to Defend Battlefront II, Gets Most Downvoted Comment in Reddit History
Gamers have been vocally opposed to the industry’s move to introduce more microtransactions and loot boxes into games, especially when they can upset the balance of a competitive multiplayer experience.
This battle between the gamers opposed to constant and unbalanced microtransactions and publishers who are putting millions in their pockets through said microtransactions has come to a head in the run up to Star Wars: Battlefront II. EA’s defense of their progression through loot box acquisitions and the advantage of paying to progress was so bad that it is the most disliked comment in the history of Reddit.
In response to a post titled “Seriously? I paid $80 to have Vader locked?,” an EA community manager responded:
The intent is to provide players with a sense of pride and accomplishment for unlocking different heroes.
As for cost, we selected initial values based upon data from the Open Beta and other adjustments made to milestone rewards before launch. Among other things, we’re looking at average per-player credit earn rates on a daily basis, and we’ll be making constant adjustments to ensure that players have challenges that are compelling, rewarding, and of course attainable via gameplay.
We appreciate the candid feedback, and the passion the community has put forth around the current topics here on Reddit, our forums and across numerous social media outlets.
Our team will continue to make changes and monitor community feedback and update everyone as soon and as often as we can.
To suggest that this has gone over like a lead balloon would be an understatement. The previous most downvoted comment in Reddit history was asking to be downvoted and ended up at a score of about -24,100 (which is the net of upvotes and downvotes). As of posting, the EA community team comment above is at a score of about -342,000 after about 21 hours. On the plus side, people are taking pity on EA’s downvotes and have given Reddit Gold for that comment twenty times.
The problems come in two forms. First, as has been widely discussed, through crafting and loot boxes, players can unlock seemingly permanent boosts for their character that can include damage increases, power cooldown speed increases and health recovery increases. While crafting these cards are locked behind an obtuse, card-based progression system, my research indicated that you can end run this by winning these cards from a loot box.
The second problem is that unlocking hero characters, such as Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker, costs up to 60,000 in-game credits and you can only buy them through credits. If you save all your credits to buy and unlock a hero, that could take you up to 40 hours of gameplay. For a Star Wars game, playing as an iconic movie character is a huge draw. In BF2, EA has locked significant characters behind a paywall in a $60 game in the name of “progression” and “accomplishment.”
Of course, if you want to bypass literal days of grinding for in-game currency to buy crates, you can buy Crystals, a currency acquired through microtransactions, which you can then use to buy loot boxes. A quick look at XfactorGaming’s video on the power of loot boxes in BF2 indicates that you can obtain credits through the various crates. However, those loot box perks can help you complete challenges that would earn you more credits which speed up the unlock of heroes. It’s not directly pay to unlock heroes. Progression just happens to be structured in such a way that you are strongly encouraged to spend real money so you can more quickly earn and save enough credits and crafting parts to get to the heroes and other top-tier cards you can’t get through crates.
The sad thing is that while you and at least 300,000 Redditors aren’t happy with the direction of Star Wars: Battlefront II, there will be hundreds of thousands, if not millions, more who will drop $60 on the game because they aren’t interested in this controversy or the impact of these microtransactions or games news and reviews in general and just want to play a new Star Wars shooter. Whether or not they spend on microtransactions, that’s still plenty of money that EA will rake in for BF2.
While less-informed consumers buying BF2 won’t be an endorsement of this so-called progression system, it won’t do anything to discourage EA and the other big publishers from trying to find new ways to extract more than $60 from their customers. The response from those concerned should be to not buy it at full price and never spend on the microtransactions. Besides, according to IsThereAnyDeal, BF1 had a price drop to $40 within six months of launch so waiting a little bit will keep a little money out of EA’s pockets anyway.
By the way, Star Wars: Battlefront II by EA launches on November 17th for $60 USD on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. At least they aren’t tacking on a Season Pass on top of the microtransactions. It doesn’t make it better. It just makes it not worse.
Sources: /r/StarWarsBattlefront (1), /r/StarWarsBattlefront (2), Polygon, XfactorGaming, IsThereAnyDeal?
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Posted on November 13, 2017, in Games and tagged Business of Gaming, Disney, EA, LongReads, Loot Boxes, LucasFilm, Microtransactions, Star Wars, Star Wars Battlefront II. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.
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