Electronic Arts (EA) has issued a statement regarding the Star Wars: Battlefront II backlash over loot boxes and microtransactions, and they are making some big changes. Battlefront II - a sequel DICE's 2015 Battlefront reboot - releases on November 17 and is a vast improvement on the first installment, featuring a single-player campaign as well as locations and characters from all the eras, but the growing concerns over the “pay-to-win” aspect of the game has pushed fans to speak out.
A recent Reddit thread revealed that it takes approximately 40 hours for players to unlock playable Hero characters such as Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker, which costs 60,000 in-game credits. To put this in perspective, the average multiplayer match earns players 250-350 credits, with each match taking roughly 10-15 minutes to complete – a significant amount of time to use characters players thought would come with their $60-$80 purchase. EA's statement on Reddit explained that the game’s progression system was designed to give “players a sense of accomplishment” when unlocking a Hero. That didn't bode well gamers, solidifying their beliefs that loot boxes are ruining the video game industry leading to the post becoming the most downvoted in Reddit history.
One day following the record-setting backlash, EA has released another statement assuring fans that they are taking their complaints to heart and will be making the necessary updates to Hero unlock costs so that they may be accessible to all players. A section of EA's statement can be found below.
Making games great comes from regular tuning. As one example, today we’re making a substantial change based on what we’ve seen during the Play First trial. There’s been a lot of discussion around the amount of in-game credits (and time) it takes to unlock some of our heroes, especially Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. Unlocking a hero is a great accomplishment in the game, something we want players to have fun earning. We used data from the beta to help set those levels, but it’s clear that more changes were needed.
So, we’re reducing the amount of credits needed to unlock the top heroes by 75%. Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader will now be available for 15,000 credits; Emperor Palpatine, Chewbacca, and Leia Organa for 10,000 credits; and Iden at 5,000 credits. Based on what we’ve seen in the trial, this amount will make earning these heroes an achievement, but one that will be accessible for all players.
It's a big change, and it’s one we can make quickly. It will be live today, with an update that is getting loaded into the game.
We’ve also been listening to how much you’re loving features in the game (Starfighter Assault, 40 player MP battles, Darth Maul lightsaber throws, etc.) as well as what you haven’t liked. We know some of our most passionate fans, including those in our subreddit, have voiced their opinions, and we hear you. We’re making the changes to the credit levels for unlocking heroes and we’re going to keep making changes to improve the game experience over time. We welcome the conversation.
With top, unlockable heroes, such as Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, and more, now being reduced by 75 percent, it makes all aspects of the game more accessible to all players, especially those who may not have had the time to play the amount of hours it originally took to unlock some of Battlefront II's coolest features. This statement and change also shows that EA is listening to their customers with regard to what they want the future of gaming to look like.
Overall, gamers do not like loot boxes and mircotransactions in their video games because it causes them to shell out more cash in order to enjoy the game fully and to even progress in some cases, but only time will tell if EA stays true to their word with regard to making Battlefront II about the fans and not about predatory microtransactions.
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