Electronic Arts updates Star Wars Battlefront II's controversial progression system following consumer backlash. EA DICE's upcoming sequel to their 2015 Star Wars Battlefront reboot has been marred by negative public perception following its open beta in early October. The sequel is undoubtedly one of the year's most anticipated games, with DICE diving deep into the Star Wars mythology by unifying all three of the saga's trilogies. Battlefront II also includes a standalone space combat (Starfighter Assault) mode. But, everything was overshadowed by the game's progression system.
Generally, players obtain new gear and weapons by playing the game and progressing naturally, but Battlefront II's system hinged almost entirely on loot crates - and, more importantly, microtransactions. While loot crates can be opened without spending real money, the amount of in-game currency needed to open one crate is disproportionate to how much real money people can spend to save a significant amount of time. And the worst part was that all the best gear and weapons could only be found in those crates, thus forcing people to open (read: purchase) loot crates in order to compete competitively.
Needless to say, Battlefront II's progression system was met with widespread backlash, and EA responded by trying to reassure consumers that the game's loot crates were being misunderstood. Their response didn't go over well, and now they've decided to overhaul the entire system mere weeks ahead of the game's launch. EA announced today that they are re-balancing the game's loot crates with traditional progression. Below are EA's four main changes:
Epic Star Cards, the highest tier of Star Cards available at launch, have been removed from Crates. To help keep everyone on a level playing field, these Star Cards will primarily be available through crafting, with the exception of special Epic Star Cards available through pre-order, deluxe, and starter packs.
You'll need to reach a certain rank to craft upgraded Star Cards. You won't be able to buy a bunch of Crates, grind everything up into crafting materials, and immediately use them to get super powerful Star Cards. You can only upgrade the ability to craft higher tier Star Cards by ranking up through playing the game.
Weapons are locked behind specific milestones. While a select few will be found in Crates, the rest can only be attained by play. Want to unlock a new weapon for your Heavy? Play as a Heavy and you’ll gain access to the class’s new weapons.
Class-specific gear and items can be unlocked by playing as them. As you progress through your favorite class, you’ll hit milestones granting you class-specific Crates. These will include a mix of Star Cards and Crafting Parts to benefit your class’s development.
Although EA's reduction of players' over-reliance on loot crates is the right move, that doesn't excuse the fact that they - as a publisher - are focusing far too much of their strategy on live service. Battlefront II had nothing but great things going for it leading up to the game's open beta, and its dependence on microtransactions drastically and suddenly altered the sequel's perception by hardcore gamers and, perhaps, even the general public. And coupling that with EA recently shuttering Visceral Games, and reworking the developer's untitled Star Wars game into something more akin to Battlefront, the publisher is slowly but surely alienating a large base of Star Wars gamers.
Star Wars Battlefront II is due out next month, and only time will tell if the game's newly-altered loot crate and progression system will be met with praise or even further backlash.
- Star Wars: Battlefront II (2017) release date: Nov 17, 2017