Star Wars fans are still not happy with the way Star Wars Battlefront II is dealing with player progression - as EA's response to player complaints has become Reddit's most downvoted post ever.
Battlefront II will not officially release until Friday, November 17. However, players who subscribe to EA Access - the game studio's service that allows users to access full versions of select past games as well as free trials of upcoming releases - have been playing the game since November 9. They have discovered that it can take nearly 40 hours to unlock a single hero, such as Darth Vader or Luke Skywalker, in the game.
All heroes can be played in the games offline Arcade Mode and certain heroes will unlock automatically - but to have access to more than half the roster of Star Wars heroes and villains, players must spend in-game credits, which are unlocked by playing the game. This is an understandably controversial move, coming after Battlefront I made all heroes immediately playable and micro-transactions were offered in the game. This means users can pay even more money on top of the purchase of the game to unlock content. EA is aware of the problem and posted the following statement to Reddit, addressing the matter:
Apologies for not being more active these past weeks leading up to launch - as you know things get really hectic and you tend to spend whatever spare freetime you have recovering. I really regret not being here on the subreddit at the start of the early access. Hopefully some of these replies will bring some clarity and hope.
Performance during games will affect the amount of credits you get at the end of a match.
Matchmaking will take into account not only player skill, but also total gametime and rarity of star cards. This means that you will be matchmade with players with an average performance similar to you and (to the largest extent possible) not against players who are much better than you, whether by having higher rarity cards or by showing higher skill.
Heroes that are locked at launch will only be unlocked with credits, not crystals. The heroes, similar to the locked weapons for Troopers, are sidegrades instead of upgrades (Darth Vader should be on similar power level as Darth Maul, etc). The goal is to keep you playing for a long time and have something cool to look forward to as you earn credits.
Speaking of earning credits, we're constantly evaluating and tweaking the earn rates versus the cost of crates and heroes. The current rates were based on open beta data, but you should expect us to constantly evolve these numbers as we hit launch and onwards. There will also be more milestones that award credits and crafting parts available, as well as star cards only unlockable through those milestones. If all you want to do is play and grind towards your next unlock that will be fully possible and we'll continue to tweak the numbers until the requirements feel fun and achievable.
Working on a game with a live economy and without a premium content lineup is a new challenge for us at DICE. We had one progression system in the closed alpha and heard your feedback back then. We made another iteration for the open beta and heard your feedback then too. For launch, we're having another iteration and there will definitely be more iterations as we evolve this game post launch.
Your continous [sic] feedback as you play the game is absolutely invaluable and I encourage you to keep sending it our way. There is really no reason to "rebel" against us - we want this game to be as great and enjoyable as it can be - we're reading all your feedback and working as fast as we can to adjust the game to your liking.
The dev team will be around Battlefront II for a long time. I sincerely hope you'll be here with us!
This response hasn't assuaged fan concerns in the slightest. In fact, almost no one is taking the cheeky response to not "rebel" seriously. The post from the Battlefront II developers has been met with, if possible, even more hate and disdain than the progression problem itself. The response to EA's defense of their game has smashed the down-voting record for Reddit. Previously the record was held by a user who jokingly asked for downvotes. The EA "apology" currently has over 300,000 downvotes and that number is continuing to climb. A graph posted by Reddit user LouTr0n (see above), makes evident how large the downvotes have become and how much it trumps any previous unpopular Reddit post.
The backlash has also bled over to the front page of Reddit, where there have been posts that have compared the response to the explosion of Alderaan and/or how Kevin Spacey responded to his sexual assault allegations.
There was a lot riding on Star Wars: Battlefront II, as fans already had their fair share of problems with the first release of the revived series over lack of content in the base game and no dedicated single player mode. Even before the game has released however, the anger over Battlefront II and the way it is dealing with the ever controversial micro-transactions has eclipsed any outrage over the previous game. EA already adjusted some systems following the public beta, but it might be in their best interest to tweak things again, before the game properly releases.
It should be mentioned, however, that the game that has been released early on EA Access is not exactly the final edition of the game. While multiplayer is mostly fully-fledged, the single-player campaign has been severely limited. In other words, once the actual game releases, there may be even more way to earn credits (and earn them quickly) that has yet to be unveiled in the current early access edition of Battlefront II (translation: it may no longer take approximately 40 hours to unlock a single hero).