EA Disables Real Money Purchases In Star Wars Battlefront II

👤by Tim Harmer Comments 📅17.11.2017 07:47:14

There are few topics hotter in gaming right now than Loot Boxes in AAA games, and no game that has been so thoroughly derided as EA's latest franchise juggernaut Star Wars Battlefront II. Now, with the worldwide release poised to begin later today, EA DICE have had yet another rethink about their Frankenstein microtransaction/loot box/multiplayer progression system.

The week started with players discovering that unlocking premier heroes Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader for multiplayer would take 60,000 credits, or roughly 40 hours of gameplay. This cost was then reduced by 75%, but there was a sting in the tail: credit acquisition rates were also significantly decreased, and a limit was placed on the number of credits you could acquire through the arcade mode every day. Credits are also required for loot boxes, putting an enormous amount of pressure on this currency.

Meanwhile, loot boxes purchased with 'Crystals' - Battlefront II's currency purchased with real money - had no such restriction placed upon them and themselves granted credits. Coupled to the fact that randomised items in the boxes are required to increase the power of class, hero and vehicle loadouts, and you effectively have a progression system which is vastly accelerated by spending hard cash. Hard cash on top of the full retail price (or more), mind you.

Over the course of the week ever more outlandish figures were bandied about, stating that it would take thousands of hours or hundreds of dollars to unlock every upgrade. Quite rightly, this was criticised as being more reminiscent of a free to play mobile title, not a franchise AAA game from EA.

Following a disastrous Reddit AMA where the DICE team were eviscerated for poor answers to rather pointed questions, the Battlefront II looked set to launch with the progression system as-is. However, at the proverbial 11th hour, EA DICE announced that the Crystal microtransaction system was being temporarily disabled due to the overwhelmingly negative consumer feedback:

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.

Be that as it may, the progression system has still been built with the concept of microtransactions, loot boxes and paid acceleration firmly at its heart. Fixing it will take an immense amount of work post-launch.

Many are heralding this as an example consumer power when acting in concert. However those who are looking to buy the game should be aware that the door has very much been left open for a reintroduction of a similar system. Perhaps we should all wait until we see exactly what replaces the current system before forking over for the it.

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