It’s no secret that many gamers dislike the concept of microtransactions. This week, gamers on Reddit were able to make their disapproval heard, influencing Electronic Arts to make changes to the upcoming Star Wars Battlefront 2.
This weekend it was discovered that Battlefront 2, the much-heralded shooter based on the Star Wars franchise, will not have many of its most iconic characters immediately playable when it releases on Friday. Instead, players must spend in-game credits to unlock Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Princess Leia, and many others. Players on Reddit calculate that it will take roughly 40 hours of gameplay to unlock Darth Vader, for example.
This decision is not unlike how last month’s Fire Emblem Warriors locked two popular characters behind lengthy and time-consuming missions. However, Battlefront 2‘s case involves a highly controversial distinction: loot boxes. Instead of playing to achieve the credits needed to unlock one’s favorite character, a player can simply spend additional money to buy loot boxes that include the in-game currency.
This realization sparked an outcry among fans. Many users noted that playing as famous characters is the biggest draw to Battlefront games for many people. In addition, the previous Battlefront title did not employ this in-game currency restriction, so for developer EA to do so now can be seen as an underhanded ploy to drain more money from dedicated fans.
The Reddit storm of fury grew so loud that EA actually responded to the accusations. Instead of putting out the fire, their reply made things infinitely worse. Here is EA’s full post:
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.
Within hours, this statement had become the most downvoted post in Reddit history. At the time of this writing, the count stands at -682K points.
On Monday, EA showed that this negative reaction has not escaped their notice. In a statement posted on their website, the developer announced that they will be “reducing the amount of credits needed to unlock the top heroes by 75%.” This means that Darth Vader, for example, will be worth 15,000 credits instead of 60,000, significantly reducing the time it takes to unlock the infamous Sith Lord.
Battlefront 2 is far from the only game to incorporate microtransactions in a similar fashion. Monolith’s Shadow of War, for example, includes a brutally long and difficult endgame that is made much easier by purchasing loot boxes. These boxes can slowly be achieved via play, but by far the quickest option is to spend more real-world money. Still, even Shadow of War did not place world-famous characters behind its currency locks.
While EA’s solution may not appease everyone, it at least shows that the company is listening to criticism and is willing to adopt changes to benefit the player. Time will tell whether these changes are enough to ensure a solid opening weekend for Battlefront 2.
The microtransaction tactic is becoming increasingly prevalent in today’s gaming industry. What are your thoughts on the issue? Share your opinions with us on any of our social media platforms!