EA and the developers of Star Wars Battlefront 2 seemed to turn a lot of heads when they said the “season pass” to the game would be free, and additional content would be free. Which all seemed extremely great, but left us all wondering where that extra revenue was going to come from. Now we have our answer.
As Battlefront hit EA Access, and Deluxe Edition orders, more players have been able to jump in and find out just how hard it is to unlock anything in the game. According to some users it would take an average of 40 hours to unlock one character (Darth Vader or Luke) and slightly less for other major characters like Prince Leia. Or you can spend an additional $100 to get some of it. That is a lot of time spent in the game to decide what specific character you want, before you have to start all over again to get another one. What doesn’t help with this either is that the missions and other bonus points seem to “run out” rather fast, meaning you won’t be getting very many “boosts” in terms of points to get you there.
Many gamers have also found out that the game is capping play modes to certain amounts of points per day, meaning even if you have the time to grind out some points, you won’t be able to get as many as you’d like. EA has also adjusted some aspects of the game, but has left the ability for players to outright purchase skills and other aspects with real money. This tends to give players an outright edge once they hit a certain level, again making a frustrating experience for anyone that doesn’t want to spend even more money on the game.
This is all leading towards an EA method of basically forcing players to pay additional money to unlock characters they want, or to gain an edge in gameplay. Anyone left grinding for points will spend not only a lot of time doing so, but may become frustrated as paying players have a substantial lead on them.
Taking things into context, games have done this before, but they have done it well. I’m personally a huge fan of Rainbow Six Siege and how their “season pass” content functions. Basically you pay 40 dollars for a season pass and you unlock the new characters early, and cheaply. However these characters are not locked away and are accessible to anyone that plays the game. The difference between Rainbow Six and Star Wars Battlefront are two key points.
First the amount of points needed to unlock characters, or new weapons, are not absurd. Yes you will need to “grind” a little, but anyone with skill is going to earn a ton of points per match. You won’t be spending 40 hours to unlock a single item in the game, and will simply just keep playing as normal to get there. The content is also released over time, meaning you have the ability to accumulate point in anticipation of a new release before the characters are released, and then unlocking them on day one.
Which leads to point two, these characters are ADDITIONAL content. Rainbow Six Siege offered a full roster of characters that were easily unlocked and accessible in the core game. Not every character was handed to you. Instead you had a few easy unlocks early, and later roster characters were more challenging to get. Meaning you had to have somewhat of a strategy to unlock your favorite characters first. However, there was a full roster in the game, and the core characters were never locked by some extreme pay wall or long winded grind. The game was perfectly timed to allow you to unlock characters and weapons at your own pace. Additional season pass characters were literally a bonus for players, and are developed after the core game. The game is also carefully crafted to ensure the new characters are not too much of a benefit for paying players, as each one is easily countered by core roster characters.
Having micro-transactions in games is nothing new. Overwatch, Destiny, and many other games have them implemented. We all know how many loot boxes we’ve endured, but there is one key aspect to all of this. These games offer a core package, they offer additional content, and they don’t offer a drastic “pay-to-win” mentality. Overall Battlefront 2 seems to be pushing the boundaries to see what exactly publishers can get away with. “They paid for this, so let’s try to get them to pay for more.”
Now really looking at Battefront 2 and things are a bit different. Anyone that played the beta had access to a core list of characters and was able to use anyone. It was basically the full game at your fingertips. Now the actual release comes out and these characters are all locked behind walls that seem to be asking for more money than skill. The game even tosses in a level cap to ensure even the most dedicated players can’t reach it too quickly. We were basically teased with a full game, teased that nothing will be locked behind a “season pass,” then wham we still need to shell out more money to get what we want. It also doesn’t help that the paid content literally hands an edge to paying players. Should people that spend more money get to be “better players” just because other players want to be satisfied with a core game?
A lot of people may call us whiny for feeling “entitled” to the content, but you know what? We just paid $60 for a game, so yes I do think gamers are entitled to the content. Why pretend to offer something, then, at the last minute, ask for even more money to access it? I would understand this concept if these characters were future DLC additions that required either a lot of points, or money, to unlock, but that isn’t the case. That would mean players would stick around and keep “leveling up” in hopes of unlocking future content, but to restrict the core roster and key characters seems to be crossing the line.
EA seems to be in it for the money. I don’t blame the developers, DICE or Criterion, as they have made an excellent game. The game is seriously something Star Wars fans have been waiting for, but then came the greed. Maybe these levels were not as extreme at first, but then investors saw the call to make more money. A studio has even been shut down because these very micro-tranaactions couldn’t be implemented in their new game. It’s sad.
EA has tried it before with Command and Conquer, which failed, and have tried other things with other games that fans were not a fan of. We’ve seen some EA’s biggest franchises come crumbling down due to situations like this and we would hate to see Star Wars be on that list. EA responded to the situation by not really listening, and got heat for it. They then decided to call everyone “arm chair developers” when they complained about it. If EA cared about gamers, then listen. There are ways to implement this and I understand the need to create a “subscription like service” to keep money flowing after the purchase, but you are doing it wrong. Really, really wrong.This was not the right time, nor game, to do this in this nature.