HERE IS A QUICK TIMELINE OF THE MUCH DISCUSSED BATTLEFRONT 2
Even before the launch of Battlefront 2, Electronic Arts found itself under scrutiny for its handling of microtransactions and the loot crate system in the game. But now that the latest Star Wars game is available in stores, it’s continued to receive widespread attention and numerous reactionary updates from EA. To break down what happened, from the October beta to current developments, here are the key events explaining the controversy behind Star Wars Battlefront II.
From October 6 to 11, EA opened up the game to feedback with access to a beta version of the multiplayer. In the beta, players found that the loot boxes–which yield randomized materials and Star Cards for classes and hero characters–were one of the main pillars of player advancement. For example, the Assault class’ Survivalist Star Card can decrease health regeneration delays up to 40%. One of the larger criticisms from the beta was that Epic-level Star Cards (the highest grade of Star Card in the game) and weapons could be acquired from loot crates–making it possible to reach high-level status early on by buying rather than grinding to earn loot crates. Citing player feedback, the developers adjusted areas of the progression system. In addition to increasing the rate at which credits are earned by a small amount, the biggest change EA applied to the game was removing Epic-level rewards from crates.
On November 10, EA released a trial version of Star Wars Battlefront II on Xbox One and PC for members of EA/Origin Access. This was the first opportunity for many to dive into the final game, which the developers said would always evolve with player feedback. On the Star Wars Battlefront II Reddit page, a user voiced frustration after taking advantage of one of the microtransaction options, purchasing 12000 Crystals for $80 (with 10% EA Access discount). Unbeknownst to the player, the Crystals could not be used to purchase the various hero characters, which are only available to buy in the form of Credits. This player wanted to purchase Darth Vader, who at the time cost 60,000 credits.
The resulting comment was inundated with negative reactions from fans. Following the backlash from the post, the developers reduced prices for all hero characters by 75%. However, they also lowered the completion reward for the campaign–from 20,000 credits, to just 5,000. This was done to match the altered price to unlock the campaign character Iden Versio.
On November 13, Pre-order players were able to start playing. While many of the initial reviews stated that the core gameplay of Battlefront II was fun and exciting, and it offered a diverse array of content to go through, the multiplayer progression system was met with widespread criticism. With the game’s dependence on loot crates.
On November 16, After the reviews were out and more players began to dive into the game, Battlefront II found itself under greater scrutiny. This increased attention in loot crates, along with consumer complaints, led to the Belgian Gaming Commission launching an investigation into the game (in addition to Overwatch) for possible gambling practices.
Soon after, EA released a statement from DICE General Manager Oskar Gabrielson, announcing that all microtransactions would be pulled from the game until further notice.
On November 22, US Senator Chris Lee representing Hawaii spoke out about the “predatory practice” from EA. “This game is a Star Wars-themed online casino designed to lure kids into spending money. It’s a trap,” he said.
With new content coming up in December in time for The Last Jedi and with more content in the months ahead, the developers plan to support the game for the long-term. But along with new modes and content, EA and DICE are now coming up with a new progression system for the game to replace the one presently in game.