EA really is fudging up the reaction to Star Wars Battlefront 2’s microtransactions and loot crates royally. In case you missed it over the weekend, folks who are playing the game early through Origin Access have discovered it can take 40 hours of gameplay to unlock a single Hero character. Their official response to the backlash has gone into the record books, becoming the most downvoted comment in Reddit history within just 15 hours of going live.
So this gist of it is, players are annoyed that the Hero characters are locked behind a paywall. The cheapest Heroes cost 20,000 Credits, while the most expensive, such as Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker, will set you back 60,000 Credits. Those who’ve got early access to the game have been busting out the spreadsheets and discovered that it would take 40 hours of gameplay to unlock Darth Vader, and that’s without being able to spend any of your Credits whatsoever on crates. The total gameplay hours to unlock all launch day Heroes is estimated to be 170, or just over seven solid days of playing. So on top of paying $60+ for the game, you’ve got to invest 170 hours in order to unlock the multiplayer content you’ve paid for. If it’s anything like the original, most players will be long since bored of the game by then.
Fans have let their criticisms be known, with one saying “This is a joke. I'll be contacting EA support for a refund... I can't even play fucking Darth Vader?!?!? Disgusting. This age of "micro-transactions" has gone WAY too far. Leave it to EA though to stretch the boundaries.”
EA’s fairly innocuous response has now gone down in Reddit history as the most reviled thing yet said, amassing 160,000 down votes in 15 hours. Here goes…
“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.”
This is a fairly boilerplate response from a AAA publisher looking to paper over the cracks without causing offence, but that first line, in particular, is just a kick in the guts for fans. I don’t think there’s any sense of pride nor accomplishment through unlocking something merely through time played. Especially not when someone can just drop a load of cash and buy these Heroes outright from day one. This is totally disrespecting the player’s time, money and intelligence.
If you want to see things get even grimmer, put your wellies on and then try this for size. When EA invited reviewers to come play Star Wars Battlefront 2 during a review event, the cost of buying Heroes was artificially lowered, making it easier to amass enough credits to get the unlocks. Luke Skywalker costs 60,000 Credits in the consumer version, and 10,000 Credits in the press copy, for example. This may mean the high costs of Heroes may not be reflected in the first reviews.
That is a genuinely worrying occurrence. If the reviews aren't accurately reflecting the finished product, what purpose are they serving? This isn't necessarily down to the press outlets, but it's certainly a misdirection from EA.
What are your thoughts on all this? Have you cancelled your Star Wars Battlefront 2 pre-order in recent weeks? Has EA overstepped the line here? Let us know!