Star Wars Battlefront 2's loot crate saga rumbles on. Battlefront 2 has just gone live around the world and EA and DICE have sensationally deactivated in-game purchases at the last second due to fan backlash. Before you get out the bunting and have a party though, this is just a temporary move and the ability to purchase Crystals in-game via microtransactions will become available at a later date.
“As we approach the worldwide launch, it's clear that many of you feel there are still challenges in the design,” says DICE’s general manager, Oskar Gabrielson. “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."
Fundamentally, the only change here is the removal of pay to win. It’s also just a temporary change, and paid microtransactions will return at a later date. What we’ve now ended up with on launch day is an entire AAA online shooter balanced around loot crates and microtransactions that has now been stripped of in-game purchases. That’s just bizarre - the fundamental grind wall remains, except now there’s no way around it.
As it currently stands then, all unlocks are now earned from gameplay rather than MTX purchases. I wouldn’t be so hasty to call this a victory just yet though, nothing’s actually been achieved until permanent changes are implemented, while the cynic in me suspects it was pressure from Disney that ultimately led to this stop-gap fix. This controversy is being reported in mainstream news outlets around the world and it’s surely not doing the pristine image of the Star Wars brand any good.
UPDATE: 13:10 Nov-17-2017 - VentureBeat is reporting that EA chief executive officer Andrew Wilson had a phone call directly from Disney CEO Bob Iger yesterday evening, ultimately leading to this change being implemented. Evidently, Disney isn't pleased with the damage Battlefront 2 may be doing to its brand. Boy, would I love to hear that phone call though.