There was a large amount of goodwill built up on the announcement of the Star Wars Battlefront sequel. EA seemed to have listened to our concerns and gripes about the previous entry into the franchise.
We finally got a much asked for single-player campaign (which makes ex-executive Peter Moore’s quote before the release of the first game, “Very few people actually play the single-player on these kinds of games”, look especially stupid ). We received the much-requested space battles and we even got the prequel trilogy thrown in for good measure.
Add in some stellar looking gameplay footage, an announcement of free DLC maps as to not split the player base and it appeared EA had shed their reptilian skin and become the big cuddly player base first company we always wanted them to be.
HA, who am I kidding?!
EA put their foot in it again and added a microtransaction system to the gameplay.
(see video below for detailed explanation – however, do bear in mind this is content sponsored by EA and has a large amount of bias towards them and their microtransaction system).
Taking inspiration from Overwatch’s loot boxes, Battlefront 2’s ‘crates’ will have a randomised box of goodies. However, unlike the generally positively viewed Overwatch loot boxes, these crates WILL affect gameplay and are linked with the Star Card system of the previous entry. These crates can be earned through playing the game but, unsurprisingly, are also available for a certain price.
What makes it worse is that items now have a ranked rarity attached to them, designating their quality (see below). So, for example, a common Assault training card, which gives you a certain amount of health per kill, may only give you 20 health, whereas an epic card will give you 25 health, and so on until the final legendary card.
This essentially means the more you buy, the superior cards you can get and the higher chance you have of defeating your opponent. And in their endless generosity, EA has been so kind as to add in a ‘rare crate’ filled with only ‘rare’ items for an increased price.
Make no mistake, this is pay to win. Instead of the skill based Star Card progression system of Battlefront 1 (Yes, this is what it’s come to, I am using Battlefront as a comparison for superior gameplay balancing), the system is now based on chance and mere luck. This is gambling brought into gaming, with the more ‘crates’ offering increased chances at a lucky draw. The game will be unbalanced and split into the haves and have-nots and, for me, enjoyable gameplay is not getting killed by some 11-year old who has purchased all the legendary star cards with his mum’s credit card.
Listen, maybe I’m being dramatic. After all, it is optional and I can always choose not to buy a crate. But, away from a moral, financial and enjoyment standpoint and towards a business/consumer focussed one, I guarantee the unfairness of the game’s balancing system will hurt the player base.
In multiplayer games, loyalty should be rewarded. There are lots of established multiplayer shooters out there and the last thing you want is to alienate your biggest fans of the game with this system. They will leave. And, without any sort of competitiveness, I guarantee those people who bought the crates and want instant satisfaction will not stick around for too long either. Leaving your player base dead in the water.
It happened with the unbalanced mess that was the first Battlefront and, unless they change their microtransaction system, it will happen again.
This is just my opinion, however, if you have a different one or would like to start a discussion then please comment below and remember to join us and become the force!
Writer and Web Developer
Robert Cheung, currently a Web Designer, Writer and Content Creator for The Church of Jediism.