The new release of “Star Wars Battlefront II” is meeting the worst reaction to any videogame release the Internet has ever seen.
The game is now available to play for some players even though launch is not until November 17. A Reddit user who was furious about in-game purchases necessary to use basic components of the game left a public complaint. He talked about how he bought the deluxe edition, only to have the main character locked.
He’s upset about game developer EA’s “micro-transaction” tendencies that make it so players either have to spend a disgusting number of hours in game, or spend (a lot of) hard-earned cash on getting the things that should be included.
EA responded with:
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 comment met an incredible Reddit response of pure, unadulterated hatred. The comment currently has more than 643,000 downvotes, making it the most downvoted comment in the history of Reddit. All of the comments in response to EA are in the same spirit.
Buying or Playing One’s Way to Superiority
The issue is that players need credits to purchase main characters such as Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker. These credits can be obtained through intense gameplay, apparently 40 hours’ worth for one character. That’s not two days of casual playing. That is one week of playing full-time, or about month if you play only a few hours a day. That is for one character, a main character no less, and there are plenty of other items players would want to spend those credits on. Or you can purchase these things with real money.
This means players can either spend countless hours unlocking a main character that many believe should have been unlocked in the first place, or simply buy the characters, on top of purchasing the game, which is $59.99 for the standard and $79.99 for deluxe edition. Players also have to buy “loot boxes” to get some weapons and other items, which are randomized so players only have a low likelihood of getting the really good items. They may need to purchase 10, 20, 50, or more to get some of the items they want.
This makes it harder for those who are unable to buy their way to superiority, making the game less about the skill and more about the wallet size. Some players are in disbelief about just how much EA has made this game about money, and others online boast “We knew they were going to botch it like this all along.”
Tension Between High Quality and Acceptable Price Points
Although videogames are only becoming more and more expensive to create, developers can only charge so much for a game because players are used to price points lower than the increasing costs of high-quality game development. Video game prices have not kept up with inflation, because video game players’ expectations haven’t, either. If the game came out at $100 instead of $60, it may help cover the cost of the game, but then fewer people would buy the game.
So, to have people already invest in the game, then coax them into buying more things in-game, EA theoretically would end up with more people buying the game then some spending the extra money to have an edge. However, the ratio for “how much time you can spend on the game” to “how much money you can spend on the game” for the same result is incredibly geared toward buying one’s way to superiority, which takes away from the fun of the game and makes people not want to play it anyway.
Many responses talk about how this could be easily fixed by cutting the time needed to unlock characters from 40 to 10 hours. EA could leave main characters unlocked and instead require money or play time to unlock side characters, which are obviously still loved, but not pivotal to the main game. This would mean people could still have to work in-game for some of the things they want, while still having a chance to get everything they need without shelling out wads of cash.
The overwhelming response to return the game and get the money back might give EA the push they need to actually make changes. Hopefully then people will flock back to the visual masterpiece that is “Star Wars Battlefront II.”