Star Wars Battlefront II has officially released worldwide but not without having to deal with severe backlash for its controversial pay-to-win model.
The past week in particular was flooded with negativity surrounding the progression system and how it is designed to promote microtransactions in a brutal manner. The overwhelming criticisms finally forced Electronic Arts (EA) to make surprising changes in the last hours leading up to the release. However, the community is still sitting on the fence in regard to what the publishing-giant has in mind for the coming months.
For those who joined the heated debates midway, here is a brief timeline for how the events unfolded for Star Wars Battlefront II.
It was during the beta events last month when players experienced the progression system for the first time. Everyone was quick to notice how the built-in microtransactions included gameplay-affecting elements. EA addressed the concerns by stating that the beta did not feature the complete system and the final version would be more balanced.
The backlash continued to grow in severity. EA stepped forward to assure that DICE has done an incredible job in designing a balanced progression system that does not exploit players. The publisher specifically pointed out that the game awards those who want to continue playing for free.
A former developer from BioWare candidly shared that most of the people working on Star Wars Battlefront II are “useless” and were also involved with the disappointing Mass Effect Andromeda installment.
After Visceral Games was shut down and its in-development Star Wars game cancelled, reports began surfacing that EA had to scrap the project because it wanted the focus on multiplayer and not linear story-telling.
Considering the situation with Star Wars Battlefront II, the community connected the dots that the publisher was only interested in a multiplayer game because it wanted microtransactions. EA claimed otherwise.
EA finally took into account feedback by adjusting Crates (loot boxes) for a balanced playing field so that players can no longer earn powerful Star Cards through real-world currency.
The publisher began a new round of assurances by pointing out that there are other ways to progress in the game. However, it also continued to defend the system by noting the “necessity” of having loot boxes in a game. More promises for balancing Crates were made.
Someone from the community calculated that it would take roughly 40 hours of gameplay to grind a single hero worth 60,000 Credits (in-game currency). In addition, an individual with a fairly accurate past of leaks revealed that future post-release heroes would be more expensive. Hence, players would have to invest even more hours in grinding.
There was more outcry on how EA is forcing a pay-to-win progression model. The publisher attempted to calm the storm by stating that the grinding aspect is designed to “provide players with a sense of pride and accomplishment for unlocking different heroes.” The statement went down as the most down-voted comment in the history of Reddit.
Star Wars Battlefront II was, at this point, being blasted left and right in all corners of the internet. DICE eventually caved in to lower the prices of the heroes. It was discovered soon after that players can only earn a limited amount of Credits from the Arcade mode, further fueling the pay-to-win controversy.
It also did not help matters that the option to refund the game was rumored to have been taken away. The situation over the loot boxes further escalated when a supposed developer of the game claimed to have started receiving death threats.
Sudden promotions in the internal ranks gave Star Wars Battlefront II a new design director who promised to look into the progression and currency system. This was followed by an infamous Reddit AMA that made more, more, and more empty promises for betterment.
Star Wars Battlefront II was now officially a new meme. Besides frustrated fans, many developers took advantage of the situation by poking fun at EA. In response, the company talked about how it wished Battlefield 4 had deeper microtransactions for better revenue figures.
Another round of maths was done to verify that it will take 4,528 hours or $2,100 to unlock all content in the game. DICE expressed sadness over the negativity as Star Wars Battlefront II became part of a gambling investigation.
It also came to light that the developer who previously claimed to have received death threats was faking all this time.
Hours before the official launch, EA temporarily disabled all in-game purchases in the hopes of ending the controversy surrounding the loot boxes. This was reportedly due to Disney stepping in after seeing the Star Wars brand being pummeled in the news over gambling accusations.
EA assured investors that the removal of microtransactions from the game will not affect future earnings. It previously expected to sell around 14 million copies before March 2018.