It should be no secret by now that Star Wars Battlefront 2 has been on the receiving end of one PR broadside after another, with plenty of forums and websites gleefully pouring gas onto the fire that is the game’s reputation. Even before the game was officially released, quite a number of people were displeased with the game’s microtransactions and their potential effect on the gameplay, and things certainly weren’t improved when it was revealed that some of the most memorable characters of Star Wars would be locked behind a “40 hour grind.” Needless to say, Battlefront 2’s publisher, Electronic Arts, is not being viewed in a positive light right now.
In all fairness though, EA did adjust some aspects of Star Wars Battlefront 2 rather quickly based on the criticism that the game received. Microtransactions were temporarily disabled, character unlock costs were adjusted so that you don’t actually have to play the game for 40 hours to get your hands on Darth Vader, and the most powerful weapons in the game can only be obtained by actually playing the game. Unfortunately, some aspects of Battlefront 2 still require some tweaking, mostly in regards to balancing and the rewards/grinding/progression system, but at least the game is a little more tolerable than what it would’ve been had no changes been implemented.
Evidently, such relatively small changes are not enough to satisfy the (in this case, rather reasonable) demands of critics. If EA wants Star Wars Battlefront 2 to thrive, they would have to unconditionally remove perks from the loot box pool and make them obtainable via a reasonable progression system. No one bought Battlefront 2 to grind for loot, and no one will ever say that tying class progression to random loot box rewards feels fun and exciting. Speaking of grinding, there is no reason why any of the heroes or villains in the game should be locked behind any kind of grind at all.
In an ideal world, EA would turn Star Wars Battlefront 2 into a game that people could enjoy without feeling pressured to grind for rewards, keep their promise of free DLC, and support the game with regular content and balancing updates free of charge. Realistically, there is almost no way that this will happen because EA is obligated to make money for its shareholders, and the most surefire way to do that is to exploit people with loot boxes. However, there is no reason for there not to be a middle ground because, as it turns out, consumers can understand that game development costs are expensive; there is no need to treat them like cattle when treating them with respect can prove to be far more profitable in the long run. It’s even possible that people would be willing to pay $80 as the base cost for games as long as they feel like they aren’t being ripped off by some shady microtransaction mechanics or pre-order shenanigans, but once again, it requires both sides to trust each other. EA had a golden opportunity to change everything, thanks in part to the high-profile nature of the Star Wars brand, but it was squandered in the name of greed.
After all, no one is demanding that Star Wars Battlefront 2 should have no microtransactions whatsoever. In fact, many have suggested that because the Star Wars universe is so expansive, there is almost no limit to how many cosmetics that can be sold. Camouflage patterns, cosmetic armor pieces, voice packs, skin packs for heroes and villains, vehicle markings, uniform variations, and so much more could be stuffed into loot boxes, and people would actually pay for them because people love to play dress up. Sure, it’s a bit more work because all these things have to be put into the game, but people have already been conditioned to such things; EA doesn’t have to convince people that buying a loot box or a skin pack will fund future content because years of microtransactions have already done the hard work for them. If EA wanted to cash in on loot boxes, they had a tried and true way to implement them into the game, but for one reason or another, they decided to try and reinvent the wheel by making it a rectangle.
In a rather roundabout sort of way, the Star Wars Battlefront 2 debacle proved that consumers and companies can work together to create a better product to the benefit of all. Had EA been more willing to work with their intended audience and less zealous about pleasing stockholders, perhaps the entire situation could’ve been avoided, but that is not the case. EA absolutely deserves the brunt of the blame for Battlefront 2’s messy release, and one can only hope that, despite the hostility, they can work together with the game’s community to try and make the game the best that it can be. At the end of the day, no one sets out to hate any specific company, but when EA refuses to come to the negotiating table or outright refuses to acknowledge that such a table exists, then it should be no surprise that everyone sees them as the epitome of all that is wrong in the gaming industry.More About This Game