Electronic Arts found themselves in the crosshairs again with the imminent release of Star Wars Battlefront 2. Reviewers and players with access to the trial period (through EA Access) have discovered that the highly anticipated multiplayer shooter had a major problem with unlockable content. After a big controversy, EA has made the change to reduce hero costs by a whopping 75%.
It was calculated and confirmed that heroes like Darth Vader would take approximately 40 hours of dedicated play time to earn through in-game credits. That didn’t exactly sit well with fans, who took to the internet and social media to voice their displeasure. Some of it was constructive criticism (good) while others systematically harassed Battlefront’s game developers (bad).
An official EA reddit account defended the high cost of unlockables, which resulted in the most downvoted reddit post in history (currently sitting at -665k votes).
“The intent is to provide players with a sense of pride and accomplishment for unlocking different heroes,” states EACommunityTeam. “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.”
Adjustments have been made, and they’re nothing short of astonishing. In a blog post by DICE executive producer John Wasilczyk, he revealed that they reduced the cost of unlocking the top heroes, Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader by 75%, from 60,000 credits to 15,000 credits. Other heroes like Leia and Chewbaca have also been reduced.
“Today we’re making a substantial change based on what we’ve seen during the Play First trial,” writes Wasilczyk. “There’s been a lot of discussion around the amount of in-game credits (and time) it takes to unlock some of our heroes, especially Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. Unlocking a hero is a great accomplishment in the game, something we want players to have fun earning. We used data from the beta to help set those levels, but it’s clear that more changes were needed. Based on what we’ve seen in the trial, this amount will make earning these heroes an achievement, but one that will be accessible for all players.”
The update has gone live today, causing many early reviews to be taken down and re-evaluated based on this newly tuned progression system.
Obviously the high cost of unlocking heroes was an incentive for people to pay real money to speed up the process. Considering Star Wars Battlefront 2 is a full $60 game, this feels especially scummy. As the industry hurdles towards the concept of AAA Games-as-a-Service and random loot boxes you can purchase with real money, hopefully publishers can strike a more appropriate balance. As always the best criticism you can give is voting with your wallet.
Star Wars Battlefront 2 releases on November 17 for PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.