EA and DICE remind gamers that Battlefront II's beta is just that--a beta, and nothing is permanent or set in stone, including microtransactions and lootbox mechanics.
One of the best things about online service-based games like Destiny, Rainbow Six: Siege, World of Warcraft, Overwatch, and now the new Star Wars: Battlefront II is that the game evolves considerably over time. Armed with feedback and a core vision, developers can continually tweak, shape, and overhaul their creations to ensure the games not only expand, but are fun to play and please their audience. The principal point of funding for service games, however, are the dreaded microtransactions--randomized loot boxes in particular are great sources of revenue for these business models. But at the same time these games typically don't change too much from their point of origin (unless they're disastrously unsuccessful), especially when the games have extremely engaging and addictive layers of gameplay like Battlefront II does.
In a recent update, EA and DICE affirm players that Battlefront II will not ever be frozen in stasis, and will change to the whims of the playerbase (within reason, of course: EA isn't about to kill off its main point of recurring revenue streams just because gamers hate lootboxes). The company also clarified a few things to players, who have been bombarded with half-truths and somewhat incomplete information.
"Like everything else, we will be continually making necessary changes to ensure the game is fun for everyone," the post reads. "We will work to make sure the system is balanced both for players who want to earn everything, as well as for players who are short on time and would like to move faster in their progress towards various rewards."
"And you, our community, will play a big role in the evolution of the game. Whether it's comments on our forums or posts over social media, we're listening. Your feedback makes a difference, and your passion is what keeps us creating."
- There are many things you can earn in the game, including weapons, attachments, credits, Star Cards, Emotes, Outfits and Victory Poses.
- As a balance goal, we're working towards having the most powerful items in the game only earnable via in-game achievements.
- Crates will include a mix of of Star Cards, Outfits, Emotes or Victory Poses.
- Players earn crates by completing challenges and other gameplay milestones, or by purchasing them with in-game credits or Crystals, our premium currency.
- If you get a duplicate Star Card in a crate, you will get crafting parts which you can then use to help upgrade the Star Card of your choice.
- And lastly, you have to earn the right to be able to upgrade Star Cards and unlock most Weapons. You can only upgrade or unlock them if you have reached a high enough rank, which is determined by playing the game.
Remember, everything we requested EA make in Battlefront II costs money. A new fully-fledged singleplayer campaign costs money. Adding in tons of new content, modes, characters, and most of all, nixing season passes, are the main concepts responsible for the addictive layered progression system that's gated behind lootboxes--monetized or otherwise earned with in-game credits.
Endnote on microtransactions and publisher hate
As an addendum to this post, I'd like to implore readers, gamers, and consumers not to blindly hate games publishers based on lootboxes. I'd like to engage the community and discuss the matter and inform everyone why these business models are so popular, what it means for the future of the games industry, and how these models can be extremely beneficial not only for the industry but for the game experiences that power it. I've seen nothing but a flood of outright hate for WB Games and Electronic Arts that's instigated by half-truths and incomplete information, so if you're ever curious why these models are used or need more info on the subject, feel free to reach out to me in the comments or on Twitter.
And as always, remember that there's more to the story than we'll ever know. The video games industry is very very secretive, and more transparency would go great lengths to shed light on these business practices. But at the same time we as consumers, gamers, and critics have to be willing to listen and seek that information--not just watch a YouTube video and hate a publisher.
A third thing to remember: it's not publishers who suffer for this kind of stuff, it's the developers. EA didn't suffer from ME Andromeda -- BioWare Montreal crumbled. WB Games isn't suffering from the controversy behind Shadow of War, it's Monolith who are caught in the crosshairs and continually asked "why did you do this?".
By all means levy your criticism on a publisher for things you don't like, or find repulsive. But make sure you're fully informed about what it is you're angry about.
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