EA Backtracking Following Fan Outrage
The gloves are well and truly off as EA announced they are cutting the cost of unlocking some of its characters in games. The change comes after a wave of backlash from fans of the series who are against the monetization direction the series is edging towards.
Battlefront 2 is the second game in the series and things seemed to be going swimmingly until fans learned of the amount of effort needed to unlock iconic characters like Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. To unlock them players would either need to spend a crazy amount of time in the game or as EA would prefer it, pay for the privilege or unlock them instantly.
EA has since very quickly changed their stance on unlocking heroes by reducing the in-game cost by 75%, effective immediately. It almost makes you wonder if they could reduce it that much with the flick of a button, what on earth were they thinking in the first place?
Whichever way you look at it, EA tried to play the pay-to-win card here but thanks to very loud and passionate community things changed very quickly. In a recent blog post, John Wasilcyzk, Executive Producer at developer DICE addressed fans concerns stating “Since the start of the project, listening to fans has been important in making sure Star Wars Battlefront II is the very best experience for all of you.”
He continued saying “We continue to make adjustments based on your feedback as the game launches worldwide this week. We want to ensure the game is balanced and fun both today and for years into the future. Making games great comes from regular tuning. As one example, today we’re making a substantial change based on what we’ve seen during the Play First trial. There’s been a lot of discussion around a number 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 to all players. It’s a big change, and it’s one we can make quickly. It will be live today, with an update that is getting loaded into the game.”
Star Wars Battlefront 2 is due to officially release later this week, but EA Access subscribers can play the game now, which is why this news has become so prominent. The source of this ferocious community backlash can be traced back to a Reddit post by the official EA community account called EACommunityTeam. The post from EA has gone down in history as it received the most down votes on a Reddit post ever, the current score being around -294,000.
The Battlefront community raised many issues regarding the new title, but the main point of criticism came when a few players discovered the cost or time it took to unlock their favorite heroes in the game. If we take Darth Vader as an example, he would have originally cost players 60,000 in-game credits to unlock. This has been reduced to 15,000 now, but when you consider players only receive a few hundred after each match you’re looking at a huge time commitment to unlock just one character. It pays walls like these, which is helping to turn the industry into something none of us want.
Many Reddit users were of a similar mind and so the outrage ensued with some even labeling the practice as “disgusting.” Responding to these comments the EACommunityTeam stated “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.”
In another comment, they continued addressing concerns saying “Our goal involves creating a compelling progression path for all of our players. There’s a lot of content at launch with even more coming via live service, and we’ll continuously adjust our progression mechanics to give players a sense of accomplishment as they explore all of Battlefront 2.”
“I posted this in another thread, but feel it would be good to post here as well. Heroes earned through Credits: The intent is to provide players with a sense of pride and accomplishment for unlocking different heroes. 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 Credits Earned. “
“We’re looking at the results daily and will be continuing to tune this to ensure that players feel a meaningful sense of reward for the time they spend with Battlefront 2.We appreciate the conversation here, and our team is working to make the best choices possible for the game and the players. We will provide more details and updates as we can”
It looks like whatever the community did has worked has EA have now reduced the cost of unlocking heroes, but this is a little too late for some fans. It’s likely that sales will take a dip from this, but by how much remains to be seen.