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EA’s Star Wars Battlefront II: Revenge of Reddit

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The latest addition to the New Star Wars Battlefront videogame franchise is due to hit shelves soon, with some players already having a taste of the gameplay thanks to early access and pre-orders. Aside from being a notorious serial killer of beloved games developers, the games publisher Electronic Arts (EA) has once again found itself at the epicentre of a tirade of negative publicity. The game’s developer DICE, have also took a bettering from fans and the media for being complicit in EA’s plans, but it has managed to hide behind EA in this instance as much of the backlash is being directed at them. Unfortunately, for RA, there is no escaping the spotlight as the story has garnered so much attention worldwide, thanks to Reddit. EA responded to some negative feedback on the social media platform, and their response has now become the most unpopular comment in the history of the site.

Much of the backlash is in response to the “loot crate” and Microtransactions systems that has been implemented into the games rewards mechanics. Micro transaction are a large part of Free to play mobile games, but many companies have started using micro transactions for PC and console games, much to the dismay of many players. The main disagreement is that customers are already paying £49.99-£69.99 to purchase the game and feel that even after paying full price, they are not being offered a complete game.

The players must unlock features such as upgrades, characters and weapons by earning in game credits to purchase these in game rewards, and star cards (which can also be upgraded) which can provide additional benefits such as abilities. Credits and star cards are awarded as players complete achievements or progress through the game and can be found in loot boxes, which the players also receive as they progress through the game, although their contents are random. However, many players took to Reddit claiming that the amount of time it would take to unlock many features is unreasonable – such as one user who claimed that even though they had Paid $80 for the game that it would take 40 hours of normal play just to unlock Darth Vader – one of the central characters of the franchise. Players can also achieve the necessary credits for upgrades, weapons and characters by purchasing in additional game Loot boxes with real money, which has led many to label the game as a pay to win platform.

Another user pointed out that it would take over 4000 hours or around $2100 of in game purchases in order to unlock everything in the game. EA decided to respond to the criticism on Reddit, stating that “The intent is to provide players with a sense of pride and accomplishment for unlocking different heroes” They also added, “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”

Many people immediately responded, suggesting that this was not the reason at all, and that it is simply greed on EA’s part, as the game also has other paid downloadable content such as a Season pass. The comment has since become easily the most downvoted in Reddit history, receiving over 650,000 downvotes, and has led to multiple other threads calling for a boycott of the game. The down voting does appear to have been accelerated by bots, but other comments decrying EA have received legitimate upvotes in the tens of thousands in the space of a few hours.

Many people took to EA’s website to cancel their pre-orders, which led to EA removing the Button to refund/cancellation button, forcing people to have to wait in a queue to cancel over the phone. They also responded by slashing the cost of Heroes in game, but some sceptical users have pointed out have also reduced the amount of credits that players receive can receive as a rewards and that EA have set a cap for the number of credits that a player can earn each day. The interpretation of these events has also split the community, as some believe this is a great example of how consumer power can change things, while others believe that EA will still make their money as people will still buy the game and very little has changed.

EA will be hosting an AMA (ask me anything) to respond to the backlash and attempt to gain back some favour, but have also stated that they will cancel the event if they feel they are getting too much abuse from fans. As it stands, the bookies favourite is for the AMA to last 5 minutes before EA is forced to shut it down.
Recent Comments
Fascinating Dave, I feel you've saved me at least 2000 hours of gameplay whilst keeping me up to speed with the politics :-)
Lud Michalek, 25/05/18
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