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A Surprise, To Be Sure, But a Welcome One

Michael Bitton Posted:
Columns Not So MMO 0

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the microtransactions brouhaha surrounding Star Wars: Battlefront II and its gameplay affecting loot crates. There were plenty of discussions out there in the press and on YouTube on how bad things were, but I wanted to offer a different take, and to urge gamers to wait to learn more about how the system will be implemented at launch before damning an otherwise good game to oblivion.

Since that piece went live, EA has come out with two separate announcements detailing its revised progression plans for SWBF2, making many of these changes in direct response to all the criticism. To borrow a line from Senator Palpatine, the changes were, “A surprise, to be sure, but a welcome one.” I expected there to be some changes, but I didn’t expect EA to walk things back as much as it has.

The result is a system that appears to be a middle ground between traditional Battlefield style progression and the loot crate progression we saw in the beta. You’ll still find upgrades in crates, but Epic rarity Star Cards will not be included; crafting parts will be required to acquire those. Crafting parts can be found through drops in crates, from duplicates, and you’ll even be able to scrap upgrades in your collection for extra parts (woot!). Upgrades will also be gated by level, so you won’t be able to just buy a bunch of crates, get crafting parts, and rush the best upgrades. Some weapons will be available in crates, but you’ll primarily need to rank up to earn weapons for your class of choice. We’ll need more information on that one to thoroughly evaluate it. DICE will also be doling out class-specific crates as you progress through a particular class to help your progress along.

I feel that the system sounds a bit more confusing overall, but it moves a great deal closer to what most people are likely to find acceptable. Personally, I thought the foundation of the original implementation offered some unique flexibility that will now be lost due to these changes, but I can more than live with it. I liked the idea of being able to spend my crafting parts and credits on whatever I wanted, no matter what I was playing. Now, if I want to level up my Assault class, I won’t be able to do it while playing Heroes vs. Villains or Starfighter Assault, and that’s a shame. I’m also wary that we’ll be seeing assignments/Hutt Contracts come back as a means of unlocking specific upgrades or weapons. Most people are probably fine with this, especially if the alternative is loot crate RNG, but I’ve found many of these assignments to be prohibitively annoying, so I would’ve preferred the flexibility to just craft whatever I wanted. I like to keep things simple.

For everyone else without my specific hang-ups, though? We’ll still need to see the smaller details when the game launches, but these changes should hopefully address most gamers’ concerns. Progression is mostly time and play gated now and I’m honestly not seeing a whole lot of reasons for people wanting to spend real money on crates if the best stuff won’t even be in them.  Sure, someone could achieve the required rank for something and buy a bunch of boxes to brute force the parts needed to craft an Epic or other upgrades, but at that point they’ve already put in the time to get there, so it doesn’t really bug me as much. If nothing else, this new system certainly deals with concerns about day one players just buying their way to power and instantly crushing everyone, and that’s a relief.

What’s your take on all the changes? Do you think EA has done enough here to allay your concerns? Or are you taking a wait-and-see approach?







Michael Bitton

Michael Bitton / Michael began his career at the WarCry Network in 2005 as the site manager for several different WarCry fansite portals. In 2008, Michael worked for the startup magazine Massive Gamer as a columnist and online news editor. In June of 2009, Michael joined MMORPG.com as the site's Community Manager. Follow him on Twitter @eMikeB