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I just wanted to wrap up this series with a few last thoughts.

As mentioned earlier, I’m not playing Star Wars Battlefront 2 heavily yet since I have so many other gaming irons in the fire. I’ve been doing 1-3 matches each night and a match takes maybe 10-15 minutes. Last night I had enough credits to unlock one of the two most expensive hero units (Vader and Luke Skywalker are both 15,000 credits while Leia is only 10K –where’s the outrage over that? Why are the men more valuable!?). Now it turns out I did splash out for the “Deluxe” edition and when I first started playing I wasn’t paying much attention to what crates I was given. Maybe, I thought, I had a huge jump on other players because of the Deluxe edition.

The good news is that over on the Xbox, I have EA Access, which offers a free trial of new games, including Star Wars Battlefront 2. So I decided to start over. This was the standard edition. I got 3 loot boxes on first login. One was the Daily Loot Box (they give you a free one every day though in truth the rewards inside are pretty minor). Another was apparently for signing up for a newsletter? It was called something like “The Newsletter Crate” anyway. No idea why I got that. And the third was a “Founder’s Crate” and I have no idea why I got that one either.

I played one match of the MP dogfighting mode. I had zero unlocks for my ship so I was flying completely “vanilla” and, here’s a shocker, I still had a blast playing. The dogfighting in this game is challenging but SO fun. When I was done I had something like 3500 credits. That was from the crates I got at first log in, credits from playing the match (something like 300 for that) and credits for various “rewards” I got for playing (you unlock a lot of rewards at first because you get rewarded for stuff like “Playing your first match” or “Winning your first match” and my side had won the match).

In retrospect I think the Deluxe version did give me a boost of a couple thousand credits, so without having gone Deluxe I might have to play another night before I could unlock Vader (that or play more than just a few matches each night). It still is nowhere near what the haters are saying (somehow “40 hours to unlock a hero” has become an accepted fact even though it is objectively very much false).

My last point is this. I wonder about gamers who have spouses, young kids and demanding jobs and who can maybe only squeeze in an hour of play a couple times a week, but who LOVE Star Wars so want to play. These people probably aren’t parked on Reddit spewing outrage. I wonder if they might have LIKED the idea of skipping Starbucks on their ‘gaming day’ so they could spend a few bucks and open some crates, just to speed up the unlock process. Conversely I wonder how the “no pay to win!” set would react to a mode of the game where everyone uses identical gear. In other words, the person who plays an hour a day has the same gear as the person who spends 50 hours a week playing. I suspect some of them would be outraged about that. Being at an advantage because you have more free time to play seems OK (remember, you don’t have to be skilled to earn credits, you just have to show up – you could go AFK and still earn credits), but being at an advantage because you’re gainfully employed and can spend a few bucks here and there is not.

OK I’m done. If I write anything else about this game, it’ll be about the game, not the outrage. I still haven’t started the campaign because Aloy needs me to guide her through The Frozen Wilds. The MP stuff has been a complete blast, though, for me. I’m coming at it from a Star Wars nerd point of view, though. If you want to know if it is a great shooter you should ask someone who plays a lot of competitive shooters.



Comments:
6
  • They dropped the number of credits necessary to unlock Vader and the rest by a significant amount because of the outrage. The other problem is that just because you could buy Vader earlier than normal, doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea – those credits could have been used to buy normal loot crates to support the 95% of the time you spend in non-Vader gameplay.

    The bottom line is that a crate-based progression system is terrible, originally having cash-based bypasses is even worse, and the Luke/Vader nonsense was just a cherry on top. They were very clearly trying to cater to the whales who would drop $100 on crates on top of the $60 box in order to stomp everyone else for weeks. That sort of design is incredibly pernicious, and if allowed to flower, would spread to all of our games.

    • Yes, they dropped the price of heroes before launch, but people are still saying it is the case now. These aren’t past discussions, these were discussions I was involved in yesterday. If you try to correct the out-of-date information, you get downvoted because you’re off-message.

      Other shooters have crate based systems. Halo 5 is an example I have first hand experience with. Req packs and you could buy them for real money. No one seemed to care.

      And of course they are catering to whales. It’s thanks to whales we don’t have to buy a season pass.

      A whale spending $100 on crates would not be able to stomp all over everyone else because of the crates. Again, you’re assuming buying a crate is like getting god mod or something. Or you’re engaging in a bit of truth-obfuscating hyperbole.

      Even if it was true, there’s always going to be someone better than you, whether it is because they supported on-going development of the game, or because they live in their mom’s basement and play 8 hours a day, or just because they’re naturally a better gamer. Online gaming is never going to be an even playing ground. That’s what match making is suppose to solve, though it rarely does.

      Look, I’m not suggesting everyone should go out and buy the game. If you’re against the way they’ve structured it, by all means vote with your wallet. That’s how capitalism should work. If “everyone” REALLY hates this, the game won’t sell.

      My issue is more with people who are doing everything they can to shout down anyone who has something good to say about the game; the hive mentality in such full force you can’t have a discussion on any kind of slightly popular public forum at this point.

      • Other shooters have crate based systems. Halo 5 is an example I have first hand experience with. Req packs and you could buy them for real money. No one seemed to care.

        Plenty of people cared… in 2015. Looking back, it seems as though the crates were only applicable to one gametype (Warzones) of several, so it was possible to avoid worrying about it. That’s fundamentally different from one’s entire progression system in all aspect of multiplayer being tied to loot boxes, ala SWBF2.

        A whale spending $100 on crates would not be able to stomp all over everyone else because of the crates.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1GynsazTkww

        It doesn’t take much to knock the balance of power over in a competitive shooter – or an arcade shooter, in this case. If you’re dealing 10% more damage in a dogfight, or have 40% more HP, or it takes 200% longer to get a missile lock-on, you’re winning every otherwise 50/50 encounter. The same applies to standard trooper upgrades, in which you will be able to survive just a bit more, which gives you more points, which will let you come in as a hero unit faster, and own face with some of the hero upgrades. They do still have the Boba Fett “become immune to damage” Star Card, right? Big difference between 50% less damage (Rank 1) and full immunity (Rank 4).

        Even if it was true, there’s always going to be someone better than you, whether it is because they supported on-going development of the game, or because they live in their mom’s basement and play 8 hours a day, or just because they’re naturally a better gamer.

        One of those isn’t like the others. Probably the one in which, you know, someone paid money for an advantage.

        My issue is more with people who are doing everything they can to shout down anyone who has something good to say about the game; the hive mentality in such full force you can’t have a discussion on any kind of slightly popular public forum at this point.

        Money is speech, which is why just passively protesting the game would have zero effect; all it takes is a handful of whales to wipe out any particular sort of boycott.

        And really, that’s also a big reason for a lot of this passion. I played the SWBF2 beta, and it was fun. Not Battlefield 3/4 fun, but close, and I hate playing BF1 so this game would have sufficed as a substitute until the next Battlefield. But now I’m stuck with the reality of a fully loot box-based progression system, and a company that was – until literally hours before the official release – completely fine with P2W. When they turn the microtransactions back on, will it be P2W again? I don’t know. And I don’t feel like supporting a company which thought it was ever fine. So here I sit, choosing to deny myself an entertaining experience to make a point, while all those who benefit from my stand ponder EA apologia inbetween matches.

        • We are never going to get in the neighborhood of agreeing on this.

          If I give you $100,000 so you can quit your job for a year and devote yourself to playing a game full time, how is that not pay to win? Silly example, I know. But time = Money, Money = Time. Paying cash for an advantage or having the luxury to be able to spend significantly more time playing… either way one person has something others don’t. There’s zero difference in my mind. For that matter, on PC the person who can afford the rig to run at the best frame rate and has the fastest internet connection has paid to win over the person who has a modest PC and lives somewhere that broadband is still very slow. There’s dozens of ways one player has an advantage over another.

          My experience, based on actual gameplay, is that if there’s one pattern of who kills me more often, it isn’t the person with Epic Cards equipped (you can see what your killer has equipped in the post-death screen), it’s the person who is level 20 when I’m level 4. That person has simply put in a lot more time than I have, leading to the player becoming more skilled/knowledgeable. That’s a much bigger benefit than Star Cards (which, let’s not forget, you can get without spending cash anyway — and BTW the level 4 cards weren’t available via $$, you had to earn them) are going to give you. Another great advantage? Play with a few friends and coordinate via voice chat. Like I said, there are many ways one player could have an advantage over another and I don’t see why spending $$ is any worse than the others, particularly when it comes with the advantage of ALL players getting free add-on content over the life of the game.

          All I know is that next month Destiny 2’s first expansion comes out and it’ll cost me $20 or whatever. I would have much preferred that Bungie sold loot crates so I could get that content for free. (Just to be clear, I personally am NEVER going to spend money on any of these loot crate schemes. I don’t have this driving need to win that others seem to feel. I have fun playing the game whether I win or lose and as I said, there’s always going to be someone better than me and I don’t care if it’s because they’re younger and naturally faster, they’ve played a lot more and learned the maps and classes better, or they spent money on loot crates. I can’t fathom why it would matter to me what route they took to being better than me.

          But as I said, we are never going to reach agreement. I cannot find a way to understand the way you see things and it’s pretty clear that the way I see things is completely alien to you. I hope you can find a game that makes you happy.

  • Players hated how the release of DLC splintered the community. For Battlefield and this it was the biggest complaint and is with most games that have continued content to be paid for.

    So an attempt was made to try and change that for SWBF2. Still continued content and support costs and needs to be covered by some form of charging. Now EA maybe didn’t come up with the most acceptable format but I find it sad how their attempt is considered so loathsomely greedy. I am not a fan of EA from many past trangressions . I do however understand that game publishers are not charities.

    When it comes to actually playing there will always be players better then me, most of them in fact. i am fairly average when having a good day.
    – those who play much more
    – those who have better rigs….PC, controllers, whatever ( which is another pay2win itself)
    – those who are just younger, faster, better
    and those who have bought better in game gear

    Bottom line for me is I have accepted my mediocrity and simply play what I enjoy until I no longer enjoy it.
    More content provided will inevitably extend my period of enjoyment in the game modes I enjoy.

    • Yeah I definitely don’t think this is the ideal system, but like you said, money has to come from somewhere. It’s ironic that we get sad when a game or development studio gets shut down but when they try to increase revenue, that is seen as greedy.

      The more rational arguments I’ve seen suggest they just sell cosmetic items. I’m all for that too, IF it would create enough revenue. I mean Overwatch is the fan favorite example of cosmetic items supporting new content, but Overwatch is pretty damned huge; I’m not sure it would work for every game. You’d think that a Star Wars game would be huge enough to do it, but then you have licensing costs and such. For a contrast, look at Destiny 2. They sell cosmetic only loot crates but they’re still charging for DLC.