I got early access to Star Wars Battlefront 2 via pre-ordering (I guess?) so I played a bit of it last night. I enjoyed it. I know I’m not supposed to say that and I’m supposed to be outraged about loot crates but meh, life is too short.
Loot boxes are going to be with us for a while, at least when it comes to games from the giant publicly-traded publishers like EA, Activision and Ubisoft. It’s just part of the cycle of game publishing. First it was DLC, then it was Season Passes, now it’s Loot Crates. Would I prefer they not be there? Sure. That said, I prefer loot crates to having to shell out for a Season Pass. In a perfect world we’d spend $60 and the company would supply new maps and modes for free for a couple of years, but is that a realistic thing to hope for, particularly in this age of aggressive sales on games? The only people who are going to pay $60 for Battlefront 2 are the ones buying it at launch. Wait a month and it’ll be $50, wait a couple months and it’ll be $30, but you’ll still be able to benefit by the post-launch extra content. Revenue to pay for that content has to come from somewhere.
For SW Battlefront 1 I did buy the Season Pass and hardly used it since the it fragmented the player base. It took so long to get a game on one of the Season Pass maps that I rarely bothered, and over time I got bored with just playing the maps that shipped with the game and drifted away. So for me personally, I’ll take loot crates and knowing everyone has the same selection of maps to play on.
Then specifically there is the “But these loot boxes are pay to win!!” arguments. Again, don’t really care. Someone is always going to have more stuff unlocked than me. If I’m facing 2 opponents with more unlocks and one of them got them by spending an extra $100 and the other one got them by playing the game 12 hours a day because he lives in his parent’s basement and has no job, does it really matter to me? Yes it does matter in one crucial way. The dude spending an extra $100 is the dude making it possible for EA to do away with Season Passes in favor of loot crates.
I mean, I think EA could have side-stepped a LOT of controversy if they’d gone the “cosmetics only” path for these loot crates, and I get why people would have preferred that, but for me personally the pay to win aspect isn’t going to have much impact on me so I can’t work up much outrage over it.
The one issue I can sympathize with are the folks that are pissed that some of the heroes need to be unlocked. When you first get the game, you can’t play as the more iconic heroes (or villains) and you have to spend in-game credits to unlock them. Prior to launch EA at least reduced the price of them, they’re now anywhere from 5000 to 15000 credits. If you got the game because you really want to play as Darth Vader and then you learn that you have to play for a couple of nights to earn that 15K (or spend additional cash to buy credits) I can understand why that would be upsetting. After my first night of play I had a little over 6000 credits but I did get some loot crates free from playing the beta and some of them had credits.
Personally, I kind of enjoy having a goal to work towards so for me even this doesn’t bother me much but I do think it’s a valid thing to be upset about. Plus, weirdly, I don’t even like playing the heros/villains. I kind of prefer being a regular Clone Trooper or a Rebel or whatever.
There are things I don’t like about SW BF 2, though. I don’t like that they added the scoreboard back (in the beta there was no post-match scoreboard which I thought was a good thing for a Star Wars game that is going to pull in a lot of casual players). I don’t like the loading times, which are pretty awful. I don’t like that the Clone War era droids are so skinny I can’t spot them as easily as I’d like. I don’t like that there doesn’t seem to be a space battle single player mission (though you have to unlock the single player missions as you go — these are separate from the single player campaign — so I could be wrong) because I need a LOT of practice flying these ships.
And that’s about it, really. So far no regrets, but anyway I really bought the game because I wanted to see what EA Motive has done with the single player campaign. I didn’t even start that yet since I’m already juggling so many games (Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds, Assassin’s Creed Origins, Middle Earth, Shadow of War, Forza 7, and .hack//GU Final Recode) but I’m optimistic about it.
So while other parts of the Internet are occupied with sending death threats to Battlefront 2’s community manager and calling for a boycott of the game, I’m just over here playing it and having fun. Sorry Internet, I’m just not that into you any more. In a time when Hawaii is taking steps to prepare for having a nuclear bomb drop on them, I just have to pick my battles when it comes to what to be stressed out about. Loot crates are WAY down on that list.