EA and DICE have had their hands full this week with Star Wars Battlefront II. Last weekend, the internet began to roil over discussions on Reddit pertaining to the in-game credit cost of top tier heroes. Fan favorite characters like Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader cost upwards of 60,000 credits, an already high price made higher by the somewhat obtuse system of rewarding players credits in the game.
Redditor TheHotterPotato factored in the average credits earned per game – a number determined by length of game and not individual achievements – and single player/multiplayer challenge bonuses to find an average time it would take to earn enough credits to buy the popular heroes. His determination, backed up by some raw data he compiled in a spreadsheet, revealed that it would take around 40 hours to unlock just one character. The internet was not excited. This only added to existing concerns that Battlefront II included pay-to-win elements via the ability to acquire substantial character and weapon upgrades from loot boxes, which could be purchased using a premium currency, crystals, available for real money.
After a morning of fervor, EA came to Reddit to comment on player concerns, but that only made the situation worse. EA’s comment became the most down-voted comment in the history of Reddit, and the narrative surrounding both the mega-publisher and Battlefront II was looking particularly grim. EA decided to slash the prices of their heroes by 75 percent as a form of reciprocity, but the community remained unsatisfied. A follow-up AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit also failed to calm concerns. It seemed like the damage had already been done. Until now.
A statement posted on EA’s blog Thursday night revealed their first attempt at righting what they concede is a wrong. EA is freezing the ability to purchase crystals (premium currency used to purchase Battlefront II’s controversial loot boxes) until further notice. From the statement:
What the system will become (after some time to assess and rethink their strategy) is up to EA and the developers at DICE to determine, but freezing the pay-to-win aspect of the game puts everyone on the same theoretical playing field during multiplayer, which was a core concern of the audience. Combined with the hero price cut, this could go a long way to healing the community’s wounds.