Star Wars Battlefront 2 Lets You Pay Real Money For Multiplayer Advantages

Star Wars Battlefront 2 has everything you love from the movies: Lightsabers, starfighters and loot crates. These crates are crucial to the game's multiplayer structure, but even after being tweaked in response to widespread criticisms during the beta, they're a mess that affects balance in negative ways.

Battlefront 2's progression system is tied to equippable items called Star Cards. These cards grant special bonuses, such as increased health and faster ability cooldowns. Some cards have highly specific bonuses: For instance, you can equip the Tactical Jammer card to your starfighter and it will increase the length of time it takes for enemies to lock onto you. Each star card also has a rarity level. This means a rare "blue" star card will grant a bigger bonus than the lower "green" card. After widespread negative responses to the game's beta and accusations that the game would be "pay to win", the developers removed the most powerful tier of cards from crates. You can now only get those cards from crafting them or completing in-game achievements.

The main way you get the non-epic cards is through loot crates. There are three kinds of crates: One for soldier abilities, one for ship abilities, and one for hero abilities. These crates will randomly grant star cards when you open them. To get crates, you can either play matches to earn a generic currency called "credits", or you can spend real world money for a premium currency called crystals.

Prices for loot boxes in USD as of yesterday. It takes far less crystals than credits to open a new new box.

It is also possible to craft new cards and upgrade any you already own with crafting parts, which are also found in loot crates. In order to limit players from immediately crafting epic cards, each upgrade has two requirements: You must be at a certain player rank and the class must be at a certain card level.

This is where is all really starts to break down. A class's card level is based on the number of cards you have; the more cards you own, the higher your level will be. So it's possible to boost your levels simply through purchasing crates. If you do that, the only thing that will prevent you from crafting the best cards is your player rank, which is increased by playing multiplayer matches and rises at a brisk pace.

But you don't even have to play that many matches to use the best stuff. If you manage to find a card of a rarity higher than what you can craft, you can still equip it. Rank and card level requirements only prevent players from upgrading their cards. They do not stop players from equipping rare cards. For instance, I received a blue card for my rocket trooper that granted increased health regeneration. I could equip it right away even though my player rank was too low to craft blue cards

A rare card I received from loot boxes. While I can't craft blue cards, I could still equip this one.

Let's say someone spends $100 for a ton of crystals and opens all of their crates. By the end of that process, they will likely have acquired a few rare cards that grant noticeable bonuses and give them a competitive edge. They will also increase their card levels for their classes, removing one barrier for crafting upgrades. Throughout that process, they will also get countless crafting parts to stockpile. The only thing that prevents them from crafting the best cards is their player rank. They will spend a handful of hours in multiplayer matches, already equipped with better cards than other players, and quickly increase their rank. If they have planned ahead and have enough crafting parts, they will immediately be able to craft the best cards in the game.

In other words, you can quite literally pay money for statistical advantages in Star Wars Battlefront 2.

Given an infinite amount of time to grind credits and purchase loot boxes, everyone could have epic cards and Battlefront 2 could be perfectly balanced. Unfortunately, players are not ageless orbs with nothing to do but play Battlefront. (Well, most players.) When you only have so much time to play and other players can get an advantage from buying crates, the temptation to spend money and get some of your own will be high.

Loot crates are already predatory in design. They strictly manage probabilities and reward schedules in order to trick players into buying "just one more". Animators and sound designers work meticulously to make the process of opening loot crates pleasurable and exciting. Loot crates are made to dazzle, delight, and encourage repeat purchases. Publishers are coming up with some silly new ways to describe these microtransactions and have explored various tactics, such as special matchmaking algorithms, to tantalise players and squeeze them for every cent.

Here's the kicker: Battlefront 2 is fun. The multiplayer reworked how hero characters work and made things a little bit faster. The loot crates add an unnecessary layer of complication, upset the game's balance, and exist entirely to screw you over. To quote famed senator Padmé Amidala: "So this is how multiplayer dies. With thunderous loot crates."

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Comments

    Any kind of stat/perk system like this is going to suck when applied to a multiplayer action game, regardless of whether real money is involved or not. These games should be about skill, not who has the best equipment.

      I kind of like unlocking new weapons / perks etc as you progress, and say you get a special weapon because you performed 100 multiplayer headshots, it becomes about skill.

      My ideal system would be one where real world money can't buy you anything that has any tactical advantage. I also would like anything unlocked in the single player campaign to be unlocked in the multiplayer too.

    Absolute cancer. Surely the bad press of having these MTs more than offsets any potential profit they'd make off them, right?

      There are still a lot of loot box apologists out there wanting their favourite games to be worse.

        I understand casual gamers not knowing about microtransactions, Seeing Star Wars on the store shelf & buying it but ppl who know about it & still buy this need to jump of a bridge. It's like "Way to go! You helped ruin gaming assholes"

      Doubt it. Only need a few fools to get sucked in to more than make up for the minimal loss of sales.

    Must say there are only two things putting me off buying this game 1) the fact the story is based around the Empire, no thanks, I will wait until I hear there is a character arc making her realise what side of the war she is on. I am holding on to hope it comes

    2) the loot boxes, but more so the way in pvp the good players will keep getting better, earn more points in game meaning they can unlock more power power faster in game (and between) snowball effect. Even playing COD I have noticed how bad that is there, the more you kill, the more kills you can get.

    But hey is my thing. This game doesn’t have a season pass. That’s brilliant and a little huge for a AAA game but that means the trade off HAS to be loot boxes, these people don’t make/realise games for fun. It’s about profit. Give me a season pass, and cosmetic loot boxes any day, over what they are doing here

      Want to downvote based on point 1 (but will resist), lol.
      Seriously how many stories do we need of the bad guy realising the errors of their ways and switching sides, i am particularly excited for the campaign because we get to play as a bad guy (girl), im hoping that she doesn't end up joining the rebels. How often do you actually get to play as the bad guy? Definitely prepared to be disappointed because she likely will realise shes on the "wrong" side.

        She's not on the wrong side though. The Empire lost important war assets to terrorists and assassins.

          nah they merely blew up a military installation that just killed a planet of innocent people, all because they were so pathetic they couldnt even get a Princess to talk to them. Sad.

          Yeah i know, those damn rebel scum. But thats why i said "wrong" side, every side is the wrong side from a certain point of view.

          Thats why im excited for this game, she is on the empires side and hopefully looks like she will stay that way.

      Must say there are only two things putting me off buying this game 1) the fact the story is based around the Empire, no thanks, I will wait until I hear there is a character arc making her realise what side of the war she is on. I am holding on to hope it comes

      Good news for you, and bad news for people who don't want a cookie-cutter black and white morality storyline: She swaps sides. It's already been heavily signposted and there is a conspicuously absent character slot on the good guys side of the heroes in the game. Leaked data from Polygon confirms: https://www.polygon.com/2017/7/5/15922448/star-wars-battlefront-2-hero-character-list-leak-spoilers

      I'm totally with @thearbiter117, why do we always need to be the "good guys"? I'm assuming we're all adults, and that we all understand by now that morality and ethics are complicated and nuanced in a way that makes it damn hard to tell who the good guys are sometimes. The reason why KOTOR and Tie Fighter are still such respected games is because they took a far more adult approach to simplistic dichotomy too often seen in the films.

      Also, saying you don't want to play as the empire will suck for you considering you are randomly assigned a team at the start of every multiplayer game.

        I am all for the 'no real good guys'. But the connections between the Empire and the NAZI's arent subtle. And yes while when he first started out Hitler preyed on the fears and anguish of real German people who were greatly suffering due to the reparations they were paying from WW, he represented hope and salvation and a new patriotic start for their embattled nation... so yeah the bad guys were trying to do something good for real people, just one slight issue, it was all a con and the 'cost' for doing this good thing, destroyed their nation for another generation and countless millions of lives. Meanwhile in Star Wars, in this particular universe, there is no 'good' for the Empire, there is nothing at all positive they bring, other than perhaps creating jobs, you know building a planet destroying machine.

        Thats why I dont want to play as the Empire, if she doesnt turn (thanks for the link) because frankly if there is one thing I know I dont empathise with is people being gullible to that type of far right propaganda nonsense and comfortable in their oppression of others. thats cringeworthy to me. but if that character is questioning their very place in the world and realising they really are on the wrong side of history, that is vastly and far more interesting and powerful idea.

          I think it'd be a fascinating experience to see a game where you're on the inside of their ideology. Seeing how these people rationalise their worldview and enact it would be a cool game to play through. I think a good writer can make even the most evil characters seem "right" if you look at them in a certain light. But the story doesn't need to make them look good, it can be a warts and all depiction of a deeply flawed character. Think American Psycho or Nightcrawler.

          Instead of running away from these sorts of ideologies, we should examine them. When we can see why they appeal to people, we are better equipped to fight against them. We can't just write them and all those who participate in them off as reprehensible, in the real life Nazi regime, and in the Empire, there are countless individuals who believe or tell themselves they're doing the right thing. "I'm looking after my family" / "Order is better than chaos" / "If we didn't do this someone far worse would take control" are all possible paths it could take.

          In the real world, as we all know, people don't always wake up to the truth of things. It doesn't make their stories worthless, if anything, it makes them more interesting, more human.

          >Character realising they really are on the wrong side, that is vastly and far more interesting and powerful idea.

          It would be more interesting and powerful idea if it weren't completely done to death in every single medium. But exactly like @Geometrics is saying, how often do you get to play as the 'bad guy' and get to see why they think they are the 'good guy'. Why do we always have top be the good guy, why can't we play for once as the bad guy for the whole game.

    Here i was thinking EA had changed the loot box system due to player outrage.

    Clearly they have not changed at all.

    Ive said it before and ill say it again. The video game market is going to have another crash akin to the one in the 80s. Someone (I mean lets be real, Its gonna be EA) is gonna take this crap too far and its going to ruin the industry.

    You remember when EA was annoyed/ Puzzeled as to why they were consistently voted worst company in America year after year above companies like comcast, This is why EA, This is why.

    You have to change your direction EA, Otherwise players WILL push back and ruin you.

      yeah true, but here's my thing. Gamers dont want to pay for seasons passes, they just think continually quality gamer content happens by magic. So in order to make that happen the big corporation who isnt so much out to entertain us but to make as much money off us doing so as they can, need to still make money. So they have to make the loot crates a bit more tempting than cosmetics.

      Personal I have zero problems with season passes (as long as they have quality). Personally I have zero problems with them still having cosmetic loot boxes plus a season pass. Because if some fool wants to give EA even more money thats their problem. but this is something else... um

      I should be really annoyed with these loot boxes, but I find myself more annoyed with people who are celebrating this as a victory against season passes, because they really dont see they have made the loot boxes more insidious to make that happen. If people are happy to allow themselves to be exploited, because they think they are getting a better deal, who can really blame EvilCorp er the EA's of the world for rubbing their hands in glee.

        Yeah id take on the money flow arguments, But given companies like EA post billion dollar profits year after year. That argument does not hold water for me. EA is not lacking money flow, It just wants more.

          Well, increasing profits seems to be a major part of being a successful company, strange that EA would try to do that, huh?

        Personally I think games were better before season passes and add-ons. I like paying one price for a game, and that is the total needed to pay to fully enjoy that game.

        I get that they need to make profits, but why not just price the games higher if they aren't making enough money. I would rather pay $150 for a game and have the same experience and test of skill as everyone else, than pay $100 for it and have my ass kicked by someone who spent $100 extra on loot crates!

        Also as a side note I would be more on board with season passes if they reduced in price with the main game. Take Fallout 4 for example, I've seen it in stores for $20 but the season pass (which is awesome) costs $80 on its own (before the GOTY edition came out). I was lucky to get it for $50 but it is not worth 4x the cost of the base game!

    I was excited to play the campaign but the whole lootbox thing puts me off the multi-player and that devalues the whole package in my eyes.
    Why don't they just put out a single player game for $20 or $30?!

    This year's games have been like limbo without the fun. Every new release they lower the bar "how low can we go!". I hope they take a huge loss from this game.
    Also anyone saying "but game inflation!". Just no, can't you see the problem is only getting worse. Publishers can't be trusted to carry for anything other than their profit margins.

    If a person has cancer, often the best way to treat them is stopping the cancer. Either removing it entirely or stopping it's spread. Don't feed it.

    How are EA still around, what a joke of a company. Day one dlc, overpriced, connectionless, multi pay release bullcrap and now with paid slot machine type lootboxes

    This is the trade off for free DLC. Loot boxes make a ton of money for developers, even the cosmetic stuff.
    I won't be buying any, although I will be buying the game and enjoying the free season pass.

    Last edited 13/11/17 7:15 pm

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