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The Next Loot Box Debate Will be About Star Wars Battlefront 2

As the public beta winds down, Battlefront 2 is heading into a heated conversation.

News by Matt Kim, .

Even as the debate on Middle-earth: Shadow of War's loot system rages, the next flashpoint in the ongoing loot box narrative looms over the horizon: Star Wars Battlefront 2.

We broke down our impressions of loot boxes (loot chests) in Shadow of War, explaining how they ultimately serve to cut down the time you spent grinding in the actual game. While not benign like simple cosmetic bonuses, Shadow of War's loot chests aren't mandatory. That differs pretty heavily with the early beta impressions for Star Wars Battlefront 2 which critics are accusing of being more in line with pay-to-win systems.

Star Wars Battlefront 2 Loot Crate

In Star Wars Battlefront 2, player characters can earn combat upgrades via Star Cards which you can earn by opening loot crates. These upgrades are actually pretty significant, like increased defense against damage, or better attack stats. These are necessary skills needed to level up your character and so far they're only attainable through crates you can either earn through daily rewards, purchase using in-game currency, or purchase using real money.

What's worse is that legitimate methods of crafting star cards are difficult since in-game monetary rewards are standard across the board, regardless of performance. So if you want a chance at a Star Card you really need, crafting is a way more difficult process.

As Eurogamer's Robert Purchese writes, "Put simply, this is an exploitative and greedy system I'm surprised has made it this far. Question is, will EA let it go the whole way, or will it use a saving throw and alter the system for full release?"

There is something about the timing of Battlefront 2's release that coincides with the ongoing debate in the gaming community regarding loot boxes. But of the games listed as "offenders" so far, Battlefront 2 is the game critics are singling out as having a particularly hostile loot system.

We will reserve our full judgement until the full game is released. However, if the beta is any indication, the loot system in Battlefront 2 could be one of the more controversial in a year already debating loot implementation in games.

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Comments 8

  • Avatar for KaiserWarrior #1 KaiserWarrior 2 months ago
    Oh, not only are the GambleBox-exclusive cards the only way to get key character upgrades -- they also come in various tiers of quality, which of course are randomly determined.

    So you need to spend money on GambleBoxes until you get that upgrade that causes your Assault's shotgun ability to reset all his cooldowns, and then you need to spend MORE money until you get the version of it that reduces the cooldown of the shotgun ability to 30 seconds instead of 40 seconds.

    As for whether EA will go Full McDuck on this? Your reminder that former EA CEO, John Riccitiello, openly and without a shred of shame told his company's investors that he would charge you per reload in Battlefield if he thought he could get away with it. It doesn't get much more Pay-To-Win than that.

    It's a shame. I played the beta over the weekend and had a decent enough time, but every time somebody beat me and they had a card equipped on the kill screen, I knew that post-launch, they very well might have paid for the advantage that gave them the edge in that encounter.

    No Sale. I will not support this. I will not be part of the problem. This kind of unchecked, game-destroying greed persists because people keep financially rewarding companies for it. Don't buy GambleBoxes. Don't even buy the game. Not pre-ordered, not at launch, not on sale, not even in a Humble Bundle. Do. Not. Buy. Demonstrate how unacceptable it is to sell advantages in a competitive multiplayer game by not giving EA any money for it. Any money. Period.
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  • Avatar for kevinbowyer34 #2 kevinbowyer34 2 months ago
    If loot boxes tick you off. Don’t. Buy. The game.
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  • Avatar for MetManMas #3 MetManMas 2 months ago
    @KaiserWarrior I have no plans to buy the game myself. Like, I still have a perfectly fine Star Wars Battlefront 1 with no loot boxes that came with my PS4* that I don't play, even though I recently got the season pass FOR FREE.

    That said, I'm sure this game's going to be stupidly successful even if we don't buy it. Just like Battlefront 1, it's a Star Wars game that's coming out in the perfect release window to sell tons of copies and move tons of system bundles: Like a month before the newest episode and Christmas. The loot box scheme's a bunch of bull, but horrible microtransaction B.S. sure as hell didn't stop Candy Crush Saga from making a vault full of chocolate coins and that scam didn't even have the advantage of a highly regarded media license.

    * I know they're great games, but I'll take Star Wars over shooting galleries emulating cinema (Uncharted, The Last of Us) or Call of Duty Anything. That said, if there had been a MGSV, Witcher 3, or Bloodborne bundle that year, or if the Fallout 4 bundle hadn't been Xbone exclusive...
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  • Avatar for Frosty840 #4 Frosty840 2 months ago
    Y'know, this all started with horse armour...
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  • Avatar for garion333 #5 garion333 2 months ago
    Debate, may ass. People will buy the shit out of them and devs/publishers will keep putting them in games.
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  • Avatar for Roto13 #6 Roto13 2 months ago
    @Frosty840 It completely didn't. Horse armour was a straightforward piece of cosmetic DLC that you just bought or didn't buy and you knew what you were getting. This is paying money for a chance at a gameplay advantage. The difference is huge.
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  • Avatar for Ralek #7 Ralek 2 months ago
    "We broke down our impressions of loot boxes (loot chests) in Shadow of War, explaining how they ultimately serve to cut down the time you spent grinding in the actual game. "

    Fantastic! So all I have to do to spend LESS time playing the game I paid $60 for, is spend some MORE money it!? That's truly brilliant and yes, I'd even go to far as to say that this is the very definition of "benign" ....

    Give me a break. They designed the game not only to 'make room' for loot-boxes, but to incentivize buying them, which btw (and just for laughs and giggles) also means that buying them is OPTIONAL, feeling their impact on the game design is 100% MANDATORY ... there is nothing even remotely benign about this. I had exactly 0.0 need and/or incentive to grind in the original game. If anything, not spending points to not actually overpower yourself straight away was the way more pressing concern. If there is any need to grind in the sequel, then one does not have to suggest an evil corporate conspiracy to argue that this is almost certainly intentional aka creating ones' own demand.

    Seriously this is complete insanity. What is there even to debate here? If anything, the only debate we should be having is whether the game is so mindblowingly fantastic, that consumers should seriously consider supporting this kind of monetization scheme for sake of this potentially second-to-none gaming experience. I haven't played the game, but if it's anything like the first one (which was pretty good, if a blatant Arkham rip-off), the answer clearly is NO! This year is crowded with fantastic releases, so exercise some reason folks, it's there for a ... uhm ahhh well ... reason, I guess :-)
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  • Avatar for MetManMas #8 MetManMas 2 months ago
    @Roto13@Frosty840 And more specifically paying money for a chance at a gameplay advantage in a competitive multiplayer game, which is a whole lot sleazier. Pay to win. Or pay to keep sucking but at least you have a shiny new gun.

    Not that you couldn't buy a multiplayer advantage in Battlefront 1 (you could buy those weapon and card packs as DLC to cut down on the grind), but that was significantly less exploitative because the packs were fixed and you knew exactly what you were getting. At worst, you'd spend a little over 20 extra bucks on the game, and that's only if you didn't buy the $20 bundle.

    Gashapons, on the other hand, can coax people into blowing way too much money on a game just because that next roll might have that thing they want. Like that guy who blew $1000 on Fire Emblem Heroes just because he could and didn't even unlock every character available (at that time).
    .......
    ~@garion333 Yep. Like I said in my previous post, Star Wars Battlefront 2's already got all the Star Cards in place to sell incredibly well, releasing with both Xmas and Episode 8 right around the corner. Attempts to get people to boycott will accomplish fuck all with a license this huge and a release at this time of season.

    All you can really do is not support the game yourself.Edited 2 times. Last edited October 2017 by MetManMas
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