The feedback from the beta tests for Star Wars: Battlefront II were hewn in the anger and discontent from gamers who recognized that the scaling of the premium loot boxes made the game easily susceptible to pay-to-win antics. The grumblings from the community started before the beta test and continued well after. Well, due to all the fuss kicked up by the community over the machinations of microtransactions devised by Electronic Arts and implemented by the subservient subordinates at DICE, the publisher decided to compromise on the way premium loot boxes work.
Venture Beat picked up the news from a post over on the official EA website, where a brief blog post outlined that how you acquire and utilize loot boxes in Star Wars: Battlefront II has been tweaked after feedback. The changes are detailed below.
“Epic Star Cards, the highest tier of Star Cards available at launch, have been removed from Crates. To help keep everyone on a level playing field, these Star Cards will primarily be available through crafting, with the exception of special Epic Star Cards available through pre-order, deluxe, and starter packs.
You’ll need to reach a certain rank to craft upgraded Star Cards. You won’t be able to buy a bunch of Crates, grind everything up into crafting materials, and immediately use them to get super powerful Star Cards. You can only upgrade the ability to craft higher tier Star Cards by ranking up through playing the game.
Weapons are locked behind specific milestones. While a select few will be found in Crates, the rest can only be attained by play. Want to unlock a new weapon for your Heavy? Play as a Heavy and you’ll gain access to the class’s new weapons.
Class-specific gear and items can be unlocked by playing as them. As you progress through your favorite class, you’ll hit milestones granting you class-specific Crates. These will include a mix of Star Cards and Crafting Parts to benefit your class’s development.
Now pay very close attention to wording here.
The premium loot boxes that you can gamble away real money on in hopes of getting high tier loot have not gone away. In fact, the wording specifically states that the highest tier cards – the Epic Star Cards – at the launch of the game have been removed from the loot crates/loot boxes. This means that future high-tier cards, such as Legendary Cards, could appear in loot boxes. Also, they mention that the Epic Star Cards available at launch will not be available in loot boxes. This speaks nothing of what happens a few weeks or a few months after launch.
Additionally, they mention that higher tier cards can only be purchased and crafted through loot boxes after you’ve reached a certain rank. This means that newbies won’t be able to pay their way to the top, but vets can.
I don’t really see how that fixes the problem, though. People who have time and money to burn will still be able to help pay to get even stronger after putting in some time to rank up.
Also, the info about the class-specific crates makes no mention about them making changes to the way they’re acquired. In fact, all the bullet point does is highlight that there are class-specific items you can unlock but it sounds like you can still pay for them through the loot boxes.
It’s amazing how much weasel-wording and roundabouting that EA is doing on the carousal of marketing in order to protect the pay-to-win loot boxes. Staving off access to higher tier boxes at launch doesn’t really fix the problem, and the issue of gambling still looms heavy over Star Wars: Battlefront II.
For those concerned about the growing threat of premium loot boxes to AAA games, some of your concerns have been heard and logged by the U.K., Parliament and by the U.K., Gambling Commission. Both government bodies have acknowledged that loot boxes require further scrutiny and have stated that they will be keeping the situation regarding loot boxes in video games under review.