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Star Wars Battlefront II has a big loot box problem right now

by Eric Frederiksen | November 13, 2017

Star Wars Battlefront II doesn’t launch officially for another few days, but if you’re on EA Access, you can already play as much as 10 hours of the game before it sees worldwide release. But that’s not going to be enough time to unlock your favorite Star Wars character. Players have been calculating how long it would take to unlock some of the most iconic Star Wars personalities without spending money, and you’re not going to like the answer.

Here’s how it works. Each match in Battlefront II nets you some credits, and you can use those credits to unlock multiplayer-related cosmetic gear and the like. Characters like Luke and his dad clock in at 60,000 credits, while less-popular but still significant characters like Chewie are about 40,000.

A Reddit user did some math, and here’s what they came up with. With matches lasting about 11:00 minutes on average and netting about 275 credits, it takes about two and a half hours to earn a Trooper Crate, which nets you things like attribute bonuses. If you want to unlock Luke himself, you’re looking at nearly 2,400 minutes – or 40 hours – of gameplay on average.

The game features challenges that will net you more credits, but they’re limited in number – same with any credits that come in through loot boxes.

For its part, EA is attempting to engage with the community.

“Our goal involves creating a compelling progression path for all of our players,” the EA Community Team said on Reddit. “There’s a lot of content at launch with even more coming via live service, and we’ll continuously adjust our progression mechanics to give players a sense of accomplishment as they explore all of Battlefront 2.

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EA says it is looking at the average per-player credit earnings, and that the team will “be making constant adjustments to ensure that players have challenges that are compelling, rewarding, and of course attainable via gameplay.”

EA says the current earn-rate for credits is based on data pulled in during Battlefront II‘s open beta. That suggests to me that either the beta’s earnings were way out of whack, or that EA wanted badly to push players toward dropping a few real dollars to earn some more space bux and hoped we wouldn’t notice.

As Kotaku notes, the biggest problem here is how iconic each of the series’ big characters are. For a game with its own lore, not being able to unlock every character might not be perfect, but it won’t be a problem for most players. Most players are going to unlock the characters they like best and leave the others without a thought. With these beloved characters, it feels like our love for the Star Wars series is being held hostage.

Battlefront has a complicated history both among fans and just with Electronic Arts and developer dice. The original series on Xbox and PlayStation 2 was a beloved series, and the third entry was canned mid-stream. EA revived the name once it acquired the Star Wars video game license, melding the idea of Battlefront with its own Battlefield formula. The original game was lauded for its fidelity, but fans were unhappy with the lack of a campaign, lack of multiplayer depth, and the high cost of new DLC, which fragmented the audience further with each new release.

Battlefront II seemed to be addressing concerns right from its unveiling. At the center of the game is a big campaign written by well-liked writers and starring a character fans have latched onto pretty quickly. EA promised, too, that all future content would be free of charge.

The compromise to that is these loot boxes, which gives EA a way to collect money from players after release and delay gratification long enough to keep stringing people along, rather than letting players have everything at once.

If EA is good about listening to the community and pricing things at attainable rates, then there might be a fun game in there yet, but right now it seems like EA is putting potential profits ahead of getting people simply playing in the first place.

We’ll find out more when Star Wars Battlefront II hits shelves on November 17, 2017.

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Eric Frederiksen

Eric Frederiksen has been a gamer since someone made the mistake of letting him play their Nintendo many years ago, pushing him to beg for his own,...Eric Frederiksen has been a gamer since someone made the mistake of letting him play their Nintendo many years ago, pushing him to beg for his own,...