Star Wars Battlefront 2 Alters the Deal and Removes Microtransactions (For Now)

Pray they don't alter it any further.

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The road to Star Wars Battlefront II's launch hasn't been a pleasant one, to say the least. Perhaps some people reading this article might have noticed Wednesday's circus Reddit AMA that turned into a volcanic fury not seen since the end of "Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith." In an effort to hopefully quell consumer anger, once and for all, Electronic Arts has announced that all in-game purchases for Star Wars Battlefront II have been disabled for the time being.

With in-game purchases turned off, all progression must be earned purely through gameplay. However, EA does note that the spectre of microtransactions will return at a later date. What the publisher does and whether it will make an even bigger mess remains to be seen. For now, however, the Dark Side has been contained. The full statement can be read on the Star Wars Battlefront II website, but here's the gist, from DICE GM Oskar Gabrielson:

"Our goal has always been to create the best possible game for all of you – devoted Star Wars fans and game players alike. We’ve also had an ongoing commitment to constantly listen, tune and evolve the experience as it grows. You’ve seen this with both the major adjustments, and polish, we have made over the past several weeks.

But as we approach the worldwide launch, it's clear that many of you feel there are still challenges in the design. We’ve heard the concerns about potentially giving players unfair advantages. And we’ve heard that this is overshadowing an otherwise great game. This was never our intention. Sorry we didn’t get this right.

We hear you loud and clear, so we’re turning off all in-game purchases. We will now spend more time listening, adjusting, balancing and tuning. This means that the option to purchase crystals in the game is now offline, and all progression will be earned through gameplay. The ability to purchase crystals in-game will become available at a later date, only after we’ve made changes to the game. We’ll share more details as we work through this."

Pay-to-win microtransactions have left a dark cloud over the latest Star Wars game's release, becoming something that the Shacknews review could not ignore in good conscience. They might still come back, but they're gone for now. However, it remains to be seen whether the damage has been done and whether the public backlash and fan outrage over this entire mess of a situation is too much for EA and DICE to overcome.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

From The Chatty

  • reply
    November 16, 2017 5:40 PM

    Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Star Wars Battlefront 2 Alters the Deal and Removes Microtransactions (For Now)

    • reply
      November 16, 2017 5:41 PM

      whoaaaa damn

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      November 16, 2017 5:44 PM

      Even though I have no intention of playing this game (haven't touched EA product since simcity 5), I think this is a pretty commendable move and a step in the right direction for P2W bullshit in general. Hopefully every other developer takes notice.

      If they bring the microtransactions back they should just be cosmetic. Darth Vader without his helmet or something, etc.

    • reply
      November 16, 2017 5:51 PM

      customers win. today is a good day. if enough people give feedback, things can change.

    • reply
      November 16, 2017 5:56 PM

      What about the daily cap?

    • reply
      November 16, 2017 5:58 PM

      So are in-game credit rewards being boosted to account for this? What about those who already spent 100 dollars and have a wicked advantage than other players? Will they get refunded and boosts removed?

    • reply
      November 16, 2017 6:11 PM

      It's good that they removed microtransactions, but the entire idea of rewarding better players by giving them extra shit that imbalances the game in their favor is stupid.

      If we're handing out stuff that measurably affects the game, shouldn't we be doing the opposite? Shouldn't players with the least experience have access to all of the crazy powerful gizmos,while players with the most experience only have access to the basic items?

      I just don't understand this whole concept. For an FPS to be fun, it has to feel like you have a chance. I don't have a chance if I spawn into a game as a newbie and Darth Vader sticks his lightsaber through my eye socket. That isn't fun, that sucks.

      • reply
        November 16, 2017 6:44 PM

        The concept was to make money, not to provide a good game experience.

      • reply
        November 16, 2017 7:05 PM

        Battlefield Heroes "Paying to win" video presentation from 2009: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_2sGk7Uwe8

        The writing has been on the wall for a long time. The only surprising thing is that it's taken EA this long to introduce it into one of their for-pay PvP games.

        • reply
          November 17, 2017 12:39 AM

          Whoa, so that gives a pretty clear insight into their mindset going into microtransactions. I'm surprised this video isn't all over reddit.

          • reply
            November 17, 2017 5:32 AM

            It isn't a secret. Anyone paying attention has known about that video for 8 years. It is fair to think reddit isn't paying attention.

        • reply
          November 17, 2017 5:43 AM

          That reminds me - I actually got into the beta of Battlefield Heroes and never played it. Like, I never played the game after it launched either. I always meant to try it out just to see how it was but I never got around to it. And I’m not sure it ever really got talked about on here either.

        • reply
          November 17, 2017 7:25 AM

          shack mention at ~28:31

      • Zek
        reply
        November 16, 2017 7:11 PM

        Progression is about making it feel good to succeed in the game. It's a fairness problem if the base kit sucks and you don't get the good stuff until you play for hours. However even then, it's only really an issue if you are getting matched against much more experienced players while you're new, which is going to suck anyway. Sometimes they mess it up, but what's important is that these decisions are made to make the game as fun as possible, not with a profit motivation.

      • reply
        November 16, 2017 8:51 PM

        I’ve long bitched about games continually leaving out a skill based matchmaking service. This would make every game sooo much ch better. There’s nothing worse than getting plowed or plowing.

      • reply
        November 16, 2017 8:54 PM

        I’ve always wondered why a skill based matchmaking system consistently goes overlooked.

      • reply
        November 16, 2017 9:30 PM

        I think you are going to have to give up the notion of being competitive with people who play a game far more than you do. That’s what matchmaking can help with. Even if there aren’t rewards for people who play more than you do, they’ll still wreck you because they are far more experienced.

      • reply
        November 16, 2017 11:32 PM

        I don't agree, if you want level playing field then play an arena FPS. For these types of FPS games with progression and unlocks some of the "skill" is playing long hours.

        However as a player with out the unlocks you shouldn't feel like you're neutered to the point of being useless it is more about encouraging you to stick with the progression system.

        The very important thing with these types of Battlefront/field games though is that you should still be able to unlock your favourite class as a casual fairly easily while the people that have more time will unlock ALL the classes. Eventually at some point you will still all have the same unlocks.

        I never even minded with this if they did have some element of pay to progress quicker as long as they stuck to the above "rules".

      • reply
        November 17, 2017 1:32 AM

        You’re not thinking nearly cynically economically enough.

        They want new players to feel utterly owned. But not because of other players’ skill level, no, nobody cares about that — everyone is a special snowflake and equal nowadays — and the one thing holding them back is that they’re not playing as Darth Vader.

        As soon as you’ve gambled $2100 away on getting Vader unlocked, you will surely beat all those other players effortlessly. It was never your skill level holding you back.

        • reply
          November 17, 2017 4:50 AM

          But not right away, so you give them invisible bonuses when they're new to the game and new to a match, make new players' first few kills easier every match but let it fade each game and as they put more time in.

          Also make sure to emphasize the impact of the unlocking bonuses and their in-match use.

          Ensure that players without notable unlocks are matched into games with at least one player who has them and make sure to do some sort of announcement for its use, during any kills, and during the post-game stats.

          • reply
            November 17, 2017 5:08 AM

            Additionally, once they do buy an item (well, once you have established that they have gambled long enough to automatically award it — no one is accidentally getting something good in their first few loot boxes), you again briefly turn on those invisible bonuses and match them against weaker players, in essence countering possible buyer’s remorse. After a while, you remove those bonuses and match them with stronger players, making sure that another item now becomes the object of their craving, and allow the cycle to continue.

            If by any chance a player would be “fully kitted out” through spending thousands of dollars on loot boxes, he may receive a permanent invisible bonus and be further encouraged to post about his positive experience on social media in exchange for special privileges (matchmaking queue priority, forum flair) and awarded a Community Ambassador status (moderation tools for reporting players critical of the game and other inconsequential devices to further boost the player’s ego and status), until boredom and market saturation eventually sets in and a new game is ready for release.

            God damnit I’m getting a capital C Unrestricted Capitalism boner right now.

            • reply
              November 17, 2017 5:14 AM

              That sure is a rock solid design there.

          • reply
            November 17, 2017 5:14 AM

            this is why every game with lootboxes, the first one you open is designed to have a rare/legendary whatever.
            Give you one strong item so you get a taste.
            Its like a casino but with better metrics for measuring how players respond.

      • reply
        November 17, 2017 4:10 AM

        I suspect there are long, bitter debates that go on in MP teams over what constitutes specialization and what constitutes advantage.

      • reply
        November 17, 2017 5:32 AM

        Guess you didn't play Battlefront 2015 then. That was in there. Or any Battlefield since...Vietnam.

      • reply
        November 17, 2017 9:47 AM

        Where was the outrage in 2007 when COD:MW did this?

    • reply
      November 16, 2017 6:41 PM

      Good! I really wanted to buy / play this but I wasn't going to while that horse shit was in the game.

    • reply
      November 16, 2017 6:44 PM

      I'll still wait until everything unfolds. I don't need to play this on day one.

    • reply
      November 16, 2017 8:27 PM

      Never buy a DICE game at launch. It gets fucked up somehow.

      • reply
        November 16, 2017 9:26 PM

        you misspelt EA.

      • reply
        November 16, 2017 9:32 PM

        Hey... ... ... Rallisport Challenge 1 and 2 were both great games at launch!

      • reply
        November 16, 2017 9:41 PM

        Battlefield 1 had no problems at launch

        • reply
          November 16, 2017 11:57 PM

          Yeah, but it just had 100 smaller problems of which DICE fixes maybe 1 or 2 a month. I think most of the guys at DICE that should have stayed on BF1 post-launch ended up getting pulled over to Battlefront 2. Don't get me wrong, it's a good game, but the post-launch support is nowhere near what we saw in BF4.

          • reply
            November 17, 2017 5:00 AM

            Worst part about BF1 problems was that most were already finally taken care of in BF4. So frustrating. "Oh you want to be able to leave between rounds like was finally added in BF4? Nah, just because it was specifically requested in that game is no reason to include in the next game like everyone expects and wants."

            It's like DICE has to reinvent the wheel for each BF game release.

    • reply
      November 16, 2017 9:17 PM

      When microtransactions come back, they will still be used for P2W, they're just adjusting the balancing:

      http://www.usgamer.net/articles/ea-star-wars-battlefront-2-changes-will-balance-those-who-want-gameplay-progression-and-those-who-want-an-accelerated-experience

    • reply
      November 16, 2017 9:35 PM

      I bet Disney intervened and told ea to not fuck it up or something. I wonder what the contractual details are on an IP deal like this.

      • reply
        November 16, 2017 10:23 PM

        (In Mickey Mouse's voice)

        "Oh boy! That's quite a nice exclusivity contract you got there. Be an awful shame if... something were to happen to it.

        "ha-ha... ha."

      • reply
        November 16, 2017 10:39 PM

        This is what I keep thinking.

        It would be nice to give credit to DICE / EA for doing the right thing, but my instincts are yelling at me that they did only after getting pressure from Disney after all the terrible press.

    • reply
      November 16, 2017 9:37 PM

      This is great news, i think they deserve support for this, now where can I get the best deal on this?

    • reply
      November 16, 2017 9:38 PM

      EA has learned a valuable lesson from this. You have to wait to sink the hook in.

    • reply
      November 16, 2017 10:37 PM

      Needs to be in this thread too:
      https://gfycat.com/SpanishAntiqueHuia

    • reply
      November 17, 2017 12:49 AM

      They have altered the deal.

      • reply
        November 17, 2017 12:50 AM

        Pray they do not alter it further.

        • reply
          November 17, 2017 1:17 AM

          I want them to alter it further and also to redo the maps so all the frustrating chokepoints are removed and the pathways widened up.

    • reply
      November 17, 2017 1:26 AM

      I have a legit question. Who makes the decisions to infect a game with this microtransaction bullshit.
      Its probably not the working developers who are just trying to make the best game they can. Is it the game lead? I cant imagine it is, since it goes against basic game design.
      The execs at EA, or is this Disney Star wars mandating multiple forms of revenue?

      • reply
        November 17, 2017 1:34 AM

        Games are expensive to make. Studios are under immense pressure to monetize their games and turn a profit. EA's traditional profit margin is probably complicated by the fact that this is a licensed product, too.

        • reply
          November 17, 2017 10:47 AM

          Each time the topic comes up people say this but there are numerous games out there not using this tactic that are perfectly profitable.

          Movies cost a lot, even more to make sometimes but I don't have to pay extra from my seat to see the after-credits scene.

          There's plenty of ways to adjust your scale, scope, length and price to accommodate. Plenty of other industries do it all the time. Why is gaming so different?

          • reply
            November 20, 2017 8:15 AM

            Which North American/north-western European AAA studio can you point me to that isn't considering microtransactions as a way to prop up the bottom line?

            I can tell you, the number of studios who are able to make it work are far and few between.

      • reply
        November 17, 2017 3:19 AM

        It's EA. They've been doing more and more to milk games for quite some time. Remember the nutty they pulled with Dungeon Keeper Mobile? If you go back to that game, what they tried to do with SWBF2 is very much in line with that.

        Had EA learned anything? Not really. Since, in my opinion, they basically tried the same tactic here as they did with Dungeon Keeper, they haven't learned anything. They just hoped to draw upon the lure of SW. I think this time the blowback just happened faster because the game was more popular than DK was.

        • reply
          November 17, 2017 3:28 AM

          I guess thats true, they made a crappy star wars phone game thats designed to drain credit cards and it made them shit loads of money, and probably cost nothing. Why learn anything when theres an audience who accepts it

      • reply
        November 17, 2017 4:02 AM

        Director of Consumer Fucking
        Chief Digital Exploiter
        Lead Gambling Architect
        Evil Process Analyst
        Strategic Wallet Thief
        Quity Un-assurance Analyst
        Senior Shitty Idea Guy

      • reply
        November 17, 2017 4:04 AM

        Or just Bob from Marketing

      • reply
        November 17, 2017 5:42 AM

        It can be anyone up and down the chain, depending on the incentive structure and company culture. And it’s definitely not just one person on a game this big

      • reply
        November 17, 2017 8:02 AM

        Financial people and higher ups. The game director (or whatever the company calls that position) will take direction from them.

    • reply
      November 17, 2017 4:19 AM

      Does all this hate make it OK to buy from a gray market? There has to be a balance somewhere.

      • reply
        November 17, 2017 4:32 AM

        I don’t think shack can take that level of ethical dilemma lol

      • reply
        November 17, 2017 5:02 AM

        The way I see it, if the business practices involved in the game bother you enough to actively want to stiff the companies involved, why engage with the game at all? Either support the work or don't.

        Especially when you could use the money to encourage other games that don't engage in semi-predatory not-yet-classified-as-gambling behaviors.

      • reply
        November 17, 2017 5:21 AM

        Like most Origin/Uplay titles, it doesn't appear to be much if any cheaper on the gray market. GMG has the best price I've seen, actually. Unless you're talking actual stolen keys or something.

      • reply
        November 17, 2017 5:36 AM

        The gray market still encourages credit and identity theft. No matter how you feel about a company, it is never good to encourage stealing money from innocent people.

      • reply
        November 17, 2017 5:37 AM

        No. Two wrongs don't make a right. That's like the first moral lesson you're supposed to learn as a kid after you graduate from not touching hot things or shitting your pants. If you don't want to play the game they made at the price they're asking then you don't buy it.

      • reply
        November 17, 2017 5:40 AM

        Eh, I just played it through EA Access. $5 for 10 hours, when that's all I'm likely to play of it anyway is a pretty good deal.

        • reply
          November 17, 2017 6:13 AM

          So it's 10 hours game time? Not "it will be active for 10 hours from the moment you launch it"?

          • reply
            November 17, 2017 6:16 AM

            Right. I don't know how strict or precise the timing of the 10 hours is, but I've been playing matches on and off for a few days, and my time played says 2 hours, and when I launch it, it says "You have less than 8 hours remaining".

            • reply
              November 17, 2017 6:18 AM

              Interesting. 10 hours would be more than enough time for me hah. I looked at my hours logged in Battlefront 1 and it was 11.

        • reply
          November 17, 2017 6:16 AM

          I did that for battlefield 1 but eventually they blocked it so i got about 3-4 hours.

        • reply
          November 17, 2017 8:38 AM

          I can't find it in list of available games for EA Access, is it restricted to certain regions?

      • reply
        November 17, 2017 7:12 AM

        It's never OK to buy anything from the grey market. Unless you like to support criminals all over the world.

    • reply
      November 17, 2017 6:22 AM

      Doesn't mean anything until we see how they implement them once they come back. There will most likely still be loot boxes, and still be pay to win.

    • reply
      November 17, 2017 7:16 AM

      Jokes on them, I'm still not buying it until there's a GOTY release with all of the DLC and everything bundled in on the cheap.

      • reply
        November 17, 2017 8:07 AM

        Well, they are not doing DLC this time.

    • reply
      November 17, 2017 7:16 AM

      I pre-ordered it. My 10 year old son and I have been playing it this week. It is a super fun game. I'm sure people will hate on me, but we haven't felt like the game was that imbalanced. My 10 year old, who isn't that great, got enough battle points to play as 2 heros in one match last night. He was on cloud nine.

      • reply
        November 17, 2017 7:38 AM

        I preordered the regular edition last night. I’m past my days of min maxing, so I don’t care that people who bought the deluxe edition will have an advantage. Watching Shroud play and seeing the fun he had was all I needed to see.

        Also, I don’t necessarily have a problem with micro transactions. Compared to other forms of entertainment, games are still a huge bargain.

    • reply
      November 17, 2017 9:46 AM

      EA Execs -- "Shit!!! We're losing a ton of money. OK, turn them off, make us look decent for a bit while we get all those $60+ purchases back. Let them play past the point of "can't get a refund" and then turn it all back on. Why? Cuz we're EA"

    • reply
      November 17, 2017 9:51 AM

      Also, I wonder if Activision is stupid enough to launch their Call of Duty Points currency that is supposed to go live next week, or if they're going to hold back?

      • reply
        November 17, 2017 4:51 PM

        Thats fantastic stuff.

        If hey had elimated all those stupid and confusing and “mingame” transaction/leveling junk, they could have spent more time making a better game.

        This could have been our unicorn. Instead it’s just another meh.