Star Wars Battlefront 2's 'Pay-To-Win' Complaints Are "Hard To Dodge," Says Dev
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Star Wars Battlefront II's open beta ended last week after giving players the chance to try out the game's new weapons, maps, and heroes. However, much of the discussion surrounding the game has focused on its microtransactions, loot crates, and Star Cards. Battlefront II will give away things like maps and character DLC for free, but it will use a loot box-style system for unlocking various upgrades, leading to some fans accusing the system of being 'pay-to-win.'
In an interview with GameSpot, EA said people's fears are "understandable," at the same time as calling the accusations "hard to dodge."
Offering his take on people's concerns, Chris Matthews (art director at EA Motive, the team behind Battlefront II's campaign) said: "Right now there have been games that exploit players and there have been games that have done it in better ways."
He continued: "DICE [developer of Battlefront II's multiplayer] has taken great care to make sure that Star Cards and the way they work give you more options in battle. Terms like pay-to-win and stuff like that are hard to dodge, but the guys are doing a really incredible job of trying to balance that system.
"[The response] is not annoying because we love the fans. We're gamers and we're trying to make something that's super-compelling that everybody's going to enjoy, but, you know, it's understandable."
Mitch Dyer, one of the campaign's writers, went on to say DICE is listening to players' feedback. "The beta existed for things like this," he said. "To look at things like, how are people responding to the balance and the maps and how everything flows? What are people enjoying or not enjoying? What's working? What's not working? We'll take all of that from the beta and start pumping it back into the game to improve it because Battlefront II is a game that exists because of feedback from fans. Couch co-op, a single-player campaign... these elements exist because people wanted them, which I think, to DICE's credit, shows that they are listening and they do listen to feedback."
When asked if they can envisage a version of the game where the loot crate system is removed, Matthews was non-commmital, stating, "We're not really in a great position to talk about that" and, "The guys at DICE would give you a great answer."
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Following the conclusion of the open beta last week, DICE published a blog post addressing some of the microtransaction-related concerns: "The complete system was not in the beta and will continue to be tuned over time," it said.
"As a balance goal, we're working towards having the most powerful items in the game only earnable via in-game achievements," the developer explained. Crates are obtained by completing challenges "and other gameplay milestones" or by purchasing them--either with credits earned in-game or real-world money. Inside crates, you'll find Star Cards, emotes, victory poses, and outfits; any duplicate Star Cards you receive are turned into crafting parts that can be put toward other Star Cards of your choosing.
Star Cards impact gameplay and, because of this, have become a major concern for players. But DICE claims there is more to becoming powerful than simply buying a crate and getting a good Star Card. "You have to earn the right to be able to upgrade Star Cards and unlock most weapons," it said. "You can only upgrade or unlock them if you have reached a high enough rank, which is determined by playing the game."
Battlefront II releases for PC, PS4, and Xbox One on November 17. Whether we'll see any changes to the proposed crates system between now and then remains to be seen. In other news about the shooter, EA has refused to rule out a Nintendo Switch port of Battlefront II. For more on the upcoming game, check out our impressions of Battlefront II's single-player campaign.
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