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Star Wars Battlefront 2 heroes come at a substantial cost

Forty hours, according to one player’s estimate.

DICE/Electronic Arts
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Star Wars Battlefront 2 is available in a one-week preview through EA Access on Xbox One and Origin Access on Windows PC, and players are starting to get an idea of the game’s multiple systems for currency, unlocking characters, and advancing in rank. Here’s a good breakdown of how far a new user can take the game buy peeling off those dollar bills, slapping them down.

For unlockable characters, it takes even more. One player’s analysis of their time in the preview so far suggests that obtaining a top-flight hero for multiplayer, like Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader, would require 40 hours of dedicated multiplayer time.

Writing on Reddit’s Battlefront subreddit, user TheHotterPotato analyzed 21 matches in Galactic Assault (the all-purpose multiplayer fight spanning multiple eras and scenarios), and how many credits were earned, in sum and on average. TheHotterPotato arrived at an average of 250 credits per 10-minute match.

Applied to the prices for the “Hero Crates,” the costliest item in Battlefront 2’s showcase, it just looks unrealistic that a user would earn one of these through natural in-game play rather than using real money. Skywalker and Vader’s costs are currently 60,000 credits. Assuming 250 credits per 10 minutes, that’s 40 hours of Galactic Assault gameplay right there.

It must be said: Users get credits for all sorts of events — including for milestones within other multiplayer events or completing sequences in the game’s single-player campaign. Also, this is the preview window; prices for big-time unlockables may be set very high for now so Access subscribers don’t get to the real goodies while they’re stuffing their faces in the free buffet. Battlefront 2’s preorder bonuses and special editions also included specialized looks for heroes, but not the heroes themselves. EA may be keeping these items unreachable before the full launch date, to keep the multiplayer ecosystem from getting out of hand.

But a simple Trooper Crate, which contains currency, “parts” to craft better upgrades for standard multiplayer characters, and other items, runs 4,000 credits. Again, at TheHotterPotato’s earnings rate, that’s more than 2.5 hours of playing time, in multiplayer alone.

GameSpot published a video on Friday that took 12 minutes to explain the game’s multiple currencies and upgrade gates and I still felt like I was in a 102-level economics course. A key point they make, however, is how users who redeem their in-game currency for those Trooper Crates will often find upgrade cards for heroes they don’t yet have.

That presents a big incentive to acquire them, i.e. by buying “crystals,” which is the requisite secondary layer of currency that can be bought for real money. You can have a couple of cards for a character you’re nowhere near acquiring. Because as TheHotterPotato’s analysis points out, that 40-hour estimate assumes the user is not putting the freely acquired in-game credits to anything else, meantime.

In the end, even though DICE promised changes to the loot crate economy after a beta raised alarm about them, it appears this age of disguised multiple currency systems, incentivized real money spending and long grinds for free rewards is not going away any time soon. And the more a publisher spends to use the characters and universe of a familiar movie series, the more players will be asked to, as well.

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