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EA slashes Battlefront 2 unlock hero costs after backlash

Responding to outrage over 40-hour estimates to get Luke, Vader

Star Wars Battlefront 2 - Darth Vader flanked by stormtroopers
Star Wars Battlefront 2
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’s heavy costs for unlocking prime playable heroes are getting a big haircut — by 75 percent — following a weekend in which players deduced it would take 40 hours of multiplayer gameplay alone to get to Darth Vader or Luke Skywalker.

The news came in a blog post on the Battlefront site this afternoon. An update coming today reduces Vader and Skywalker’s unlock costs to 15,000 credits, the in-game currency that cannot be bought for real money (though it can be indirectly acquired; more on that in a second).

Emperor Palpatine, Leia Organa and Chewbacca are 10,000 credits to unlock, and Iden Versio, the all-new hero of Battlefront 2’s single-player campaign, is 5,000 credits. Originally, Vader and Luke were 60,000 credits, Palpatine, Leia and Chewbacca 20,000 credits, and Iden 20,000 credits.

“Based on what we’ve seen in the trial, this amount will make earning these heroes an achievement, but one that will be accessible for all players,” said EA DICE’s John Wasilczyk. “It's a big change, and it’s one we can make quickly.”

It’s a direct response to the quick boil-over seen in the Battlefront community after the game’s 10-hour preview became available on EA Access and Origin Access on Thursday. One player calculated that ordinary multiplayer returned 250 credits for 10 minutes of play, meaning 60,000 credits would need 40 hours of gameplay. While credits are earned in a number of other ways — including through campaign milestones, multiplayer achievements and exchanging duplicate Star Cards gained through loot boxes — it translated to an extraordinary time cost to get at characters many players expected would be a part of the main game.

An Electronic Arts community representative tried to answer the anger in two posts on Reddit, one of which became the site’s most hated of all time (by cumulative negative score) in fewer than 24 hours.

The six unlockable heroes are not the only ones playable in the game. Others such as Boba Fett, Han Solo and Lando Calrissian become available during respawn in multiplayer matches once a player’s “Battlescore” surpasses a certain amount with a match. But with in-game costs dramatically reduced, it’s possible they will now start showing up in the preview period. Star Wars Battlefront 2 formally launches on PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One on Friday; the preview is currently only running on PC and Xbox One.

The top six heroes were never available for a direct real money exchange; in-game credits are acquired either through game play or as a bonus in one of three loot crate varieties through which a player acquires new items or upgrades existing vehicles, fighter classes or unlocked heroes. Crates, however, may be bought for “crystals,” a secondary currency that can be bought for straight cash.

A third currency, “parts,” can effectively choose upgrade cards in a user’s collection, too. That means if a crate shipment turns up a duplicate of a card already owned, players will get a credit value based on its rank (starting at 200 credits). Polygon will have more on how this economy works in a future story.

EA’s rationale, per the heavily downvoted post on Sunday, was that unlocking Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader should carry a sense of accomplishment. But with so much other upgradable material bought from the same pool of in-game currency — much of it needed just to stay competitive or vary their fighters’ gameplay skills — players felt faced with the choice of slogging through hours of multiplayer while saving up paltry credit payouts for heroes, or extending their grind to earn them by an even more unreasonable length.

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