EA wants players to buy into the economy of Star Wars Battlefront 2, but the publisher doesn’t understand what that economy is or what it should be. That’s a problem for fans who want to use their credits and real-world investments in the game wisely, and it’s more of a reason to walk away than to celebrate.
The latest move is a shocking 75 percent reduction in the cost to unlock the game’s heroes. This isn’t an adjustment; it feels like a fire sale after fans revolted at the grinding necessary to unlock the heroes they wanted. It indicates that EA has no clue about how to place value on these heroes and crates for the players, who are being asked to buy things in the game on faith.
“Making games great comes from regular tuning,” DICE’s John Wasilczyk said in a blog post. “As one example, today we’re making a substantial change based on what we’ve seen during the Play First trial. There’s been a lot of discussion around the amount of in-game credits (and time) it takes to unlock some of our heroes, especially Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. Unlocking a hero is a great accomplishment in the game, something we want players to have fun earning. We used data from the beta to help set those levels, but it’s clear that more changes were needed.”
It’s a wise move, but it showed that EA tried to get away with pricing items too high and the only thing stopping them was the overwhelming fan outrage.
This is the danger you find when you try to create a $60 game on top of free-to-play unlock and gambling mechanics; you are locked into a reward system that either works or doesn’t, but when it fails on a level this spectacular you look like you have no idea what you’re doing. Star Wars Battlefront 2 is a game that can’t seem to make its economy work, and that failure is dominating the conversation about a game that, outside of these loot crate systems, looks and plays pretty great.
Investing time and money in a game is an act of faith that your investment will mean something in terms of in-game items and enjoyment of that game. EA is showing that it doesn’t understand what in the game has value, what doesn’t and what anything should cost. What happens to the players who worked hard in a certain area to unlock something only to have EA devalue it the next day? What happens in a week when the game is released and EA recalibrates the entire economy?
The headline of that blog post is “Change will be a constant in Star Wars Battlefront 2,” and that’s not evidence that EA and DICE are listening, it’s proof that they are lost. Maybe it’s time for fans to step away from the game until its designers figure out what the hell is going on.