I’ve been really looking forward to Star Wars: Battlefront II, both because it seems much more full-featured than its predecessor and because it has a single-player campaign. I was also pleasantly surprised to learn that all maps would be free, something that will ensure the community isn’t divided between DLC owners and non-owners.
Then details began to trickle out about the game’s progressions system and paid loot crates, and my enthusiasm took a massive nosedive. We’ve learned a few things in the past few days:
- Loot crates give a clear advantage to players who pay over non-paying players. (I’ll have an in-depth piece up on this system soon.)
- It takes as many as 40 hours to grind to unlock one Hero.
- Thanks to the game’s premium currency, Crystals, the progression system is deeply confusing.
- Because of the pay-to-win nature of the game, the community will almost certainly be poisoned from the get-go.
The game may have ditched its predecessor’s season pass, but it retains the system of Star Cards, only now more complex thanks to the paid loot crates and various level-gating systems in place (you have to rank up two separate ranks to craft certain cards, unlock weapons and so forth.)
Of course, if I had my way I’d get rid of the terrible Star Card system altogether. I wish DICE had simply created a Battlefield game and given it a Star Wars paint job and sound effects. If that’s all that Star Wars: Battlefront II was I’d be in heaven. Fully destructible environments, great shooting, huge maps, and no Star Cards.
Instead we have a game that is broken out of the gates. Players who pay will have more cards, rank up faster, and craft better upgraded cards than non-paying players, plain and simple. That might not make them the best players, but it will give them an unfair advantage.
Replace Star Cards With Skins
If you want a game that will stand the test of time, it needs both great content and a fair playing field. Battlefront II will have the former, but it’s not looking like it will have the latter. The only way to fix that is to take Star Cards out of loot boxes and replace them with cosmetic items. That’s not even a perfect solution (loot boxes are too like gambling to sit right with me even in the best implementations such as Overwatch) but it’s better than this.
Besides, cosmetic items are perfect for a Star Wars game. There are a bunch of heroes, now imagine that there’s a bunch of different skins for each one. You’d have your basic Luke Skywalker, but then you’d also have versions of him from different films. You could even have Boba Fett in different shades of his armor. And Heroes wouldn’t have to be the only characters with cool skins. Why not have special Stormtrooper outfits, or Rebel outfits, for the various classes? All these could be unlocked in loot crates.
DICE could even hold special events much like Blizzard does with Overwatch, possibly timed with new map releases, in which new skins in special loot crates were released. Of course, all these skins should also be available in-game by grinding still, but unlike the current system skins wouldn’t give any sort of gameplay advantage to paying players.
And just like that, all this gamer ire and backlash is solved. Skins still make EA tons and tons of money because people love to buy cool looking skins like this, especially in a game where you can play in third-person and see just how cool your characters look. But the game is saved and people don’t hate EA quite as much.
That’s my solution and I know it may be a day late and a dollar short but it’s one that I still hope EA and DICE consider. I do believe that, in many ways, it could save this game from the path its on, of a community divided and broken by a terrible pay-to-win system.
Update: I’ve been reminded that working with Disney/LucasFilm can be a real challenge, especially when it comes to cosmetics. It can take a *very* long time to get the visuals right for this trooper or that hero, etc. since LucasFilm is so concerned about lore and making sure the aesthetic is just so. This provides a real obstacle to making skins work in this game, but it’s one that I still think would be possible and preferable to what we have now. Of course, given how tricky it is to work with LucasFilm on this kind of project, this would have been something DICE/EA would have needed to start long before now. In other words, this might be a lot harder to implement now than it would be with some other game that EA actually owned rights to. What a shame.
Let me know what you think. Would this be an improvement?
More Info: www.forbes.com
Categories: Money Matters