Star Wars Battlefront II | DICE
LET'S ASK THE QUESTION, IS STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT II ACTUALLY GOOD NOW?
A Galaxy Far, Far Away Shrouded in a Loot Box Controversy
by Felipe Parada
So I finally started my journey in a galaxy far far away. I took advantage of the holiday sales and allowed myself to be consumed by the force. Just a little bit of a heads up, this article is going to be littered with Star Wars puns, so don’t say I didn't warn you. After a full year after the games release, and witnessing one of the worse loot box controversies of the past 5 years, Star Wars Battlefront II is in a state where it can be called a really great shooter. I always had a feeling about Star Wars Battlefront II but the pesky loot box controversy really prevented me from picking up the game. I was originally going to include this in our criminally underrated series but I felt that this was one of those situations that needed an in-depth discussion.
When you come to think of it, this narrative is all too familiar. The consumers who are the “early adopters” are the ones who truly suffer. Regardless of whatever anyone says, you are the REAL MVP’s. You are the ones who suffer through the games never ending list of growing pains. That act alone helps shape the course of the game. You are the very important few who make a game great for individuals like me who pick it up a year after its release. So for that, I thank you, and I dedicate this article to you. I can only imagine how bad it was for you when you realized that it took a gazillion hours just to unlock a specific character. For those of you who took part in the launch, you may want to skip the next part because I'm about to reopen and old wound.
The Loot Box Controversy Revisited
I know the wound is still fresh but let's look back and quickly review the infamous loot box controversy that surrounded Star Wars Battlefront II. It seemed that EA and DICE heard the fans and were truly committed to delivering the quintessential Star Wars Experience after the not so warm reception of the first Star Wars Battlefront. The biggest issue was that it was thin on content and the expansion cost as much as the initial launch game. Players really couldn't believe that this Star Wars Game had no single player campaign. For the most part, everyone's complaints of the game were justified and it looked like the publisher made note of it.
In the months leading up to Star Wars Battlefront II’s release, players started to notice that loot boxes began to pop up more and more in games like NBA 2K18 and Destiny. This was not good because the systems that were put in place promoted a pay to win mentality, and we all know how well that works out. Even though the franchise was for casual and hardcore players alike, the system felt more catered to people who pony up the cash. Many gamers began to become concerned because Star Wars Battlefront II could possibly have its own loot box system and possibly ruin the franchise. Either you pay to keep up or grind to get all the necessary loot to level up your character. It was bad enough that EA and DICE were already on thin ice but many remained optimistic.
Gamers fears came to light once the Beta released on October 17, 2017 and realized that the star cards now came in loot boxes. Why was this a bad thing? Well, technically a player could always have a tactical advantage in multiplayer if they spent real world money on the loot boxes. This of course is the infamous pay to win loot box formula that we all hate. Now, it's easy to say that “I just wont buy any of the loot boxes” but when you are playing against players who are heavily decked out with the strongest cards, it makes the experience frustrating. EA claimed that they were “aware of the star card system” in a blog post and reassured players “epic tier star cards will not be in Star Wars Battlefront II’s loot boxes.” And thus started the chain of events that would alter the course of the games loot box system but it was just a small taste of what was to come.
A small group of gamers got the opportunity to play a pre-release trial period on EA Access on November 9th 2017. Players discovered that not only were the loot boxes still present in the game but the currency system was severely broken. The game presented you with 2 currencies: crystals and credits. Credits are obtained by playing the game and crystals are purchased with real money. If you managed to get duplicate star cards, you can exchange them for credits, which you can use to buy heroes in the game. The major issue was that if you spend “real world” money to get crystals, you can gain a significant advantage multiplayer. Nobody like to hear about a “pay-to-win” formula in their games.
On November 12th, Players began to see how long it will take them to unlock some of the iconic characters like Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. It cost 60,000 credits just to unlock Luke Skywalker which was the equivalent of grinding for two full days, give or take. Mind you that credits were only available through loot drops, just like in Overwatch. This really got under the skin of players because the way the game was structured, it was pushing you towards spending some real world money. EA’s response to the controversy did not help, stating that:
“The intent is to provide players with a sense of pride and accomplishment for unlocking different heroes. We selected initial values based upon data from the Open Beta and other adjustments made to milestone rewards before launch. Among other things, we’re looking at average per-player credit earn rates on a daily basis, and we’ll be making constant adjustments to ensure that players have challenges that are compelling, rewarding, and of course attainable via gameplay.”
There is no rest while fighting in the Clone Wars.
Star Wars Battlefront II | DICE
Now in 2019, Star Wars Battlefront II is a completely different game. Gone are the loot boxes drops and overly expensive character unlocks, this is the way that Star Wars should have been. The game just received its most anticipated game mode on their current road map, Capital Supremacy. In Capital Supremacy, the forces of the Galactic Republic and Separatists clash in an immersive, Clone Wars-era authentic experience. This mode really sums up all the hard work that DICE has made to get this game to where it is today. If you take in all the content that DICE has openly given to the community since its initial launch back in 2017, it’s safe to say that Star Wars Battlefront II has made the comeback it so rightfully deserved.
I’ve said it from the very beginning, it was such a shame that this game was shrouded in the loot box controversy. Star Wars Battlefront II boasts one of the best uses of the Star Wars License in the history of the franchise. Whether you are fighting in the forests of Endor, or on the rain soaked platforms of Kamino, every single detail of Star Wars is painstakingly recreated to look like its real-left counterpart. There's nothing cooler than actually playing the Battle of Geonosis and seeing all the small conflicts play out in such dramatic fashion. Who wouldn't want to lead the charge as Obiwan Kenobi knowing that your trusty clone troopers are not too far behind to lend some support.
I personally love Heroes vs Villains. I mean come on, taking part in light saber battles as your favorite Jedi or Sith just doesn't get old. The heroes themselves have been drastically reworked to have different stamina profiles. Even though I have run across countless matches where I’m facing opponents that have all their abilities maxed out, the feeling of wanting to get back into the battle is where Star Wars Battlefront II is at its best. You want to spend every minute on the battlefield working towards one of the many activities that the game has to offer. Whether it be unlocking a new weapon or wanting that shiny new skin for your Republic Commando, challenges are a plenty.
Star Wars Battlefront II | DICE
There is no shortage of Heroes to play with.
If you choose to skip the campaign and arcade mode, that’s perfectly fine. Different stroke for different folks. The multiplayer more than makes up for it with the shear amount of additional content. In fact, the multiplayer is really good, plain and simple. I know I jumped in one year later and, and I tend to do that nowadays with my games but there is a huge comparison even during the short time I have played it. I can confidently say that I love Star Wars Battlefront II, and I am happy saying in that because this is a game that deserves all the love and praise it has been receiving lately. I know it took a really long time for the game to get into the state that its in, but unfortunately that’s the gaming industry for you.
If you love the Star Wars franchise as much as I do then you know what my next statement will be. You need to pick up Star Wars Battlefront II. Go into it with a casual approach, just like I did, and you will see that this game is very special. All the love and time it took to rebalance the entire game is a testament to the hard work to the people over at DICE. I always knew that DICE was the kind of developer that can deliver a AAA experience with a AAA license. Unfortunately DICE was given a real shitty deck with EA being at the helm but they were able to come out on top, and for that I salute you. DICE was able to prove that monetization doesn't always work and should be implemented accordingly.
This is a good example of what happens when you have an open line of communication with your audience. There was no smoke and mirrors once the game hit the shelves and DICE made it their mission to fix what EA had done. Say what you want about EA, I surely have, but the people behind Star Wars deserve better. I openly support what the developers have to go through to make this possible. But ultimately it starts with the gamers, they are the ones who voiced their displeasure and got the ball rolling. You managed to make the game greater that it has ever been. Even when publishers abandon their games, you never did and never will. Now, if you’ll excuse me, it's time to go back and venture into a galaxy far, far away.
Is Star Wars Battlefront II back on track or does it still need a lot more work? Let us know what you think in the comments below. Also Check out our game play footage of Capital Supremacy.
Welcome to the family.