Electronic Arts or Electronic <bleep>holes?

It seems Electronic Arts(EA) has struck a nerve once again with more loot boxes than even Oprah could hand out. Which leads to microtransactions, which lead to more of your money going toward the game you just purchased. I for one, have never been on the hate EA bandwagon, as I generally like the games they release. Even when they purchase a studio for that very purpose. I get that EA is that big evil corporation that most people want to distance themselves from, but most of the games are entertaining at least. Then for a while they were at the head of the paid dlc push, even trying to implement an online pass for those that didn’t buy the game new, charging you $10 to play online, effectively making the used price more than the new copy in most cases. The ball was already rolling, and then that avalanche struck.

EA hit rock bottom for a while, almost always being voted as the worst video game company year after year. A lot of people spent their money elsewhere, until EA got its head out of the sand so to speak. And for a time being, they did. You started seeing games like Battlefield and Dragon Age adding in new content, sometimes for free even. They did away with the online pass, and started producing some quality games. And seeing as almost everyone was moving towards the season pass era, I can’t blame EA for doing so too. For a while Ubisoft took the mantle, trying to charge you left and right for about anything extra, even to the point where shooters such as Rainbow 6 Siege had “seasons”, charging you a hefty amount for new content. But time flows like a river, and history repeats itself……

If you haven’t heard this already, EA is basically turning Star Wars: Battlefront 2 into a locked behind a grindfest or paywall free to play system injected into your $60 game. Want to use Vader or Luke Skywalker? They are locked. To unlock them, players have speculated that it would take around 40 hours of grinding to unlock one character, and almost 40 more hours to power that character up, getting random loot boxes that contain cards that you equip on said character. Or you could just buy your way to unlock them, which someone has done, and it was around another $200 to get enough credits to unlock one of these characters. Yes, you read that right, $200 on top of your already $60, or more if you opt for a deluxe or collector’s edition. That lead to a user posting this up on Reddit, EA responding, and getting the most down voted comment in Reddit history. EA may be greedy, but not stupid, as they just recently changed the amount of grinding and credits needed to unlock some content drastically. Other unlocks will be available by getting certain achievements/trophies or milestones. But the loot boxes still exist. And will deter many from possibly buying this game.

Well, there is always Need for Speed Payback I guess. What’s that, there are loot boxes in that too? Yes there are friends, and it is the way you get to upgrade your vehicles. Win a race, pick from one of three random cards that might contain a stat boost for your car. I couldn’t believe it! This completely throws the entire racing game model out the window. Most people see a decent example of the loot box system in Overwatch. Overwatch offers cosmetic unlocks, such as character skins or emotes. It doesn’t alter game play at all. Halo 5 offers unlocks that can give you an advantage in multiplayer. Not cool, especially if you pay for those loot boxes. Yes you can unlock them too, but being able to spawn with a certain gun, or in a Scorpion tank just breaks the game for me. And it would easily crush me to see the loot boxes in Need for Speed not letting you be able to gear up the way you want to due to getting the wrong upgrades via a random card lottery.

Some people will argue that the cost of making a game has greatly increased, thus leading to paid dlc or the season pass. I understand this to a point, but these companies are still making money from these games, otherwise we wouldn’t have a Call of Duty or Battlefield pretty much every year. EA knows that anything Star Wars will sell, so they are taking a risk here, even after commenting on the new changes, fans are still upset, and the news might not spread fast enough for people to change their minds on release day. This will also hurt the smaller games, making buyers weary of this new business model. Is it here to stay? That’s hard to say, but the season pass is at least, and I am okay with that. The free to play model where everything is locked down or left to chance, I am not okay with. Having tried Star Wars: Battlefront 2 with my EA Access pass, I really enjoyed what I played, but I am playing the wait and see game now, and will let this all unfold first. Will we see the newly aquired Respawn add in loot boxes for Titanfall 3? Only time will tell.

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