We reported below about how, in response to the EA Community Staff post on Reddit several of the staff and developers received death threats from gamers, and how this was a terrible thing to happen. One particular developer's tweet from "BiggSean66" made the rounds, which we posted below.
This developer does not exist, as Kotaku revealed. 'BiggSean66' does not work at EA, and his claim of having "up to 7 death threats, and over 1600 individual personal attacks now" is not true, unless it's for other reasons.
After outing the lie, BiggSean66 deleted the claim he worked at EA and locked his account. Apparently he has been pretending to work there via Twitter for a long time, but EA has no knowledge of him. In a statement they said:
"We take threats against our employees very seriously. Our first concern is ensuring safety and support for our people, and since the reports first surfaced we’ve been investigating this internally. At this time, we’re not able to verify this individual’s claims of employment at EA, nor the threats made against him."
Kotaku investigated themselves, even contacted Sean, and he has since cut off all communication.
While the EA Community Team did supposedly receive death threats so this is most definitely a serious thing, this individual's claims are false.
Meanwhile, DICE Developers went back to Reddit to try and salvage the situation and quell the anger regarding Loot Crates, Pay-To-Win, and the difficulty in unlocking Heroes. They were only partially successful, if at all.
Whether it happened in another silent update since headlines broke, or whether we just didn't notice it before; EA have thrown another curveball with their recent Battlefront II changes in the sneakiest way imaginable.
Since the Reddit backlash that saw a developer response in the Star Wars Battlefront 2 subreddit become (by far) the most downvoted series of comments in Reddit's long history, EA decided to 'hear' what the people had to say. It took far too long to unlock hero classes present in the game's advertising, leading to the decision that this was an intentional way to pressure players into unlocking the content instantly through microtransactions and lootboxes.
Responding to the negative backlash and scathing headlines, EA finally turned tail on the idea by slashing the unlock requirements by a massive 75%. Of course, headlines and customer reactions started rapidly changed, essentially thanking EA for fixing the problem. Many hours later, however, the truth started to come out.
According to GameInformer reviewer Andrew Reiner, they've postponed their review after figuring out EA only reduced the cost of the hero characters by 75%. What they didn't mention is that they drastically reduced the rate at which you gain the credits needed, pulling the old switcharoo that's only going to make things far worse down the line. Deception at its finest.
Andrew points out that before all of this commotion, completing the in-game campaign rewarded 20,000 credits. Now, that number sits at 5,000. Note how that's a 75% decrease. Decreasing a single-use reward as big as that makes sense, though. After all, you'd be unlocking far more with that reward than what was originally planned. But it goes further.
It seems as if they've not placed a limit on the credits you can earn in certain gamemode, slapping a timer on that means credits from Arcade challenges cease for 14 hours after either earning a certain amount or just completing 5 of them - it isn't entirely clear just yet.
There's a lot of uncertainty when it comes to the lootbox situation in recent weeks, but EA trying to defuse the situation with what is essentially a bunch of lies isn't going to help. Will they respond to this particular scandal with another, or be totally transparent with how they're going to tackle it? Maybe they'll just stand their ground. We won't know until they make the next move.
After getting the most down-voted comment of all time on Reddit, EA have announced they are making changes to the Hero Unlock costs. Big, sweeping changes. John Wasilczyk, Executive Producer at DICE, announced:
"So, we’re reducing the amount of credits needed to unlock the top heroes by 75%. Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader will now be available for 15,000 credits; Emperor Palpatine, Chewbacca, and Leia Organa for 10,000 credits; and Iden at 5,000 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. It's a big change, and it’s one we can make quickly. It will be live today, with an update that is getting loaded into the game."
That, at least, is manageable. Now the top tier Heroes, like Darth Vader, will take just around 50 matches to unlock rather than 300-400, so about 5 hours play. That ain't bad for something to work towards.
See folks, sometimes complaining does help. Death threats though? Not so much.
"We’ve also been listening to how much you’re loving features in the game (Starfighter Assault, 40 player MP battles, Darth Maul lightsaber throws, etc.) as well as what you haven’t liked. We know some of our most passionate fans, including those in our subreddit, have voiced their opinions, and we hear you. We’re making the changes to the credit levels for unlocking heroes and we’re going to keep making changes to improve the game experience over time. We welcome the conversation."
Now we're back to actually wanting to play Battlefront 2 again. How about you?
We reported in the last update over the weekend (below) about EA's response on Reddit to the complaints about Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker being locked and really hard to unlock. Fans have responded to this in droves, and they are not happy. The Reddit response from EA now has one of the highest Downvote counts of any post, ever. Here are a selection of comments:
"Oh come on, everyone and their mother knows that this is to force players to grind for a piece of a product they should have already gotten when they purchased the game in order to get us to buy lootboxes. Not even a 5 year old would fall for this."
"If the unlock took maybe 2-4 hours that would be fine, but this is essentially saying 'You don't need to pay but if you don't good luck'"
"This is a joke right? When you have the same currency tied to unlocking crates as you do to unlocking heroes. You can swipe your credit card for crates and just save up every single credit to unlock heroes. There is no freaking pride or sense of accomplishment in this. You're not even doing this for "Free DLC". You're doing this for items that come in the game we just paid $60 and $80 for. I'm sure the prices will be even more egregious when the "Free" stuff comes along."
"the problem isn't that the heros are locked, it's that you can skip the wait by throwing more money at it, making the wait not for accomplishments, but to entice people to pay for it."
"Yeah except we have to work at it like it's a full-time job to unlock one hero. Let alone all of the others we want to unlock whilst completely ignoring progressing our class. There's no sense of accomplishment. It literally kills the fun of the game by making it seem like work. Should be 5k, so it only takes a couple of hours, not 40."
And so on. It takes roughly 200-300 matches to gain enough Credits to unlock Darth Vader or Luke Skywalker, which was worked out at around 40 hours of play. For one of those characters, not forgetting that the Emperor, Leia, Chewbacca and campaign character Iden Version all need to be unlocked too - for less than Vader and Luke (40K Credits each, 20K for Iden) but still a long time to get. And that's without buying any Loot Crates or essential Upgrades, so it is clearly EA's hope that players will buy them with real money. We're pretty sure that's more hours than we spent on Battlefront 1.
Here, have a Spreadsheet explaining all this, along with the real-world cost of unlocking these guys.
Unfortunately the situation was exacerbated by EA Community Manager Mat Everett whose now-deleted Twitter response seemingly derided people complaining about this as "the armchair developers of the internet. He then wrote the following response saying that he was not talking about Battlefront 2 or its fans.
He and a lot of the Community team, and Battlefront 2 developers as well, have since received death threats. We can understand gamer anger over the situation, but it's still only a videogame and this is never the correct response. Complaining is fine - threatening someone's life over not being able to play a fictional character for a while is not.
EA's final response to this so far has been, "our goal involves creating a compelling progression path for all of our players. There's a lot of content at launch with even more coming via live service, and we'll continuously adjust our progression mechanics to give players a sense of accomplishment as they explore all of Battlefront 2."
EA has responded to complaints about the difficulty - and time - it takes to unlock characters such as Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker in Star Wars Battlefront 2. Here's the full response from the EA Community Team:
"The intent is to provide players with a sense of pride and accomplishment for unlocking different heroes.
As for cost, 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.
We appreciate the candid feedback, and the passion the community has put forth around the current topics here on Reddit, our forums and across numerous social media outlets.
Our team will continue to make changes and monitor community feedback and update everyone as soon and as often as we can."
They admit they wanted something for players to work towards, which is a good idea but it's not fair to lock two of the most popular characters behind a wall most players won't be able to achieve, or at the very least stops them from leveling up or getting upgrades - remember, while saving up the 60,000 Credits for Vader or Luke players will not be able to buy any upgrades or Star Cards in order to make their characters better. Which might tempt people towards microtransactions or buying Crystals with real world currency, which was obviously EA's goal.
Hopefully EA will allow other ways to earn Credits, or at least to get more from matches if you do well, as having to play 200-300 matches (without any upgrades) to get a classic Hero character would be a colossal pain.
We'll find out when the game comes out on November 17.
Original Story Follows:
With the uproar about Loot Crates and paid-to-win progression in Star Wars Battlefront 2, out next week, only now as players gain access to the game via Origin Early Access is the full scope of EA's plans regarding progression in Battlefront 2 revealed. In between the prices of Premium Currency Crystals and how paid Loot Crates still give players an advantage is this fact regarding the game's popular Hero characters - some of them will be locked and must be paid for. Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker are the most expensive, and using the in-game currency will mean players will have to play upwards of 200 full games before either Hero can be unlocked.
To unlock the characters for play, Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker cost 60,000 Credits each. While this is all in-game currency and can be earned through play, each full match of Star Wars Battlefront 2 only earns around 200-300 credits each. If players do not spend Credits on Loot Crates, Star Cards, fighters, other heroes or anything else, then it will take players 200-300 completed matches to unlock either Luke or Vader. And then again for the other hero, and again for any other heroes that might come out such as Finn or Captain Phasma, out alongside The Last Jedi next month.
Despite our investigation we cannot find out if Heroes can be purchased with Crystals, the game's Premium Currency that costs real-world money. Here are the costs of Crystals:
At the moment the only reports we have is that Crystals can only buy Crates. Trooper Crates cost 200 Crystals or 4000 credits, Starfighter Crates at 120 Crystals or 2400 credits, and Hero Crates at 110 Crystals and 2200 credits. Using that as perspective, it would take 3000 Crystals - or around £20/$30 - to unlock Darth Vader or Luke Skywalker, two Heroes that many gamers would want to play quite quickly.
Star Wars Battlefront 2 has been at the centre of a lot of controversy. EA shutting down Visceral and their Star Wars game because it wasn't Battlefront-like may have been at the side, but the Loot Crate affair where anyone buying Loot Crates with real money get an immediate advantage over anyone playing normally, hasn't really gone away. EA have removed the higher tiers of Star Card upgrades from Crates and put level caps on some upgrades, but in general the problem seems to persist.
Now with two of the Saga's most popular characters put behind a very high progression wall, we're hoping all this doesn't sour the release of Battlefront 2 - which by all accounts is a very fun game.