Star Wars Battlefront II developers face frosty reception during reddit AMA
DICE, developers of the recently released Star Wars Battlefront II, have completed a reddit AMA in which fans voiced their disappointment and frustration regarding the controversial loot box progression system which has plagued the game since launch.
Facing the wrath of the community were John Wasilczyk, Dennis Brannvall and Paul Keslin. Wasilczyk is the executive producer on Battlefront II, with Brannvall working as associate design director and Keslin filling the role of producer. Out of hundreds of posts, 30 questions were answered in total — plenty of which touched upon the game’s progression system and microtransations, which players claim are skewed to give those who buy loot boxes an advantage.
Expecting fireworks, the AMA was particularly strict on rules regarding inflammatory comments and harassment. Despite this, posts that the developers had commented on were flooded with sarcastic responses and attacks on publisher EA for their perceived aversion to fixing things. Many of the developer answers failed to smooth things over with fans, with no real decisiveness on what was going to happen next. ‘We’re looking at it’ was the biggest take away from the entire event.
One of the biggest sticking points for players remains to be how long it will take to unlock everything in Battlefront II without having to purchase loot boxes using real-world cash. Earlier this week, a representative for EA responded to a post on reddit, effectively confirming that it will take roughly 40 hours of play time to unlock the biggest heroes and villains, such as Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader.
The response, which says these lengthy waits were included ‘to provide players with a sense of pride and accomplishment for unlocking different heroes’, became the most downvoted comment in reddit’s history, according to the ListofComments subreddit.
Wasilczyk elaborated on this during the AMA, downplaying the estimation. ‘We’ve seen the speculation about how long it takes players to earn things – but our averages based on the Play First trial are much faster than what’s out there,’ he said. ‘We’re committed to making progression a fun experience for all of our players… nothing should feel unattainable.’
He added that DICE would ‘look at’ how at how quickly players are unlocking loot boxes and Star Cards, and that they would ‘continue adjusting values to make sure that players are able to progress towards their goals without it feeling like a grind.’
When asked about why loot boxes affect gameplay instead of being purely cosmetic, like in Blizzard’s Overwatch, associate design director Dennis Brannvall was seen by the community as skirting the question, and instead talked about the upcoming customisation system which he claims will ‘change the game tremendously on all levels.’
A later question in regards to review scores saw Brannvall saying that he felt that GameInformer’s 6.5/10 rating was tainted by the controversy surrounding the game’s progression system. He claimed that ‘the gameplay, art, audio and depth warrants higher recognition’ than what it received. This did not go over well however, as fans countered by sharing links to YouTube videos which show graphical glitches and AI issues in the Battlefront II‘s single-player campaign.
Producer Paul Keslin was asked about offline progression, in which a community member raised the issue of the credit cap when playing against AI. The user wrote: ‘With crate’s current cost, I would have to max the system out for eight days in a row to afford just one crate. Do you have any plans to change up the arcade values so more casual players like me could afford more than 2 or 3 loot crates a month?’
Keslin was wary to give any guarantees, and explained that the cap is in place to prevent exploitation that would impact multiplayer. He said that DICE will be ‘looking at data continually and make adjustments to make things as balanced as possible.’
The AMA closed with Brannvall thanking the community for their feedback, and said that the team ‘were incredibly saddened by the negative response from you, the community on Reddit about the game… because we want to make a game that you love.’ He ended his final post with some hopeful words: ‘We will fix this.’
Hell hath no fury like a Star Wars fan scorned, it seems. You can read all the responses from the DICE AMA on the Battlefront II reddit.