Star Wars: Battlefront II is a great game from a certain point of view


Sometimes the quantity of one of the items in the mix is zero! Thanks, EA!



Heh, for me, that’s the best part of the game :) But there are lots of other non-sub MMOs out there at this point, too.

Still, I’m not disagreeing with you. Most of these practices are purely designed to addict players and separate them from their money by creating digital treadmills that virtually reach into your wallet/PayPal account and leech you dry. In some ways it’s moving game publishers into the same camp as distillers and mass-market brewers…


I went from a sure purchase after the beta to on the fence but probably not going to get it. I’m waiting for them to update the progression system.

To be clear I have no problem with pay to win. Some people have a lot of time and a little money, some people have a lot of money and a little time. Games like this should be able to accommodate both groups.

The Investment Banker who works from 8AM to 11PM most days and wants to unwind after a long day shouldn’t be cannon fodder to the college student who has fuckall to do all day when not in class.

My problem with THIS game is its implementation. The focus was on extracting money as opposed to providing an alternative progression system. Loot boxes in general are a shitty shit practice and as Adam B says need to burn in hell. Just let people unlock weapons and modifications through leveling up and let people buy levels.


I didn’t realize 3 was supposed to be guaranteed , I’ve been getting 2 items just about every day! WTF!


My stance on the matter is there’s no such thing as acceptable P2W in a non-F2P game. If it provides a real advantage it’s not OK.

I don’t bitch about P2W in F2P games, but I do go out of my way not to play those games and thus don’t give them any money.


Yeah, the non free to play bit is key. Give me the game for free, and pretty much I have to accept whatever weirdness you go for to monetize it Charge me sixty clams, though, and my expectations are different.

On another vector of this topic, in relation to what MattN said, is it possible to have a system that equalized money and time, where you can’t pay to win per se but can can pay to keep pace? Or is it a case of ice cream and horseshit?


What’s the harm if they are paying to unlock the same things other people are unlocking? Again assuming the progression isn’t predatory and the system is in fact designed to be maxed out without investing extra money.

I don’t play much competitive shooters and I’ve never prestiged a game, but I’ll take the last game I reached max level on.

Titanfall 1: titanfall 1 had a very fair progress system where through leveling up you gained new titan chassis, weapons for you and your titans etc. everyone got the same things at the same levels. I would have no problem if joe rich guy had the option of spending an extra 50 bucks to skip the leveling up mechanic.

I don’t play these types of games anymore because I don’t have the time to invest in keeping up with these guys who can spend hours every night playing. I don’t see it as pay to win, I see it as pay to level out the playing field. Battlefront 2s implementation crosses the line to pay to win because of the random nature of the loot boxs.

It’s like an amusement park. If someone is willing to pay double to skip to the front of the line then by all means skip the line. But if the amusement park intentionally slows down the standby line to make the front of the line more attractive there is a problem. (By intentionally I mean beyond natural slowdown of adding the front of the liners)


That is basically what I’m getting at. What if they waited to introduce what I described for 2 or something so that day 1 everyone has the same slingshot, but by week 2 the grinders aren’t running around like terminator while the normal guys are getting picked off.

Basically time is money, and companies need to find the right ratio of time to dollar that people can agree is fair.


In a single-player game, the harm is that it leads to a shitty gameplay experience. You’re paying to skip the actual game, after all. And while you were careful to caveat that the system wouldn’t be designed taking transactions into account, there’s a strong incentive to do that, because money.

In a multi-player game you have all the problems above plus it’s totally unfair to players who don’t pay extra. They’re second-class citizens.

I see the paid lootboxes as a separate issue entirely, and honestly I don’t really care about that aspect very much. Yes, it feeds many of the same compulsions as gambling and yes, it sucks and shouldn’t be in any game (including, yes, everybody’s beloved Overwatch!). But as long as they only reward cosmetics, I don’t really give a damn.


I think different folks have different definitions of fair. I generally am not super-competitive, so my focus is on my own play, but I do pay attention to the overall philosophy of things.


One thing that does bug me, philosophically, is that monetization strategies have enormous impact on game design. And while from a corporate perspective, good design can perhaps be measured in return on investment and revenue streams, for players, the metrics are, shall we say, somewhat different. Unless you are really into gambling per se as an activity, most of the monetization strategies are not going to enhance your game playing experience. Quite the opposite.

So, whether free to play or not, it is likely that any game that relies on anything other than a one-time purchase (and one-time purchased expansions, perhaps, if they are true expansions and not part of the core game parceled out) for its revenue flow is going to compromise game design. It’s not inevitable, as games like Path of Exile seem to do pretty well in not having their monetization stuff muck with the design (though that thing is so complex that it might be doing things I can’t figure out!), but in most cases you can’t keep the business stuff out of the game stuff.

The degree of compromise can vary, from nearly negligible to extreme and egregious, but it’s gonna be there I think.


Lots of games are engaging due to exploiting skinner boxes. Hell, diku MMOs are entirely based on variable rewards! Do you run through the same dungeon 100 times in a row because you actually enjoy the content? Maybe the first 5 runs, sure. But after that you’re in it to advance your character, and rewards in MMOs are largely based on the random number generator. That’s why they’re addictive.

The problem is when you exploit that little foible of the human brain that finds variable rewards particularly worthy of a dopamine hit to extract actual money from your players. That’s problematic.


What I don’t understand is that there has to be a better way to get money from people here after the initial sale. Sell cosmetic upgrades for a fee while not mucking with gameplay at all. Let people have access to all the tools of play while offering them ways of buying visual customization. In Star Wars especially, this makes sense. Give players Luke Skywalker in say his final Return of the Jedi garb out of the box but offer up Young Luke, Hoth Luke, Episode VIII Luke, etc. for $2 a pop, or $5 a pop, or whatever they think they can get. Make it so these are not even earnable through gameplay but only available for a fee. That’s up front and people can decide if they value it enough to pay. Those that just want to play are unaffected.

Randomization of rewards just pisses people off in general. The games people seem to play the most are the ones where randomization is limited. People know when items will spawn on a Quake map and exactly what they’ll be so they can optimize their gameplay around that. It’s part of the strategy and the fun of learning how to play well. Any game with skill needs less RNG and not more.


I assume you’re not counting Overwatch, any number of CCG games, and the last few Call of Duty games?


Blizzard used it to stretch out the viability of instanced group content in WoW, so that the player wouldn’t “finish” it the same week it released. It made a certain amount of sense in that context.

BUT . . . in a game with a lifespan of months rather than years, it seems a lot more punishing and exploitative. Not to mention the money-grubbing ugliness of making the player buy blindly in the hope of the desired reward when it’s probably a dupe. Hell, even allowing dupes in such a system makes me angry.


I hope EA loses their shirt on this. This gambling in games has got to stop. I want to play a game, not visit a casino.


I think at the least it annoys people in those games and at most pisses them off enough that they rage about it occasionally. In Overwatch, it’s not gameplay altering, which makes it more palatable. In CoD, it does restrict some weapons and that’s annoying, however it’s typically variants of available guns so you can at least unlock the standard version. Again, not gamebreakingly bad, but still annoying.

CCGs… well, it’s been roulette from the start and I think it’s always annoyed some people. I recall similar discussions when Magic the Gathering was new.

I’m just saying that there has to be other options beyond a roulette wheel attempt at paying to win. You’re not even guaranteed the win as wumpus already determined with his power outlay of cash.

I think the reason it hasn’t bubbled over this way before is because as I’ve said in my examples above, the gameplay wasn’t altered, specifically on the videogame side, in such a way that people could see where they were gambling. If you are good at Overwatch, you’re good at Overwatch. There’s no changing that because your Soldier 76 is wearing a hawaiian shirt instead of the standard getup.


My larger point is that the power dynamic in the game is so asymmetric already that these minor differences that people are bitching about really do not matter. Take all the soldier purple epic cards you want into a one in one versus Luke Skywalker and it ain’t gonna make a damn bit of difference.

Remember too that in BF1 Jedi were one off pickups, in BF2 you can have (near as I can tell) up to four active per team at any time…


As someone who played the game to Level 10 in the beta and played a ton of the first Battlefront, I agree with you that there are definite gameplay things that make those upgrades less valuable. The problem is you’re still going to be in one on one shootouts with people who are not a hero (or powered up droid, flame trooper, etc.) where you’ll feel overmatched because of gearing that seems like someone paid to win.

It’s not about whether it’s asymmetric anymore. The perception is that anytime it isn’t, someone paid a pile of money to beat you, AND when they spun the wheel of fortune they came up aces and you didn’t even if you had put the money into the machine.

I got wrecked by many a Vader/Emperor/Solo/Leia/etc. in the first BF. They were power characters you wanted to avoid and plink at from a distance. I also felt like the player who got the character was lucky to do so, but it was short lived and if you ganged up on them they wouldn’t survive too long. It wasn’t something that bugged me too much.


The asymmetric stuff is perfectly fine but doesn’t excuse the P2W one bit. In fact, the heroes are the reward for paying to win.

How do you get to play as a hero? You spend battle points. How do you get battle points? You kill other players and complete objectives. How do you kill other players and complete objectives? You spend money on lootboxes to get an advantage or grind for a very long time. That’s the problem.


Again this is not a 1v1 Olympic class fighting game in a tiny 2 dimensional arena. These are 20 v 20 large battlefield furballs where there are a dozen ways to die, and most of them are unfair: someone got behind you, sniped you, jumped in a powerful vehicle, was in a larger group, etc.