Postmortem on Star Wars: Battlefront II’s Ridiculous Progression System

Ugh.  Minutes after recording and editing yesterday’s hit twelfth podcast, the internet was aroused by new information making almost everything the Spoon Deep crew discussed obsolete.  It is still worth a listen of course, if only for the witting comments and the usual banter among friends.  You can listen to Episode 12 here.  But of course, EA and reviewers announced that changes would be made to Star Wars: Battlefront II immediately.

During the podcast, the three of us agreed that changes would have to come sooner rather than later.  I bet on later as I lacked any sort of faith with EA’s public relations department.  I was wrong.

It turns out EA will lower the cost of heroes within Star Wars: Battlefront II by 75%.  While also lowering in game rewards by a similar margin.  Even if rewards were kept the same, a 75% reduction means that Darth Vader now only takes 10 hours of game time to unlock.

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In another harrowing development, EA removed the refund button from their customer portal.  As well as created time gates for earning credits within the game’s Arcade mode.  Another valued Reddit user discovered that completing every challenge within the game netted the player a total of ~35,000 credits.  Just more than enough to buy two heroes under the new progression system.  How long it takes to complete all of the challenges remains to be seen (it’s gonna be a long time).

This still doesn’t change the fact that Star Crates contain items that will drastically alter the competitive balance of the multiplayer mode.  Star Cards are unlike the Weapon Mods present in Destiny 2, which have been tested to have a very small impact on gameplay, if any.   The Star Cards in Star Wars: Battlefront II provide faster weapon reloads, more health, more gun and power damage, and even the ability to remain invisible on the mini-map.  These are not small bonuses, after doing research last night I found that Star Cards provide bonuses from 5% to 25% at the highest level.  25% bonus weapon damage or bonus health is a big deal and huge impact on any multiplayer mode.

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Why did so many people play and love the original Star Wars: Battlefront (2004) and Star Wars: Battlefront II (2005)?  I believe people loved those games because they were fun.  They had no progression systems or unlockables.  You picked the character you wanted to use and you played the game.  Sometimes with friends, sometimes alone in an arcade mode, and sometimes online with some rudimentary matchmaking.  I have fond memories of defending the beach of Kashyyyk with a sniper rifle and pistol.  I hardly ever played any other class.  I just had fun racking up a kill streak and working on my sniping skills against the low level AI.

If Star Wars: Battlefront II is the only game that you will ever play, the progression system isn’t a problem.  However, every video game released is trying to become the only game that you will ever play.  This business model and mindset is not healthy for the video game industry.  Imagine if movie studios decided to make films with the intent that it will be the only film that you will ever watch, at least until the sequel comes out.  Nobody would go out and watch movies anymore.  If video game companies continue this trend, nobody will buy games anymore.

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I have a lot more to write on this topic and hopefully we will go over some of the updates from Star Wars: Battlefront II on the next podcast.  At this point, EA and DICE might change the progression system again.  If they do, Spoon Deep will be there to offer our take and opinions on the state of the industry.

Thanks for reading and until next time,

-Jake

 

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