After suffering through quite the day, EA have moved to reduce the cost of unlocking Heroes in Star Wars Battlefront 2. In an announcement on their website, EA have outlined the new unlock costs for the Heroes. Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader will now cost 15,000 credits, Emperor Palpatine, Chewbacca and Leia Organa will cost 10,000. Iden, the main protagonist from the game’s singleplayer campaign will cost 5,000. This represents a 75% reduction in the cost of the Heroes, so in the case of Vader and Skywalker that is ten hours of grinding instead of forty.
It is a solid change, and one that I am sure players of the game will welcome. The statement is also a smart PR play by EA, as they are sure to highlight some of the positive feedback that they have been receiving about the game as well. They have also announced an AMA on Reddit with some of the key members of the team, which will take place on Wednesday.
Things turned bad for EA over the last 24 hours when a statement on Reddit turned into the most downvoted post in the sites history. Fans reacted angrily to a major increase in the cost of unlocking Heroes that came hand in hand with more positive changes to how unlocking things works in the game. An EA Community Team account replied to a thread about it, stating that they wanted people to feel a sense of achievement from unlocking them.
The situation became quite messy as many fans didn’t appreciate what they perceived as an attempt to force them into paying for in game items via microtransactions. Things took an even worse turn from there, as EA employees reported getting abusive and threatening messages. I think regardless of how much we disagree with something a company might do, the idea of sending someone threats and abuse, who is simply doing their job and making a game, should be abhorrent to us all.
The simple truth is that those threats did absolutely nothing except make conversation between a company and its customer more strained, while the people who managed to express their concerns like adults were the ones who moved things in a more positive direction.
For now, EA have done what I consider to be the right thing, and have also hinted that “change will be a constant”. I think this sets a good precedent for their fans, and reminds them that when it comes to the games we play, nothing is ever set in stone.