Star Wars fans are mad as hell, and they aren’t going to take it anymore. A loud and widespread controversy over unlock requirements for Battlefront II has prompted publisher EA to announce changes to the videogame’s system. The saga started when a player on Reddit calculated that approximately 40 hours of gameplay were necessary to unlock iconic Star Wars heroes such as Darth Vader. According to a blog post from EA, this is no longer the case.
An update to the game (which those playing the “Play First Trial” already have access to) reduces the number of credits, or in-game currency, needed to unlock heroes by 75 percent. Vader and Luke Skywalker will now take 15,000 credits to unlock, rather than the original amount of 60,000 credits—the Reddit post estimated that most players would obtain 250 credits in 10 minutes. Emperor Palpatine, Chewbacca and Leia Organa can be purchased for 10,000 credits, and single-player protagonist Iden Versio for 5,000 credits; the original figures were 60,000 and 20,000 credits, respectively.
These changes come after an official response from EA on Reddit, in which a community team member justified the high number of credits with a “sense of accomplishment” for the player, became the most down-voted comment in Reddit history. The backlash continued, with the Reddit posts in question being closed by moderators after toxic discussions and harassment towards the EA commentator. Members of the community began canceling their preorders en masse, and it wasn’t long until EA developers began receiving death threats. As of this writing, some of these EA developers have made their Twitter accounts private as a result of this harassment.
While these changes sound all well and good on paper, as unlocking these heroes will be less of a grind, players are not satisfied and continue to air their grievances over the game’s loot crates. While the six aforementioned heroes are unlockable through in-game currency, players can also unlock them through loot boxes purchasable with real money. To players, this not only plays into the predatory and gambling-like nature of loot boxes, but also gives those who earn Darth Vader and other heroes through these random loot boxes an advantage after paying real money—pay-to-win (or pay-to-force-choke, at the least), so to speak. The loot crates were not addressed in EA’s blog update.
A quick visit to the Battlefront subreddit shows that the outrage is still alive and well. The irate community members may see themselves as the Rebels against an evil Empire-like corporation (voted twice as the “Worst Company in America” in a fan vote held by Consumerist), but to outsiders, this is not much more than a hissy fit over a videogame.
Per EA’s blog post, team leads on Battlefront II will participate in a Reddit AMA this Wednesday.