Yesterday, Electronic Arts held a Reddit AMA to address the much-maligned loot crate unlock system in Star Wars Battlefront II.
However, fans remain skeptical that their concerns will be adequately addressed.
As those playing Battlefront II via Early Access or for review have discovered, the game's multiplayer progression is closely tied to loot crates, and these can be either earned in-game or purchased for real world money.
However, the time required to unlock heroes and items in the game has drawn criticism, while the loot crate system has sparked accusations of "pay to win" from the gaming community.
Seriously you don't need to 'track data' to know that credit gain in #SWBFII is specifically and deliberately hamstrung. Above is an average match. Below is @nachosjustice rinsing everyone he sees. 5 times the score gets him a 40% increase pic.twitter.com/Nw2HhJ3Ulw— Joab of Duty WWII (@Joabyjojo) November 15, 2017
The game's upgrade system is convoluted, but essentially the main way to get stronger is via Star Cards, which can be applied to classes, hero characters, and vehicles to provide stat boosts and new abilities.
The primary way to try and get Star Cards is by opening loot crates, but of course, the contents of a crate is randomised. It may contain a weapon, emote, victory pose, Star Card, and so forth.
All loot crates award you Crafting Parts, which can be used to create and upgrade Star Cards. You can purchase loot crates via Credits earned in-game, or by throwing down some real world cash, and if you do the latter, you'll surely able able to craft powerful Star Cards faster than players that don't pay extra.
You can also spend Credits to unlock special classes and characters like Han Solo, or just buy them outright.
This week, EA's reply to a Redditor disappointed he had to grind to unlock Darth Vader quickly became the most downvoted Reddit comment of all time: "The intent is to provide players with a sense of pride and accomplishment for unlocking different heroes… Our team will continue to make changes and monitor community feedback and update everyone as soon and as often as we can."
The company then slashed the cost of heroes in the game by 75 percent.
Another Redditor estimated it would take 4500 hours to unlock everything in the game.
Whether that's a worthwhile metric to look at or not, it was addressed in the AMA by executive producer John Wasilczyk, associate design director Dennis Brannvall, and producer Paul Keslin.
"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," the trio wrote.
"But as more players come in, that could change. We're committed to making progression a fun experience for all of our players. Nothing should feel unattainable and if it does, we'll do what it takes to make sure it's both fun and achievable."
They also addressed the progression system: "I think this concern has come through loud and clear. We're going to continue adjusting the crate systems, content, and progression mechanics to hit a point that gives players a great, balanced experience at all skill levels."
Matchmaking will help even the playing field, they claimed: "We take into account not only your gameplay skills, but also inventory and time played, when we match players together in multiplayer. You should not ever be matchmade together with players who are much better than you are. Ultimately your effectiveness is going to come down to skill, not the Star Cards that you have. If it doesn't feel that way, we'll see it on our side, too. Our data will tell that story and we'll make adjustments."
You can read a neat summary of the whole AMA here.
Even Blizzard got in on the action:
Number of hours it takes to earn the full StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty Campaign: 0— StarCraft (@StarCraft) November 14, 2017
Number of hours before you can play ANY Co-op Commander in StarCraft II: 0— StarCraft (@StarCraft) November 14, 2017
Number of pay-to-win mechanics in StarCraft II: 0— StarCraft (@StarCraft) November 14, 2017
Free to Play - Now Live! pic.twitter.com/a02OYUCYZU