Star Wars Battlefront II’s loot crates still give paying players massive, game-breaking advantages

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Battlefront II's loot crates are terrible 1

If you’ve been keeping up with Star Wars Battlefront II ahead of its launch tomorrow on Friday, you might have found yourself wading through some discourse surrounding the game’s controversial loot boxes and progression. A few weeks ago EA worked through some changes to the systems after some severe backlash during the game’s open beta. But even with these slight tweaks, Battlefront II’s decision to hinge so much of its gameplay on randomly dropped cards gives players willing to pay more a tangible advantage in every respect.

Before getting into why the system is so terrible, it’s important to understand how it all works; something which took far more experimentation and reading than I initially expected. Battlefront II uses Star Cards to differentiate players from each other. Each class, starship or special character has up to three slots to quip cards in, which either have passive or direct ability effects. Star Cards also come in four types of rarity – common, uncommon, rare and epic – with the effectiveness of the associated abilities scaling up accordingly.

Battlefront II's loot crates are terrible 3

There are two ways to attain Star Cards though. First and foremost, players will find them handed out at random in loot crates, which have their own sort of purchasing systems around them that we’ll get to soon. Players can also craft cards that they are missing using crafting parts; another resource that you’ll only get through loot crates and challenge completions. The big change EA made after the beta involved Epic Star Cards. The most effective in the game can now only be crafted and not found in loot crates at all, with two level gating systems attempting to prevent players from using them from the get-go.

Loot crates can be bought using one of two currencies though: Credits or Crystals. Credits are attained through regular play, with a (small) amount rewarded to you after matches and challenges (which are once off rewards, not recurring). Crystals are what you’ll pay real money for, with a variety of packages ranging all the way up to $100 additional purchases. Crates, which come in three flavours for Troopers, Starships or Heroes, all cost different amounts. Trooper, the most expensive and useful of the lot, costs 4000 Credits or 200 Crystals. Comparatively, $100 will give you 12000 Crystals. Or around 72 loot crates, given which you spend them on.

Battlefront II's loot crates are terrible 2

Credits are tied to nearly every action in the game, but Battlefront II seems rather stingy with them. A Galactic Assault match, the largest and longest of the multiplayer game modes, routinely gave me around 250-350 Credits per match. Arcade challenges handed out 100 Credits each for a win, but stopped after around five matches to instigate a 24-hour refresh before I could start earning again (uh, gross). Challenges – which range from completing single-player missions to killing a certain number of enemies online – featured Credit rewards between 250-500. Substantial, but limited to one-time claims, which seem to quickly run out.

Read  EA reduces cost of Hero unlocks in Star Wars Battlefront II by 75%

All said, it took around two hours of play for me to grind out my first loot crate, with a combination of single-player, Arcade and multiplayer matches. That a long time for 4000 Credits, and hinging on systems that will have diminishing returns the more I play. One other player online documented his experience more keenly (given that I struggled to find as many multiplayer matches as I’d like), posting them to ResetEra. According to the calculations, my experience was pretty much the norm. It will take around three hours to grind for a single crate, and a massive 40 hours or so if you’re saving up Credits to unlock certain Heroes (another terrible system entirely).

Battlefront II's loot crates are terrible 4

Given that your effectiveness in battle depends so much on these Star Cards, this already seems grim. Star Cards can give you advantages such as smaller delays on health regeneration starts or bigger limits to weapon cooldowns, all of which can range up to a 40% difference with Epic Cards. It’s not uncommon to be killed by a player that has stronger personal shields, grenades or greater health regeneration equipped (sometimes all at once) and feel immediately at a statistical disadvantage that can’t easily be overcome by skill alone.

And then you realise that EA’s changes haven’t actually helped prevent this from happening in all tiers of play. It’s just made it more confusing to understand why it’s happening.

Rewind back to a $100 purchase for 12000 Crystals, which can bag you over 70 loot crates. These loot crates will reward said players with cards up to a Rare standing, and there’s no gate in place to prevent it being equipped from the get-go. You can equip whatever cards you want when you want,  with neither the class specific or player levels stopping a brand new player from immediately having a huge advantage over everyone else before even a second of play.

Battlefront II's loot crates are terrible 6

It progressively gets worse when you inspect the new system EA did put in place after the beta. Crafting, which is the only way to get Epic Cards, is prevented by two statistics. To craft or upgrade a card, a player will need to have a class specific card level high enough to do so, along with an overall, all-encompassing player level too. Player levels are increased through play, and your experience towards it is rather generous. Just two matches had me already up to level 4, with the system capping out at 25.

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Class specific card levels are even easier to raise – if you’re pumping money back into Battlefront II. Your card level increases with the number of cards you’ve either crafted or found in loot crates, which immediately puts paying players in a distinct advantage again. Getting cards, even just paltry common ones, in loot crates is frequent, and hence makes the secondary gating system only really a hurdle for players choosing to grind out loot crates through Credits alone. It prevents them from unlocking more slots to equip cards (something again governed by how many cards you own), while also slowing down the progression of crafting new ones to use.

Paying players, meanwhile, simply need to put in less than an afternoon of play to have all their classes kitted out with the best possible cards in the game, and free to lay waste to everyone else online.

Battlefront II's loot crates are terrible 5

There is no argument in the matter either. Battlefront II, like DICE’s previous efforts with Battlefield, is more concerned with team play and objective work than individual killstreaks. But having even just a handful of players on the enemy team with up to 40% health buffs and additional weapon damage (or even better weapons, which they can get through loot crates instead of progression too) swings the scales of balance wildly. It’s such an obvious difference that will take months to rectify, as those unwilling to spend on microtransactions will take weeks and weeks of dedicated (frustrating) play to grind their way up to a level playing field. And that’s even if they stick around at all, given that playing against statistically superior players is no fun at all.

There’s still lots I need to dig through with Battlefront II that Origin Access didn’t give me enough time to this weekend, and a lot of that is being reserved for our review later. But if you’re picking up Battlefront II on Friday, it’s important to be aware of these systems. And understand that if you’re not aiming to spend more than full price on this game, you’re going to be at a sore disadvantage for a very long time.

Correction: We mistakenly had the game set for release tomorrow, when it’s out on Friday 17 November.

Last Updated: November 13, 2017

Alessandro Barbosa

You can all call me Sandy until I figure out how to edit this thing, which is probably never. Sandy not good enough? Call me xXx_J0k3R_360degreeN0Sc0pe_xXx. Also, Geoff’s a bastard.

  • Admiral Chief

    Where is that GIF Hammersteyn posted last week?

    Seems quite appropriate here now

  • Alien Emperor Trevor
    • Hammersteyn

      XD

    • MonsterCheddar

      Like gingers don’t you?

  • Original Heretic

    Why don’t they just make all the paying players play together, and then all the free players get to duke it out by themselves?
    That should be very easy for them to set up and it levels the playing field all around.

    • Hammersteyn

      Activision came up with a patent to group non paying players with those that buy loot boxes. They want to make you want to buy them. EA would like the same.

      • Original Heretic

        Can we arrange a good ol’ fashioned beat down for those pricks?
        BASH! “Where’s your loot box now?”
        BASH! “How much do you wanna spend to keep the next punch away?”
        BASH! “Do you feel like you’re winning yet?”
        BASH!

        • Hammersteyn

          Busy playing Fractured Butt Whole at the moment, every time I get a new costume I play around with different dyes till I’m happy with how the character looks. Then I’m reminded how in Destiny 1 you could use shaders as much as you wanted and in Destiny 2 they monetized. Yay AAA loot boxes.

          • Original Heretic

            They call them AAA games because they expect you to go “AAAAAA” when they shove their peckers down your throat.

            I’d like to report that the gaming industry is sexually abusing me.
            It touched me in my back pocket and I didn’t like it.

          • Admiral Chief

            I laugh out loud every time I change my armour/gun/companion/melee colour scheme in Warframe

  • You know. Golf is really not looking like “that” expensive of a hobby anymore…

    • Admiral Chief

      I want to get into airsoft wargames, might be cheaper

      • Well you guys in the north have a lot of those. Here in the south we have craft burgers and beard oil…

        • Admiral Chief

          Haha, buffelsfontein

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          Can’t stand those vaping mfs!

    • Hammersteyn

      Fresh air, sunlight, exercise and a few beers. Doesn’t sound bad at all.

      • Admiral Chief

        On the one side, you are a big target, on the other, your physique will make you feel almost no bullets

        • Hammersteyn

          If only melee was part of the game 🙁

          • It’s golf…this is literally rich mans melee.

          • Hammersteyn

            He’s talking about airsoft games.

          • Ohhhhh. Knife the bastards

          • Hammersteyn

            XD

          • Original Heretic

            Factory workers, they play bowling.
            Middle management, tennis.
            Upper management and directors, golf.

            The richer the man, the smaller the balls.

          • Hammersteyn

            Mashie courses FTW

          • My old home was at a mashie course. Never played. Was to afraid of all the Mercedes D500 standing on the right, and boi do I like to slice right.

          • Hammersteyn

            Keep your head down during the swing, keep your feet aligned towards your target, don’t grip the club too tight, then watch your ball sail through the windshield of D500.

          • Exactly!

          • miaau

            I actually swerved for a golf ball years ago. Was driving near a driving range in PTA and a ball bounced just in front of me.

            Um, that can scare the crap out of you. A lot.

          • Hammersteyn

            It’s best to be on the lookout when driving near driving ranges, cricket clubs or Universities.

          • miaau

            S500?

            Hmmm, big cars, but one day, perhaps, I want one. OR, I want to be able to afford one, better said.

            I love the tech in those, like the BMW 7 series as well.

  • Hammersteyn

    Can’t wait for Open Critic to adjust their reviews for loot boxes.

  • Gr8_Balls_o_Fire

    Whoever supports this shit deserves to be frustrated.

    • Hammersteyn

      It would be sweet irony if the whale that spends the most, gets fragged the most.

      • Viper_ZA

        Bound to happen, credit cards for the taking! Mommy & Daddy must be exceptionally proud!

    • xD

      That is what I hope is the best auto correct of 2017

      • Gr8_Balls_o_Fire

        Uhhhh yea that’s it hehe

  • MonsterCheddar
  • Fox1 – Retro

    KTHXBYEEEEEE!

  • Viper_ZA

    I guess the next Battlefield will also resort to pay to win shenanigans. Fortunately, money can’t buy you skill? xD

    • miaau

      Nor Love, or so movies have led me to believe

  • So a premium priced AAA game with a F2P model.

    As someone said on our Discord chat:
    “I’m beginning to hope that BF2 is a paid for F2P game, and that as a result it fails hard.”

    • schitsophrenic-toothbrush

      Im an avid BF1 player, and clocked in more hours than I can count. Should that happen then they will lose a sale.

      • Should that happen? Bud, it’s already happened.

        The BF2 reddit at the moment is a shit storm… their “statement” from the EA community manager is the most downvoted comment in reddit history so far and it’s still going strong… I’m surprised their own forums are event still running because those are so vitriolic at the moment even I struggled to keep reading.

        If EA get away with this BS now, imagine what happens next year with Anthem? Or the new Battlefield? Or any other EA IP? Because buying this game screws us, the consumers, over. Not the publishers, as they then have hard data to prove they can get away with anything as long as it looks pretty enough.

        Most downvoted comment:
        https://www.reddit.com/r/StarWarsBattlefront/comments/7cff0b/seriously_i_paid_80_to_have_vader_locked/dppum98/

        Renown leakers comments:
        https://www.reddit.com/r/StarWarsBattlefront/comments/7cbi05/you_are_actually_helping_by_making_a_big_fuss/

        Go take a read.

        Literally since typing this reply the downvotes have increased to 171k from 164k….

        • Original Heretic

          Saddest thing is that as long as people cough up, they’re not going to stop doing it. Most of their money these days come from the MT’s.
          At some point, they need to stop calling them “microtransactions”. When a publisher is making more money of of them than the actual game, that’s a bloody “transaction”.

          • Think it abit higher up the scale than a transaction

        • schitsophrenic-toothbrush

          Thanks man, will give it a read. Sorry I made a mistake, I mistook your BF2 for battlefield 2, but my comments hold for both. Battlefront 2 was never on my list to buy because of all this pay to win crap. I really do hope that the consumers take a stand (I will), the stuff that EA are doing is madness yet they dont care.

        • As of writing this comment, the downvotes are at -199k

          So I think it’s safe to say a fair few people are unhappy

  • VampyreSquirrel
    • Dresden

      This is pure gold xD

  • Guild

    I don’t plan on spending a cent on the MT’s. I’ll play it like normal and if there are players that have the advantage cause they paid extra, well congrats to them. Just cause they bought everything doesn’t mean they can play better either.

    • Dresden

      Correct mentality to approach this issue with.

    • MonsterCheddar

      I don’t plan on spending a cent on this game. o/. I win.

      • Guild

        I’m not spending any money either. My game share partner is buying it.

        • MonsterCheddar

          Damn. Its a draw….

        • Hammersteyn

          That’s how I got to play Titanfall 2 and ME:A
          XD

          • being playing TF2 the weekend, got it on sale and currently the best shooter ive played in a long time, both mp and sp are exceptional, though that time travel section was epic

    • Hammersteyn

      I’d say to people vote with your wallet, but I think the amount of cash morons are gonna spend on loot boxes will far outweigh $60 copies not sold.

  • BakedBagel

    And this is a full priced game.

    I honestly believe EA is more greedy than Valve and GabeN

    And that says alot.

  • Galbedir

    DO NOT BUY THIS GAME! Please for the love of all that is gaming, take a stand!

  • Jonah Cash

    I did not even consider buying the first game and will never ever own this one!

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