One of the most resounding pieces of feedback about Star Wars: Battlefront II's beta was around the game's implementation of loot boxes. Some voiced concerns about being able to spend money to acquire higher level items that would give them an advantage on the battlefield. EA quickly responded to this feedback and just today outlined its plans for how it plans to keep Battlefront II from becoming a pay-to-win experience.
And during an earnings call today, EA CEO Andrew Wilson responded further about loot boxes and pay-to-win. He started off by saying the feedback around Battlefront II generally--about its campaign, multiplayer, and more--is "very, very positive." People voiced their feedback about loot boxes, and Wilson pledged that EA is listening and will adjust the experience as needed to do what it can to ensure a balance playing field. He also pointed out that Battlefront II is not the only game dealing with loot box controversy.
"There was the conversation around loot boxes, which is not a Star Wars: Battlefront II-specific conversation but more one that the industry is having with players across the global community," he explained. "And we are engaged in that conversation, engaging with our players on a daily basis as we think about that."
One element of the issue is the idea of value, Wilson said. "In a world where a player pays $60 for a game, will there also be value in the ongoing digital ecosystem that comes for many years?" Wilson said.
A big change from the 2015 Battlefront reboot is that the sequel has much more content (three times as much, EA says), and it won't be locked behind a season pass--because Battlefront II's DLC will be free. Wilson said EA feels "very good about overall value proposition" for Battlefront II, and this includes the microtransaction system that EA is expecting will make up the lack of revenue from a season pass.
Instead of a season pass, Battlefront II will make extra money from "event-driven live services," Wilson said. One part of this is content from Star Wars: The Last Jedi coming to Battlefront II this holiday around the time the new movie comes out.
He pointed out that almost everything that you can spend money to acquire in Battlefront II can also be unlocked through normal gameplay, so the microtransactions are a way for players to speed up their progress.
Avoiding a pay-to-win situation is important for EA. "Balance and fairness inside of gameplay is very important to our community and it's very important to us as a benchmark to which DICE builds games," Wilson said.
He added that EA is constantly thinking about things like what you can earn versus what you can buy and how to manage progression through that process. EA has already announced changes to the loot box system following the beta, and Wilson said EA plans to have a "daily dialogue" with fans "for many years to come."
The game's microtransactions are a way for players to "enhance and extend" their experience with Battlefront II, but you don't need to spend money to enjoy the game, Wilson said. "What we've got with a core base game that's three times the size, what would have been previously gated behind season passes is now free for all users with a focus on keeping the community together," he explained.