EA, Battlefront 2, Loot Crates, and Putting The Hours In

"You'd have to be a dickhead of the very highest calibre to think that video games should exist as a singular form of entertainment rather than a subscription service that punishes us for having the temerity to enjoy something. "

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It is a curious time for video games right now. Despite the world limping through a period of global economic austerity, it still appears that publishers are exploring all avenues for squeezing every penny from an increasingly despairing audience. The most popular method currently is the use of loot crates, much to the ire of some vocal members of the gaming community.

I don’t understand the hate for loot crates; they combine all the thrill of gambling (a fun new experience for younger players!) with the very human desire to horde dozens of essentially useless knick-knacks.

For those not familiar with loot crates and their ilk, they are publisher’s new way of providing gamers with access to in-game content. The caveats being that:

– You never know exactly what you’re going to get.
– The crates may be earnt or purchased.
– Depending on the game some Crates can only be bought, with content gated off to those who refuse to do so and are confused as to what the £50 they spent on the game bought them.

Battlefront 2 loot crates

It seems perfectly reasonable to me that publishers would include Loot Crates in all their games – it’s a nice way of rewarding players for their extended involvement with a sprinkling of excitement and uncertainty. I fail to see how Middle-earth: Shadow Of War would be improved by removing the player’s ability to intermittently remember they can sit through a protracted unboxing ceremony for seemingly no reason whatsoever, before forgetting all about it.

People still seem to hate it though, and even when publishers try and do something different the great unwashed masses complain. For instance, I don’t understand why there was so much whining over EA’s initial decision to make unlocking your favourite heroes in Star Wars: Battlefront 2 an unbearable slog?

EA’s intention was clearly to create a reward mechanism where only the most dedicated individuals were able to play as Darth Vader. Do you think Darth woke up one day and expected to just be made a Dark Lord of the Sith? He knew that the road to galactic domination was long, laborious and treacherous. He understood that he would need to do some truly unspeakable things to get to where he wanted to be. Say what you like about his motivations, morality, and general disdain for the lives of children (and sand), the man had ambition and the will to see it through.

Star Wars Battlefront

EA’s attempts to create a journey reminiscent of Vader’s struggle should be commended. They want to teach us all a lesson about patience, endurance, and reward. In 2017, it is a lesson we sorely need; we must first experience great pain, and endure tremendous sacrifice if we are to fulfil our dreams. Nothing in this world comes cheap, there’s no such thing as a free lunch, and if you want to play as Luke Skywalker without shelling out, you’d better have a spare 40 hours knocking about.

You all claim to love Star Wars but if you aren’t spending hundreds of pounds and dedicating thousands of hours to it’s glory, are you a true fan? I think the answer is pretty obvious.

Save your tired complaints that loot crates ruthlessly exploit the love and enthusiasm that we all share for video games. You’d have to be a dickhead of the very highest calibre to think that video games should exist as a singular form of entertainment rather than a subscription service that punishes us for having the temerity to enjoy something.

Star Wars Battlefront 2

The instant gratification of 21st century consumerism has irrevocably damaged our ability to enjoy Star Wars. EA seeks to right this wrong and I personally would like to see them take this approach with all the games they publish. FIFA 19 would be considerably improved if you could only unlock the offside rule after playing for a thousand hours. Imagine how exciting Need for Speed could be if your brakes didn’t work till you dropped £12.99 on a ‘Premium Platinum Road Safety Crate’. Not to mention how much more rewarding you’d find The Sims 4 if you had to pay for any content worth bothering wi–oh wait.

I, for one, welcome the era of the loot crate. I, like you I presume, have a near limitless quantity of disposable time and income to throw at every game that is released. Bring it on.

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