Earlier this year, it was suggested that #StarWarsBattlefront2 would have no season pass and that, in turn, all #DLC for the game would be free. Despite the ambiguity surrounding this suggestion for some time, #EA confirmed this fact at #E3 last month saying that DLC will be free to all players.
However, in order to recoup the losses faced from ditching the season pass scheme, EA has included a microtransaction system within the game, which has angered some gamers.
Basically, #StarWarBattlefront2 will introduce a lootcrate drop system. Drops will unlock extra abilities and weapon upgrades, amongst other items, that will improve a particular player’s multiplayer experience.
Players have the ability to earn crates through playing the game, but also have the opportunity to buy crates if they so desire.
The inclusion of a microtransaction system isn’t really what made gamers angry as the idea of a game containing such a system is not really a new concept. Most titles, particularly those with strong multiplayer aspects, have some form of microtransaction nowadays.
Rather, what has angered some is that the system that will be implemented will potentially create a 'pay-to-win' environment in which the players who spend the most money on loot crates are most likely to have some sort of unfair competitive advantage, thus making the game somewhat undesirable to play.
The community has an overall negative opinion with regards to microtransactions (especially, those of the pay-to-win variety). In this particular case, microtransactions have been used to replace a season pass system, which itself is not exactly the most loved practice within gaming.
This whole situation got me thinking about both the microtransaction and season pass systems, as well as which of the two is actually more desirable. Obviously, nobody wants to spend extra money on a game that they’ve already paid for, but publishers will always look to make more money where they can.
The question I am asking here is which of these two systems actually allows for a healthier multiplayer experience?
In debates about microtransactions on public discussion forums, I’ve noticed that gamers often reference two major problems with the concept.
The first problem was already referenced in the fact that some microtransaction systems create pay-to-win environments. These systems immediately affect the overall quality of the in-game experience.
If one finds themselves performing consistently badly due to the fact that other players have spent money in order to purchase better weapons, characters, etc., it could really put them off from playing the game further as they may feel they will never be able to compete.
The second problem is that some microtransaction systems push players to purchase items by not allowing them to be unlocked in an acceptable amount of time. These items could include performance or cosmetic upgrades.
The acceptable amount of time to unlock each prospective item is really unknown though.
Earlier this year, there was a massive outcry against the fact that it would potentially take gamers two and a half years to unlock all possible items in #ForHonor without paying.
Is this time period really too long, especially if one considers the idea that a sequel may only be released in a few years time? (I know it’s a #Ubisoft game, but one can speculate.)
There has also been some debate over what really constitutes as pay-to-win practices.
For example, some gamers have stated that the unlock system for operators in Tom Clancy’s #RainbowSixSiege is a pay-to-win system. Operators are purchased with in-game currency that can be earned through playing the game or by spending real-life cash to purchase in-game currency.
Each operator offers his or her own unique abilities that may indeed affect performance in some matches.
Some believe that the in-game currency is not earned at a fast-enough rate to unlock operators within an acceptable time frame and thus pushes some players to buy them for a competitive edge.
Other players, however, believe that currency is earned at a fair pace and that the game doesn’t create a pay-to-win situation and that the benefits offered by each operator are not enough to provide a significant competitive advantage.
Whether or not the title does indeed offer a pay-to-win experience is for each person to decide.
I don’t actually think that most gamers have a problem with microtransaction systems as long as they only allow for cosmetic upgrades, meaning, for example, a player to buy a new skin for a weapon or character that does not change the attributes of said weapon or character.
It does seem very petty for publishers to charge for such items, however they don’t really affect one’s overall experience or performance in a game.
I do find it interesting that EA chose to purposely adopt a system that would potentially create a pay-to-win experience, especially seeing as such systems were not present in some of their other popular multiplayer titles, such as #Battlefield1.
Perhaps, it does suggest that most gamers are less likely to be tempted by microtransactions that only offer cosmetic upgrades?
Gamers as a whole seem to be divided on the idea of season passes. It seems that the amount of content available in the base version of a game as well as that offered when purchasing the season pass is taken into account before the community really develops general opinion on the idea.
Again, I don’t think that most people have a problem with season passes or expansions provided that it doesn’t seem like developers purposely made the base version of the game a shell in order to get players to purchase the season pass.
For example, you will find quite a few people suggesting that Destiny is a rather full game once you’ve actually bought all the DLC for it.
However, even if a title is released with a significant amount of content in its base version, there is no denying that most multiplayer games that have a projected lifespan of a year or longer need extra content to be released regularly in order to remain interesting to the public. Offering a season pass with a significant amount of content is a way to ensure that this happens.
Despite the fact that DLC may be needed to keep the game interesting, it must be acknowledged that paid DLC has a terrible effect on multiplayer games in particular, in that it divides the community into segments – those who own extra content and those who do not – and, in turn, impacts one’s ability to find suitable lobbies.
EA has actually eliminated this threat in Star Wars Battlefront 2 by making DLC free to all players, in turn extending the potential lifespan of the game.
Microtransactions Vs Season Passes: Which Is Better?
Overall, I do think that if publishers have to increase the potential income gained per game sale, I think that the best way to do it would be with microtransactions limited to cosmetic items.
In that way, a pay-to-win experience is avoided and the lack of a season pass results in an undivided player base.
The degree to which Star Wars Battlefront 2’s Star Cards will create a pay-to-win experience remains to be seen.
What do you think about Star Wars Battlefront 2’s Star Cards? Would you rather pay for DLC than have pay-to-win microtransactions available to players? Please share in the comments down below.