Loot boxes and the hunt for all the money

How about you have some pie?

Did you enjoy that pie? How about a little bit more?

Go on, just a tad more for me? How about I waft in front of your nose, will that tempt you? Or show you all the other lovely pies we have, don’t you want to try those?

I know you’re getting fat and I don’t care it’s affecting your health, treat yourself to another slice of my inexpensive sliver of pie.

Diabetes doesn’t matter. Eat. More. Pie.

Yeah, that got a little out of hand but now you just about understand the real seediness behind the furore over EA’s recent loot boxes in Star Wars Battlefront 2. Try that analogy and imagine that eating a little more pie made you faster and stronger than everyone around you, that is the full extent of the greed that perpetuates in this cesspool of a videogame.

First of all, players are angry at the locking out of hero characters to the point where it would take up to 40 in-game hours to earn Darth Vader. That’s right, play our game like a job for a week and you get to play as the most iconic character that everyone and their grandmother would want to play as.

That’s through opening loot boxes, as gasps are made in the audience. Yes, you have a random chance of dropping just about enough stuff either to gain it through those or by dismantling so much tat that you feel like you’ve gone to a car boot instead of fighting on an alien planet.

Wait aren’t those two of the same?

In those lovely little “gifts”, you can also gain cards that increase your attributes. They then lock out your ability to earn credits in gameplay after a period of time that keeps changing, encouraging you instead to drop more dollar on the game you already paid for so you don’t get beat up by the 13-year-old that stole their parent’s credit card.

The last line sounds like a joke but it’s easy to get sapped in. Those that are “hardcore gamers” can’t quantify how people can spend so much on a game but I know first-hand people who have spend £100 plus on FIFA Ultimate Team packs, which is unsurprisingly the bone EA keep barking back to.

“We want everything to earn as much as FIFA UT”, they cry, hands out stretched waiting for the money to fall like rain. Have they forgotten that their treasure trove started through innovation, not through cramming them in?

For those that are unaware, FIFA UT was created as a spin-off card-collecting game where people could create their own line-ups from packs. Orginially DLC, they eventually made so much that it’s the main part of the game, even more so than the regular career and online modes.

The difference to that and what is happening with Battlefront 2? You can still play as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in a ton of different modes. People like FIFA UT because you can play it reasonably well without paying if you wish too and if you want, you can completely ignore it altogether and still have My Career, Hunter’s story, Tournaments, online 1v1, online 2v2, team play and several more I must be missing.

But no, instead they want to go the mobile phone app route yet charge you up-front first. There’s a reason why that doesn’t go down well and why it is, essentially, gambling as some nations are becoming aware of.

This feels much like the Online Pass fiasco, where developers pushed as far as they could get away with before the paying public pushed back. It took a little longer and something more outrageous than should have been acceptable, but it seems like microtransactions have hit their iceberg.

We will likely never see the back of them, but maybe from now on companies will think twice before trying to lift us up by the ankles and shake all the change out of our pockets.


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