[UPDATE]: Electronic Arts has slashed the unlock requirements on Star Wars Battlefront II. In a post on the official site today, DICE executive producer John Wasilczyk explained that "change will be a constant" in the game.
"There's been a lot of discussion around the amount of in-game credits (and time) it takes to unlock some of our heroes, especially Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader," Wasilczyk said. "Unlocking a hero is a great accomplishment in the game, something we want players to have fun earning. We used data from the beta to help set those levels, but it's clear that more changes were needed.
So, we're reducing the amount of credits needed to unlock the top heroes by 75%. Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader will now be available for 15,000 credits; Emperor Palpatine, Chewbacca, and Leia Organa for 10,000 credits; and Iden at 5,000 credits. Based on what we've seen in the trial, this amount will make earning these heroes an achievement, but one that will be accessible for all players."
[UPDATE 2]: The review on GameInformer suggests that the number of credits awarded has also been slashed by 75%. The example given is the end of the campaign, which previously gave players 20,000 credits (enough to buy multiple heroes), but now only gives you 5,000.
The original story follows below:
Star Wars Battlefront II seems unable to escape the controversy that first started with its multiplayer beta in October.
Now, as the game nears its launch this coming Friday, players who accessed the full title via EA Origin Access over the weekend claim Battlefront II's economy is still questionable - but Electronic Arts promises that pricing is still in flux.
PC Gamer reports that players are positing characters such as Luke Skywalker cost 60,000 credits to unlock, and that at the current rate credits are awarded this would take up to 40 hours to achieve.
Addressing these comments on Reddit, the EA Community Team said it will be constantly tweaking how easy it is for players to earn credits and the cost of everything they can spend them on, including characters, weapons and more.
"We selected initial values based upon data from the Open Beta and other adjustments made to milestone rewards before launch," the team wrote in one thread. "We're looking at average per-player credit earn rates on a daily basis, and we'll be making constant adjustments to ensure that players have challenges that are compelling, rewarding, and of course attainable via gameplay."
With regards to earning credits, the spokesperson added: "We're looking at the results daily and will be continuing to tune this to ensure that players feel a meaningful sense of reward for the time they spend with Battlefront 2."
This all follows complaints that progression in the multiplayer beta seemed to be locked by loot boxes - that is, the more loot boxes you purchased with real money, the better equipped you would be for online deathmatches.
Electronic Arts attempted to further clarify the monetisation plans for the final game, stressing that this was a beta and therefore an experiment, but assurances from CEO Andrew Wilson that Battlefront II will not be pay to win were met with skepticism on social media.
The very presence of microtransactions and loot boxes is to offset the cost of development for extra content now that the publisher is eschewing its previous Season Pass model. EA has already announced the first wave of content, with new characters and challenges launching around The Last Jedi's cinematic debut in December, and regularly refers to 'seasons' of content due to come in the years ahead.
Whether or not this consumer frustration affects sales of the final game after it launches on Friday will be something we see next Monday when the UK charts are releated.
However, given the mass market appeal of Star Wars Battlefront II, it's likely the majority of people who buy this at launch - or indeed in the run-up to Christmas - will be fully unaware of the controversy surrounding its multiplayer monetisation.