The Evil Micro Galactic Empire

Guess who’s back, back again? MicroTransactions are back. Tell a friend.

That’s right, EA has announced they are bringing back MicroTransactions in the next few months to Star Wars Battlefront 2. A few days before it’s release, back in December, due to fan outcry, EA pulled MicroTransactions out of the game.

What they did not do, however, is fix the progression system which revolved almost completely around MicroTransactions.

To be fair to EA, even when they said they where removing them, it was under the qualifier of “for now.” They claimed they wanted to get it right before re-releasing it.

A quote to gamespot.com from EA CFO Blake Jorgensen:

“Going forward, we believe that live services that include optional digital monetization, when done right, provide a very important element of choice that can extend and enhance the experience in our games,” EA said. “We’re committed to continually working with our players to deliver the right experience in each of our games and live services.”

What they don’t mention is how Battlefront 2 didn’t meet sale expectations, especially when compared to Battlefront 1. Let’s not get this twisted. MicroTransactions are not for the benefit of us, the gamers, in any way. At the end of the day, this is all about making money for publishers and separating you from your money to either “save” you time or give you a “competitive” edge.

Not so good at a game? Pay us money and we will make you better. Want to look cooler than you do now? Grind forever or spend money and we’ll give it to you. Want to be the coolest characters? Spend money or grind. Grinding is a big part of games today, and it can be a lot of fun. But let’s take a look at an example of MicroTransaction misuse.

Shadow of War had a loot crate system with which you can unlock powerful orc characters to defend and attack bases. The entire selling point of Shadow of War is to fight and dominate orcs to serve in your army. It is allowing you to spend money so you don’t have to play the best part of the game. And how do they force you to do this? With Shadow Wars mode. A tacked-on bloated series of fort defense missions without end, ten waves of the Shadow Wars with each wave consisting of about 3 different base defense modes. And if you lose a base? You need to recapture it and then defend it again. The orc commanders get increasingly overpowered, coercing you to consider purchasing stronger orcs to help in the defense. Not only is it a waste of time, it also locks the true ending behind this paywall.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t have to earn things in games, but when designers are specifically creating modes and endless grinds to encourage spending, how is that gamer friendly? When the entirety of a game is built with the purpose of extracting every last dollar it can from us, the players, then maybe that’s a game that isn’t worth our time.

So what do you think? Let me know in the comments below or on twitter @bypartisangamer.

Until next time this is The Bypartisan Gamer Chuck signing off.

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