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Controversy has erupted in a huge way over the Star Wars: Battlefront II loot boxes and premium content. In fact, it got so bad that Electronic Arts decided to respond to the issues in the Reddit thread and the rep got shredded to pieces.
The thread is on the Star Wars Battlefront sub-Reddit, where someone started the discussion by asking "Seriously? I paid $80 to have Vader locked?" Hundreds of people piled in to make thousands of comments, one of which included a response from an EA rep, who stated...
This resulted in people mass downvoting the comment to the point where Polygon has labeled it as one of the most downvoted comments in the history of Reddit's existence. It currently has 451,000 downvotes as of the writing of this article. It seems to be the comment equivalent of the downvotes that Activision received for the Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare reveal trailer.
So, why exactly are so many people downvoting the response from the EA rep regarding the unlock mechanism? Well, in the first Star Wars: Battlefront you didn't have to unlock characters like Darth Vader, but you did earn a right to play as him by simply performing well during the session. Locking characters behind unlock mechanisms also ties into the premium microtransactions, where players can opt out of grinding in order to spend real money to unlock things faster. Gamers refer to this as an "artificial grind."
Angry Joe did an interview with one of the producers at DICE to further talk about the amount of time it would take to unlock characters and his math made a lot of people's heads spin due to the amount of money you would have to spend to unlock the characters or the amount of time you would have to invest to unlock items.
This leads back into the "artificial grind." A lot of gamers are usually wary of free-to-play games that have grinds set up to deter you from playing and encourage you to pay. Most gamers accept that free-to-play games operate on the freemium model and have accepted that as the way of the land. However, for $60 AAA games, there's a very clear line drawn in the sand for gamers unwilling to put money into the coffers of a publisher who wants to sell gameplay-affecting microtransactions on top of the initial cost of entry.
So, not only is there a grind to unlock the characters, but there's also the issue of purchasable loot boxes that can be used to increase your character's abilities, making them better on the battlefield. This is what's called "pay-to-win," because someone who doesn't want to grind out to unlock better gear can just pay for it from the cash shop. EA has said that it has tweaked the loot boxes since beta and have defended the microtransactions in the game, but we'll see how well this goes down with gamers when Star Wars: Battlefront II launches this Friday.