In an unprecedented last-minute reversal, EA has drastically altered Star Wars Battlefront II's controversial loot box system by temporarily removing the ability to purchase “crystals.” The game was previously designed so that players could spend real money on crystals to buy randomized bundles of in-game items, the acquisition of which was tied to earning credits — another virtual currency that could be used to unlock characters.
Fans revolted, however, after widely circulated posts on Reddit and elsewhere that suggested the game was balanced in a way that it could take dozens of hours to unlock iconic characters like Luke Skywalker without paying. There were also concerns that the gameplay-influencing items inside loot crates would encourage a “pay-to-win” metagame around the multiplayer modes.
“As we approach the worldwide launch, it's clear that many of you feel there are still challenges in the design,” DICE general manager Oskar Gabrielson says in a statement. “We've heard the concerns about potentially giving players unfair advantages. And we've heard that this is overshadowing an otherwise great game. This was never our intention. Sorry we didn't get this right.”
EA had already responded earlier in the week by reducing the number of credits required to unlock characters, but evidently that wasn't enough. With the ability to purchase crystals removed for now, all progression in Battlefront II will be earned through playing the game. EA does note, however, that it plans to bring back crystals at a later date after making balancing and tuning changes to Battlefront II's systems.
Battlefront II is set to be released in a few hours.