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Battlefront 2’s Ewok Hunt Impressions

Battlefront 2's Night on Endor Update went live today, and with it the new Ewok Hunt game mode. From what the news says, this game mode is for a "limited time." In fact, that wording is everywhere they mention the mode, so they're either trying a little hard to get us to play quickly, or it really is going to disappear fast.

The Ewok Hunt mode is really fun! I ended up streaming it for about an hour tonight.

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4

Battlefront 2 Finally Changes Star Card Progression

Tomorrow the patch will FINALLY come out that addresses the infamous Star Card progression system. Assuming there might be one person out there who didn’t follow the drama, let me explain why it had to change.

Star Cards were previously obtained in loot crates which were purchased with real life monies, though they could also be purchased with in-game currency too. The gripe was how players could spend RL money and obtain a significant gameplay advantage. Fair critique.

When the outrage happened — before the game even launched, mind you — EA turned off all transactions, essentially making the crates only purchasable with in-game funds. The system felt broken, and rightfully so.

With tomorrow’s patch, the Star Card system is changing entirely.

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2

Battlefront 2 Resurrection DLC Review

The first wave of DLC for Star Wars Battlefront 2 is now available, and as planned it's free for everyone who owns the game. 

In this installment of DLC, we get more single-player campaign missions and a new multiplayer map for ground and starfighter play.

Warning: Spoilers for the DLC are ahead, but they DO NOT spoil The Last Jedi. DICE clearly stated that there are no spoilers in the DLC, and having completed everything I can confirm

The campaign picks up around the events of The Force Awakens, which means we're far enough in the future for Iden to have gone grey. 

Right in the opening moments we see Iden's husband, Del, executed by Hask. We knew this was coming having completed the main campaign already. Iden and Del's daughter, who so many of us thought would be Rey given all the annoying hints, turns out to be nothing more than a random character with a nose stud. Super let down by the anticlimactic reveal.

The DLC missions are short, and very reminiscent of the main campaign. In fact, the missions themselves feel so familiar that I went back and realized that they are almost just reskinned missions of levels played in the main campaign.

The DLC itself is also very, very short, coming in at just over an hour of actual play. For being a free addition to the game, I suppose we can't complain too much.

What I disliked more than how short it was is the storytelling here. I was let down by how these missions didn't add anything to the actual story we left after the campaign. They didn't do anything with the child, what Luke was looking for, or anything. In fact, this was nothing more than Iden chasing after Hask with her daughter and friend. 

In the end, Iden dies awkwardly and Zay joins the resistance. It just didn't feel right because there was no resolution or real continuation of the story. 

We did learn (though I feel like we already knew this) that the First Order has been taking children and turning them into Stormtroopers. They have a huge fleet with a Juggernaut which just looks like a bigger equilateral triangle Star Destroyer. Perhaps there's more on this growing threat in The Last Jedi.

Rewards for completing the Resurrection Campaign missions were meh.

In all, disappointing campaign extension.

The multiplayer map, however, is pretty cool for Galactic Assault.  It's a sniper's paradise, which is right up my ally. I've really taken to headshots in Battlefront 2, and any chance I get to fight on a map where it's a promoted form of gameplay is fine by me.

I really like the atmosphere of red dust being kicked up by blaster shots and walker feet as the First Order progresses toward the Resistance base. As the Resistance, you feel almost helpless against all these walkers inevitably pushing you deeper and deeper into your hideout. 

I'll reserve high hopes for future DLC releases to resolve this lackluster addition to the game.

2

Star Wars Battlefront 2 Patches Credit Gains + Big Patch Tomorrow

EA announced a fairly big update this afternoon for Battlefront 2 that aims to address some of the problems impacting players like myself who actually enjoy playing. 

Chief among the updates an increase to the amount of credits gained at the end of a round based (overall and performance based), and an increase in the amount of crafting materials from the daily loot crate.

I tested these changes out tonight, which according to the BF2 blog update are supposedly live now, but saw no sign of them being in-game yet. Perhaps they will come tomorrow with the start of the new "season" of content.

 Speaking of the new season content, check out the schedule below.

Battlefront 2 season schedule

Tomorrow we get to pick a side to fight for and earn specific rewards. I'm hoping I don't choke and pick the losing side like always.

On the 13th is when things start to get interesting with new chapters for the singleplayer (which had a fun story), maps, and other in-game content. Stoked for that to come.

Overall I just hope they fix the credits at the end of the round. Sorta bumming to get a killer round in a ship on Galactic Assault with 20k+ points only to get a tiny bit more than I normally get for sniping the whole map and getting 6k points.

Battlefront 2 Single Player: Fan Service & Important Canon

I just finished up the single-player campaign for Battlefront 2, and I must admit I am pleasantly surprised. I heard the campaign was good, and the ending very satisfying, but I wasn't prepared for just how much I would enjoy it.

This writeup will contain spoilers. I really can't justify writing about it without discussing some of the details. If you haven't played and you plan to, or want to avoid certain spoilers from the movies, probably best so stop reading here.

Gist of the Main Story

You're Iden Versio (for most of the campaign), but will dabble as other characters such as Luke Skywalker, Leia, and Han. Iden is the leader of an Empire special forces group called Inferno Squad that quickly finds itself on the losing side after the Battle of Endor.

Inferno Squad in BF2

If Inferno Squad was canon sooner, the Empire may not have lost.

Trying to piece together how they could have lost, Iden finds herself quickly realizing this isn't the Empire she thought she was fighting for all her life. One of her squad members comes to this realization even before she does by a chance encounter on Pillio (see below) where he realizes the Jedi aren't the enemies he was trained to believe.

Iden and Del defect to the Rebel Alliance, and from there work to bring down the Empire in the wake of the Emperor's death.

Overall, a very well-crafted story that never felt slow for me, and lasted about 6 hours of gameplay.

The story comes to a climactic end on Jakku where the last remnants of the Empire are taken out, including Iden's father who is one of the remaining Admirals of the fleet.

The Canon from Battlefront 2 & Story Revelations

The story spans from the end of Return of the Jedi and into The Last Jedi, and fills in many of the never-explained gaps between stories.

Battlefront 2's campaign highlights a lot of the empire's fall prior to the events in The Force Awakens, and part of how the First Order begins to take shape. It also shows some of the events between RotJ and FA for Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, and a few new characters we meet along the way.

Suffice it to say, these are details I hadn't known prior to playing, but I also haven't read any comics or books.

Compass Luke uses to find Ahch-to

Some of the main points you learn surround the planet Pillio and Luke finding the compass the leads him to Ahch-to (the planet he's standing on at the end of Force Awakens).

And don't say I didn't warn you, but we learn (potentially) that the main characters from the single-player are actually Rey's parents. Iden Versio and Del are seen having a romantic relationship at the end of the game, and Del is tortured later by Kylo Ren to know more about the compass and Luke's whereabouts. 

Iden Versio - Remarkably Well Done

Janina Gavankar, as cringe-worthy as it was to watch her at E3, ended up delivering a phenomenal performance as Iden Versio. 

Her character was really well developed, and I could really feel the struggle her character had when defecting to the Alliance.

I really enjoyed playing the female antagonist-turned-protagonist a lot more than other female characters in Star Wars. Rey feels forced to me, and Leia never that interesting, but Iden was really cool -- strong, a little edgy, and full of character. 

Battlefront 2 Jakku singleplayer

Gameplay - Is it any good?

So the story and the characters were great, what about the gameplay?

Right from the start you'll notice that this game could have gone a very different approach as a more stealthy, almost Assassin's Creed style. Throughout the game you'll sneak around and take out enemies by stealth. You'll also do plenty of run and gun too -- even entirely if you desire.

Iden's droid also serves a purpose throughout the game, acting as a shock weapon or slicer. He (it?) is totally cooler than BB8.

There are plenty of opportunities to pilot ships, take control of AT-AT guns, blow things up, and do all the Star Wars-y stuff you would come to expect.

One critique I have about the single-player is the use of the star cards. I feel like they were tacked on and didn't have much place. You'd occasionally find crates to slice that would unlock new abilities, but most just let you swap cards. It could have done without these.

Otherwise, my experience was pretty seamless other than, honestly, having to turn down the difficulty because it was a challenge for me.

Presentation: Uber Star Wars Fan Service

Perhaps the glue that ties the entire game together is its fan servicing Star Wars theme. Without Star Wars, this would have been fairly lackluster. That said, it IS Star Wars, so we'll judge it for what it is, and not what it could have been.

There's so much Star Wars jammed into one game. From Luke Skywalker to Kylo Ren, Star Destroyers flying overhead, dog fights in X-Wings, piloting AT-ATs, visiting places like Naboo and Endor, and of course Lando Calrissian.

Toward the end of the game, the level of detail and "omg there's so much Star Wars all around me I can't take it!" kicked into overdrive. 

Overall Thoughts

Overall, a phenomenal story with a very, very memorable character who may find herself a crucial figure in the coming films. Regardless of whether the theory is true, she has earned a spot in the Star Wars mythos for her role.

I think the gameplay is good, particularly the stealthy gameplay which can and very well should get its own game dedicated to this type of stealth Star Wars spec-ops.

Coming in at just about 6 hours (including lots of cutscenes), I wish the game were longer, but hope to see more released in the coming DLC (which will be free, btw) in December.

While I can't say it's worth buying Battlefront 2 just for this short story, those who did should absolutely play through it.

thumbs-o-up

Pros

  • check
    Stealth gameplay was awesome, and worthy if a game of its own.
  • check
    Iden Versio was an AWESOME character to play, and I hop we see lots more from her in the DLC.
  • check
    Great integration of this new story into the general Star Wars story. I'm very happy with it, and approve it as canon.

Cons

  • minus-circle
    Shorter that I would have liked coming in at barely 6 hours total.
  • minus-circle
    Star Card system had no place in the single-player.
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DICE Turns Off MTX in Battlefront 2

DICE just announced that they removed the microtransactions (MTX, for the cool kids) from Battlefront 2.

I guess that means my purchase of Battlefront 2 didn't make the problem worse?

I kid. No really, it was a joke.

What's not a joke, however, is that DICE or EA or whoever people love to hate these days is at least trying to course correct.

I have one last troll left in me for the night. I imagine the people who live for nothing but the EA hate train (I can think of a few from the post two days ago) look a little something like this... (Edit for clarity: The one who would never buy the game but stir up trouble just because it's EA.)

In all seriousness, I'm very happy to see that microtransactions are hopefully being rethought. If you're suddenly thinking there's balance to the force, you're probably wrong. I imagine they WILL come back. I hope they take the time to completely remove them and not even introduce cosmetic ones either. That's right, I dislike all microtransactions including cosmetic ones.

Regardless, like several people who I recently discovered are closet Battlefront 2 players -- even going as far as removing the 'what game you're playing' in Discord (like it's a bumper sticker for an unpopular candidate you can't let people know you voted for) -- I'll still keep playing and enjoying myself! 🙂 

Here's hoping in the near future those who boycotted will find themselves able to play! I'd love for you to join me.

P.S. Leave the hate (Edit clarity: personal attacks, ad hominem, strawman) in the other post. Let's have some good discussion in this one about how EA might be able to course.

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Battlefront 2 Day 1 Accomplishments

Battlefront 2 came out today for those of us who paid $79.99 for the Elite Trooper Deluxe Edition. Graev asked me if I thought it was worth $20 for a 3 day headstart and a few in-game upgrades. When he put it like that, I’m not sure if it is or not, but heck I’m all in.

Tuesdays are a bad day for me to really game a lot. My wife and I both work from home, so it’s tough to coordinate who gets to use the main room for games when we’re both in the middle of working. That said, I was still able to get in 3 hours of play.

So, now we get to the highly dramatized and exaggerated terribleness of being able to do nothing in-game without either spending tons of money, or tons of time to unlock stuff, right?. Not exactly.

Let’s look at what I was able to do today in 3 hours.

  • Earn 13,000 credits (not counting my 3,000 they gave me for pre-ordering or buying this overpriced edition).
  • Buy two trooper crates with 8,000 credits (yielded lots of hero items, but I was hoping more for trooper items)
  • Chose NOT to unlock Darth Vader (though I did kill Vader several times with various classes using various weapons — Heavies shred, btw)
  • Collected 300 crafting parts and decided to save them until I decide on a class to really spend them on
  • Earned between 250 and 500 credits per Galactic Assault — the maps I did poorly on I could definitely feel, despite some people saying you can afk and earn the same amount of credits. This warrants more testing to ensure it wasn’t a fluke

Earning in-game credits seems fairly easy. There’s an arcade mode you can play which is a single-player thing where you do challenges and set scores for yourself. I played two of them for the Light Side and earned some minor rewards. I think if you min/max these you can do like 4 or 5 a day and maybe even earn enough to get a crate from them every day. In hindsight, I should have maxed out today.

You can also do achievement things (which I think are actually called Challenges) to earn more credits. Some even give you a crate. I think they’re worth paying attention to AFTER you’ve played 10 or so maps. You’ll find most unlock naturally.

I had a lot of fun playing the objective with a squad. I played entirely with randoms (my friends are busy buying loot crates in Overwatch) and we did okay. I think I’d like voice chat in-game. That would help organize, but you can stick with your squad anyway and earn double the “battle points” which means you can access neat things during battles.

I will be recording videos to show you guys a perspective on Battlefront 2 you won’t see much elsewhere — that of someone who enjoys the game and can utilize the crate system by playing the game, and not spending any money.

If anyone wants to get together and play, I’d love a squadmate.

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Battlefront 2 Reddit Rage is in Full Contradiction Mode

UPDATE: 8 Minutes ago as of this writing EA published the following update to hero costs:

“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.”

Original Entry follows:

The drama continues as Battlefront 2 once again takes the brunt of the loot box hate. I’m disappointed in the gaming community. I’m disappointed and saddened by how people are responding, as well as how badly this has devolved into a mob-like mentality of senseless groupthink.

Let’s forget the loot box drama for a second. Loot boxes are bad unless they’re for a game from a company people love to slobber all over. We get it. The drama devolves.

The latest drama is over an EA rep posting a response on Reddit to the statement: “Seriously? I paid $80 to have Vader locked?”

“The intent is to provide players with a sense of pride and accomplishment for unlocking different heroes.

As for cost, we selected initial values based upon data from the Open Beta and other adjustments made to milestone rewards before launch. Among other things, 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.

We appreciate the candid feedback, and the passion the community has put forth around the current topics here on Reddit, our forums and across numerous social media outlets.

Our team will continue to make changes and monitor community feedback and update everyone as soon and as often as we can.”

He was downvoted 352,000 times as the time this was published.

That’s incredibly disheartening to see.

People are fixating and hating on the fact that Vader is locked.

Why is it a bad thing to have to unlock something like Vader, and why is it any different than unlocking that last sniper rifle in Battlefield, or that SMG you want in Call of Duty? Many MOBA take 20-40 hours to unlock heroes or skins you want, too.

A lack of accomplishment and achievement is a big problem in games today. We bitch when they’re shallow, and we bitch when they require work.  Why can’t Vader be a milestone?

Battlefront 2 is not even out yet. People had a 10 hour trial window to play if they were Origin Access members, and based on that 10 hours of play you’d think people had cracked the matrix and calculated everything based on playing games against other Origin Access members. Oh how I can’t wait to see the real numbers.

So now we’ve seen this drama devolve into two arguments being woven together:

Argument 1: Loot boxes are bad.

Argument 2: Having to unlock heroes is bad.

The irony here is that people hating on the “buy your way to victory” are also hating on the “earn you way to victory.” WTF do you want? Do you even know what you want?

I really, really enjoyed playing the beta. I sure hope that same level of enjoyment carries over into the full version of the game when I get to play tomorrow. I also hope that EA is true to their word and monitors the credit earn rates, and I believe they will because it’s in their best interest to prove everyone wrong.

Especially this guy:

“This is an outrage! 40 hours to unlock a character!” – Guy who had no plan to buy the game.

4

EA Makes Positive Change to Battlefront 2’s Loot Crate System

With just a few weeks before launch, EA is making some pretty magnificent changes to Battlefront 2's highly dramatized and reviled loot crate microtransaction system.

Dare I say it... the changes are quite positive.

  • Epic Star Cards, the highest tier of Star Cards available at launch, have been removed from Crates. To help keep everyone on a level playing field, these Star Cards will primarily be available through crafting, with the exception of special Epic Star Cards available through pre-order, deluxe, and starter packs.
  • You’ll need to reach a certain rank to craft upgraded Star Cards. You won’t be able to buy a bunch of Crates, grind everything up into crafting materials, and immediately use them to get super powerful Star Cards. You can only upgrade the ability to craft higher tier Star Cards by ranking up through playing the game.
  • Weapons are locked behind specific milestones. While a select few will be found in Crates, the rest can only be attained by play. Want to unlock a new weapon for your Heavy? Play as a Heavy and you’ll gain access to the class’s new weapons. 
  • Class-specific gear and items can be unlocked by playing as them. As you progress through your favorite class, you’ll hit milestones granting you class-specific Crates. These will include a mix of Star Cards and Crafting Parts to benefit your class’s development.

That's no moon small list of insignificant changes. That's a major reversal on much of people's big complaints about players being able to drop tons of cash on loot crates and dominate on day one.

Bottom line, you'll still be able to benefit greatly from buying crates, but not until you've played a lot and have earned the ability to benefit from them.

That's a fair trade, in my opinion. Sure, I still don't like loot crates. I'd rather them not be in the game at all. But given what we were going to have, this is a really nice change.

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