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EA’s Star Wars “Open-World” Game

As usual in the industry, speculation over a job posting has driven the rumor mill into full production. There’s a lot of chatter about the latest job listing from EA for work on a Star Wars “Open-World” Game.

I recall there being another listing for a similar game around 2013, though I’m not sure anything ever came of that.

The “open-world” component of the posting is most interesting. The fact that EA is making a Star Wars game isn’t news since they’re the only ones with the rights. What does “open-world” mean? I think that’s about as broad these days as saying something like “Multiplayer” or heck, even “star wars game”.

MMORPG? Doubtful. Completely.

Battle Royale or Survival or other type of game? Most likely.

I’ve said and will maintain that no blunder — Battlefront 2 or otherwise — will be enough to dissuade people from hyping a Star Wars BR or Survival game. It’s too hype-able for people to resist.

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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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EA Wants Games as a Service

Last week EA announced the closure of Visceral Games, the studio currently developing a futur Star Wars game (not Battlefront). The reason they gave was quite fascinating.

Apparently the new Star Wars game was shaping up to be a linear story-based game. So pretty much exactly what I would want in a Star Wars game that wasn’t Battlefront. You may recall this was the game being director by previous Naughty Dog story directory Amy Hennig. Hopes were high for an awesome action-adventure story-driven game.

But since, you know, who would ever want a Star Wars story game, they decided to go in a different direction.

EVP of EA, Patrick Soderlund, said instead of making a linear story-based it to be reshaped “to be a broader experience that allows for more variety and player agency, leaning into the capabilities of our Frostbite engine and reimagining central elements of the game to give players a Star Wars adventure of greater depth and breadth to explore.”

Whatever the heck that means? That’s just gobbledygook gibberish you say when you have no idea WTH you’re going to do with a defunct game and studio.

Alas, the writing is on the wall. EA wants loot boxes and games a service. They want the recurring revenue and microtransaction. And it’s clear that these business models do impact game design.

 

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Star Wars Battlefront 2 Day 1 Initial Impressions

I'm going to keep these day 1 impressions short and sweet because anyone can download the beta and give it a try, as long as you're not one of those "Steam only on my computer" people.

Battlefront 2 Combat Point Unlocks

Battle Points

That stupid token system is gone! In its place we have a system where you accrue points while playing a match. These points can be spent on vehicles or special characters, which is a way, way better system.

Earning points is fairly easy. In most of my games played I scored somewhere in the middle to 80-percentile (one game I came in first) and was more than able to play any vehicle or special character available.

Scoring points in general (not the same as battle points) seems fairly balanced. I love how playing the objective earns bucket loads more than playing like it's a deathmatch. 

Upgrades

Here's something a bit different. Upgrades to weapons can be crafted with what I think are called crafting points. These points are earned inside of crates (see below). 

Crate System

Ahh, crates. Love 'em or hate 'em. I usually hate them. Battlefront 2 has a crate system where you can open a daily crate or spend points on them (yet another point system for playing the game).

Crates seem to be the biggest form of progression, at least from what I could tell. Crates give you the 'cards' or the big upgrades to your character.

There are already people putting on the tinfoil hats saying they found premium currency in the beta files. Reddit is abuzz with doomsday "omg pay-to-win" stuff. I haven't seen it yet, so I'll ignorantly give them the benefit of the doubt.

Play the Objective and Earn More Points

The beta map we're playing is the same Naboo map they showed at E3 where it's objective based to either destroy the Droid army's vehicle thing or to break into the Palace and secure it. Throughout the level there are objectives to claim or use, and doing so will skyrocket you to the top.

Battlefront 2 Air Combat

Air Vehicles

Air combat on the Theed map is pretty tough. There's not a lot of space to fly around, and I found myself quickly out of bounds. I also struggled to control the vehicles. I think I have to figure out my sensitivity settings because I crashed every single time. I can see how the air battles will be a blast, though.

Overall Gameplay / Feel / Fun

Unlike Call of Duty WW2 -- which couldn't do anything right at all -- I'm definitely sold on Battlefront 2 after playing the beta. 

I had a really great time in the 2 hours I put in, and that's saying a lot since it's just one map.

I found each of the character classes to be enjoyable. The Assault, Heavy, Officer, and Specialist all made sense to me while playing. I though their weapons felt good, shot well, and the upgrades made a different to my gameplay.

I enjoyed the map's objectives and the pacing of the battles, and they felt way better than Battlefront 1.

I think EA has a real winner here, and that's such a relief after how bad Battlefront 1 turned out.

You can play the Open Beta from October 6-9 to give it a try yourself.

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