There’s nothing more special than a group of people coming together. And if you’ve been anywhere near the frontpage of Reddit recently, you’ll know what’s bringing them together is the wild train of hate heading right towards EA. Battlefront has always been a beloved series to all Star Wars fans, and with the disappointment of the last installment fans were hoping for something different. You could say they got what they wanted, but not in the way they were expecting.
TL;DR EA DUN GOOFED
If you’re out of the loop of what happened, Battlefront II was a game many were looking forward to after previews showed the changes from the 2015 reboot. However, as the release date loomed closer players found some startling information.
The main source of progression in the multiplayer experience was dominated by loot crates which gave you randomized star cards, which are used for upgrades and abilities in multiplayer. You could either grind through a few matches for enough credits to get a loot crate… or, of course, spend real life money on large amounts of loot crates to maximize the amount of star cards you receive.
This has connotations of being pay-to-win right? It goes further. Recently some players who had Origin Access were allowed to have a 10-hour long early access to the game. What was found was that some of the cooler, more iconic characters like Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker were under heavy lockdown. It takes about 40 hours to unlock just one of these characters through straight grinding since you can only buy them with in-game credits. But the bigger problem in there lies is that you have to sacrifice spending your hard-earned credits on loot crates to upgrade your abilities in order to save up an inordinate amount.
Some sick duality was created: do you save your credits for the hero or do you upgrade your abilities through getting loot crates with random star cards instead? Tin-foil hats say EA hopes you’ll just buy the loot crates instead. Micro-transactions have become a growing trend in AAA games in the last few years and EA has been arguably one of the worst culprits.
Fans were obviously upset with how the micro-transactions and progression affected an otherwise great game. What already added to the already growing fire however was the EA response to all the criticism. After one Reddit user complained about not being able to play Vader from the get-go, /u/EACommunityTeam responded that high credit price for heroes was to “provide the player a sense of pride and accomplishment.” The result of this comment was the most downvoted comment in Reddit history, a backlash of hate and boycott, a stream of lost pre-orders, and a PR team under a lot of pressure.
Yeah… But what about memes?
There’s so much more to the situation than it seems. But while the die-hard Star Wars and gaming fans were up in arms, some meme economists capitalized on a rich karma opportunity.
Star Wars and gaming subreddits alike were flooded with memes having to do with EA and DICE. Subreddits like /r/PrequelMemes were given new fuel—the top posts the last few days almost all having to do with EA have accrued thousands of upvotes. Other subreddits, like r/NBA2k, have been posting memes while displaying their own frustrations with EA. The more subreddits that join in, the more they help spread the invitation to the hate (and karma) train. And it’s easy to hop aboard when most of Reddit talking about it or calling for boycotts. But be weary, meme economists—the hate train always runs out of track to run on eventually.
It’s fun to sit back, laugh and make memes, but the game is set to release November 17th. DICE is either going to fix what’s upsetting fans or give them the finger. The resulting outrage or quelling will only last a short time before our attention spans get the better of us. New games will come out, new things to be angry about will arise and we all might band together again.
But that means this popular trend of defecating all over EA over Battlefront II might stagnate faster than you’d think. It’ll always be popular to make memes about how bad EA is but hard-hitting memes related to this specific outrage might only last a couple of weeks at best—maybe even less.
That’s not to say don’t enjoy the spiciness while it’s here. Invest in EA memes now before the holiday season rolls in, because unless EA and DICE continue to royally screw up, your chance for karma might slip away.
The DICE developer AMA over on /r/StarWarsBattlefront just happened with an amazing amounts of downvotes thrown the devs who were kind enough to offer themselves to the sacrificing table. The hate train is still rolling. Users are still angry. November 17th will be a crazy day for gaming, and probably for memes too. Hop on the train while you still can!
Update: It seems the night before launch, and just before we were going to post this article, EA finally gave up and did away with microtransactions. This may have quelled the anger, but players are still weary. They announced on Twitter that they will add in-game purchases “at a later date.” This might just be PR calming the storm, but EA has taken a huge loss in revenue by getting rid of microtransactions; this is a step in the right direction for the future of gaming. What does this mean for Battlefront II? We’ll have to see when people get their hands on the product tomorrow.
As for memes, it seems that even with the quelled outrage the memes will still prevail. The phrase “pride and accomplishment” is still being thrown around every star wars and gaming subreddit out there, you can still barely get a prequel meme in that isn’t an EA or Battlefront joke, and the gaming community rocked the front page for a few days. The memes for the time being are still hot, so invest before they get stale!
But let’s all be happy that we as a community could come together and actually have an effect on a huge company like EA. It’s easy to make fun of the “We did it Reddit!” mentality, but it seems Reddit really played a serious role in making this happen. Well played gents, and I hope you invested well.