The rumor mill has been churning recently regarding EA’s upcoming Battlefield game for 2018. A recent report suggests that the game will be set in the WW2 era, and whether that’s your favorite choice for the next setting for Battlefield 2018 is another topic for another time.
If you tried to picture what Battlefield 2018 would look like just a few months ago, you could safely assume that it would contain a healthy dose of loot boxes. Electronic Arts’ biggest games of last year were riddled with them and they took the most egregious steps towards pay to win mechanics in high profile titles like Star Wars: Battlefront 2 and Need For Speed.
While EA has tried to walk-back loot boxes and their implementations in both of these games, apparently it’s a lesson that they’re going to be carrying forward with them into their big releases of 2018… at least in Battlefield V if a report from Kotaku turns out to be true.
Apparently sources have told the outlet that they “didn’t take any of the loot box controversy lightly,” and that “No one’s gonna do any pay-to-win stuff anymore,” when it comes to the next Battlefield game. The site also reports that Battlefield V is hoping to stick to cosmetic-only loot boxes for the game.
From the sounds of the report, last year’s backlash has had a lasting impact on EA, but also that the systems that we see in the final product when it comes to loot boxes are still very much in flux.
After all, game publishers are raking in massive profits on the back of microtransactions in their games, many in the form of loot boxes. While EA stepped over the line in 2017 and have tried to recover from it, they’ve also found that line and will likely use it for their future decisions. Meaning that if you want that sweet, sweet rare cosmetic skin you’re gonna need to pray to the RNG gods, grind it out, or fork over some cash. At least that’s the traditional format. Publishers are getting much more devious in their psychological ploys to make you purchase in-game items. A patent filed last year by Activision avoids having to resort to pay-to-win mechanics in their games. They simply just want to manipulate your envy of other player’s gear through matchmaking algorithms. While this isn’t in any of Activision’s games, according to them, this is the mentality that we’re currently looking at here from the mega-publishers.
Sure, cosmetic loot boxes are without a doubt the the lesser of two evils. When compared to the pay to win mechanics that we saw last year, it’s sweet relief for Battlefield fans. However, the lesson EA likely learned is how to more elegantly ply away more money from the Battlefield fanbase in less blatant ways than we saw with rudimentary tactics used in 2017.