History Repeats Itself, Or Does It?

Weekly News Round-Up May 27th - June 2nd

There are a ton of games coming out in the next couple of years that look absolutely fantastic but many gamers out there are skeptical of them because of their publisher’s history with particular practices such as microtransactions. The skepticism is warranted though, considering publishers like EA and Activision have a horrible history for microtransactions and money-grabbing practices. EA alone is renowned for shutting down studios if they do not perform to their standards (R.I.P Visceral, Pandemic Studios, DreamWorks Interactive.. the list goes on).

Unfortunately, very little can be done in that regard for studio closures and we as gamers just have to bite the bullet knowing some studios could have easily made some fantastic games. Activision, on the other hand, does very little to bring new IPs to the general populace. They stick to what they know will make money for them which is Call of Duty, the insanely priced bundles and season passes. Another studio that has been heavily scrutinized is Bungie and their handling of Destiny and locked content for PlayStation as well as Eververse, their in-game microtransaction system for cosmetics and buffs. The Eververse system in Destiny is not entirely bad since it’s mostly just cosmetic items but even just the idea of microtransactions seems to turn some people away.

We cannot be quick to judge a game by its face value before we give it a try. There are too many people out there who do this and honestly it just looks bad on their part. You have to look at the whole picture and properly judge a game for what it is in its entirety because in the end, microtransactions and loot boxes are not what the games are usually about. You’re simply just holding yourself back from something you may enjoy immensely! Aside from the history of Battlefront 2, Shadow of War, Destiny 2 and many other games published by EA, Activision, Ubisoft and so on, I truly enjoy many of their games and have spent many hours playing and enjoying their content.

Microtransactions and Chaos

Last year things went to another level and I’m sure most people know what I mean when I mention Star Wars: Battlefront 2 and Middle-earth: Shadow of War. Battlefront 2 received insane amounts of backlash with their loot box system, even prompting certain countries to investigate the matter to determine if loot crates can be considered gambling. Shadow of War had a loot box system in place to “help” players progress through the main game by allowing them to purchase War Chests with powerful orcs to help them along. Not even a year later, both games we’re subsequently corrected. Battlefront 2 had their premium currency removed and eventually all the Heroes were unlocked for free. Recently, Shadow of War had their War Chest loot boxes removed ENTIRELY! After everything that has happened, it is completely understandable if someone warrants skepticism about a future title from one of these companies. Is it reasonable to write off the game completely just because it’s “EA/Activison”? Short answer, no. I will explain why.

Anthem Teaser

Anthem and EA

Let’s look at the upcoming and highly anticipated title, Anthem. I have seen some people outright say the game will fail because of EA and I feel that it is unwarranted because 1) the game isn’t even out yet 2) it’s created by BioWare, their passion for games is inspiring and 3) they have constantly been vocal about listening to fans and working with the fanbase to create the game the fans want. Now if this was a pure EA Studio title I might be a little skeptical too but seeing what they have already done and the information given out it’s difficult for me to see people have the type of reaction to say it will not succeed.

Anthem, for all intents and purposes, truly looks like a passion project from the BioWare Edmonton team. People should look at games for what they are and the content that is in them. I’ll use Destiny 2 as another example, where it launched with much anticipation from fans but fell short with content and actually adding onto the franchise.

It was basic, plain, and should have been launched with a hearty amount of content for players to enjoy. Though a lot of players don’t understand that Destiny 2 is actually what Destiny should have been from the start. Destiny went through Hell and back again with development turmoil and had to launch in an unfinished state in order to save itself from further woes. The current state of the game though is a vast improvement of what it used to be and continues to grow from the simple fact that Bungie is listening to its players feedback. The Forsaken expansion bodes well for a huge plot twist and added content that fans have been asking for.

microtransactions

Look Past The Face Value

I feel there are too many people out there who judge a game right off the bat just because of either a past experience, a company’s prior history with games, or just for the sake of not liking it. People need to look beyond what they see as face value and determine the value of the game for what it is in its entirety. Microtransactions in the game? OK, that’s fine as long as it is not a randomized loot box and “Pay To Win” system. Cosmetics are truly okay to have because if you want to look badass while doing something and you want to invest further into the game – then go for it. After all, it’s your money.

In the end everyone should look at the game for what it is worth overall and look past any type of microtransaction system in the game. To condemn a game just because of microtransactions is not a justifiable reason to dislike a game. However, if the game is laced into the microtransaction/loot box system like Battlefront 2 was then it is completely warranted because that is simply greedy and not for the players. We need to keep these examples in mind and look at the game as a whole. Microtransactions are (mostly) just an addition and not a core value of the game. This is not a defense for microtransactions but a plea to gamers to really look at the full aspect of a game before judging/criticizing. It may actually be holding you back from something you might enjoy!