EA Sports UFC 3 has a beta available, and some fans are calling it out for including pay-to-win mechanics. The response has floated around the internet for the past few days via angry blogs on various sites - but what's really going on?
On the face of it, things sound bad. There are articles out there with headlines like "EA UFC 3's Ultimate Team is Built on Pay-to-Win Loot" and EA SPORTS UFC 3 - The Single Most Egregious Implementation of Microtransactions to Date". Ouch.
First things first, it's important to note that the pay-to-win mechanics accusation is limited to the game's online Ultimate Team mode, where you create a squad of five fighters and open random packs of cards to upgrade them further. Cards give you better moves, or improve your punching power. Buy more packs and you may get one of the rarer tier of cards which offer a significant advantage over a card's base level.
It's a system which some have equated to Star Wars: Battlefront 2, especially due to the fact UFC is also published by EA. But there's a big difference here - the fact card packs are limited to just the game's Ultimate Mode. Paying for card packs to progress faster than simply earning them with in-game currency will, of course, give you an advantage - but in way which could instead be equated to EA's wildly popular FIFA Ultimate Team. There's no suggestion your progression through the whole game is hindered in the same way as with Battlefront 2's all-pervasive loot boxes.
On another note, fans have pointed out that UFC 2 featured a very similar system.
"From what I have seen so far, the grind of making coins isn't anywhere near as hard as in UFC 2," reddit user Oleagony wrote in a long thread on the game's subreddit. "In fact since the beta started I have probably opened 30+ packs. Where it will frustrate me when it comes to packs, is if they do like Madden 18 and make me use UFC 3 points to buy certain packs. Then I'll have some issues."
"You can play normal online matches on an even playing field (and most players do)," ResetERA poster Stove added. "Furthermore, the single player was not affected in the slightest last time, and it doesn't seem like it's going to affect anything in single player this time either."
Still, it's interesting in a post-Battlefront 2 climate that even loot box progression in a mode which had it already (and which is wildly successful in FUT with little complaint) is causing a stir.