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Star Wars Battlefront 2 loot boxes spark pay-to-win fears

You pay to "accelerate" rewards, EA says.

Earlier this week, Star Wars Battlefront 2 gameplay footage surfaced online that showed the sci-fi shooter's loot box system.

Unlike its predecessor, Battlefront 2 has randomised crates of Star Cards that offer gameplay-affecting power-ups.

An uncommon Star Card to boost Boba Fett's attack.

These can give you more health, power up weapons, boost damage or grant other special abilities - such as a healing effect for nearby allies.

Though the feature wasn't working when the revelations came to light, duplicate Star Cards will be automatically converted into "crafting parts" which you can then put towards a particular card or to upgrading a card you have already.

You can get the currency used for buying crates by just playing the game, but the possibility of buying unlimited loot boxes using real-world cash sparked concern among fans.

EA has now confirmed to Eurogamer that yes, you can buy more of these crates using real-world money.

It's not clear, however, how big an advantage this will create. Certainly, there are different loot rarities, and you can pay for a box with a greater chance at better - Legendary or Epic - quality loot.

"Players will be rewarded in the game through regular play in many different, earnable ways including crates," an EA spokesperson told us. "For those that want to accelerate the rewards, they can do so by purchasing crates that contain randomised items and rewards."

It's not the first EA game to offer a system like this for obtaining loot - Battlefield offers Battlepacks, for example. But Battlepack contents are limited to cosmetic gun and vehicle skins, plus unique melee weapon designs. The suggestion from Battlefront 2's alpha is loot items actually affect how you and your team plays.

Perhaps it's to be expected - Battlefront 2 will offer a free season of DLC without the need to buy a season pass: future maps, weapons and characters will launch throughout the year. EA has to make up that money somewhere.

But the nature of the loot boxes has fans worried the core design of the game will suffer.

Watch on YouTube

The above video's top comment is from fan Josh Klein: "Hopefully this doesn't mean this game will be pay to win. Cough cough Call of Duty...?"

"Day one some rich kid with parents credit card spends $100+ on crates gets all high level cards and bam is kicking butt non stop for months till everyone catches up...?" SwanyPlaysGames replied.

Alistair Alexander countered: "We're getting free DLCs so they have to make money for the DLCs somehow and this is fine with me as long as the crates are fair, just hoping that the crates are not like COD supply drops?"

So, how fair will it feel? We may have a wait to find out. EA will likely tune the game further before its full release in November.

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