I really like the game Star Wars Battlefront. I play it a LOT, at least for me, putting in on average 2 hours a night. Its awesome.
However it is also flawed. I’ve already covered the biggest complaint made by players – the offline gameplay – but now I’d like to move on to an imbalance introduced with the Outer Rim DLC (lack of content here will be a different ramble).
A new feature was introduced that allowed you to unlock new weapons and cards (e.g. grenades/side arms) by completing various tasks. The concept is actually pretty neat. You pay a fee, similar to buying a gun, and then you complete the various tasks which are very similar to the challenges that you get in game. Great idea. The problem is that some of them require you to be pretty decent at the game. For example if you’re not a great player then getting 15 kills in one round with a specific weapon won’t be easy, let alone doing it multiple times. Bear in mind that many players won’t get more than 10 kills the majority of the time, including lobbing grenades, using the rocket launcher etc.
I have a few concerns about this as it gives the more skilled players an advantage over the weaker ones. They are more likely to get the new weapons and learn how to use them effectively. This doesn’t seem quite right to me. It is always good to reward players, however being skillful and more successful should bring you the rewards quicker by gaining more experience per session. A devoted but average player should be able to achieve and unlock everything through the grind.
Providing non-functional rewards such as new emotes, skins or fancy images is a perfectly acceptable to reward players for being skillful. It is great to reward players for their accomplishments by making them somehow look cooler or stand out. However giving them better gear than players struggling to get by? I’m unsure. Although on skins, I’d like to quickly mention the black stormtrooper outfits at Level 50 of Star Wars Battlefront. Those guys can be hard to see! Experienced and no doubt more skillful players getting a more camouflaged look… awesome! (p.s., yes I do use that now).
One further issue that I have with this feature is the GUI. At the end of each round you get to see your progress, however currently I have only 3 of the 10 challenges still to complete yet it insists on showing me progress in the challenges that I completed nearly a week ago. As a result the time between rounds involves a dash through the menus to check progress before potentially adjusting my loadout.
Well that about wraps up what I was going to say. The new Hutt Contracts are a cool idea but I think having challenges involving having a good performance are too weighted to give the skilled players a leg up, leaving the weaker ones frustrated at being killed by weapons they may never get.
It may be worth saying that when I initially saw this, as someone who expects to get top half and aims for top quarter (i.e. above average), I was really concerned. Having started to push more often to get top scores, suddenly the players I struggled to beat were getting new weapons. No fair right? Strangely I’ve upped my game and nearly have everything unlocked and have been able to dominate games with my shiny new toys. Never thought that I’d be the one to benefit from this imbalance…