Destined to Fail
It seems like last week as EA was copping a drubbing from all and sundry over their forced gambling mechanics in Battlefront II, Activision and Bungie were looking on in envy, jealous of the fact that EA was hogging all the attention. As such, this week Bungie has taken misleading microtransactions to a whole new level with Destiny 2. To be clear they have not destroyed their game’s playability in the way that EA and DICE have – yet they have gone above and beyond in the field of misleading their customers in order to encourage real money transactions.
By all accounts Destiny 2 is a repetitive and grindy game. It sounds like it is competent enough to meet minimum standards of playability, yet beyond this it is not a terribly impressive game. Bungie probably does not need to engage in any anti-consumer shenanigans in order to drive players away, but it sure helps! Once players hit the level 20 cap, all experience subsequently goes into earning bright engrams – which may then be used to acquire cosmetic upgrades for players. If players who are over the level cap earned experience too quickly, then the game throttled the amount of experience they subsequently earned by 50%. This in itself is not the whole of the reason for the current fan outcry, instead fans have become incensed because the game indicates that there is no change to the amount of experience they are earning, yet the same amount of experience can be seen to fill up the experience bar by increasingly smaller increments. Bungie must have thought that the internet would not bother to check!
In response to this Bungie reached out to disgruntled Destiny 2 players, agreeing with them that the current experience system was a betrayal of their trust, and promising to patch it out. True to their word Bungie immediately patched out the experience throttling system, and then in a move right out of EA’s playbook they promptly turned around and doubled the experience required to earn a bright engram! They just had to protect the real money economy of the bright engram trade! As previously mentioned, this does nothing to diminish the playability of Destiny 2, but it sure as hell seems to have shattered player trust within the Destiny community.
EA Strikes Back!
The Battlefront II debacle has wiped three billion dollars off of EA’s share price this month. Multiple federal and state governments are looking at legislating against loot boxes specifically because of EA’s use of them in Battlefront II. Battlefront II is selling significantly more poorly than the preceding game in the series, largely off the back of the loot box controversy. This squalid loot box controversy has exploded all over normie news, raising the awareness of non-gamers and casual gamers alike. Given that all of this is going on, one might have figured that EA would scale back their abject greed for a couple of months while these dark clouds are hanging over their heads. This is not the case however, as EA appears to be so confident that they are daring lawmakers to curb their unscrupulous business practices!
UFC 3 does not release until February, yet this week a limited beta test of the game has begun, and it appears that the utilisation of loot boxes within the game are actually much worse than in Battlefront II. UFC 3 loot boxes allow players to obtain rare move cards which not only make stock standard moves much more effective, but also give the player’s over all stats an appreciable bump:
“A base level jab will do minimal damage to online opponents, however a fighter that purchases a loot box and acquires a five-star rarity level jab, will not only have a more efficient and powerful technique in combat, but will also be treated to a host of stat increases in all regards, making their player undeniably better in every scenario.”
It gets worse though, as loot boxes are the only way to acquire real world combatants, which each come with enhanced stats over those of no-name peon fighters:
“Furthermore, UFC 3’s Ultimate Team mode has added the ability for players to unlock real fighters and use them as part of their group online. Yet again this system Is bogged down by the implications of microtransactions as the rarer fighters have the higher base-level statistics and will outright perform better.”
Finally, microtransactions can be used to purchase ‘perks’ and ‘boosts’ which are limited use items that give players a boost to their stats. That is right, leave it to EA to invent digital steroids!
“Microtransactions are also the only means of acquiring perks and boosts. Perks are powerful abilities that can be equipped for a small number of fights before expiring. They can range from a low-level stamina improvement during a certain phase, whether that be striking, grappling or ground game, to a significant hit point increase during pivotal health events, wherein your opponent has damaged you enough to potentially end the fight. Boosts on the other hand are similarly temporary enhancements that offer endurance boosts and durability bonuses. It is clear to see that in combination with technique enhancements and overall stat increases, EA has taken every single aspect of genuine competition and buried it.”
If EA had not earned themselves a golden poop for their battlefront nonsense, then they have certainly earned it now! The worst company in America strikes again, and this time a bunch of normie UFC fans are being ransacked for their shekels. Normally this type of audience are not the type to fight for their rights as gamers, yet given the furore already surrounding EA and their loot box business, all bets are off as to whether they decide to suffer this indignity.
Epic Sues Child
In some hilarious news for the week Epic has taken umbrage with cheaters in Fortnight, and rather than go after the cheat websites which sell this troublesome software, they have instead decided to go after the cheaters themselves, which they no doubt fancied to be easy targets. Only one of the cheaters turned out to be a fourteen year old boy, because of course he was a fourteen year old boy, because fourteen year old boys are the kind of people who would find cheating in a multiplayer game enjoyable!
Epic are still deadset on prosecuting this boy, yet minors cannot even be prosecuted in his home state, meaning that Epic will have to sue the boy’s mother. Even more problematic for them is the fact that their EULA requires that a minor’s guardian give their consent before they are able to create an account, yet the boy’s mother never even saw the terms of service, much less gave him permission to set up an account. Fortnight is a free game, and everything required to get the game up and running is readily available online, effectively circumventing parents. The software presents a checkbox asking for the good faith confirmation that a legal adult has agreed to the terms of service, yet in this case no adult has, and this fourteen year old boy lacks the legal agency to agree to the terms for himself. Seems like Epic should probably ask to see a driver’s license before allowing children to make accounts, or at least that is what they should do if they want to wave their garbage EULAs around as though they were legal documents!
Epic have subsequently attempted to justify their suing of a fourteen year old child by claiming that the Youtube DMCA process required them to take him to court:
“This particular lawsuit arose as a result of the defendant filing a DMCA counterclaim to a takedown notice on a YouTube video that exposed and promoted Fortnite Battle Royale cheats and exploits. Under these circumstances, the law requires that we file suit or drop the claim.”
So basically Epic are arguing that they had to sue a fourteen year old boy else they would have had to relinquish their fraudulent DMCA claim against him!! Are they fucking serious? They are suing a child for breach of copyright and one of the key planks of their case is that they are pissy because he chose to dispute their fraudulent and false DMCA claim against his Youtube video!
Real talk, fam. Cheaters in online games suck, yet this author wagers that he was not the only person who owned a Game Genie as a kid. Online play has muddied this issue somewhat, yet youngsters lack the cognitive maturity and chronological context to even make that distinction. Corporations can ban as many cheaters as they like, and they can sue shady cheat websites as much as they like, but suing their own customers is pretty lame, and suing children is even more pathetic. This is not a good look for Epic.