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Gamers on Reddit have been at war with Electronic Arts ever since the unpopular ending of Mass Effect 3 in 2012. No company is more hated on the “front page of the internet” than EA. Even Comcast doesn’t get as much vitriol from commenters. This week, EA stepped in it again with some unpopular decisions about Star Wars Battlefront 2 and ended up with what may be literally the most-downvoted comment in Reddit history.
Battlefront 2, a game that costs up to $80 to buy, doesn’t come with every hero unlocked. To get access to beloved Star Wars characters like Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, players will have to put in an estimated 40 hours of multiplayer time. That’s an entire workweek of playing time, on top of whatever money you spent on the game itself and on in-game “loot crates” that provide power-ups for your ship. If you think this sounds like a ripoff, you’re not alone: players hate the economics of Battlefront 2.
Rather than changing the game to address players’ complaints, though, EA posted a defense of the 40-hour requirement on Reddit. It went over like a ton of cement. Here’s the comment in question.
The intent is to provide players with a sense of pride and accomplishment for unlocking different heroes.
As for cost, we selected initial values based upon data from the Open Beta and other adjustments made to milestone rewards before launch. Among other things, we’re looking at average per-player credit earn rates on a daily basis, and we’ll be making constant adjustments to ensure that players have challenges that are compelling, rewarding, and of course attainable via gameplay.
We appreciate the candid feedback, and the passion the community has put forth around the current topics here on Reddit, our forums and across numerous social media outlets.
Our team will continue to make changes and monitor community feedback and update everyone as soon and as often as we can.
For their trouble, EA now has the “sense of pride and accomplishment” of posting a Reddit comment with a score of -300,000, meaning it received hundreds of thousands of downvotes. By the numbers, this is easily one of the most-hated Reddit comments in history—possibly even the worst of all time.
Memes have started to spring up mocking EA and its failed attempt at damage control:
None of this is enough to sway EA out of forcing players into a tedious grind to unlock their favorite characters, a grind that many commenters feel is designed to make players give up and pay real money to get what they want. Microtransactions and “pay-to-win” have become increasingly dominant in gaming over the past decade, and they’re still profitable despite players’ complaints. The addition of random loot boxes (called “gatcha” in Japan) has only fueled the fire (and fed players’ gambling addictions).
Even 300,000 downvotes isn’t enough to get EA to change while players—including the big spenders that the game industry calls “whales”—are still pouring money into the game. In mobile games, whales make up less than 1 percent of players, but account for 50 percent of in-game spending. If the numbers for a major console release like Battlefront are similar, EA doesn’t need those 300,000 angry redditors. It only needs the 1 percent.
Jay Hathaway is a former senior writer who specialized in internet memes and weird online culture. He previously served as the Daily Dot’s news editor, was a staff writer at Gawker, and edited the classic websites Urlesque and Download Squad. His work has also appeared on nymag.com, suicidegirls.com, and the Morning News.