UPDATE: DICE made another clarification: “We will unlock the contents of the Physical Warfare Pack for free to all Battlefield 3 players later this year.”
EA was subtly testing the dark waters when they first announced the DLC “Back to Karkand” as a way to lure gamers into pre-ordering Battlefield 3. The DLC would be free of charge for those who chose to pre-order the game. That caused some fuss from the BF community and you would think EA would be quick to realise what mistake they made; but they went forward anyway with yet another DLC called “Physical Warfare Package”.
The game hasn’t even launched and EA is painting a greedy picture of what they plan to do with the franchise, as it enters mainstream popularity. This got to be the most controversial thing that happened to BF yet. This multiplayer weapons package DLC we were told was offered exclusively at certain retailers only in the UK; giving an unfair advantage to those who are willing to pay extra and from certain stores. Gamers are fed up from this trend of using DLCs and retail-exclusive items to bank in on the game more and more. So now disgruntled gamers are using the boycott against BF3 pre-order as a way to express their frustrations.
Fast forward to this week, the idea of a boycott spread like wildfire starting in reddit has caught the media’s attention from all directions. The boycott was more aimed at the pre-order rather than the game itself. Here are examples:
All this in the mist of EA gearing up for a marketing war against Activision. Certainly seems to be the most epic boycott against a game ever attempted. It’s either reddit has one hell of an influential community or the media was eagerly waiting to stick some bad news to what is deemed to be the greatest game of the year. Whats more this boycott didn’t only affect EA; from the looks of things, other games currently promoting such DLC before these games even launch are also affected as their community copy what BF fans have done seeing how effective it can be. DICE has a history of treating their fans well, well enough to succumb to fan’s demands in issues like this. However, DICE’s reponse today shows a different view, they aren’t relenting, instead they offered some clarifications about the DLC.
Here is what they said:
Q: Is the Physical Warfare Pack available in all regions, or just in the UK?
A: It will be available worldwide at select retailers. It was first announced in the UK. Exact details for other countries and retailers will be announced at a later date.
Q: Will Physical Warfare Pack imbalance the game?
A: The three exclusive items in the Physical Warfare Pack were specifically chosen not to be overpowered or imbalance or break the game in any way.
Q: Why do I want the Physical Warfare Pack?
A: Owning these items will give you a more varied arsenal, but it will not give you a significant advantage on the battlefield.
Q: Is the Back to Karkand expansion pack exclusive to pre-orders?
A: No. You can also buy it separately if you do not pre-order Battlefield 3. Back to Karkand will be available the exact same date after the launch of Battlefield 3 no matter if you pre-ordered or buy it separately.
Q: When will the Back to Karkand expansion pack be released?
A: We have not yet announced the Back to Karkand expansion pack release date.
Q: How much does the Back to Karkand Expansion pack cost?
A: We have not yet announced a price. However, it will be included in the Limited Edition at no extra charge.
Q: Do I have to choose between Back to Karkand and the Physical Warfare Pack as my pre-order bonus?
A: No. There is no way you can pre-order Battlefield 3: Limited Edition and not end up with the Back to Karkand expansion pack at no extra charge. On top of this, select retailers all over the world will carry the Physical Warfare Pack. Exact details for other countries and retailers will be announced at a later date.
Q: Why do you offer pre-order bonus items?
A: Because we believe in rewarding our core fanbase with special offers — such as giving them the Back to Karkand expansion pack at no extra charge.
They appear to have not backed down. This also did very little to put out the fires hitting the web as it’s not showing signs of simmering down soon. Fans are still charged up about the DLC still being shoved down their throats and DICE’s response only shows their reluctance to cancel the DLC. It is important to note whose running the show here, DICE just makes great games, it’s EA that is after the money. No doubt, lusting over what Activision has been getting easily off its Call of Duty fanbase for years.
Even though, EA isn’t the first to attempt such a money grab scheme, it is in fact starting to be a cruel trend and BF fanbase have become well aware of what happens when you leave a game company to creep into your wallet as you continue to play their game. Call of Duty’s meaningless DLC and “subscription” model is one of the worst things to have shaped the industry and gamers are paying for it dearly. Back then it was not a simple matter of gamers caving in, no actually, the majority ate it up like addicts paying for a quick fix. When you buy a game you shouldn’t keep paying for it. But it’s the ever so rising casual gamers who embraced that menacing concept and made it a mainstream practice with their unquestioning brand loyalty and their unfamiliarity with normal gaming business practices; in other words, an uninformed consumer. Think of them as the equivalent of Apple fans and sadly they represent the majority and the rest have to suffer for it. This time, specifically PC gamers expect better from DICE, battlefield is too good of a franchise to be used like this. Seeing this trend creep into their favorite franchise wasn’t going to go down without an argument the same way Call of Duty fans accepted their new reality. EA should’ve known better as the value of a loyal fan is worth much more than that of a quick dollar.