Over the past day or so, a storm of users on popular news site Reddit have called out for a boycott of Battlefield 3 and a cancellation of pre-orders because of EA’s BF3 DLC and Physical Warfare pack DLC. The Physical Warfare pack, which includes a few exclusive items, is available only to those who pre-order the game at select retailers. So far it is only available in the UK, but US retailers like GameStop are expected to get their own pre-order bonus.
There are discussions on Reddit which number in the thousands of comments, where fans voice their disappointment of EA’s DLC policy. A few years ago, EA attempted something similar with Bad Company, but a successful community boycott made EA change their minds.
We’ve gone through hundreds of comments on Reddit, and there seems to be a few misunderstandings regarding the DLC and the pre-order bonuses.
The main discussions on Reddit seems to have misunderstood EA’s whole Back to Karkand DLC policy — which is no surprise, since it’s quite confusing. Since we’ve been covering this for a while here on BF3blog, we’ll try to explain:
Back to Karkand is offered for free to those who pre-order the game. You can only pre-order the Limited Edition now, which retails at the same price as the regular edition — $60. Regardless of what retailer you pre-order the game at, you’ll get a free copy of Back to Karkand. It’s as simple as that: pre-order and you get Back to Karkand free. There have been countless pre-order bonuses on video games before, and Back to Karkand is just that: a pre-order bonus.
The Physical Warfare pack is where it gets a bit tricky, and which we believe the boycott is targeting. The Physical Warfare pack is only available to those who pre-order the game at select physical retailers, and is not available to those who pre-order or buy a digital copy of Battlefield 3. Unlike the Back To Karkand DLC, you cannot buy the Physical Warfare pack later on.
While the Physical Warfare pack in an of itself isn’t a huge deal — the items included don’t seem to be items that can unbalance the gameplay — it is disappointing that the only way one might get them is to buy the game at a brick and mortar retail store. PC gamers who will buy the game as a digital copy (us included), won’t get a chance to get the new items and weapons.
Back To Karkand wasn’t part of BF3
There have been accusations of DICE and EA taking the Back to Karkand content out of Battlefield 3 and selling it as DLC. Many publishers have been accused of this before, but in this case, it actually doesn’t hold up for one reason: Back to Karkand is a remake of Battlefield 2 maps, weapons and vehicles. It’s not supposed to be a part of Battlefield 3 to begin with, which makes it a real DLC, as opposed to something that was removed from the game. Many games have remade maps and sold them as DLC, including Activision’s popular Call of Duty franchise. However, we can certainly understand why gamers think it’s been removed from the game, since the DLC is offered on day one.
Still, the community boycott is understandable for several reasons:
- EA’s has made the whole DLC/Back to Karkand/Limited Edition/Physical Warfare thing very confusing where even EA isn’t sure what’s what.
- EA announced the first DLC, Back To Karkand, way too early. There hasn’t been enough time for BF3 to establish itself before announcing map remakes.
- The “Physical Warfare” offering at select retailers feels unfair, especially since it’s not available to buy elsewhere.
- By offering DLC from day one, gamers get the impression that the content has been taken out of the game (which we don’t believe is true), and that EA is nickle and diming people.
So far EA’s only response has been issuing a FAQ on the official Battlefield 3 page, which oddly enough, doesn’t address much of the criticism.