$110 in the trash: Why you should never pre-order a videogame


by Mack Mullinix, Editor

Gaming has had no shortage of outright failures these last couple of years. While we may recognize these games as bad, even on launch, we still find ways to fund these dumpster fires. With one example rising above them all: Battlefield 2042.

What is Battlefield?

Battlefield is a multiplayer shooter created by the Swedish gaming studio Dice (a subsidiary of the larger Electronic Arts gaming repertoire). It’s known for its large PvP (player vs player) combat where players face off in differently objectived modes on foot, tank, and plane. The game is additionally known for its single-player campaigns, communication based gameplay that rewards teamwork, and settings that span from the World Wars, to the distant future.

Hype Train:

Player performing a “Rendezook” in Battlefield 2042’s first trailer.

The game was announced in the summer of 2021, with it seemingly having one goal in mind: fulfill their fans’ fantasies of a Battlefield game. The first sighting of this was the use of many popular “Battlefield moments” in the trailer. Most notably the use of the “Rendezook”. A popular move in which the player jumps out of a jet, shoots an enemy jet with a rocket launcher, and lands back in the jet.

Another notable moment was the reveal of past characters from the series (Pac and Irish) in the game’s second trailer. With it being revealed that Irish would be one of the new specialists in the game (more on that later).

Modern gaming tropes:

While the game tried to paint itself as true to the series, many key details about the game raised suspicions to the few who noticed. The first being the new “specialist” system. A replacement to the class system that the game had used for 19 years. While developers claimed the decision was made in order to allow more customization, it destroyed one of the core principles of battlefield: the interactions between the 4 classes. The specialists would also be used as incentivisation for another hated practice.

Battle passes:

Another item ushered in by Fortnite was the battle pass. A system that encourages players to constantly play to unlock all the awards in the tier based progression system. It can be found in almost every Triple-A title. Overwatch 2, For Honor, World of Tanks, Rainbow Six Siege, SMITE, Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0, Battlefield 2042, and even mobile games like Clash Royale all include some form of battle pass. While harmless when used only for cosmetic purposes, Battlefield (and other recently published games) have used the pass to block in-game content. With it not allowing new players to unlock a specialist at first, unless they pay for the premium pass.

When asking players about this, 2 became sparked in an engagement about if the battle pass is better then previous DLC options.

“Battle passes have no business in a paid game. I feel like the model should be paid for = everything or you can get it free on origin with a bp”, said player BurgerMcKinley.

“It’s ten dollars and doesn’t affect you at all lmfao. Way better than 60 extra f*ckin dollars for maps”, shot back other player nonvizo.

Battlefield Specialist “Mackay” in the loading screen. Character models gain this look when loading into the main menu, and when first joining a game.

Beta experience:

Those who bought the pre-order, were able to play a beta version of the game up until launch. With everyone else being allowed entry into a open beta for 2 days.

Many’s expectations to say the least, were already set low for the beta. Battlefield had been known for releasing games with obscene amounts of bugs before polishing them out. As expected, the game was plagued by multiple bugs. Whether it be teleporting into the bottom of the map, character models refusing to actually load, and vehicles being able to jump complete skyscrapers. Players became worried about what the state of the game would be at launch (and rightfully so). This caused a response by Dice saying that the build used was a “few months old”, and that many of the problems in the beta had already been ironed out.

Release day:

Besides a few minor bug fixes, the game was completely the same. If anything, the removal of most bugs had made the game less enjoyable. Highlighting the numerous base features that the game completely disregarded. 

Here is a list of just some of them:

Scoreboard, testing range, crouch sprinting, sliding, knockback, diving, team changing, reticle customization, network performance, no hud option, aquatic vehicles, switch squads, voice chat, leaning, dog tags, server browser, and basic color blindness settings that we had come to expect from the series. 

Another highlighted problem was the enormity of the maps. Players without vehicles were forced to walk through swaths of area that contained zero covering fire from anyone who just so happened to spot you trekking to the next objective.

Specialists were still a major problem for many players. As most felt it was out of place for a series that had used classes for so long.

“Specialists are by far the worst. Battlefield is about being an unknown grunt, just one of many. Not some sassy character with clever quips and a puddle-deep backstory” – u/onorek

“People want to be nameless, faceless soldiers, not some fancy specialist. Battlefield games are about playing as a team and working as a group, not individual frag plays or sole playstyles”.

Stuck in the trap:

Battlefield fans were outwardly deceived by EA and Dice. The game that so desperately marketed itself to its player base, removed core mechanics, and introduced bland unoriginal ones that are too reminiscent of modern gaming in general.

With those buying the pre-order unable to actually refund the game, many just abandoned the game. Which can be seen by the game’s slippery descent below the player count of past titles like Battlefield 5. 

Steamcharts of Battlefield 2042 from its launch to October 31st.

Pre-ordering a game is the worst decision possible for the player. The bonus of buying the game early is severely limited to a few skins, and being able to play an unfinished version of the game weeks before it actually launches. So instead, just wait. The price of the game wont hike up like the stock market. It will always stay a stagnant $60-$70 (or decrease after certain holiday sales). 

The player can then make a decision about the full game, rather than what the developers want to pitch to you in a specially procured trailer, or in a severely limited review by the likes of IGN (who somehow gave the game a 7/10).