EA caught in lie over Star Wars Battlefront II customization, brings lootbox madness to UFC 3

Among the controversy of EA’s pay-to-win lockboxes in Star Wars Battlefront II emerges a rather reasonable question: Why didn’t the studio create and use cosmetic rewards in these lockboxes rather than selling progression through them?

An EA spokesperson claimed that the company was concerned about “violating the canon of Star Wars” with pink-skinned Darth Vaders and the like, but it turns out that such cosmetic customization was in the works all along. Fans have found a hidden customization menu for characters tucked away in the game’s coding that wasn’t activated for release, hinting that the team had originally envisioned allowing players to adopt and use all sorts of cosmetic skins.

Meanwhile, another one of EA’s upcoming titles is falling under increased scrutiny with its microtransactions model. UFC 3 recently went into beta testing, during which players discovered that “the more a player invests into their account the better their performance will be in game.” Yes, it’s loot crates all over again becoming the gatekeeper to progression, holding access to “every single technique, fighter, and stat roll.”

As GI.biz suggests, these are just the growing pains of a company undergoing the transition from product to service.

Source: Astute Gaming. Thanks Rafael and Sorenthaz!
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75 Comments on "EA caught in lie over Star Wars Battlefront II customization, brings lootbox madness to UFC 3"

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Mewmew
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Mewmew

Pink (and dark purple etc) skinned Darth Vaders would have been cool!

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Johnny

I’d honestly hate it. It would ruin the atmosphere more than seeing a character who shouldn’t be there. I’d quit.

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Utakata

Oh I agree! <3

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Schlag Sweetleaf

.

rock'em sock'em lootbots.gif
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Utakata

Peddling those digital steroids to “even up” the playing field with every lockbox key purchased at time. /sigh

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rafael12104

I’d watch this, pay for view even.

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Zora

Shhh… don’t give them ideas, they can hear you, you know!

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Zora

All I truly want is a SW: the Sims so I can build my very own death star, raise baby luke and leia, buy pwetteh imperial outfits, have stormtrooper parties at home and fall asleep on the toilet because I neglected my force bar.

Al the pieces are into place, all the licenses where they need be… it’s the real final phase, just get on with the master plan EA.

/steeples fingers

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Arktouros

I have two issues with this.

First, stop asking questions we all already know the answer to. We know why they didn’t just have cosmetic loot crates. We know why other companies don’t go with just cosmetics in their boxes too. It’s either because they know they’re going to make a lot more money selling power or because cosmetics alone won’t fund their business model. I know everyone would love some sorta gotchya quote to trot out for the next 10 years when we’re still talking about how RNG boxes are gambling but do you honestly expect them to really answer with it?

Second, datamining is always an unreliable source of info. Had they trotted out the system in the future then we could talk about how they lied and they’re liars but we already knew that about them. This is EA. No one is rooting for them, no one thinks they’re here to be our bros. Why no one in their corporate hasn’t put a lock down on this yet is the truly embarrassing part because literally anything they say is going to be ripped to shreds currently. Their PR people could read the phone book and someone is going to create a new Youtube Rant about how EA supports the phone book industry which consumes X amount of trees every year and so EA is literally supporting the destruction of the world!!1

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MrNastyButler

Want to stay in line with canon? So how does Yoda fight Darth Maul then?

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rafael12104

Well, it’s like quicksand at this point for EA isn’t it?

Thanks MOP for covering this. It is important, and I’m glad to see another game is now exposed.

But this isn’t just about EA, although it couldn’t happen to a better corporate shit show. It is about Activision, and Ubisoft and any triple AAA publisher out there.

You see, they are over there huddled in a dark corner watching, sipping their martinis and trying to figure out how they are going to work around the lootbox stink.

Take 2, which btw I lost a lot of respect for, already came out with some bullshit that they don’t think lootboxes are gambling. Translation, “We are going to use them. Too much money not too.”

Fine by me. Come on out of the shadows the rest of you. Let’s see who is in and who is out. We want more visibility on this, and let’s make sure the public understands this isn’t an EA thing.

Although it is fun to gut punch EA, “the lying, kniving, sacks of shit.”

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Melissa McDonald

because someone had to and Schlag is sleeping on the job… ah the fun of Photoshop.
“Guards! Thrwow him wuffly to the fwoor!”

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Utakata

Welp, I for one can’t complain…but an optional pair of pigtails would of been nicer. <3

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starbuck1771

Bing is your friend and it kinda has pigtails :P

vader.jpg
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Utakata

<3

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Schmidt.Capela

You might be joking, but there were variations of Darth Vader seen in officially licensed media, even if they weren’t canon. For example:

Darth Vader White.jpg
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Alex Hyer

I… don’t think Star Wars Kinect was a EA game.

I’m 99% sure that was solely a LucasArts game prior to EA even getting the SW license from the Disney takeover.

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McGuffn

EA has been treating their games as a service for years. What’s changed is that season passes are on the out, and in its place they took the “oh, wouldn’t it be great if we added RPG elements to our shooters” trend and decided, “oh, wouldn’t it be great if we charged people for the RPG elements?”

They’re insane.

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Nathan Aldana

Insane? nah. Theyre operating off years of sales data that says people are willing to not only buy this shit, but also defend it.

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Dug From The Earth

EA’s involvement in the gaming industry needs to end.

The blatant lies and schemes that look to drag their customers through the dirt all so they can squeeze another dollar out of them over and over is a cycle that needs to be eliminated.

Ill just put this here:

EA Says People Don’t Like Linear Games Anymore

TophatKiyaki
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TophatKiyaki

Yongyea video being used in a journalistic article? Boi’s movin’ up in the world.

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Jack Pipsam

I’d just wish EA would come out and say “Yeah we just wanted extra dosh, screw ya’ll”

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Boom

Im Han Solo, Im Han Solo, Im Han Solo….
Thats me sold

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Alex Hyer

Yeah, again, that wasn’t an EA game.

Thats was one of LucasArts last games before being closed.

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Melissa McDonald

if that’s in-game graphics for that UFC game I am impressed. Looking forward to my Xbox One X purchase… just waiting for the holiday bundle

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Lethality

Uh, do you realize how many systems are developed in whole or in part that never make it into a game? In this case, it’s very possible EA had plans and had requested approval from the license holder (LucasFilm) that was ultimately denied or delayed… but the framework is there.

TophatKiyaki
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TophatKiyaki

That point might hold more water if the previous game (Battlefront 2015) didn’t have the exact same system in it that this menu is for. It’s rather apparent that the system was gutted out after the fact, or Dice started to put it in and then got told “No, we’re not doing that this time.”

Unless you think Disney tangibly went to them and said “Oy, remove that cosmetic system that we were completely okay with in the first game but aren’t in this game for no discernible reason.” after development into BF2 had already been underway for some time. Disney is a lot of things but abysmally stupid isn’t usually one of them.

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Serrenity

The whole canon argument really falls apart — when you have Yoda fighting Darth Vader on Naboo. I think EA was really hoping that invoking ‘canon’ would get people off their backs (because people are passionate about canon) but that only holds up if you ignore the entire premise of BF2. There’s a Jimquisition about this that … just makes a lot of sense.

If Disney was calling the shots about keeping the game within canon, the whole game would be different (and probably not exist). The Pink Darth Vader argument is pure strawman and used to distract from the ACTUAL issue at play, which are predatory pricing mechanics.

From a development perspective, you don’t want to ship code that isn’t contributing to the software — because it becomes a support headache and a QA headache – it creates a lot of overhead for no additional value.

SO the problem with this bullshit from EA is that made this big deal about how they weren’t planning on offering cosmetics because canon (/eye-roll) but they had a system in the game that while not enabled, allowed cosmetics. So chances are they were planning on offering cosmetic customizations all along, they made this blatantly false statement in the hopes that 1) no one would notice the existing development in there and 2) they could then circle back and gain some face by saying the ‘added in the cosmetics’ after consumer pressure … but in reality it was in the plan all along.

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rafael12104

Sums it up for me. Just total bullshit to bring up canon. The guy was better off saying nothing at all. Instead, another day of stoking the fires while other games get brought under scrutiny,

Works for me.

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Melissa McDonald

Strong is Vader! Accessorizing he Is!

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silverlock

From a development perspective, you don’t want to ship code that isn’t contributing to the software — because it becomes a support headache and a QA headache – it creates a lot of overhead for no additional value.

Yanking out major functionality close to release would most likely cause delay and bugs that’s why it’s not at all unusual to just encapsulate it.

Also have you ever tried to explain to sales and marketing guys how adding unnecessary functionality to software just cause overhead costs and problems down the road? Every time I tried it was like I was speaking in tongues or something, but then I’m old maybe their better these days.

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Serrenity

One thing I can’t speculate on is timing on pulling out functionality (if they did in fact decide to not ‘ship’ it) — no idea. If they made the call after they started spinning up RCs, what you said make sense. I just don’t know.

I have argued extensively with sales :-) With varying amounts of success. Ironically (or perhaps not) the better the sales guy, the more they listened to what I was saying. Also, being a product owner / product manager means that I generally have the authority to tell them no and they have to deal with it.

Generally.

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Castagere Shaikura

Stop buying EA’s dam games.

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Michael18

haven’t bought an EA game in a long while, also because of origin exclusivity.

But I gotta admit a new Dragon Age would be tempting if it is a legit sp RPG and is not a lockbox frenzy. Also I’d wait a couple weeks post launch for player reviews.

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Serrenity

I think the last EA game I bought was SimCity .. the newest one that EA ruined

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starbuck1771

Uh sorry not going to happen in this lifetime. The console players are addicted to their sports games and stuff. Tell the kids they are not allowed to play Madden 20xx and see what they tell you. :P

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Kayweg

That is indeed the sole reason, and one well calculated by the industry, why we (we the gamers/consumers) never will succeed in bringing about change.
It’s not that we lack the power or the means, it’s because we will never be able to unite or take coordinated action against the industry in general or any one publisher in particular.
To be fair, if i was a bloke in his late teens or early twens, i probably wouldn’t give a toss either.
And by the time their eyes have opened, the next generation will have grown to follow them, and they will fail just as hard in “trying to make them see” as we do now.
This industry needs to crash, and crash hard, and brutal, and ugly…..and soon.

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Knox Harrington

If gaming had more dire consequences, I would rank Electronic Arts right up there with all the other draconian corporations bordering on pure evil, like insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and the likes of Monsanto. But in the end, it’s just gaming so I’ll abandon that line of hyperbole and simply never give them another dime again.

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Melissa McDonald

Monsanto is the 9th level of hell. Insurance and Big Pharma are closer to purgatory.

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Armsbend

Monsanto does have a some evil tendencies but they’ve also done some monumentous
work on weed control as well.

The made a one sided Netflix documentary against Monsanto without looking at many positives.

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starbuck1771

Want to make your fighter perform better just buy PEDS from the in-game store! PEDS because we want you to buy the best fighter like Brock Lesnar. Why shouldn’t the game be like the real UFC? How many UFC fighters have been found to be using PEDS over the past few years? EA Keeping it Real!

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Darthbawl

Pink Darth Vader baby! LOL

*FYI, some raw language in the video, you have been warned*

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BalsBigBrother

Isn’t it just as conceivable they explored customisation options, Disney vetoed the idea possibly for the reasons stated and they just left the code in because that was easier than yanking it. Unused code being left is not a new phenomenon by any means.

Perhaps I am being simple but as it stands to date what is the lie here?

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Utakata

“Perhaps I am being simple but as it stands to date what is the lie here?”

I guess that depends on who knew what and if there was any deliberate attempt to obfuscate any of it. However, the left hand not knowing what the right hand was doing…or any other forms of ineptitude could produce similar results. Never under estimate incompetence being the answer before declaring a conspiracy to hide the truth. /sigh

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BalsBigBrother

With respect but how does any of that answer the question you are quoting.

I am not declaring conspiracy or anything I am asking for information specifically what exactly have EA lied about at this point in time as stated by:

EA caught in lie …… Etc

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Lethality

This.

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Sray

That’s totally possible. However, the first Battlefront had extensive unlockable customization options; so whether attached to microtranactions or not, the lack of appearance customization in this game is somewhat baffling.

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BalsBigBrother

So there is a lot of supposition or guessing. That to me is a completely different thing to being “caught in a lie” as headlined by this article.

I have no bantha in this race as I have moved passed Star Wars as a franchise in general, its not for me any more. However I still find this headline a little troubling /sigh

Justin or Bree could you please specifically clarify for simple old me what exactly is the lie that you are referring to in your headline?

Cadaver
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Cadaver

I have moved passed Star Wars as a franchise in general, its not for me any more.

That reads a little like a 21st century reworking of 1 Corinthians 13-11 :) Amen, brother.

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BalsBigBrother

Well I am still a gamer so I have kept quite a lot of my “childish things” ;-)

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Tanek

Maybe it is more of a lie of omission. If EA had said that they looked into doing the cosmetics, but ran into such and such issue, finding the options in the game code would not be this big a deal (the lockbox thing still would be, of course).

The way it played out, however, gives the impression that EA would have turned on the cosmetics later as a “new” way of customizing your gameplay once most players did not need the lockbox progression as much.

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BalsBigBrother

Your supposition is as valid as anyone else I guess including my own.

Just to note as someone who uses mods and is into the modding scene one of the most common mods around are those that turn on unused features, enable assets or even complete quests / story arcs. Unless you go digging for such things no one would know they are there. So why would a game company tell you about things they may not be able to use for reasons (whatever those may be.)

This is my “supposition” with regard to this. ;-)

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Tanek

Because, as you say, someone will go looking anyway for one reason or another and it will be found. It isn’t like this was a dev diary where EA was explaining the design of the game just because. It was more damage control. Giving the full story at that point, if the cosmetics really were a dead end and they did not plan on using them later, would have been smart.

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BalsBigBrother

Hindsight is 20/20

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Archebius

I was going to say the same thing. If the feature wasn’t activated, then what EA said wasn’t a lie. Maybe they started to develop it before deciding not to pursue it any longer; maybe Disney kaboshed it; or maybe they actually were lying.

We don’t know.

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Bryan Correll

I think the lie is in claiming that Star Wars canon kept them from offering cosmetics. Even if you stick strictly to what has appeared in the movies you could offer numerous outfits for characters such as Luke, Leia, Lando, and even, for that matter, Darth Vader. And that’s not even taking into account the gameplay that allows fights between characters who never could have encountered each other in canon.

raysie27
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raysie27

“As GI.biz suggests, these are just the growing pains of a company undergoing the transition from product to service.”

Games as a service is worse than loot boxes. The day this becomes normal (apart from MMORPG’s) I quit gaming as a hobby.

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Sterling

So…there’s some context missing from the UFC part of this. The lockboxes are for a specific game mode only, which isn’t the competitive multiplayer or the single player.

Resetera has a rundown in a mod post here:

https://www.resetera.com/threads/ea-sports-ufc-3-ultimateteam-has-the-single-most-egregious-microtransaction-model-in-recent-memory.8794/

I think y’all know my “burn it all down” position on loxckboxes, but this discussion isn’t helped by incomplete information.

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Phantom Hal

Thank you EA, had to rework my Christmas Wish list. Had to take battlefront and Need for speed off it. Instead I will be buying …. EURO TRUCK 2 DLC! (still missing 2) :P

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Shocktor

So, we can expect Anthem to have player advancement in loot boxes as well.

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Denice J. Cook

Oh Lord, I didn’t even think of that! What a potential bummer that would be. I was keeping a watchful eye on that one to be sure.

I hope they swerve out of the gutter and into the middle lane with Anthem’s development before it’s too late, but somehow I doubt it.

I wonder if EA is getting the drift yet that their mentality needs to permanently change. This isn’t a “Star Wars thing” insomuch as it’s a “development direction” thing for all their games.

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Armsbend

I’ve always suspected in F2Ps that if you spend money your “luck” in finding other things would be increased. I have no way of proving it and I really lack the ability to find out – but I’m no less convinced that all of these sons of bitches do it. [I’m glad they found UFC after Star Wars. You can’t really say UFC is marketed to children – even though it completely is].

As I’ve said before 2017 was gaming’s worst…but 2018 is really shaping up to be a doozy. I’m hoping they continue to get beat up and we start to see massive job losses at the big publishers. Studio closures…everything. Bring it. The stock price has stabilized – need more bad news like this.

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Lethality

((Deleted by mod. How many warnings do you need?))

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Armsbend

Lethality I’m surprised! That really hurts coming from you.

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Q Hand

((Deleted by mod. Please review the community commenting guidelines.))

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Armsbend

Mods – I didn’t take offense I never do.

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Joey Morrone

People getting laid off is something no one should hope for. Been there when I worked in the game industry and it sucked majorly.

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Armsbend

Sorry – the gaming industry is garbage right now. I’m hoping for massive, widespread layoffs to curb this rampant trash. Macro reasons not because I wish harm on individuals.

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

The problem with this way of thinking is the people who will be laid off are the people farthest from the decision-making. As long as we’re wishing for things, it’d be better to hope for something that actually targets the assholes at the top.

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Armsbend

You can always make excuses for bad companies by dredging up pathos for the little guy. That time has past.

Of course the suits should suffer for their damage. But the entire needs to suffer. Seriously what bad could happen to us, the rank and file gamer, if EA were dissolved tomorrow? It would be a goddamned universal celebration. All of their jobs gone. We’d all be better for it. Realistically?. 25-25% layoffs.

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

The little guy shouldn’t be used as an excuse not to, say, boycott a bad company. You’re very specifically wishing for 25% of the workforce to be laid off, knowing it’d affect exactly nobody responsible. The former is fair play. The latter is cruelty.

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Armsbend

It isn’t true. Everyone who ever took a job at EA knowingly walked into this – if not wished for it. Crazy to think otherwise.

I’d like for 100% to be gone tomorrow if it were possible. EA benefits no one but themselves.

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Bruno Brito

We don’t want anyone laid off or losing jobs, but such is the nature of the market. You buy it, you accept it, you don’t buy it, people lose what they worked for.

Life isn’t fair.

threeknee
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threeknee

Umm, is that a screenshot from the game? It can’t be…

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Hravik

Let me put on my shocked face.

wpDiscuz