EA has announced a big change to Star Wars Battlefront 2's progression system after it emerged that players would have to play the game for roughly 40 hours to unlock just one of its most expensive playable characters.

In response, EA has slashed the amount of in-game currency required to unlock Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker – the game's most expensive heroes and villains – from 60,000 credits to 15,000.

In addition, cheaper playable characters Emperor Palpatine, Chewbacca, and Leia Organa will now cost 10,000 credits and Iden Versio (the story mode's protagonist) will cost 5,000.

"Unlocking a hero is a great accomplishment in the game, something we want players to have fun earning," reads a statement from executive producer John Wasilczyk.

"We used data from the beta to help set those levels, but it's clear that more changes were needed."

The changes are immediate and will go live to the game (which is currently available early through EA's Access service) today, ahead of the wider launch on Friday (17 November).

There have been other changes EA neglected to mention however. Game Informer has reported that the credits reward for completing Battlefront 2's story has been reduced from 20,000 credits to 5,000 – likely to prevent players being able to immediately purchase Vader or Luke.

"We know some of our most passionate fans, including those in our subreddit, have voiced their opinions, and we hear you," the statement continues. "We're making the changes to the credit levels for unlocking heroes and we're going to keep making changes to improve the game experience over time. We welcome the conversation."

The 40-hour figure became a huge talking point this past weekend when one player worked out the play-time required after working out their average playtime per game game of Galactic Assault (Battlefront 2's main multiplayer mode) and the average number of credits they received as a reward after each match.

EA announced earlier this year that Battlefront 2 would ditch paid-for expansions in favour of free new features, items and characters. The cost of this is a reliance on micro-transactions, with players able to purchase 'crystals' – an additional in-game currency – to in turn buy crates that unlock items.

EA has also been criticised for using these high prices to encourage people to buy crystals with real-world money. The heroes can't be bought directly through this, but the crates that can be bought can yield large quantities for credits that decrease the time required.

Then there's the issue of these crates including stat-changing 'star cards', creating a game that encourages a "pay to win" mentality in an attempt to drive revenue at the cost of an equal playing field.

Given the nature of games as services, EA and DICE will have plenty of opportunity to balance the game and tweak its approach to microtransactions over the weeks and months ahead.

Star Wars Battlefront 2 will be released on PS4, Xbox One and PC on 17 November.