The million-dollar question is clear and troubling- Would you consider it cheating?
Battlefield 3 features robust online multiplayer, designed specifically to reward those who put in the time. But now, even if you don't wish to put in the time, you can still unlock everything. Just gotta pony up the cash, if you're willing.
It's the "Ultimate Shortcut Bundle" and it costs a whopping $40. Yeah, that's high in the realm of downloadable content, but it gives players instantaneous access to all of those aforementioned unlockables. You get all class-specific weapons and gadgets, all co-op weapons, and even all the vehicle upgrades; that's a grand total of 119 upgrades, all immediately available if you're willing to pay. You can also pick up each individual pack: the Kit Shortcut Bundle (class unlocks) for $25, the Vehicle Shortcut Bundle for $18, and the Co-op Weapons Shortcut for $5.
Those who have struggled and triumphed to earn those unlocks might feel a little miffed. In fact, many do. After hours and hours of play, all their hard work can be equaled by any "n00b" who can easily buy everything necessary. Now, you still have to work for upgrades and attachments and all that, but the veteran BF3 players aren't too happy with this shortcut. Presumably, DICE and EA did this to facilitate continued sales of the game; many might say, "Oh, I don't want it now; I'd be so far behind all the people who have been playing it since last year." This way, you can level the playing field right off the bat.
But hey, is it really "level?" Just because you've unlocked everything by paying for it doesn't mean you can beat the dude who has hundreds of hours logged. After all, this is a game of skill , right? The question is, will we see this practice in the future? And in what capacity? Might it start hitting single-player games, too? "Here, just give us more money and we'll give you the best equipment in this RPG." But maybe it will only apply to online multiplayer…even if those who put the time and effort in remain a little peeved and flat-out call it cheating.
Related Game(s): Battlefield 3