Star Wars Battlefront II is getting a complete redesign of its progression system which removes Star Cards for purchase, paid loot boxes and adds a new linear progression system, Electronic Arts announced today.
The changes hit on March 21, with more content rolling out in the following weeks and plans for paid appearance items coming in April, according to the company.
"Since release, we've been hard at work making changes based on your feedback to create a better game for all our players," EA officials wrote in a blog post this morning. "Today, we're happy to announce that the Star Wars Battlefront II Progression update, which includes a complete re-design of the in-game progression system, will begin rolling out on March 21st."
Here are the keypoints:
- With this update, progression is now linear. Star Cards, or any other item impacting gameplay, will only be earned through gameplay and will not be available for purchase. Instead, you’ll earn experience points for the classes, hero characters, and ships that you choose to play in multiplayer. If you earn enough experience points to gain a level for that unit, you'll receive one Skill Point that can be used to unlock or upgrade the eligible Star Card you'd like to equip.
- You'll keep everything you’ve already earned and unlocked. You will keep all of the Star Cards, heroes, weapons, or anything else you have already earned. What you have earned will still be available to use with this update regardless of how much or little progress you have already made.
- Crates no longer include Star Cards and cannot be purchased. Crates are earned by logging in daily, completing Milestones, and through timed challenges. Inside of these crates, you'll find Credits or cosmetic items, such as emotes or victory poses, but nothing that impacts gameplay.
- Starting in April, you’ll be able to get appearances directly through in-game Credits or Crystals. The first new appearances are coming soon, meaning you'll be able to grab new looks for your heroes and troopers directly by using either Credits (earned in-game) or Crystals (available to purchase in-game and through first-party stores). If you’ve ever dreamed of being a part of the Resistance as a Rodian, your chance is right around the corner.
The progression update hits on March 21, with more content promised in the following weeks.
"These changes are a major step as we continue to improve the core of the game and add new content," according to the post. "And there’s a lot more to come. In addition to continued balance patches, we will also add a number of modes to Star Wars Battlefront II in the coming months, offering several standout, brand-new ways to play. Some of these, like the recently released limited-time Jetpack Cargo, are radically different than anything you've experienced in the game before, and we're excited to surprise you with what we have planned."
The complete overhaul of the game's progression and monetization systems comes nearly six months after the company received historic backlash from players about its hero unlock systems.
EA halted microtransactions on the eve of Battlefront 2's launch after beta participants complained the loot boxes were overly aggressive and gave an unfair advantage to those who spent the money. The public outcry led to EA receiving the most downvoted comment in Reddit history. The publisher reportedly also lost an estimated $3.1 billion in stock value following the controversy, and Hawaii state legislators are now considering a ban on the game and investigating what they call "predatory practices."
The issue of loot boxes specifically, which award randomized prizes to players after they are purchased or earned, is important because lawmakers in several states, along with one federal law-maker, are either seeking laws to control the use of this specific sort of in-game purchase or asking for federal regulators to investigate the issue.
Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) sent a letter to Vance earlier this month, asking the Entertainment Software Ratings Board to review the ratings process as it relates to loot boxes, examine the marketing of loot boxes to children and develop best practices for developers around the toxic form of microtransactions. The Senator also asked the board to conduct a study that further delves into the reach and impact of loot boxes in games.
In Hawaii, state law-makers recently introduced four new bills that may change the way video games with loot box mechanics are bought and sold in Hawaii.
Late last month, the ESRB rolled out plans to list whether a game includes in-game purchases on boxes and in online descriptions. They also launched a parental education plan on the topic.
At the time, the head of the ESRB released a letter defending loot boxes which she sent to a senator who was calling into question the practice of selling loot boxes, which deliver randomized awards to players through a purchase or earned item box. In the letter, ESRB president Patricia Vance says that loot boxes aren't gambling and are more comparable to baseball cards, "where there is an element of surprise and you always get something."