Electronic Arts today announced a revamped progression system for Star Wars Battlefront 2 that pledges to be more linear and fair, following the heated controversy last November when the game first launched.
Originally, EA allowed players to purchase randomized loot boxes to unlock new heroes — characters like Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, for instance. Players soon discovered, even prior to the game’s launch thanks to early access programs, that it would take dozens of hours to unlock popular characters without paying real money for more loot boxes. EA backtracked almost immediately given the immense backlash, and the company removed microtransactions from the game completely as a temporary fix.
Today, with the update planned for a March 21st release, EA says microtransactions are returning to the game, but they will only allow players to pay real money for cosmetic items that change the appearance of in-game items and characters. This should help alleviate player concerns that Battlefront 2 rewarded players for spending money with a competitive multiplayer edge, as such pay-to-win systems are almost nonexistent in big-budget console video games. (They are, however, far more prevalent on mobile.)
“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,” the company writes in its blog post. “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.”
Players will keep everything they’ve earned or unlocked up until now, EA says, and the cosmetic microtransaction system will launch in April after the March overhaul goes live.