Star Wars Battlefront 2's microtransactions are about to make their return, but they've seen a massive rework now only affecting cosmetic items.
Star Wars Battlefront 2 famously had a bit of a PR disaster when it landed. The game was excessively monetised and hit at a time when the audience was talking about microtransactions in a pretty heated way. This sparked a huge chain of events that saw EA first try to lower the prices of heroes with the in-game currency but eventually ended up removing microtransactions altogether. It was a mess and even sparked the interest of several politicians who started to ask the question about the similarities between loot boxes and gambling.
While the loot box system was taken out, it was always promised that they would eventually return. Well, it's now been confirmed that they will be, although they are looking incredibly different. First off, players will not be able to purchase Star Cards anymore in any way. These are the in-game cards that give players distinct advantages meaning that the game no longer has any pay-to-win mechanics. This is all part of making progression linear, in which you will get upgrades and Star Cards through experience in-game.
On top of that, crates (loot boxes) are coming back but significantly redone. They are no longer purchasable and will now only contain cosmetic items. You'll get them through events and logging in. Here's how the EA blog post puts it:
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.
There are more appearance options coming to the game too. In April, new looks will be coming to units and heroes and those will be buyable with the earned in-game currency or the purchasable crystals. As to what or just how outside the box they are, we don't know, but the blog does note:
If you've ever dreamed of being a part of the Resistance as a Rodian, your chance is right around the corner.
The initial progression changes will be landing next week, March 21, 2018.
This is all good to hear. This all seems like a fair trade, perhaps even generous as you will be able to more or less buy or earn what you want and have a nice trickle of cosmetic items coming regardless. It's crucial that you can no longer pay to win as well. At the same time, this was all put in place because EA overstepped their bounds considerably with the game in the first place. It seems like this is now sorted out though, which is good. Hopefully, the talk around the title can move on to be merely about the merit of the game.