After heavy criticism, Star War Battlefront 2 lootboxes go cosmetic only - but is it too little too late?

In a perfect world, Star Wars Battlefront 2 would have been known for its gorgeous graphics, exciting gameplay, and an enjoyable single-player campaign. In the real world, any positives the game had going for it were quickly overshadowed by accusations of predatory and extreme implementation of lootboxes.

Publisher EA is taking steps to remedy that, and changes are set to go live on March 21. But now that the game has been out for several months, is it too little, too late? Let's take a look at what's changing in the Battlefront 2 Progression Update.

Linear progression

In our Battlefront 2 review, we called the game's progression system "confusing". In the original version of the game, players progressed through a combination of Star Cards (of which there were two types and four levels of rarity), character XP, and three different currencies. It was overstuffed and under explained, resulting in many players feeling like they weren't really moving upward at all. Maybe sideways, but not up.

The Progression Update keeps Star Cards an important of the progression experience, but no longer will you be receiving them from crates with randomized rewards. Instead, as you gain experience with your class, hero, or ship, you'll accumulate skill points. These skill points in turn can unlock or upgrade the Star Card you want to equip. It's a lot closer to, say, planning your path down an RPG skill tree than relying on vague hope that you get the Star Card you want.

Note that anything you've already unlocked via the current Battlefront 2 progression system will remain unlocked; all Star Cards, heroes, weapons, and anything else you've already got on your account will still be yours.

Lootboxes will be just for cosmetics, and you can't buy them

With Star Cards getting removed from Battlefront 2's crates system, you might wonder if the lootboxes will be going away entirely. The answer is no. Instead of being the cornerstone of progression however, they are being relegated to only containing cosmetic rewards: emotes, victory poses, etc.

You also won't be buying lootboxes like before. Instead of trading in credits, you'll earn a crate by logging in (once per day), completing Milestones, and taking part in special, limited-time challenges. So, where will you be spending those credits you had saved up?

Buy what you want, directly

The Progression Update seeks to limit the impact of randomization on Battlefront 2 players, and part of that means letting them pick what they want to spend their money on. Unique appearances will be made available for players to purchase, either using in-game credits or real-world money. A press release detailing the upcoming changes gives the example of being a Rodian in the Resistance, so it sounds like players will be getting more customization options in terms of appearance as well.

This part of the update will not go live on March 21, however. New appearances are set to be unveiled soon, but they won't be live and purchasable until sometime in April.

Is it enough?

If you (somehow) weren't aware of how the internet reacted to Battlefront 2 at launch, I'll tell you now: I downplayed it in this article's opening paragraph. People hated this game, and the ripples were felt far and wide.

Some called for lootboxes to be regulated as gambling (which is currently an ongoing discussion in several countries), rumors swirled about Disney cutting ties with EA early (the publisher currently owns the exclusive rights to Star Wars games until 2023), and competitors began advertising their games by pointing out their lack of lootboxes (in a clear 'we're not like those people you hate' marketing ploy).

There was also the *sigh* depressingly-typical harassment and death threats. Which... can we just not do that, please? And if you know someone who does, tell them to knock it off. We can express even the deepest hatred for a game without wishing harm on someone or their family. We're better than that.

It's been four months since launch and the furor has died down a bit, partly because many have moved on to other games. Plenty decided this game wasn't worth their time, and I wonder how many will give it another shot once these changes are live. I also wonder if these changes really will address the underlying sense of unfairness that caused so many to revolt in the first place. So I put this question to you: will you give Battlefront 2 a second chance? Why or why not?

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Sam Prell

Sam is a former News Editor here at GamesRadar. His expert words have appeared on many of the web's well-known gaming sites, including Joystiq, Penny Arcade, Destructoid, and G4 Media, among others. Sam has a serious soft spot for MOBAs, MMOs, and emo music. Forever a farm boy, forever a '90s kid.