Battlefront 2's New Microtransactions Are An Improvement, But Unlocks Are Still Grindy

Star Wars Battlefront II's latest update brings microtransactions back to the game, allowing players to spend premium currency on cosmetic outfits. It's an improvement over the ability granting loot boxes from early access but pricey skins add an unwelcome new grind to a game.

Microtransactions in Battlefront II initially allowed players to use a premium currency called 'crystals' to purchase loot crates that dropped random star cards. Star cards are equippable boosters that can reduce the cooldown on player skills or buff stats like health.

The notion of being able to buy tons of loot crates to gain advantages over players set off a firestorm of controversy. EA temporarily disabled the ability to purchase crystals hours before the game launched.

The game's latest update adds a fun Stormtrooper versus Ewok game mode but more importantly brings microtransactions back into the game for cosmetic items only.

The implementation is remarkably understated. Instead of buying loot boxes, crystals are now used to buy character skins directly. These range from different alien races for classes like the Officer and Heavy, to new appearances for heroic characters.

If you've been desperate to play as Yoda with his hood up or Kylo Ren with a scar on his face, now's your chance. The game still lacks the ability to customise First Order and Imperial Stormtroopers and Republic Clone Troopers. If you're not keen on spending money for crystals, you can still purchase them using credits you earn in game.

Battlefront II's always been a grindy game. During the game's early access period, a Redditor calculated that it would take up to 40 hours to unlock hero characters like Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader, although the unlock costs were adjusted for launch.

A recent patch unlocked every hero character in the game, eliminating an annoying grind. The new cosmetic items bring that grind back. While new alien races or human soldiers cost as low as 5,000 credits, epic skins such as a new look for Rey based off The Last Jedi cost upwards of 40,000 credits.

That's as much as certain hero characters like Chewbacca cost during early access.

A round of Galactic Assault grants about 400-700 credits depending on your score. If you want to grind matches specifically for a skin, assuming you have no credits at all, that's a lot of matches. Assuming you get 500 credits every match, that would be 80 matches.

Additional credit rewards from daily loot crates and completing challenges speed that process up a bit but if you want to avoid buying crystals, be prepared for a slow climb uphill.

Then again, that's the point. If you want to avoid the grind, I guess you'll just have to buy the crystals.

The game is coy about where players can actually purchase crystals now. You used to be able to buy them right from the main screen but the option is now tucked within the character customisation screen itself.

When I first booted up the game, I genuinely thought they'd somehow forgotten to add the feature back in. If you do choose to buy crystals, the description for each pack stresses that they "can be used to acquire valuable in-game appearances."

Players were never going to welcome the return of microtransactions to Battlefront II - even optional, they're pretty crummy - but they should take some heart in knowing that EA's keeping their new implementation pretty low key.

Character cosmetics don't threaten gameplay balance the way that Star Cards did. The shift away from loot boxes, which are designed to exploit impulsive players, is also welcome.

It's still not great though. The skins are pretty underwhelming and their cost adds another steep grind to the game.


Comments

    Character cosmetics don't threaten gameplay balance the way that Star Cards did. The shift away from loot boxes, which are designed to exploit impulsive players, is also welcome.
    It's still not great though. The skins are pretty underwhelming and their cost adds another steep grind to the game.

    Why disappointed? That would seem to make this implementation actually more generous and consumer-friendly than Overwatch, who everyone seems to cite as 'doing it right'. Are you equally/more disappointed in Overwatch's cosmetics?

      Exactly. It's an example of a 'good' microtransaction. If the skins are underwhelming, don't buy them. Microtransactions are a problem if they impact gameplay - apparently this doesn't, so I don't know what the author's problem is.

      Then again, this author also wrote about how 'broken and unfinished games' are great, so...

      Totally agree. It seems like ever since the game had its disappointing launch everyone has their mind set on hating it no matter how much they try to fix it. I play the game pretty frequently and reckon its really fun, but then again I am a huge Star Wars fan and not much of a gamer so...

      Last edited 19/04/18 8:57 pm

    The skins are pretty underwhelming

    Then why would you want them? You only have to grind if it's a skin you like and want.

    I have no problem at all with micro-transactions for cosmetic items. You don't need it to play the game, so it is completely optional - pay or don't.

      I actually think it's great they they kept the skins within SW lore.

      Pink Darth Vader and pimp suit Yoda sound hilarious... but at the end of the day immersion is important for a lot of SW fans.

      And besides, hood up Yoda sounds cool as hell :)

        I'm sure they'll still have 'events' with special skins - Santa Vader, The Easter Wookie etc - and good luck to them.

    Literally streets better than Overwatch.

    Not the game. Just the monetisation.

    Shame it’s far too late. This game won’t find an audience now. Was DOA

      The only reason I would've bought it would've been for the Single-Player campaign, but it's clear from reviews that they started out strong, then bum-rushed everything past the halfway point into a jumbled 'preview for multiplayer' hodge-podge of forced cameos, alongside an about-face for the protagonist that was as nonsensical as it was predictable, making the whole thing slightly less believable than Russia's latest claims of innocence.

    The skins, as far as im concerned, look extremely bland and once again EA has decided to put the items people aspire to have behind ridiculous grind walls.
    What is wrong with this company? Are they really trying to destroy what little reputation remains? Anyone supporting EA needs a reality check, because most of the AAA gaming industry is spewing out nothing but predatory, micro-transaction infested trash!

    Last edited 19/04/18 3:08 pm

    What's the point of saying the game is grindy based on pre-release time to unlock characters? At release you could unlock all characters and a bunch of upgrades in less than the 40hrs stated for one character.

    Who still plays this?

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