Loot Crates and Star Cards in Star Wars Battlefront II
As the EA logo hits your screen, you can already hear it now: that iconic Star Wars scrawl intro music deafening inside your mind, your hand gripping your controller like an E-11 blaster as you finally prepare to jump back into the Star Wars universe with Battlefront II. While it has proven to be a controversial decision, EA has included a loot crate system in Battlefront II as a means of earning random Star Cards, cosmetics, and currency. The idea of loot crates – an entirely random system of uncovering loot – has left many concerned over what it will mean for such a fiercely competitive online shooter. Let’s take a closer look at the loot crates and Star Cards of Battlefront II to see just what gamers are getting into in a galaxy far far away.
Loot crates are the most common and simple means of unlocking Star Cards, cosmetics, and earning currency. These can be anything from credits, crystal, and crafting parts, to emotes and victory poses, to enhanced weaponry or lowered ability cooldowns. Battlefront II offers a daily loot crate which offers up two to three random items which are usually currency that, while welcome, often isn’t enough to make a significant donation to your digital wallet. The most common loot crates are the Trooper, Starship, and Hero crates, all for purchase through the in-game currency. These crates will offer the same basic prizes; however, the Star Cards and cosmetics will be directly related to whichever crate is purchased: Trooper will earn Star Cards or cosmetics for basic units, etc. There are also a number of rarer crates to be unlocked through completing various milestones such as the Dark Side crate or the Heavy Trooper crate, offering up much more specific parts.
“Star Cards will offer multiple options to replace various weapons and abilities to suit your play style better.”
Having purchased a few crates at the start of the game, it was nice to get some random Star Cards to try out. The cosmetics tend to only be emotes or victory poses which are of little interest to me, and the currency – while it’s nice to win some – is a rather small amount. For those with more experience with Battlefront and a greater understanding of the classes and their abilities, it’s a much more sound notion to instead craft the specific Star Card you want rather than spending money and hoping to get your prized card. I do; however, appreciate that the prizes relinquished from the crates will be relative to the skills of the player opening them, meaning no one will be given Star Cards too powerful for them to handle.
As noted, the loot crates are a great place to get started on collecting Star Cards, but after a while, it’s a much more worthwhile venture to simply craft the ones you want. Star Cards themselves come with a level lock, requiring the cards associated class to be a certain level before it can be equipped or upgraded. This is fantastic news for people concerned of other players having a distinct advantage in combat simply by spending enough money on loot crates. While the various classes and heroes have been tweaked for optimal balance, Star Cards will offer multiple options to replace various weapons and abilities to suit your play style better. The Assault units Vanguard shotgun can be upgraded with a killstreak feature, making each kill reset the cooldown, and the Heavy can have an enhanced shield making him even more devastating when confronting opponents. Some weapons are replaced entirely such as having a variety of grenades or replacing the scan device with the ability to heal. These options tailor your units and give you an idea of what to focus on when it comes to upgrading.
“It doesn’t matter how good your gear is, you can still get shot down if you lack basic skills.”
When defeated by an opponent in multiplayer you can see what Star Cards they have equipped, giving the player a glimpse into their loadouts and possible tactics they could use against you. It’s a smart idea as it not only can help you adapt if you pay attention, but it can motivate you to work towards similar gear in a sort of “man the way I just got shot across the map was epic” way. While having better gear is clearly the objective, none of the Star Cards I have yet encountered feel game-breaking or overpowered. Reducing cooldowns or increasing damage output feels in control, and regardless of how epic my opponent’s abilities were, they still fall to a blaster bolt like anyone else and the fact that feels readily apparent is key to newcomers of the game. It doesn’t matter how good your gear is, you can still get shot down if you lack basic skills.
While loot crates may not have been the best choice to implement for unlocking gear, it still works as both a decent means of getting started and a place to spend your credits once you have unlocked the heroes. The loot you receive is enough to get you going, but putting together a well-designed loadout is best left to crafting. Star Cards themselves do not adversely affect combat or give any particular advantage as the game still heavily relies on the skills of the player for victory. For a game that just launched, the crates and Star Cards are an acceptable start but a few tweaks to the system and some new content would go a long way for making it an all-around greater experience.