10 of the biggest changes to Battlefront since launch
In honor of Battlefront’s one-year anniversary (it dropped last November 17), I thought it might be fun to go back and look at how the game has changed. Taking into account the DLCs, free content and additional features, the game certainly isn’t the same one that arrived on systems late last year.
The list below will take a look at different features that were added since launch. I’m also ignoring paid DLC as I mostly just want to compare how the base game changed over time. Feel free to chime in if you’d rank things differently, or if I forgot something (I’m sure I must have!).
Note that this list is of changes I think most impacted the how the game functions. It’s not a list of what I think is best, nor is it a list of my favorite changes.
Curious what we ranked last week? Check out the 10 of the most memorable glitches in Battlefront.
Non-exhaustive list of honorary mentions (in no particular order):
- Tweaked modes, including Droid Run/Hero Hunt/Heroes vs Villains/Drop Zone
- Team balancing and team shuffle
- Server region selection
- Multitude of balancing tweaks to heroes, weapons, and Star Cards; from the DL-44 nerf to the bowcaster bolt pattern change, these could actually make their own list!
- Ability to deactivate Charge Cards
- Ability to mark objectives
- Scoring rules for weapon streaks
- Introduction of Daily Challenges
- Map selection menu UI altered
10. New digs for Honor Guards
In the Bespin update, DICE changed up Palpatine and Leia’s Honor Guards; the Emperor got his Royal Guard, while the Princess’ now matched the Rebel Honor Guard from A New Hope. The previous outfits lived on in the game; the Shocktrooper became the new level 70 skin while Leia’s old Honor Guard is the default Rebel Skin.
This may not be the biggest change in the game, but it was certainly a welcomed one. I know I enjoy being able to play as the Red Royal Guard every now and then! They most definitely looked on point in Return of the Jedi, need I say more?
9. Partner system overhaul
It took a couple of iterations to get to where we are now, but the partner system in Battlefront is a bit different than it was at launch. Initially, partners in the game simply allowed an extra spawn point and you could share your primary hand. Now, staying close to your partner results in faster cooldowns for your Star and Charge Cards. Additionally, enemies that kill your partner are outlined in red for a short time and your partner’s location can always be seen. The distance from partner to enemies that prevents spawning on partner was also cut in half from 20 meters to 10 meters (after a brief spell of 2 meters).
These changes were done to promote teamplay. To some degree, I think DICE improved that aspect even though Battlefront’s teamplay still isn’t perfect. I certainly stick more to my partner if I need to refresh my charge cards. Quicker spawns also (usually) mean less time is spent running back to the objective after dying.
8. Addition of the combat roll
A mainstay of the earlier Battlefronts, EA’s Battlefront received the combat roll alongside the Outer Rim update. This helped spice up 1-v-1 situations and provided a bit of fan service. I know I’ve also used it to avoid pesky thermal detonators from time to time!
While the move had some wonky server issues initially (people couldn’t always see others roll) and it’s not perfect with regards to collision detection, it was great to see DICE bring back something fans loved. Hopefully it can be improved upon in next year’s sequel (as well as general collision detection; stepping over a six-inch rock shouldn’t be difficult for my Ishi Tib!).
7. Private matches
Back in January, DICE added in a private match function. This addition has allowed people to not only do things like 1-v-1s but also enables easier exploration, crazy stunts, better accessibility for machinimas and allows people to take awesome pics. DICE further boosted the function by including custom map rotations in June.
This definitely was a no-brainer for DICE to add in post-launch. My only gripe is that it should’ve been included alongside the release of the game, but that’s a pretty minor gripe at best, especially considering it’s been in the game for almost all of 2016.
6. More dynamic customization
Battlefront originally only featured a minimal customization system. There were a selection of human and alien heads and a couple of higher-level, unalterable skins. This changed in the Death Star update as players can now swap heads with the higher level bodies. Imperials also get pauldrons on regular stormtroopers, in addition to the high-level Death Star Trooper and Imperial Officer. All in all, the change added a bit extra depth to Battlefront’s customizations.
I’m really happy to see a more robust system for customization. However, it’s still not perfect and could certainly be improved more on in Battlefront 2.
5. Flying system tweaks
Battlefront’s flying system at launch was rather simplistic. Basically, you would spend the entire match holding down the lock-on button and then firing away once an enemy was targeted. It was also somewhat unbalanced in favor of the Rebels.
DICE attempted to change both of these problems with the Death Star update. First, they added in a cooldown for a fighter’s ability, which requires a player to be smarter about when and where they lock-on. Next, balancing tweaks were made so that the A-Wing dropped Shields in favor of Speed Boost and the TIE Interceptor dropped its missiles for a Laser Barrage ability. Collision damage rules were also altered so that fighters didn’t blow each other up quite as often when running into one another.
DICE also added in AI versions of B-Wings, Y-Wings, TIE Bombers and TIE Defender as pickups. These AI ships help enliven aerial combat sequences a bit. However, the AI has deadly accuracy and a very quick lock-on, which can lead to frustration and unbalanced matches. Hopefully this’ll be fixed in the next patch, although fingers crossed players will actually get to fly these new ships.
4. Removal of helmetless stormtroopers
When the above-mentioned dynamic customizations came to Battlefront, helmetless stormtroopers left. While a divisive topic to start, the change ended up seeing news outlets write articles about how happy players were to see helmetless stormtroopers gone. Additionally, post on Reddit announcing the change managed roughly 1300 upvotes. All told, this change seemed to make a lot of people satisfied.
Personally, I never liked helmetless stormtroopers, although it wasn’t the be-all-end-all for me. Still, it’s great to see DICE listen to fans, especially on a topic that takes away from immersion a bit.
Note: As shown in Cinematic Captures’ image above, if you miss those helmetless stormtroopers, have you tried the Missions?
3. Reworked trait system
The Death Star update also brought a revamped system for traits. Each trait’s leveling bonuses are now simpler (for the full breakdown; go here). Additionally, players who reach level three on any trait receive a 50-percent chance of obtaining a pick-up on a kill (this was previously reserved for the Bounty Hunter trait).
This change was brought about in order to achieve greater parity among trait usage, as most players wound up running with the Scout trait. Additionally, the simplistic nature of the traits’ leveling bonuses help make it easier to decide which trait to run with in various situations. However, some have argued that certain traits, like the Scout or Escape Artist, are now rendered useless.
While I don’t have numbers to support either argument, I personally don’t really change traits all that often; I almost exclusively go with the Bodyguard trait now as the damage reduction is very helpful in staying alive. Still, I think that—overall, at least—more traits are in the conversation and that usage of a particular trait(s) really depends on playstyle.
2. Bolstered offline content
Battlefront’s single player content was slim pickings at launch. With only four maps available in Battles, four Survival missions, and five Training levels, there just wasn’t very much to keep people entertained if they didn’t go online.
However, DICE added in a couple of Survival maps back in February and March. Then in July, Skirmish arrived. The new mode allows players to play either Walker Assault or Fighter Squadron offline and against bots. Additional offline modes gave players an opportunity to experience that “Star Wars feeling” without needing to compete online against humans. As this was one of the most requested features, DICE providing this opportunity is excellent to see.
The only thing holding this item back from the top spot is the fact that Skirmish still isn’t very expensive. If the mode somehow winds up being supported later on with more maps or modes, I may just have to reconsider this list.
1. Hutt Contracts
Launched with the Outer Rim back in March, Hutt Contracts gave players a different way of unlocking items. Items that launched with the game can only be unlocked by leveling up and purchasing the item with credits. Hutt Contracts, meanwhile, allow players (level 12 and higher) the opportunity to purchase any contract (an upgraded contract can only be purchased once the player owns the base version of the Star Card, of course). Once they purchase a contract, they can then unlock an item by completing a set of criteria.
Hutt Contracts give players a chance to step outside their comfort zone. For instance, I used the hardly-ever-used-before Scout Pistol in my quest to unlock the Scatter Gun. In a similar vein, the Hutt Contracts encourage diversity, which makes it fun for not only those attempting to unlock a contract, but also those around them. This helps freshen up the game, as the other unlocking method can get a bit stale. In Battlefront 2, I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing Hutt Contracts (or something similar) return.
Because this feature was completely new to the game and because it gives players a different way of experiencing Battlefront, I put it in the No. 1 spot.
(Note on sources: Unless otherwise noted, many of the changes mentioned above are sourced from Battlefront’s Game Updates section on the official forums.)