Star Wars Battlefront 2 for Xbox One multiplayer improves on the original in 5 big ways

While Star Wars Battlefront 2 will debut a new narrative-driven campaign, its online multiplayer mode is still a core part of the experience. The original Star Wars Battlefront relied almost entirely on its player versus player (PvP) combat, but various approaches to its design drove away what could've been a more dedicated player base.

Between the game's reveal and a showcase at E3 2017, we've learned a fair amount about Star Wars Battlefront 2's multiplayer modes. These are the five biggest, and most welcome, changes in the pipeline.

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Free DLC for all, ditching the season pass

By launching alongside "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," the original Star Wars Battlefront managed to sell millions of copies after its first week on store shelves. However, over time the game's active user base fell significantly, failing to maintain players among an industry dominated by shooters.

One of the main attributes of its declining user base was linked to the game's post-launch content, which revolved around a season pass. Although some free updates were provided after release, paid map packs splintered an already shrinking player base.

Star Wars Battlefront 2 will drop the season pass model, in favor of themed "seasons" of free content updates. As proven by some of today's biggest franchises, free expansions can keep players engaged while maintaining a bonded community. The first of these content seasons will be based around "Star Wars: The Last Jedi," with new locations and characters featured in the movie.

Moving to this model comes with a tradeoff, with a shift over to heavier monetization in-game. Microtransactions will be purchasable to speed up progression, although the game's publisher has assured balancing is in place to prevent "pay-to-win scenarios." With games like Halo 5, Rainbow Six: Siege and Overwatch all benefiting from this model, it should hopefully make for a much more engaged following overall.

New abilities and progression systems

New systems for unlocking abilities have also seen some changes, by ditching one of the most controversial aspects of the original Star Wars Battlefront multiplayer. In the first game, "powerups" were littered across the battlefield, which provided access to weapons, vehicles, and equipment to change up combat. This system was met with an understandable wave of criticism once the game launched, due to the randomized factor this introduced to multiplayer combat.

Star Wars Battlefront 2 shifts away from these on-map pickups, in favor of a new personal progression system rewarding players on an individual basis. Built around new temporary in-game currency known as "Battle Points," players can earn heroes, vehicles, and powerups for their performance on a per-match basis.

Battle Points are earned by completing various tasks in multiplayer matches, such as killing enemies and pursuing objectives. These points, which are valid for the remainder of the match, can be invested to purchase the powerups of their choosing. This adds a new level of progression to each multiplayer match and more importantly, rewards skill over lucky positioning.

"Star Cards" will make a return on the other hand, as passive abilities equipped as a part of a loadout. Like the first game, players can equip three of these cards in accordance with their play style. These will be constantly active across multiplayer and will remain unlocked and equipped between modes. Star Cards now also have associated rarities, including common, uncommon, rare, and epic.

Four new classes that reshape combat

One of the biggest changes to gameplay in Star Wars Battlefront 2 is the new class system, which defines stricter roles for individual play styles. Four set classes will be playable in multiplayer, which carve out responsibilities that contribute to the team. DICE's work on the Battlefield series is clearly evident here, with classes and traits reminiscent of those in Battlefield 1. Here's a breakdown of all four classes, which will be available between all factions:

  • Officers are the support class of Star Wars Battlefront 2, which equipment and abilities aid allies on the field. Among the class's roles are opportunities to heal teammates, deploy buffs and lay down supporting fire to back those on the front lines.
  • Assault Troopers are a traditional damage-focused class, designed to rapidly push enemy forces and deal heavy damage. Being fast and nimble, Assault Troopers can deliver rapid attacks and flanks to push holes into enemy defenses. However, this class is restricted to close or medium range and is most effective when backed by supporting roles.
  • As the name suggests, Heavy Troopers are specifically designed to use heavy fire and brute force against enemy forces. While slow movement keeps the class weighed down, they're best used for holding the line with suppressive fire.
  • Specialists are the stealthiest of the class types, utilizing long-range weapons and traps to support allies. Alongside their sniping abilities, Specialists also have the tools to reveal enemy locations and scout the field from afar. While the class's low armor will keep Specialists away from combat, picking off players in the shadows can be equally effective.

Like the first game, "Heroes" are also making a return, via the aforementioned "Battle Points" system. While existing characters such as Boba Fett and Han Solo are making a return, Darth Maul, Rey, Kylo Ren and more will make a debut in Star Wars Battlefront 2.

Complete spectrum of the Star Wars universe

Unlike the first Star Wars Battlefront, which was largely based on content from Episodes IV through VI, Star Wars Battlefront 2 places a greater emphasis on other eras of the movies. One of these changes will be an extension to the prequels, with both characters and locations from the three installments.

As displayed at E3 2017, one of the first maps announced as a part of Star Wars Battlefront 2's roster is Theed, the capital city of Naboo. Based on the battle which takes place during Episode I: The Phantom Menace, the conflict introduces urban gameplay encompassing the Clones and Droids for the first time.

Weapons, equipment, and heroes from the prequels will also make their debuts, including Darth Maul as a part of the character roster. While we've yet to hear more information on locations and other characters, this can be expected in the coming months before launch.

Battles beyond the stars

Space battles quickly became a running joke within the Star Wars Battlefront community, after their exclusion from the first game at launch. This time around Star Wars Battlefront 2 is living up to its name, by reintroducing ship-to-ship combat outside the confinements of planet surfaces.

While few details have been provided so far, it's been confirmed Star Wars Battlefront 2's space combat has been rebuilt from the ground up with new handling and progression mechanics. Ships will now be more customizable around your play style, assumedly with their own progression systems. EA has also teased control of "massive capital ships," which will likely include iconic vehicles such as the Star Destroyers and Republic Cruisers.

Everything we know so far about Star Wars Battlefront 2: Story, multiplayer, beta, release date, news and more

Star Wars Battlefront 2 is expected to be released on November 17, 2017, shortly ahead of "Episode VIII: The Last Jedi." It will cost $59.99. Are you looking forward to Star Wars Battlefront 2? Let us know which changes you're most excited to see in the comments.

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Matt Brown

Matt Brown was formerly a Windows Central's Senior Editor, Xbox & PC, at Future. Following over seven years of professional consumer technology and gaming coverage, he’s focused on the world of Microsoft's gaming efforts. You can follow him on Twitter @mattjbrown.