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Dec 28

Fastest Progression For Star Wars Battlefront 2: Elite Trooper Edition

What Is The Best And Fastest Way To Improve Your Character In Star Wars Battlefront 2?

 

(Quick note:  The math for some of these things is a little fuzzy.  It is hard to determine the average credits per game, or per hour, as it differs between game modes, and to some degree, between players.  The per-game credit award is mostly based on time and your team’s performance, but there are bonuses for being a top 5 player, and for doing well overall.  Ranking up and completing milestones also gives you more credits. There are so many moving parts, between things like this, the rate of duplicate star card drops, and the choice of crates to purchase in game, it makes it hard to do exact calculations.  Still, this is my good first attempt to rough out the costs.  Also, it doesn’t affect the overall points about the fastest ways to improve your characters in the game.)

When you start playing Battlefront 2, you begin, by default, with no Star Cards unlocked, but will quickly get bonus crates to give you items. You only have one Star Card slot open per class, and no cards to put into it. Fortunately, you have the default weapon for your class and three default abilities, and that’s not bad. You aren’t deprived of tools to use in combat, just with some lower effect and fewer options.

Some things will come quickly. The single player story will give you lots of good stuff, worth playing before you jump seriously into multiplayer. You get daily login crates with resources and sometimes free Star Cards. The Arcade mode gives you credits for playing (up to 1500 per day at this time). There are milestones which give you more upgrades, and some of those are quick and easy to reach.

Beyond that, it will take a while to get more things. EA has turned off the option to purchase Crystals, which in turn can be used to purchase loot crates in game to get more unlocks. Crystals are effectively an alternative currency for the in game credits earned by playing the game. It is debateable, as with many in game microtransaction systems, whether the cost in real money is worth the value gained in terms of play time in game. You can get 400 or so credits per game, or a bit over 2000 credits per hour of play, not counting milestones.

Crystals were between 100 to 120 per US $1, depending on how many you bought at once, with a crate cost of 120 per Starfighter Crate, 200 for Trooper and 100 per Hero Crate.  Note also, if you are an Origin/EA Access member, you get discounts on these, which can improve the rate of return.

The Elite Trooper Edition, however, retains the whole “pay to win” advantage of giving you a lot of extra starting upgrades at a cost in real money. It is about $20 US more than the Standard Edition. I bought it both because I love Star Wars and because I expected to take advantage of the early access to the game. Unfortunately, illness and work limited my play time, but the unlocked items really did make a difference to my game play when I got into it.

OK, just how good is the elite trooper edition?

One elite card for each trooper class (480 crafting parts each to upgrade from tier 3, or 720 total to craft from 1st through 4th tier!)
One elite card for Yoda, for pre-order players only.
Two for Rey
Two for Kylo Ren
One for Kylo Ren’s ship
One for Rey’s Millenium Falcon ship

11 total elite cards, which are otherwise unavailable until rank 20 and card level 25. And even then, they are very expensive.

The 200 kill weapon unlock for each trooper class, with a mod unlock. Note this is currently a double-edged sword thing, as you do not get any reward — or do you? — when you complete the milestone to unlock these in game. Even so, it greatly improves your early choices.

Actually, I think the fault is that the original, basic weapon has no mod upgrades which limits their long term performance. Unless they are buffed, they will fall into the “waste of space” category.

If you get 60 crafting parts per crate @ 4000 each, well, this is a huge amount of advancement. 6480 crafting parts equivalence, or some 108 (432,000! credits) trooper crates.

Well, that many crates will give you some cards as well, but even if you need half of it to succeed…

Let’s look at just the epic tiers 11*480 – 5280 crafting parts, about 88 trooper crates worth, or 352,000 credits!

Of course, in all those crates you’d expect to get a bunch of Star Cards for many other classes, so it isn’t like it is all spent just on the ones given in the Elite Trooper edition. But the distribution is going to be strongly 1st tier cards, with many duplicates. You also won’t have the rank unlocked to get the upgrades either, so you’ll still need a lot of play time in order to take advantage of all those credits, while the Elite Trooper gets them without needing to rank up.

It really isn’t easy to figure out the exact value, but it is clear that it is something extreme. Nothing anyone will be able to match simply by playing for any short time. It is over 100 hours of game play time, and possibly much more. If the Crystal store purchase was still in place, you couldn’t come close to matching the Elite Trooper even if you spend $100 US real money. The change requiring you to rank up to unlock higher tier star cards, and requiring you to craft the top tier cards rather than getting random drops, really makes any cash purchases a poor value. You’ll still need to play a long time to take advantage of anything you got, and it wouldn’t be much of a short cut to the top tier upgrades.

Best Advancement Strategies

Let’s talk about advancement. A classic choice in any system where you have multiple levels or paths of advancement is “wide or deep?” Do you get as many low level, cheaper upgrades as possible, or do you try to go as far up the path on a few things in order to get the higher level advances earlier? An old, classic example is from Civilization (I). If you went for Railroad — an important industrial advance which greatly improves your military and economy — and skipped all things which didn’t lead to it, you could gain an amazing advantage in both military power and technological advancement over the enemies which looked at things like Horseback Riding and Knights as important early military powerhouses. Who cares about knights in armor if you can face them with rifles and possibly tanks?

You can’t quite do that in Battlefront 2, because the upgrade levels are gated by both character level, and the class card level. While your character rank is simple enough to understand — earn points to advance, card level is a little bit more complicated. Not much, it is just the sum of all the levels (from one to four) of all the Star Cards you have unlocked. The complication isn’t the levels themselves, but the costs to advance. It works like this:

1st tier – 40 crafting parts, open from start.
2nd tier – 80 crafting parts to upgrade (120 cumulative), gated by card level 5 and rank 10. Adds +1 card level for the upgrade, but costs double the first.
3rd tier – 120 crafting parts to upgrade (240 cumulative), again gated by card level 10 and rank 15. Adds +1 card level, but costs TRIPLE the first.
4th tier – 480 crafting parts to upgrade (720 cumulative). Highest gated level (card level 25 and rank 20). Again, +1 card level for the upgrade, but a whopping TWELVE times the cost.
Enforcer, Aerial, Armor and Speeder have fewer star cards and get a reduced card level for unlocks – 3, 6, and 10.

If this were all there was to it, the process would be straightforward. You need card level 5 to have two star card slots, and level 10 to have three. If you buy them all with crafting parts, you are best off going wide — purchase all the 1st tier upgrades you can until you reach card level 10. Then, upgrade the ones which you like best — the top three you plan to use most — and have them equipped. 400 crafting parts for level 10, then you can perhaps afford to splurge on 2nd tier and higher upgrades to make your combat life easier.

But it isn’t that simple. You also get star cards for your classes from crates. These are random, so you can’t control what you get, but if you get several popped for a class, it can make sense to craft more for it to get to the higher card level quicker, rather than going for other classes. You also will get some which duplicate cars you already own. As a result, crafting a large number of low level cards which increase your odds of getting duplicates, rather than new unlocks which speed your advancement.

The duplicates pay poorly, relative to their crafting parts cost. A 1st tier duplicate, the most common, is 200 credits (5% of a trooper crate cost). 2nd tier is 400 (you have to have a 2nd tier or higher card to get that), and they drop rarely. 3rd tier is 800 credits. You still will not get enough to pay for the crafting part equivalent from new crate purchases, but at 20% of a trooper craft cost, you’ll at least get closer to it.

Eventually, you will have all the card types unlocked for certain classes. Troopers have 17 star card types, so going wide on them will take a while, but you can be assured of getting new non-duplicate cards from crates for a while. The special troops have 5, and land vehicles only have 6 star cards, so getting to card level 10 is going to require upgrades. Likewise for starfighters, there are far fewer types of upgrades. Heroes tend to have 9 upgrades, and there are a lot of them, as well as hero ships.

I’d recommend concentrating on crafting upgrades to your trooper and starfighter classes first, to get them to card level 10. They are used more often than the special an or heroes. You’ll probably have your own preferences by the time you get them to that point, but I’d recommend working on the special troops — there are only two types at the moment — ahead of the land vehicles and heroes, because they are used on more maps and modes. For heroes, there are so many that I think it is best to pick a few and work their advancements, and wait for the lucky star cards to drop for the rest. I dislike doing that as it pushes you to use only a few heroes, rather than choosing all of them for variety, but that really only kicks in as a big factor when you have a high enough card level for the upgrades to really make a difference.

The key card levels to reach are 5, to unlock a 2nd Star Card sot, and 10, to unlock the 3rd slot.  You need these in order to maximize your use of your unlocked Star Cards.  It doesn’t matter if you have one 4th tier and three 1st tier cards unlocked, that is still only card level 7 and you can only equip two of them.

That’s where the elite trooper edition upgrades (and the preorder bonus if you got it) really come into play. By making Rey and Kylo Ren upgraded with two 4th tier epic level star cards from the start, they are both more powerful than your other hero choices, and thus the most effective to use and, relative to the other players who don’t have this powerup, overpowered. While they only start with card level 8 from two epic cards, you only need to craft (or get dropped) two more card levels to reach level 10, and have a full set of three star cards, with two being the maximum power upgrades. You’d expect to be very high rank and card level (about rank 25 and card level 30 or more) to earn this combination in game — and perhaps a 100 hours playtime in, just to get one hero to this point.

But you start with two of them, plus Yoda (with preorder), and upgrades for your four trooper classes. One epic card isn’t quite as high up a reach — rank 20 and card level 20-25), but it is still a long, long way above any other starting player.

In the long run, everyone will reach the level where they have their choice of three epic (or at least 3rd tier) cards for each major class, so things can balance themselves out. But new players will always have an inherent imbalance with experienced ones. Fortunately, most of the upgrades really aren’t all that powerful. They only add a few percent to most abilities, and don’t make it all that hard for a player without them to beat one with them, with a bit of shooting and flying/driving skill. All of the basic abilities for each class and unit are available from the start, the starting weapons are decent, and the alternative weapons and gadgets for the trooper classes aren’t truly superior to the basic choices, just different. Mostly. If there are imbalances, it is possible to tweak the values of the items and upgrades for balance.

Upgrading past card level 10: This part will really take a while. The purchased loot crates drop the equivalent of less than one upgrade each in crafting parts (enough for 1st tier unlock but not quite enough for anything above that), so earning the crafting parts will take quite some time. The daily loot crate usually gives 15 crafting parts, which is better than nothing and quite enough to make logging in every day a good idea. You can get credits from Arcade play, but not crafting parts, and not enough per day to earn even one loot crate to unlock more. The advancement process is a real grind at this time, with no other way to get more upgrades than just playing a lot (and scoring well, though the bonuses aren’t that huge).

For the trooper classes — and perhaps some others — one thing to always look at is unlocking new abilities, rather than just improving existing ones. All four trooper classes have alternative gadget/weapon star cards which replace the standard abilities. You will want to unlock all of those, in order to use them when tactically helpful as well as to advance the milestones for using them. Others are improved versions of the original, and in all cases they are superior to using the standard one, so if you have the star card and are using that item, you should equip it. On top of that, though, are traits which add new abilities to your trooper, like the Specialist’s Stealth ability. With 8 traits and 9 equipment upgrades, troopers have the most star cards to collect, and the most variety in play style and combinations.

One 4th tier card unlock is roughly the equivalent of 12 trooper crates, or 48,000 credits. Or 100 games, depending on your scoring and play time. With four trooper classes, three starfighters, two special units, land vehicles, and heroes, the quest to get even a basic set to this game level is going to take you a long, long time. Now, perhaps DICE and EA intended for the top tier to be very hard to obtain, and expected players to make do for the most part with 3rd tier upgrades. The cost to reach third tier is much less — about a third — and the boosts from random 1st and 2nd tier card drops have a bigger impact. 12000 or so credits to get one 3rd tier card is still a lot, but you can hit it in a week or so.

Starfighter and Hero crates cost much less than the trooper crates, and once you are going for crafting parts, either will give you more for your credits than the Trooper crates.   All three crates give you cards for other classes randomly, as well as for the types named, but they also give some crafting parts.  As you rank up, and get more duplicates, it is crafting parts and credits, not new cards, which are going to matter most.  There are many more heroes to unlock than any other category, so the Hero crates may remain viable as a good tool for random advancement for a long time.

The only saving grace right now is milestones. These play achievements give you bonus credits and crafting parts, as well as direct upgrades and extra crates. It is hard to determine just where they fit into the mix, as the milestone crates can give you duplicates, rather than new unlocks, if you’ve either crafted them or got the item from a random drop. As I noted earlier, the 200 credits for a 1st tier duplicate isn’t that much of a reward, compared to the 40 crafting parts that the same star card would have saved you as a new unlock. Playing the campaign first can boost your resources for multiplayer, and playing the Arcade can give you both credits and milestone awards.

In the not so long run, I hope that DICE adds more milestones — even if they are renamed achievements or something like that — to give players more direct reward for play actions by class. It is also necessary to avoid the greatly increased grind for upper tier unlocks, which will rapidly fail to appeal to many players. The positive side of all this is that most of the upgrades aren’t overpowering, and this is even less so when facing players who have a few things unlocked. Even if you have many classes and heroes with high tier cards, your opponent can come close to matching you in at least one class without that much play time.

Again, especially for the heroes and vehicles, the upgrades don’t make quite as much difference against most targets because you are already more powerful than the ground troopers. But I do worry that the eventual power of high rank characters will make it harder for new players to get into a game and do well. Still, that isn’t a unique issue for this game. The random crate drop cards really are most useful only for lower rank characters who don’t have anything unlocked yet. As I’ve ranked up, I end up getting far more duplicates, especially for the common trooper and starfighter classes, and am essentially dependent on getting crafting parts for the slow, slow process of maximizing my star card tier levels.

The grind is strong in this one.

Is this a bad thing?  One thing many players love is the constant progression in a game, acquiring new abilities and items.  I don’t know how long it will take to get everything in the game right now through game play, but I don’t think anyone is going to get there anytime soon. I think that even adding more game play based awards will not radically change the rate for purchased, crafting part upgrades.  But it could make the sense of accomplishment more focused and enjoyable, rather than working hard to get random item drops, most of which will be of decreasing effective value as your progress in the game.

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