EA has ceded some ground to Star Wars: Battlefront 2 beta players who were displeased with the progression system by announcing today that it's downgrading the importance of loot boxes.
Most weapons in the Star Wars battler will now be unlocked by achieving "specific milestones," writes EA in a blog post, while only a "select few" will still be found in loot boxes. Additionally, class-specific crates will be given to players in return for playing as that class, so you're sure to progress in your chosen field of star warfare, rather than simply hoping that purchased crates give you stuff for your favorite class.
The highest tier of Star Card (which are modifiers that make players more powerful) will no longer be available in crates and will have to be crafted, and "you'll need to reach a certain rank to craft upgraded Star Cards." Some Epic Star Cards will come with pre-orders, the Deluxe Edition, and starter packs, though.
So crates are still going to be around, and purchasing them with in-game currency (or real money) will still award some weapons, Star Cards, and crafting materials which can be used to upgrade Star Cards. But it sounds like a more traditional progression system will guide the acquisition of most weapons, and class-specific Star Cards will be earnable by ranking up (if still via crates).
The system wasn't entirely clear in the first place. After the beta, for instance, EA said that weapon unlocks would require achieving a certain rank, and that it planned to make the most powerful items "only earnable via in-game achievements." These changes seem to reflect what was apparently already the plan, then, and we don't know yet how fast we'll be able to acquire currency or class crates in the final version. We'll dissect the progression system in full once we have access to the final game.
Shiny, exploding crates full of artificially-valuable rewards have been the topic of 2017, with publishers and players sparring more and more over the trend. EA has by no means tapped out, but I hope at minimum that we won't feel compelled to spend real money in Battlefront 2 to keep up.