Battlefield 5 is not bringing back the multiplayer Premium season pass.
DICE confirmed today at a Battlefield 5 reveal event and during the livestream that Premium will not be making a return in the game. The pass has been replaced with a live service called Tides of War.
EA is big on live services, and in its most recent financial call, CEO Andrew Wilson said Battlefield 5 will feature “additional innovations on the future of multiplayer in first-person shooters,” and such innovation will be available from “launch and over time as part of a live service.” Basically, this was Wilson’s way of telling everyone about the lack of a Premium Pass in a round about way back in early May.
Premium functioned in a similar way to season passes in other multiplayer games. In that you got a few expansions (usually four) for a discounted price, as well as a few other perks like regular battle packs and priority queuing for multiplayer servers.
The feature has made less and less sense as time went on, mostly because it splits the community between haves and have-nots, resulting in less populated DLC servers while upsetting players who can’t afford the pass.
In Battlefield 5, post-launch maps will be available to all players for free. EA will monetize the game post-launch with the help of new cosmetic items players will be able to buy.
Battlefield 5 has a much bigger emphasis on character customization, and players will be able to customize several aspects of their character in a way not seen in any other Battlefield game to date.
With Tides of War, players will be able to experience this heavy character progression and customization which is earned by progressing through the feature and its associated systems. This includes building a “company of unique, customized soldiers.” The Company is basically the player’s personal collection of soldiers, weapons and vehicles.
Challenges, limited time events with limited rewards, plenty of customization and an in-game currency to grind out will be the key. Expect new battles, fronts, and rewards constantly appearing on the horizon.
DICE didn’t mention anything pertaining to real cash swapping for in-game currency, but according to Alex, that may be one of the ways EA will “offset the loss of Premium Pass cash.”
Tides of War boss Ryan McArthur described the service as being an opportunity to offer “evolving gameplay,” with the main idea being as the war progresses, it will help drive the progression of the live service side of the game. This means the feature will contain campaign missions, new maps and game modes supported by the real-world narrative of World War 2.
For example, in an early live service missions, players could find themselves participating in operations which took place in the early days of WW2. Down the line, they could be fighting in later war events which feature new tactics and technology. Players can also expect non-canonical events which provide DICE the opportunity to be more creative with the sandbox.
A slide shown in the presentation Alex attended explained how Tides of War will feature evolving narratives leading to evolving gameplay. This provides players with new ways to play and new content.
DICE said at the London event there’ll be new content drops every couple of months, and at present, there are at least four major content drops already planned.
Again, this reiterates Wilson’s comments earlier this month when he told investors Battlefield 5 would be an “ongoing service,” that evolves with major new experiences right from launch. The first major drop will take place in November.
In short: no Premium Pass; cosmetic items are earned in-game and purchased with in-game currency; purely cosmetic items will be sold on the store for real-money. In other words, no loot boxes.
Battlefield 5 releases worldwide on October 19. Those who pre-order the Deluxe Edition can play early on October 16. Pre-orders of any edition will provide automatic access to the open beta.
EA Access and Origin Access members can participate in a Play First trial on October 11.