It's fitting really. Just as Star Wars Battlefront II introduces a new game mode on Endor from the Return of the Jedi film, it also sees the return of the controversial micro-transactions which has derailed the game's image thus far. Hopefully this go will be a kinder, gentler micro-transaction implementation.
Firstly, let's touch on that new game mode. In the Night on Endor update, players will get a chance to battle along side and as an Ewok or Stormtrooper. The Ewoks kick off the ambush with their spears and other primitive weapons and every Stormtrooper eliminated adds an Ewok to spawn into the battle until the Empire's forces are eliminated. However, the Stormtroopers get to strike back with vastly superior weaponry and try to hold out in the dark of night until the extraction can arrive.
But with that game mode sees the return of Crystals, the currency of the Battlefront micro transaction economy. Real world money can be used to purchase crystals, and crystals are used to purchase skins (or "Appearances" in the game's parlance) for your Battlefront characters. Appearances can also be earned through progression of in-game activity. This update seems to shift back into the more accepted version of micro-transactions that gamers are willing to tolerate: no pay to win, cosmetic only. It does speak to a larger point to how committed EA are to the micro-transaction model that even after the tsunami of negative press and downgraded revenue projections from the backlash, they are still steadfastly committed to reintroducing the model in some form. It would seem the smarter play would be to appeal to the goodwill of the player base staying away, but if this any indication of the future of AAA EA titles, expect full prices to be followed by micro-transactions hell or high water.
The new mode and the crystals are back in the game today with the latest update. More information about crystals and the economy that surrounds them can be found in the FAQ on the Battlefront forums.