Battlefield Hardline features a ranking system that is progressed through based on earned experience though gameplay. The game utilizes French playing cards as rank insignias with a total of 150 ranks. The game also features Coins that are awarded by completing specific actions. Earning a certain Coin a specific number of times awards players a Bounty. Service Stars are awarded after earning enough experience progression for that object, and different tiered stars have different awards. Bronze stars award gameplay options, like vehicle modifications and weapon attachments, while Silver and Gold stars award cosmetic options for the player, like different class appearances or unique weapon paints.
Assignments also return in Hardline, with over 250 available to player. As in previous games, completion of Assignments award the player with specific items, like new Patches or weapon attachments. Hardline also features Syndicate Assignments; similar to the Phantom assignments of Battlefield 4, these assignments have their criteria hidden and have are very challenging to complete. Completing these assignments unlock special weapons that can be used by both factions, like the FMG-9 and Double-Barrel Shotgun.
The game features four classes that function in similar manners to the classes of Battlefield 4 but with notable differences.
Operator - Functions as the Medic and primary fighter of Police and Criminal forces. Operators are equipped with assault rifles and carbines as well as medical gadgets to heal or revive teammates. The class' simplicity makes it easy to pick up, but it is not very flexible due to its lack of offensive gadgets, requiring support from the other classes.
Mechanic - Functions as the vehicle and gadget specialist of Police and Criminal forces. Mechanics are equipped with SMGs and can choose from a wide range of gadgets, including Repair Tools for vehicle upkeep, 40mm grenade launchers and Sabotage bombs for their destruction, an Armored Insert for survivability, and a Satellite Phone for a squad spawn point. The class is effective at close-ranges and is very versatile with its range of gadgets, but struggles at longer ranges and can run out of ammunition quickly.
Enforcer - Functions as the Support personnel of Police and Criminal forces. Enforcers are equipped with heavy battle rifles and shotguns as well as ammunition boxes, explosive charges, and Ballistic Shields to support their teammates. The class is the hardest hitter of the team, capable of functioning well in close and ranged combat, and its gadgets are invaluable for keeping the team in the fight.
Professional - Functions as the intelligence and stealth unit of Police and Criminal forces. Professionals are equipped with bolt-action sniper rifles and semi-automatic Designated Marksman Rifles to eliminate personnel at range, as well as rapid firing machine-pistols to deal with enemies up-close. The class has access to Laser Tripmines and Decoys to set up traps for the enemy, Cameras to know about their whereabouts, and Stealth Training to move about enemy lines silently.
The game features fifty-one weapons and twenty-eight gadgets, many of which are used by both Law Enforcement and Criminals alike as well as faction specific weapons, each with their own sets of accessories and attachments offering thousands of different combinations for players.
Players can also unlock a Weapon License for faction specific weapons after getting 1250 kills with the weapon. Licenses allow players to use these weapons for both factions, but the weapon is still restricted to its class and each weapon requires its own License.
Progression has also been reworked with new in-game cash system. Unlike past installments, weapons, gadgets, as well as attachments must be purchased to be unlocked for permanent use and can be done so in any order. Cash is awarded for positive gameplay actions, although objective and team-based actions award significantly more money than weapon kills. There is no limit to amount of money players can accumulate through gameplay.
Following feedback from the beta, certain weapons such as the RPG-7 and light machine guns have become Battle Pickups that become available to the team that controls the weapons cache, depending on the game mode. Also, instead of allowing players to equip these weapons to their inventory loadout, they can now equip the weapon to a specific vehicle, placing the weapon in the trunk of that vehicle. To obtain it, players must take control of that vehicle and proceed to open its trunk.
The game features twenty-seven vehicles that are used by police forces as well as civilians, such as motorcycles, various automobiles, armored trucks, and helicopters. Since tanks, attack helicopters, and jets are restricted for military use only, they are not featured within the game.
Hacker Mode - Similar to Commander Mode from past installments, Hacker Mode allows one player on each team to direct their squad leaders towards the appropriate objective while supporting their team with useful assets.
Spray Tag - Allows players to harmlessly spray paint their emblem onto any surface.