Apex Legends has been out for quite awhile now and has managed to secure almost all positive news and headlines around the game. Headlines have discussed what’s great about Apex Legends and the potential it has in the future. From the release of its first season to the mid-season event of “Apex Elite” (the first event to come to the game), everything has been welcomed with open arms by the Apex Legends community as well as the press covering the game. However, that has all changed with the most recent controversy that’s sprung up from the poorly implemented “Iron Crown” event that was released one week ago. With this event, we have seen the release of a new Solo Mode as well as an extensive new batch of limited time cosmetic content. These new cosmetics include Weapon Skins, Legend Skins, Music Packs, Banner Cards, and other cosmetic items that have been completely locked behind a paywall of loot box mechanics. After breaking down specific numbers and pricing of the new event, it will cost players upwards of $200 (USD) to obtain all the new cosmetic items that are ONLY purchasable and not earnable through gameplay in any way. With many players viewing these new cosmetics as the coolest ones available so far, they were discouraged when finding out that they would have to shell out hard earned cash for these items (and not a small amount at that). This issue led players to the Subreddit in an attempt to have their opinions heard by Respawn Entertainment about how awful this new event was.
After hardly 24 hours from the start of the event, Respawn Entertainment released a statement to the players and community. In short terms, this statement was an apology to players admitting that they had missed the mark with the Iron Crown event and that they had broken their promise of allowing players choice and freedom for their in-game purchases. They stated that going forward, on the start of the new weekly reset, all of the new Epic level skins (the rarest type) that are new to the Iron Crown will be sold separately through the in-game store. This was to allow players a choice on exactly what cosmetics they could purchase instead of having to spend 700 Apex Coins per pack for a random selection from the pool of new cosmetics. This allowed players to remove the random aspect of the loot box mechanic that the event was tied to. In addition to the change to the current event, Respawn Entertainment stated that in future events there will be more avenues to earn the event-specific items through — including gameplay. After the release of this statement, players were very quick to point out the similarities between this statement/apology and others that have been released from EA published titles in the past, as a user on Reddit posted a video showing all the statements released by EA recently when on the topic of players complaining to the developers about greedy microtransactions (most notably the statement released after the controversy surrounding Star Wars Battlefront 2’s monetization tactics).
Users on the Apex Legends Subreddit were quick to point out that the change Respawn Entertainment had put forward by adding these new skins as separate purchasable items in the store does not change how expensive it is to obtain the Iron Crown event’s most valuable cosmetic item. With the release of the Iron Crown, we have also seen the addition of a brand new Heirloom rarity cosmetic for the Legend Bloodhound. This is a cosmetic melee item that changes Bloodhound’s melee from his bare fists into a cool looking axe instead. This is only a cosmetic change and does not provide any gameplay advantage, but that being said, it is greatly sought after. Previously there was only one Heirloom rarity cosmetic in the game and that was for the Legend Wraith. Again, it changed her melee from her fist into a kunai knife. The Wraith heirloom skin was obtained through Apex Packs at random with an extremely low drop rate. During season one, it had a 0.9% chance to drop when opening an Apex Pack and you were guaranteed to receive the Wraith heirloom after your 500th pack opening. With this new heirloom added for Bloodhound with the Iron Crown event, the only way of obtaining the awesome new axe is by first obtaining all 24 of the new Iron Crown event cosmetics made available through the new event specific Apex Packs. Each pack cost 700 Apex coins and awards one cosmetic item — meaning you must open 24 packs to receive every item. Once all 24 items have been obtained, you are still not awarded the Bloodhound heirloom though because at this point, once all 24 event cosmetics have been obtained, you are then given the ability to purchase the Bloodhound heirloom for another 3,500 Apex Coins. With all of that being said, it goes to show how the change put forward by Respawn Entertainment of allowing players to choose individual Epic Rarity skins from the new event does not help in obtaining the Bloodhound heirloom for any cheaper. The cheapest way to obtain it is still through the original method of purchasing 24 different, event-specific Apex Packs and then spending another 3,500 Apex Coins after all of that to unlock it. With each Iron Crown event Apex Pack costing 700 Apex Coins with the guarantee of no duplicates, if your goal was to obtain the Bloodhound heirloom, then it would not make sense to purchase individual skins as the price set on the skins added to the store from the new event are 1,700 Apex Coins each … meaning that to unlock the same skin through the Iron Crown Apex Packs would only cost 700 Apex coins. The changes made to the event only benefits a small amount of the playerbase who were specifically looking to only obtain one specific skin from the event. Anyone after the new Bloodhound heirloom has no choice but to climb over a massive pay wall placed on the game by Respawn Entertainment.
Fans addressed Respawn Entertainment with their concerns around the event in a respectful manner. Reddit is a way for the fans to properly connect with the developers in order to keep a healthy relationship between a game and its fanbase. Any developer will tell you how valuable it is to have consistent communication for feedback and opinions on their games. Issues like this are the perfect reason to have the ability of open dialogue with your loyal fans so that problems can be discovered, addressed, and avoided in the future. With the vast majority of Apex Legends players not happy with the monetization of the Iron Crown event, Respawn Entertainment should understand that its players only want what is best for the game and as a consumer, they know what they want when it comes to what they will buy (and clearly this was not what the gamers wanted). That opinion was echoed all across the Reddit following the statement released by Respawn Entertainment with players saying that what they had offered as a change was not good enough and has only upset players even more. This is when things got really out of hand … A developer from Respawn Entertainment decided to take things too far when insults started to be thrown at users on the Subreddit. Through long and extensive posts involving conversations between players and the developer, statements were made calling the majority of the Apex Legends’ fanbase “freeloaders,” “dicks,” and “asshats” to name a few. The conversation clearly grew way out of hand, and a professional developer took it to a personal level with people on the subreddit, thus committing the cardinal sin in a retail setting. He took it to the personal level when it had no reason to be there … Players were rightfully complaining and scrutinizing a blatant money grab in a game they loved, and in response the developer started to insult the very people providing him with the opportunity to do what they do for a living. This interaction between the Apex Legends’ playerbase and the disgruntled Respawn Entertainment developer has lead to a massive shift in mood on the Apex Legends Subreddit with posts titled “This is no longer a family” and “The conversation will never be the same again” — garnishing massive popularity on the page. Players were already upset with the absurd microtransaction issue, but now have had fuel added to the flame with this developer’s statements in the spotlight.
With this news hot on table, it did not take Respawn Entertainment any time at all to issue another statement on the topic of this developer’s comments. CEO at Respawn Entertainment, Vince Zampella, released this statement on his Twitter:
“On Friday, we gave Apex fans an update on how we were changing the Iron Crown event. Some of the team then joined a discussion with our community on Reddit, and things got to a pretty bad place. Some of our folks crossed a line with their comments, and that’s not how we want Respawn to be represented. I apologize to any of our fans that were offended. I will always stand behind the team here at Respawn and support them on speaking out against some of the toxic and nasty comments being directed at them, including everything from death threats to comments aimed at their family and loved ones. But we shouldn’t contribute to it when we do comment, and add to the very thing we want to prevent. We need to lead by example. Last week we didn’t do that, and going forward we will be better. Having an open, healthy relationship with our community is incredibly important to all of us at Respawn.”
At this moment, there haven’t been any other statements from Respawn Entertainment and even with this apology, they’re unable to wash the sour taste out of the mouth of Apex Legends players. Going forward, Respawn Entertainment is going to have to prove to its players that they have the interests of their playerbase at heart, and the first thing they need to achieve with an in-game event is overall player satisfaction. If an event has all of the new things locked behind a paywall, then players are going to be feeling very unsatisfied knowing they cannot earn anything new and only have the choice to spend money on what is viewed as the most sought after aspects of the game they love. If Respawn Entertainment wants to mend the relationship they have with their players, then they are going to have to make a real effort in developing changes and additions to the game that are guaranteed to enhance the user’s experience and not create artificial barriers between new content and the users it was made for. Hopefully, Respawn Entertainment has a plan set in motion to prove that they care about their players and the people who love their game.
For the official conversation taking place around this issue, feel free to visit the official Apex Legends Subreddit. As always you can rely on GamingLyfe for up-to-date information on all aspects of the gaming industry!