For Some Reason, Apex Legends Is Changing How Its Battle Passes Work

Players are (rightfully) upset by the pricier, more convoluted seasonal structure.

the starting cast of Apex Legends
Respawn Entertainment

Apex Legends, one of the biggest live service games around, is changing how its seasonal battle passes work with a controversial pivot that essentially doubles the price. According to the game’s developer, Respawn Entertainment, this change will “improve your experience and progression goals.” But while Respawn seems convinced these changes are good for everyone, players are far less enthused about paying more to play their favorite game.

Respawn published a blog post on Monday outlining a wave of changes small and large. The biggest overhaul is the new split-battle pass structure. Instead of releasing a single seasonal Battle Pass with 110 levels once every three months, Battle Passes will now be splintered into two per season. Whereas before the one Premium Battle Pass cost players around $10 every three months, players will now have to fork over $10 for the first 60 levels, and another $10 for an additional 60 levels before the end of the season.

These Battle Passes are also no longer purchasable with the in-game currency Apex Coins. Instead, players have to buy Battle Passes with outright cash, meaning they can’t use the Apex Coins they’ve earned playing the game to shave a few bucks off the quarterly cost.

Apex Legends has been a big hit since its debut in 2019. But the recent Battle Pass changes could ruin a lot of that goodwill.

Respawn Entertainment

“The decision to move from [Apex Coins] to real-world currency is not one that we made lightly, but it does allow us to decrease the price of Premium+ for our community,” the blog post reads.

Each of the split battle passes will overhaul the bonuses players receive, and how quickly they receive them. “Final key cosmetic items,” the end goal items players are working towards in the Battle Pass, will now be rewarded at an easier-to-reach level 60 instead of level 110. The new Battle Pass is also removing items they say players weren’t using, and offering double the amount of crafting materials, additional lootboxes, and thematic packs.

The highest tier season pass, the Premium Bundle is also getting a revamp. The new Premium Plus bundle offers additional exotic shards, character skins, and the ability to play as any Legend you want for $19.99 per half-season. The new price is about a 30% reduction from the old premium tier Battle Pass price. But taken as a whole, players are expected to pay $40 for the full benefits of an entire season.

The new Battle Pass Structure will cost players twice as much per season if they want to hit the same level cap.

Respawn Entertainment

“We’ve seen the numbers, and things need to be more approachable and realistic for our global player community,” the blog post reads. “Each of these updated aspects allows us to make the Battle Pass more attainable and valuable for your time and money. The reward should always be worth the time you choose to spend in the Outlands, and now it is.”

As a make-good on the sudden change, Respawn is providing the first half-season Battle Pass free of charge to players who complete a set of challenges available during the first two weeks of the upcoming Season 22.

Players have taken to Twitter, Reddit, and the Apex Legends’ Steam page to express their frustrations over the new battle pass structure.

Respawn Entertainment

While the changes are being presented as something that will benefit players, it ultimately boil down to players paying more money more frequently. And some players have already taken to Twitter, Reddit, and the game’s Steam page to express their frustration.

“The Battle Pass finally did it,” one Reddit user wrote. “I uninstalled. I really love playing the game. Amazing feel, movement, and gunplay. But, I cannot support that kind of greed.”

“How can we justify paying $20 when we don’t have servers,” one South African Redditor asked, referencing the continent’s lack of dedicated network infrastructure for the game.

Several X (formerly Twitter) users pointed out that Apex Legends developers have yet to address cheaters on the game’s servers, but have still presented the more expensive Battle Pass model as somehow beneficial for the player base.

These are gutsy changes for Apex Legends, one of the few service games that has found a dedicated audience since its somewhat recent debut. Drastic changes like these upset the player base and run the risk of players backing away from the game altogether. Several other service games have screwed up royally when implementing controversial changes and business models. And oftentimes, these unpopular decisions are tough to recover from.

Most recently, Arrowhead Studios dealt with backlash from the Helldivers 2 community after its publisher Sony Interactive Entertainment announced a plan to require PC players to create a PlayStation Network account to keep playing their game. While Helldivers 2 is still being played regularly by thousands, there’s no denying how sharp of a drop-off in players the game has had since the controversy last April, even after Sony reneged on the proposal.

For players frustrated by the changes, the best course of action is not to buy into it. I’d never begrudge anyone for spending money on a service or product they enjoy. But if these changes are genuinely a hindrance to enjoying the game you’ve enjoyed for the last five years, voting with your wallet can go a long way in expressing your distaste. We’ve seen players and creators pressure big studios and publishers into changing bad ideas before they’re permanently implemented. And knowing how fickle the games as a service market is, players should keep in mind that they have all the leverage here.

Apex Legends will implement these new changes when Season 22 begins on August 6.

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