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It didn’t take long but Apex Legends has got itself a microtransaction problem. The F2P battle royale shooter has always been a fairly generous package in terms of how it doles out content and rewards, on top of being, well, free. It stands to reason Respawn and Electronic Arts need ways to monetise the game, although the new ‘Iron Crown’ event seems a ludicrous way to get about it.
So let’s start with breaking down Apex Legends’ current monetisation schemes. There are Apex Packs which can be earned through leveling up or bought in packs. Each Apex Pack contains a randomised cosmetic item of differing rarity. There is also a Battle Pass for each Season. A Battle Pass contains 100 levels to work through, each offering a unique reward (including Renown payouts and Apex Packs). New characters are paid for with Renown, which can be earned slowly through paying. Alternatively, you can buy packs of Apex Coins and just buy the new characters outright. So far, so normal. Keep playing the game and you can pretty much get everything for free, bar your first Battle Pass.
And now we come to the Iron Crown special event. Introduced alongside a time-limited Solo battle royale mode, the Iron Crown adds a new collection of 24 cosmetic items (12 Epic and 12 Legendary). For a limited time only, players can buy an Iron Crown Event Pack and it will contain one of these 24 items. Keeping buying packs and you won’t get any duplicates, so buy 24 packs and you can unlock it all.
The price of these randomised event packs? SEVEN BUCKS APIECE. Each player gets two of these for free. To obtain the remaining 22 items would cost $154. Paying $7 for an item you specifically want isn’t terrible (although certainly not good value), but potentially spending over $150 in order to guarantee that you get the item you actually want.
Just to top it all off, there’s a super-duper Heirloom Raven’s Bite Set of cosmetics for the event. Heirloom items are the granddaddy of cosmetics in Apex Legends, letting everyone know you’ve got cash to burn for days of frivolous things. Players can buy the Raven’s Bite set outright but, in order to even qualify for this ‘privilege’, you need to unlock all 24 event-based cosmetic items first.
So, once you’ve splashed out $154 on 22 Iron Crown crates, plus got your two freebie crates, you can then buy Raven’s Bite for 3500 Apex Coins. Buying 3500 Apex Coins costs around $35. So, all in, if you want Raven’s Bite you’ll need to spend in the region of $189, or triple the price of a brand new AAA game.
I guess it was only a matter of time when EA’s involved until such aggressive monetisation began to rear its head in Apex Legends. They probably wanted Apex to gain a strong footing and a loyal consumer base before going headlong into prohibitively expensive cosmetics.
Ultimately, it’s not a life-changing annoyance for most, but it certainly reeks of trying to manipulate certain sectors of Apex’s audience. If you’re spending almost 200 bucks to get a skin it’s safe to say you’ve either got some ludicrous disposable income or a remarkably gotta-catch-em-all addictive personality. Considering the recent loot box furor that’s been popping up around the globe, including Stateside with the FTC, this feels like very bad timing.