Apex Legends’ second season has been a huge improvement over the popular free-to-play battle royale game’s initial offering. However, as good as this season has been, it got seriously soured last week when the Iron Crown event launched. As we reported, on top of the long-awaited solo mode, this event gives us some of the game’s best-looking cosmetics ever but then locks them inside ludicrously priced Apex packs. As things currently stand, if you wanted to make certain you got your hands on every single event-exclusive legendary item as well as the Bloodhound heirloom item, you would have to fork out a minimum $189 (which at current exchange rates is just shy of R2 900) with no guarantee of actually getting the item you want due to the randomness of loot boxes.
Since the event launched, places like the game’s official Subreddit were awash with memes and rants about this crazy pricing structure. Many have pointed fingers at the game’s publisher, EA Games, who are notorious for their microtransaction price gouging. Apex Legends developers Respawn Entertainment heard all the noise though, and late on Friday they issued a new blog post to apologise for what they did.
At launch we made a promise to players that we intend to do monetization in a way that felt fair and provided choice to players on how they spent their money and time. A core decision during development of Apex Legends was that we wanted to make a world class battle royale game – in quality, depth, progression, and important for today’s conversation – how we sell stuff. With the Iron Crown event we missed the mark when we broke our promise by making Apex Packs the only way to get what many consider to be the coolest skins we’ve released.
As the blog continues to explain, Respawn is offering a compromise to the situation by revealing by also making all the Iron Crown cosmetics purchasable in the game’s store on a rotational basis. These skins will then also sell for the regular Legendary skin price of 1800 Apex Coins. You would still need to pay for them, and they’re only marginally cheaper, but it takes loot box mechanics out of the equation so that you’re guaranteed to get the item you want.
Apex Legends is a free-to-play title, so in-game monetisation is expected as this is the only way to keep the devs in business to create new content. As Respawn themselves state though, “our goal has not been to squeeze every last dime out of our players,” but that was not the impression that Iron Crown gave. However, with this apology, the purchase changes and the promises of providing “more ways to obtain items than just buying Apex Packs,” and being “better at letting our players know what to expect from the various event structures in Apex Legends,” Respawn has seemingly started turning this fiasco around, right? Well, no.
Respawn posted the same blog post linked above to the game’s SubReddit, but things didn’t go over so well with players who were still feeling disgruntled by what had transpired. While things started off civil enough, with the devs engaging these folk by continuing to apologise and offer promises off handling events better in the future, it soon turned ugly.
The spark appears to be devs getting frustrated by players either making unreasonable demands as compensation or not having a proper understanding of the game development lifecycle, particular for a F2P game that lives and dies on its monetization. I just want to say that us gamers can be real loudmouth idiots when it comes to this stuff, screaming at devs with our entitled demands. However, usually the devs don’t scream back which is what happened here.
While several of the comments made by the dev team – particularly one unnamed Project Lead using the handle “dk05” – have now been deleted, we still have a bunch of screencaps (courtesy of Medium) showing them firing back at players with frustrated insults and name-calling.
Doubling down on the insults, on top calling players “ass-hats” for wanting a better event, the devs also ranted that most players were “freeloaders” for not spending additional money on the game and so the high prices made no difference anyway.
When a forum user responded to this claim, they were greeted with sarcasm.
In response to their claim that a dev had called them a “dick” for voicing their displeasure, another got this gem of a response with an even more “spicy” follow-up.
When players started calling out these responses and downvoting them by the thousands, the devs accused the players of basically not being able to take it like they dish it out.
Now I have to point out that I kind of feel a pang of empathy for the Respawn dev team. As much as we gamers get upset when the uninformed media vilify us, we have to admit that sometimes we can be complete assholes, especially when it comes to making demands of the developers of our favourite games. Many of us have a giant sense of entitlement that seems to make us believe that we’re exempt from needing to engage in a mature manner. We violently scream and throw our toys out of our cots, and get downright disgusting in how we often treat these developers, forgetting that these are just ordinary people on the other end of our rants. People who are, more often than not, killing themselves to produce our entertainment.
So to that end, I can kind of understand when a few of these developers have finally had enough and decide to fire back. However, this situation was one of their making. The Apex Legends community was a reasonably positive one until they pissed people off with the exploitative mechanics of this event. You can’t try to essentially swindle people and then act surprised when they get angry at you for it. I don’t know what Respawn will need to do to win back the goodwill they’ve lost in this debacle, but they will need to do it soon.
Last Updated: August 19, 2019