Last night saw a 2.6GB update drop for Apex Legends, launching the latest chapter of Respawn Entertainment’s popular battle royale game. A time-locked mini-event embedded within the current activities of the game’s Season 2, the Iron Crown Collection Event brings with it a number of changes and tweaks to the game. Besides for character and weapon balances, we have a brand new obstacle course-type area of the map that is rather fun with its ramps and rings of fire, and there are some very good quality of life changes to the game’s challenges menu layout as well as a completely overhauled death screen that now gives you a ton of info, including who killed/damaged you and how much you dished out in return.
The Iron Crown Collection Event’s main attraction though is undoubtedly the brand new solo mode. Eschewing the usual 3-player team setups, Solo will see the usual 60 players drop in to King’s Canyon, but now they’re each playing only for themselves. The result is… well, I actually don’t like the result much, to be honest.
I was worried about Solo play in Apex since the early rumours of the mode began. I feel a large component of what makes this game so good is the synergy of abilities between legends as well the revolutionary, now oft-copied communication system that allowed for seamless team coordination to ambush and wipe out enemy teams. All of that goes out the window now.
Instead, we have a game mode that doesn’t just cater better to only a small selection of the game’s legends, but also plays out way slower and quieter as most individuals tend to sneak around waiting for other players to either try for one of the game’s care packages or get involved in another shootout – both scenarios exposing them and allowing them to be blindsided. Respawn has tweaked the speed and time it takes for Apex’s zone to contract so that theoretically players will get forced to engage all the time, but in reality there’s usually just a massive flurry straight after drop as everybody swarms the best potential loot areas and then it all settles down to the hide-and-seek drudgery of waiting for somebody else to make a mistake.
Admittedly, there are new cerebral aspects to things now – loadout and positioning become way more important when there’s nobody to watch your back – and getting kills is theoretically easier since dropping an enemy is instant-death for them, instead of allowing them the chance to crawl away and get revived by a teammate. So in that regard, Solos may appeal to certain players. It doesn’t quite for me.
Luckily, besides for a small handful, the challenges that come with Iron Crown can be completed with activities from the normal/ranked team-based game modes. This means that you won’t miss out on the absolutely jaw-dropping cosmetic unlocks that come with this event (Wraith and Lifeline honestly get some of the best skins the game has ever seen). But here there’s another problem. And it’s a nasty one as a number of very angry threads on the games official sub-Reddit can attest to.
The 24 new cosmetics can be unlocked via event-specific Iron Crown packs, but only two of those can actually be unlocked by gameplay. The rest is up to pure luck of the draw as you unlock loot boxes through your Battle Pass levels. Either that or they will each cost you 700 Apex Coins – the in-game currency equivalent of real-world money. For those not up to date on Apex Legends economics, that’s about $7 or just under R106 at the current exchange rate. That means that if you were so inclined to actually purchase the remaining 22 Iron Crown packs – lets for a second assume that none of those packs will have duplicates, which is impossible but let’s assume anyway – it would set you back a staggering $154 or R2 331!
And if you’re a Bloodhound player it gets even worse, as the legend gets a really sweet Tomahawk heirloom item in this event. However, you first need to have unlocked all 24 items and then you only get the opportunity to spend an additional $35 or R529 to then get the heirloom! Free-to-play games like Apex Legends have to make money through in-game sales, but this is utterly ridiculous!
At the time of writing, Respawn has not yet responded to the many angry comments from players about this. The Iron Crown Collection Event is only running from 13 – 27 August, but the developers had indicated that depending on player feedback they could bring it back again permanently. As things stand, I don’t think that will happen.
Last Updated: August 14, 2019