Apex Legends announces 'improved' battle pass structure that actually sucks for players, removes option to pay with in-game currency

Image for Apex Legends announces 'improved' battle pass structure that actually sucks for players, removes option to pay with in-game currency
(Image credit: Respawn)

One thing you never want to see as a player of a live service game is a convoluted new spreadsheet—they're rarely if ever a bearer of good news. Case in point: The "improved" Apex Legends battle pass structure, announced today with a blog post and headache-inducing chart, has immediately led to protest planning.

Here are the two biggest changes:

  • There'll now be two 60-tier battle passes per season instead of one 110-tier pass
  • Premium battle pass tracks will only be purchasable with real money

So, instead of spending 950 Apex Coins (approximately $9.99, but alternatively earned by playing) on each season's premium battle pass track, players are now invited to spend $9.99 cash per "half season" premium battle pass track. A $19.99 Premium+ track has also been introduced for each half season battle pass, replacing the old premium bundle.

What makes this nouveau structure better, according to Respawn, is that it'll be easier to get the most desirable items in each of the smaller half-season passes. Their 60 tiers will still include the same number of legendary skins as the old season-long passes, with a Reactive weapon skin at the top tier, plus more Crafting Metals and Apex Packs. Meanwhile, items that weren't seeing much use, such as weapon charms, will appear less frequently.

"We've seen the numbers, and things need to be more approachable and realistic for our global player community," said the developer. "Each of these updated aspects allows us to make the Battle Pass more attainable and valuable for your time and money."

A player who purchases a half-season battle pass premium track should therefore get as much for their money as they did with one of the old season-long passes, but faster and with less filler. Meanwhile, players on the free track will now get twice as many Apex Coins and Apex Packs per season (because there are now two battle passes per season), as well as a small assortment of epic skins each half-season.

(Image credit: Respawn)

It's not all bad—I like the idea of cutting out filler items—but removing the option to pay for the premium track with Apex Coins obliterated any possibility of a cheerful reception. It doesn't help that Respawn's explanation for that part of the change isn't very coherent. The blog post says that switching to real money will "up the value" of the premium tracks, but you'd have to be a supernaturally-skilled rhetorician to make anyone believe that. Since Apex Coins earned in the battle pass can no longer be used to unlock future premium battle pass tracks, I'd say their value has been seriously reduced.

It's also worth noting that more battle passes per season also means players have less time to finish them. The new 60-tier setup makes them quicker to complete, but compressing a three-month window into six weeks changes Apex's FOMO formula. Now if you buy a pass, you better be sure you're going to be playing a lot of Apex over the next few weeks, because the next one is just around the corner.

Already, one player has laid out a protest plan on the Apex subreddit. The top responses are skeptical that such a boycott will accomplish anything—the specter of that one Modern Warfare 2 "boycott" screenshot always hangs over these things—but it speaks to the level of affront some players are feeling. The titles of other rising posts in the subreddit include "Alright guys I'm out," "Farewell Apex, it was fun while it lasted," and "Is Apex Dying?"

The first half-season battle pass will launch with Apex Legends Season 22 in August. To promote the new format, its premium track will be free for players who complete "a set of challenges within the first two weeks."

Tyler Wilde
Executive Editor

Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley during the '80s and '90s, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on early PCs. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now, and PS1 classic Bushido Blade (that's right: he had Bleem!). Tyler joined PC Gamer in 2011, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. His hobbies include amateur boxing and adding to his 1,200-plus hours in Rocket League.