If Respawn Entertainment had any hopes of keeping players entertained with Apex Legends through its new season one battle pass, then it failed at the first hurdle.
A battle pass, by design, is a paid subscription service which rewards players with in-game items for naturally playing games and completing tasks. The rewards are usually only offered during a limited time, like a couple of months, as a way to entice a player to continuously play a game over a long stretch of time.
But the system is never meant to be that grindy, it’s meant to be achievable within the time-limit— something which doesn’t resonate in Apex Legends’ battle pass so far.
Leveling up is a chore
To get from level one to level two of the battle pass, a player must collect an eye-watering 29,500 XP. In retrospect, a level 28 player going to level 29 needs only 2/3 of that amount (18,000 to be exact) to get to a new profile level.
That’s not to say that there aren’t other ways to get Battle Pass XP—far from it. Respawn added a new system called “Legends Bonus,” which rewards a player bonus Battle Pass XP for each different Legend that they play as.
The problem with this, however, is that it’s limited to just 25,000 Battle Pass Points per character per week. So even if you were to max out the total amount of points for that character, you wouldn’t even get close to going up from level one to two just from that character’s bonus points alone.
Other games, like Fortnite, give players alternative ways to level up their pass by completing missions and questions that reward the player with additional battle pass tiers. Respawn decided not to take this approach with Apex, however, and instead focused solely on XP.
Because of this, the whole system feels grindy and it definitely doesn’t feel fun or rewarding like a battle pass should feel.
The rewards are not rewarding
Just one look at Apex Legends’ season one battle pass in comparison to something like Fortnite: Battle Royale or even something like Realm Royale will tell you everything you need to know about the rewards on offer.
Other games have a theme for their passes, such as Realm Royale’s dinosaurs or Fortnite’s current pirate theme that differentiate it from the base game and previous seasons to offer something exciting and fun—something actually rewarding.
Apex’s battle pass rewards, however, are stale and seemingly thoughtless. The skins for champions don’t offer any distinct differences and everything else on offer is just a badge or worthless cosmetic that really don’t do anything for the game as a whole.
Sure there are a couple of cool cosmetics options available to unlock, such as the level 100 reward, but with the amount of work needed to unlock them, it just makes the whole process trivial.
It incentivizes paying real money to level up
Respawn added an option for players to pay real money to gain an additional level of their battle pass without needing to get the XP naturally.
By paying 150 Apex Coins, which comes to about $1, you can level up your battle pass by a single level. So if you wanted to go from level 1 to 99 within an instant, without ever playing the game, you can fork out around $99 —that’s after already spending 950 Apex coins to get the thing in the first place.
With how grindy the battle pass, it honestly feels like the battle pass was designed to be bumped up through additional purchases.
Of course, buying these upgrades with real cash is entirely optional, but by the end of the season if you’ve only been able to grind through a couple of levels and don’t want to miss out on your rewards, some players would happily spend the extra cash to get everything.
This feels like something EA would devise to try to get a free extra bucks off of you in the long run, Just like how EA once let players pay to level up their classes in previous games like Battlefield 3, or how EA created an entire game around the prospect of buying loot boxes to give you an advantage over another player (Star Wars Battlefront 2).
Respawn has talked multiple times about how little EA was involved in creating Apex Legends. But now, it sure feels like EA has had a lot of influence on the battle pass.