Alongside a hefty update (opens in new tab), the first Apex Legends battle pass (opens in new tab) was released today. It's exciting to see Respawn's free-to-play battle royale kick off its first proper season, but for many players the thrill has been hampered by relatively thin rewards.
Ever since the pass was finally revealed, the Apex Legends (opens in new tab) community has been, er, critical (opens in new tab) of the lack of variety and the abundance of minor cosmetic rewards like banners and trackers. It's not necessarily a value issue: as Redditor DarthSatoris (opens in new tab) pointed out, the 1,000 Apex Coins included in the pass more than pays for the whole thing, and the other rewards are worth several thousand coins in their own right.
Rather, the battle pass is low on unique, eye-catching rewards worth grinding for, not to mention compelling grinds to undertake other than 'play the game.' Apex Legends doesn't have an equivalent to the Fortnite battle pass challenges (opens in new tab), for instance - though to be fair, Fortnite didn't have the most compelling rewards and challenges in its first season, either.
In any case, it's a common sentiment that the first Apex Legends battle pass is a little weak. In response to this criticism, Respawn product manager Lee Horn penned a blog post (opens in new tab) explaining the studio's approach to battle passes and its plans to evolve that approach alongside Apex Legends itself.
"Our first Battle Pass is all about letting you continue to learn and experiment with the core Apex Legends experience while earning awesome loot at the same time," Horn explained. "You’ll notice the first version isn’t built around a complex quest system where you need to do a 720 backflip off of Watchtower Artemis and get two Wingman headshots before hitting the ground. While we think there’s really cool design space in quests and challenges for future Battle Passes, we wanted the initial version to allow our players to just play and learn the game."
I can understand not wanting to overload a new player base with highly specific battle pass challenges, but the bigger issue here seems to be the rewards attached to the pass. Horn said "we’ve tried to create a Battle Pass where first-time spenders can get a strong base of weapon and character cosmetics to fill out their initial collection at a deep discount," which is great and all, but I get the feeling many players were hoping to see more memorable, flavorful cosmetics. The majority of the battle pass offerings are indistinguishable from the usual slew of skins, though as Horn said, it does include the "first ever three-stage evolving Legendary" weapon skin. I imagine more evolving cosmetics in that vein would be well-received.
"As a studio, we’re always striving to innovate like we did with our Ping system, the Jumpmaster, Respawning, and more. We look to do the same with our Battle Pass," Horn said. "Season 1 is just the first version on a long road of improvements, updates and tweaks. We have a lot of cool ideas in the works, but we want to hear yours too, so let us know on Reddit, Twitter, wherever. We’re listening."
One thing's for sure: the Apex community has some interesting ideas (opens in new tab).
Here's everything you need to know about Apex Legends' Octane (opens in new tab), the new playable character in season 1.