Apex Legends gets its first Battle Pass today, but developer Respawn Entertainment is already defending its contents after fans began complaining that it appears too simple or straightforward. The Battle Pass was first announced yesterday in a reveal on EA's official website, and was initially met with excitement despite having content that didn't seem particularly engaging or noteworthy.
Apex Legends is a phenomenon, albeit one that has slowed since its initial gaudy player growth numbers placed it in direct competition with Fortnite. While that battle is still very much on-going, Apex Legends has begun the transition into a season-based game with content, like new Legends, coming in scheduled cycles. The game's first Battle Pass is meant to introduce the first season of Apex Legends to its players, and will inevitably end up setting the tone for what to expect from future releases.
It's not a tone that Respawn Entertainment might want, though, based on community feedback and the need to respond already. Shortly after the initial announcement for the fledgling Battle Pass, the developer added another blog post on top of it to clarify what it feels its philosophy is behind the season one variant of the Battle Pass. Here's the reasoning, according to Lead Product Manager Lee Horn:
"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."
The reason the Battle Pass is so simple is because Respawn Entertainment wanted to keep it that way. Apex Legends is still very much a new game, and is attracting more players as time goes on. It would be unfortunate if the first Battle Pass ostracized a number of the players just looking to pick up the game by having obtuse, difficult quests for them to complete, and Respawn Entertainment knows it. While the dedicated Apex Legends fans who are already deeply embedded in the game will likely wish for something more complex, it's important to contextualize the needs of a growing game as well.
Still, Horn's quote also offers hope for those who want a more nuanced Battle Pass system in the future. It sounds like Apex Legends will include a progression bonus that is "tied to playing a variety of characters," because Horn and the rest of the team believe that mastering the game involves being proficient with all of its characters rather than just one.
Those looking for a challenge, then, likely won't need to search too long, but we'll see if Apex Legends' first official season does enough to keep enfranchised players interested all throughout. There's also a consideration for why the reward structure is the way it is: even if new players want accessible content, catering to them all the way up the reward tiers feels strange. There's a lot of badge and tracker rewards littered throughout those 100 tiers, and there's no legendary skins at higher levels. Respawn probably could have gotten away with a more sparse Battle Pass is it had just given players trying to grind to 100 a bit of extra incentive.