Respawn has responded to the furore around Apex Legends' controversial Iron Crown Collection event, admitting it broke its promise about how loot boxes would work in the game, and announced plans to sell coveted cosmetics directly.
This week Respawn's otherwise brilliant battle royale hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons with the arrival of the hotly-anticipated Iron Crown event.
But anticipation quickly turned into disappointment when it emerged the event was riddled with loot boxes. Most of the Iron Crown Collection cosmetics were locked behind expensive loot boxes and, worst of all, Bloodhound's heirloom set, which contains an axe, a kill quip and a banner pose, could only be unlocked after opening around £130's worth of packs - and then paying another £28 on top of that. (Be sure to check out Emma's excellent breakdown of the true horror of the situation here.)
Now, Respawn's Drew McCoy has penned a blog post responding to the situation. In it he admitted "with the Iron Crown event we missed the mark when we broke our promise by making Apex Packs the only way to get what many consider to be the coolest skins we've released".
So, changes are coming. From 20th August, Respawn will add and rotate all 12 of the event-exclusive legendary items into the store over the course of the final week of the event for the regular legendary skin cost of 1800 Apex Coins. (You can still buy Iron Crown Apex Packs for 700 Apex Coins if you want.) Here's the store schedule:
McCoy also promised for future collection events, Respawn will give players more ways to obtain items than just buying Apex Packs, which is certainly welcome.
McCoy then said Respawn needs to do a better job of letting players know what to expect from the various events in Apex Legends.
"Over the last six months we've been learning a lot about operating a live service free-to-play game, and one of the take-aways from this week (beyond what was mentioned above) is that our messaging for expectations needs to be clearer," he said.
And then, a commitment:
"With Apex Legends it is very important to us that we don't sell a competitive advantage," McCoy said.
"Our goal has not been to squeeze every last dime out of our players, and we have structured the game so that all players benefit from those who choose to spend money - events like Legendary Hunt or Iron Crown exist so that we can continue to invest in creating more free content for all players. This week has been a huge learning experience for us and we're taking the lessons forward to continue bringing the best possible experience to all of you."
Over on the Apex Legends subreddit and on Twitter, McCoy has responded to questions and criticism. McCoy said that while Apex Legends was heavily criticised this week, "in reality the Iron Crown event has been a success, both with revenue and player engagement. Our numbers are up across the board".
McCoy continued: "This was not a decision made in any way other than to fix the broken promise we made to everyone at launch about providing choice on how players can get items. This doesn't mean every item is available for grind or purchase or Apex Pack - but providing ONLY Apex Packs for the Iron Crown skins was a misstep on our part."
Wrong. I expect revenue to go down. This is not a business move - we're doing what we think is right for us, the community, and the game going forward.— Drew McCoy (@DKo5) August 16, 2019
In another post on reddit, McCoy said: "We'd love it if the universe allowed a way for us to provide every piece of content for free, but until that happens we're going to have to charge for some portions of the stuff we make. We continue to put a hardline stance on anything gameplay related, though, and will not require players to buy anything that affects gameplay."