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Respawn Entertainment Devs Lash Out at Fans Over Microtransactions, CEO Apologizes

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Fans of Apex Legends have been complaining about overpriced microtransactions within the game. After developers berated fans due to this, the CEO of Respawn Entertainment has apologized.

The issue started on August 13th with the launch of the “Iron Crown Collection” timed-event in Apex Legends. Along with numerous new items to earn and loot boxes, a new “Heirloom-quality” melee weapon skin for Bloodhound characters, the Raven’s Bite. Heirloom rarity can only be found on aesthetical items, and are rarer than legendary items.

Originally this item could not be crafted, and purchasing it must be earned. The process involves numerous steps and a fair ammount of money.

First you need to unlock all 24 Iron Crown Items by purchasing Iron Crown packs (loot boxes). Each pack costs 700 Apex coins for around $7 each (with more bonus currency if you buy more coins). Normal Apex packs cost 100 coins for comparison. However, each Iron Crown pack is guaranteed to have no duplicates.

Two Iron Crown packs are also given as rewards for two challenges (dealing 25,000 damage, and completing 20 daily challenges). At 22 packs, that is a minimum of $160 to spend (when bulk purchasing the 18,200 Apex coins required).

Then, you would need to purchase the Raven’s Bite itself for an additional 3500 coins ($35). Using bulk purchasing of Apex coins, the weapon skin can effectively cost a minimum of $170. Once the event ends, the item would become a possible result in a standard Apex pack.

Some fans were displeased with the result. On August 14th Reddit user “Mr-LLoydizle” posted a feedback thread to the official Apex Legend’s subreddit, titled “I’m sorry Respawn, but this is where you lost me.” The user’s critique seems to be shared by others on the subreddit, as the post currently has a score of around 30,700 points, and has been gifted 7 platinum awards, 21 gold awards, and 42 silver awards by other users. The user’s post goes as follows:

“700 coins for 1 pack. 7000 for 10. You only get two packs from challenges.

That’s horrible. Just… Wow.

Then you decide to make it so that if you unlock all 24 skins, you then get an “option” to BUY the Heirloom for 3500 coins?!

I’m sorry Respawn, but the scum of EA has been wiped all over you and you have lost my belief in this game.

It’s a damn shame as well cause I’ve already invested A LOT of time and money in your game because I thought it was amazing and you actually deserved it, but man… You messed up so badly.

I understand that people will defend this. I don’t blame you. I actually tried my very best to be on Respawns’ side on this. But they make a lot of money already (no I don’t know the exact amount, but if the company is still running and doing well to push out content, then turnover is high. It makes sense from a business perspective), just from normal Apex packs alone. This has taken things to a new level of scum.”

On August 18th, Electronic Arts released a statement, revealing they had updated the game after feedback:

“At launch we made a promise to players that we intend to do monetization in a way that felt fair and provided choice to players on how they spent their money and time. A core decision during development of Apex Legends was that we wanted to make a world class battle royale game – in quality, depth, progression, and important for today’s conversation – how we sell stuff. 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.

We’ve heard you and have spent a lot of time this week discussing the feedback and how we structure events in the future, as well as changes that we will make to Iron Crown.”

The change made included “rotating all twelve 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 1,800 Apex Coins,” while the Iron Crown packs were still available. In addition, they stated “For future collection events, we will provide more ways to obtain items than just buying Apex Packs.” EA closed off their statement with the following:

A couple other things I would like to address:

We need to be better at letting our players know what to expect from the various event structures 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. This is a different event structure than the Legendary Hunt from Season 1, and it will be different from planned future upcoming events. We’re learning more each day on what works, what doesn’t, and how to provide the best possible experiences and content to all of you.

With Apex Legends it is very important to us that we don’t sell a competitive advantage. 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.

The message was also posted the Apex Legends subreddit by community manager Jay Frenchette. As users responded that they felt the apology was not good enough, and that they were only sorry for being called out on allegedly unfair practices. This resulted in developers of the game (such as “dko5” [2]) lashing out at fans. In one exchange with users Dominic_Artuso and daviss22:

Dominic_Artuso: $20 is a lot better then gambling with those Crown Packs. They listened, they heard, and hopefully the next event will be improved. Atleast they are communicating with us. Probably why they didn’t respond so quickly because of so much backlash. I like Respawn. I respect them. Thanks for the update!

dko5: We’ve said it before, but we will not engage with temper tantrums, and personal attacks or virtriolic threads are completely unacceptable. We took a look in the mirror this week (lol – thanks for all the attacks guys) and decided we hadn’t met up obligations and are making changes because we believe in our approach.

I’ve been in the industry long enough to remember when players weren’t complete ass-hats to developers and it was pretty neat. I forged a bunch of long lasting relationships from back then. Would be awesome to get back there, and not engaging with toxic people or asking “how high” when a mob screams “jump” is hopefully a start.

daviss22:”Iv been in the industry long enough to remember when players weren’t asshats to developers”

Oh.. Well I guess you can also remember when developers weren’t money grabbing fucks that scammed their players too? Free to play blah blah blah that doesn’t give you any right to charge $20 for a skin you should be setting the tone for other company’s to follow and stop fucking your player base who commit their time to play you’re game. Good riddance to your game I loved it at release bought both season pass’s lvl 100, hundreds hours but after seeing how greedy you got (no surprise really as you’re ea’s bitch) the games uninstalled and anything from you in the future can die as quickly as its released IMO. And fuck anyone that’s saying this is better, like take there dick out your mouth and have some respect for yourself. Yes iv gone over the top and I can blame the whiskey all I like but iv gone from thinking oh shit these devs care to yep just as bad as ea’s reputation. You had no choice but to answer “risky” comments so get the fuck off your high horse.

dko5: Hey everyone – found the dick I was talking about. Guess what, I didn’t even read your comment except for the first sentence and last. This kind of garbage doesn’t warrant a reply – but lucky for you I already made a comment about this earlier. Go find it.

In another comment, dko5 stated:

“We’ve said it before, but we will not engage with temper tantrums, and personal attacks or virtriolic threads are completely unacceptable. We took a look in the mirror this week (lol – thanks for all the attacks guys) and decided we hadn’t met up obligations and are making changes because we believe in our approach.

I’ve been in the industry long enough to remember when players weren’t complete ass-hats to developers and it was pretty neat. I forged a bunch of long lasting relationships from back then. Would be awesome to get back there, and not engaging with toxic people or asking “how high” when a mob screams “jump” is hopefully a start.”

 

Even Frenchette himself berated fans for their allegedly poor behavior.

On August 20th, Vince Zampella (CEO of Respawn Entertainment) issued an apology via Twitter:

On Friday, we gave Apex fans an update on how we were changing the Iron Crown event. Some of the team then joined a discussion with our community on Reddit, and things got to a pretty bad place. Some of our folks crossed a line with their comments, and that’s not how we want Respawn to be represented. I apologize to any of our fans we offended. I will always stand behind the team here at Respawn and support them on speaking out against some of the toxic and nasty comments being directed at them, including everything from death threats to comments aimed at their family and loved ones. But we shouldn’t contribute to it when we do comment, and add to the very thing we want to prevent. We need to lead by example. Last week we didn’t do that, and going forward we will be better. Having an open, healthy relationship with our community is incredibly important to all of us at Respawn.

What do you think of the Respawn devs reactions and their subsequent apology? Sound off in the comment’s below!

Ryan Pearson

About

Taking his first steps onto Route 1 and never stopping, Ryan has had a love of RPGs since a young age. Now he's learning to appreciate a wider pallet of genres and challenges.