Respawn Entertainment is offering an expression of regret regarding Apex Legends' ongoing Iron Crown event. The event drew controversy due to a restrictive microtransaction system that made it difficult for players to earn event-exclusive skins. Respawn is now acknowledging that it "missed the mark" with the Iron Crown event. As such, changes are being made to how Apex Legends players can purchase Iron Crown items. Long-term changes are also being planned.
The problem with Iron Crown's microtransactions is that the only way to earn the event's exclusive skins is by purchasing $7 loot boxes. Players can earn a maximum of 2 such loot boxes through gameplay, but there's enough new content to fill 24 such boxes. Players who aren't lucky enough to get the skin or skins they want in those first 2 loot boxes would be forced to purchase as much as $154 in loot boxes to get what they want.
While the microtransactions on their own would have been controversial, Respawn's bigger mistake was breaking a promise it had made. Respawn promised to its players at launch that it would only monetize Apex Legends in a way that was fair and respectful of players' money and time. While the way Apex Legends runs loot boxes may never have truly lived up to those kinds of ideals, the severity of the Iron Crown monetization was clearly beyond what players believed was acceptable.
To offer some recourse, while still respecting the purchases of those who already spent money during the Iron Crown event, Respawn is making a change. Starting August 20, a rotating selection of the Legendary rarity skins exclusive to Iron Crown will be made available for direct purchase. These items will cost 1,800 Apex Coins, which is about $18. They're very expensive, but Respawn thinks it's only fair since many players have already spent that or more on the $7 loot boxes just for a chance at a skin.
In the future, Respawn says that it will offer different ways to earn items other than by buying Apex Packs.
What's unfortunate about Respawn's message is that it very obviously avoids language that would make it an apology. Respawn says that it "missed the mark" and that it "needs to be better" but never says sorry or goes so far as to say a mistake was made. Which, considering it admitted to breaking a promise, seems particularly odd. It's a very corporate way of dealing with controversy. That's not uncommon when dealing with Electronic Arts, but it is uncommon for the normally empathetic Respawn.
Whether or not the changes being made to Iron Crown will be received well by the Apex Legends player base remains to be seen. Attitudes toward loot boxes are already low. A promise by Respawn to offer more loot boxes with alternative purchasing options isn't likely to instill a lot of excitement, apology or not.
Apex Legends is available now on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.