Hello and welcome to the first and maybe only installment of Everybody Mad™, a new thing I’m trying because everybody’s real mad about Apex Legends. Specifically, everybody’s mad about a new axe skin in Apex Legends, which was introduced at the beginning of this week’s Iron Crown event. People normally get mad about video games items when they’re too powerful (or very rarely, when they’re not powerful enough), but that’s not the case this time. Everybody Mad™ because this axe costs $170. Hand to God.
Iron Crown’s exclusive loot drops don’t work the way you might expect them to. Unlike, say, Overwatch, where the seasonal event’s loot temporarily replaces the regular loot, Iron Crown loot boxes exist concurrently with Apex Legend‘s everyday, run-of-the-mill loot boxes. You can get two Iron Crown loot boxes for free by completing a specific Iron Crown challenge, but if you want more than just those two, you have to buy them with the game’s real-money currency, Apex Coins. A single Iron Crown loot box runs for 700 Apex Coins, or roughly $7.
But the axe doesn’t drop from Iron Crown loot boxes, or “Iron Crown Collection Packs,” as developer Respawn Entertainment calls them. Each loot box contains a random Epic or Legendary item from a potential pool of 24, and once you’ve collected all 24 exclusive Iron Crown items, you then gain the ability to purchase the axe, which itself costs 3,500 Apex Coins. Kotaku did the math and found that completing the whole process works out to around $170, provided that you purchase Apex Coins in the largest possible bundles, which provide enough bonus coins to purchase the axe itself once you’ve opened 24 loot boxes. Once you’ve got the axe, Bloodhound is the only character that can use it.
Reddit is having a grand old time lambasting Respawn Entertainment over the sheer absurdity of the situation, but as is often the case, the memes and goofs mask a genuine sense of betrayal. One user, in a thread entitled “Hey Drew, how’s that look in the mirror going?”, an interview with GamesRadar from last February is brought back to the surface, wherein Apex Legends lead Drew McCoy said: “In every aspect, we’ve asked ourselves, ‘can we legitimately look at ourselves in the mirror and say we’re doing the right thing here?’ That may mean that we’re leaving money on the table, and that’s OK.”
Other users are calling Iron Crown a “$200 Paywall Event,” and have accused Respawn of shifting development away from more pressing, ongoing issues in order to make Iron Crown happen. That sentiment is undoubtedly an oversimplification of the situation, but its indicative of the community’s temperament. Meanwhile, a not-insignificant portion of the community has started referring to Respawn as “rEspAwn,” emphasizing the letters that form the acronym for Respawn’s parent company, Electronic Arts.
EA, of course, enjoys what is perhaps the worst customer goodwill reputation in western video games, after its egregious microtransaction abuses in Star Wars Battlefront 2 went mainstream, prompting a worldwide push for legislation that is still ongoing.
As for Respawn and/or EA’s response to the outcry, well, there hasn’t been one. When the event first started, Respawn did say that the axe would find its way into the normal loot box pool after Iron Crown ended, but if its anything like a similar “Heirloom” item, you may have to open as many as 500 loot boxes to get it.