Behold: the bird-faced chopper that's Apex's newest status symbol.
(Image credit: EA)
The Iron Crown Collection event that debuted in Apex Legends today is a bite-sized Battle Pass: 12 new Epic items, 12 new Legendary items, a new currency, a separate store to spend that currency, a new loot box, a temporary solos mode, and a new set of temporary challenges. All this stuff arrives in the middle of Season 2, which itself features 100 levels of collectibles to grind through and rewards for completing daily and weekly challenges.
At the top of this timed-event mountain is the Raven's Bite, a new Heirloom-quality melee weapon skin for Bloodhound. Heirloom weapons are a tier above legendary in Apex—the rarest of the rare items that cannot be crafted, and, up until today, could not be purchased.
Acquiring the Raven's Bite means paying a lot of money in order to have the privilege of paying another amount of money. Pay to pay, you might say.
First you have to first unlock all 24 of Apex's new Iron Crown items. To get Iron Crown items, you must buy Iron Crown packs. Iron Crown packs cost 700 Apex coins, or about $7 each (Apex provides bonus currency if you buy more of it).
The good news, I guess, is that every player, whether they've spent a nickel in Apex Legends or not, gets two (but only two) Iron Crown packs if they complete a pair of challenges: racking up 25,000 damage and knocking out 20 daily challenges. Generously, then, you'd only have to buy 22 of these packs, or a minimum of $160 in currency when using the bulk rate to buy 18,200 Apex Coins and complete the set.
[inhale] Then you'd have to scrounge up an additional 700 Apex Coins in order to acquire the Raven's Bite, which is 3500 coins (effectively $35) by itself. Taking advantage of coin discounts, $170 is the least amount of money you can pay to get this digital hatchet and the other 24 items in the Iron Crown Collection.
VIDEO: I open an Iron Crown pack, plus a look at the Iron Crown Collection page in-game.
It might surprise you that a sum of money that you might otherwise use to buy an excellent gaming headset is actually a more reasonable fee than what Respawn asks for Apex's other Heirloom item set.
Wraith's three Heirloom items are only available in standard Apex packs, which cost a modest $1 each. Respawn says there's a less than 1 percent probability of an Heirloom Set dropping in any Apex pack, and that you're guaranteed to get an Heirloom set within 500 packs. So the maximum amount you'd have to spend to get Wraith's special kunai is $500.
The straightforward pay-to-pay scheme for the Raven's Bite is comparatively friendly. Instead of loading thousands of coins into a slot machine in the dark, you can just buy the Raven's Bite, which is admittedly a gorgeous in-game piece with a cute idle animation. It probably took weeks to create. When this temporary event ends in two weeks, the Raven's Bite will be shuffled into standard Apex packs just like Wraith's Heirloom dagger.
The Iron Crown Collection is complicated event, and Respawn and EA are definitely testing the waters of what players are willing to spend on time-limited premium items. A few of the new Legendary character skins are absolutely gorgeous, like Wraith's "Edgy Khaleesi" look or Bloodhound's conquistador-samurai hybird armor. Paying $7 for a loot box with a 50 percent chance to unlock one of these 12 legendaries is nuts, but it does pale in comparison to the $18 that legendary skins cost in Apex's existing, rotating storefront.
Although this otherwise free event represents one of Apex's most substantial patches since launch, the game's community is already reacting poorly to the high cost of these cosmetics. "I’m sorry Respawn, but this is where you lost me," the currently top-upvoted post on the game's official subreddit is headlined. The top three posts on the subreddit are encouraging other players not to spend money. "Most of these items and skins are phenomenal, but with the current pricing, its actually abysmal to think about," writes another prominent post. "So just to be clear, to unlock all items in the event, you must spend $200?" asks another. "It's disappointing but somewhat expected," writes another commenter. "I won't be opening my wallet for this event and I suggest you do the same if you want to protest these aggressive pricing tactics."