Last year I decided it would be a good idea to purchase the Battle Pass for PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS [PUBG] (Which you can read my thoughts on that experience here). By the end of that experience, I wanted to give the game a break considering how I dedicated 80 hours into the game in a one month time span. Despite not particularly loving the experience of reaching the maximum level possible for a battle pass last time, I decided this year to attempt a similar feat with the latest new Battle Royale game to feature a battle pass, Apex Legends.
Before I go into my experience with this particular battle pass, I should go over some differences between the two games. For those who haven’t played Apex Legends before, it is a Battle Royale first person shooter where you are placed in a squad of three with the task of becoming the last crew standing. Apex also features a small cast of “Legends” to choose from that feature different skills to use in and out of combat. Unlike PUBG, there is currently no option to play the game as individuals or in a squad smaller or larger than three. The game also features a revive function that allows for a member of the squad to revive a team-mate in one of a limited number of revival stations placed throughout the environment. As you can imagine, Apex Legends works best as a video game where the three members of the team get along and are able to coordinate strategies when it comes to engaging and escaping from combat. If even one member of the squad were to decide to go off on their own and try to get dozens of kills, that could doom the chances of the entire squad of winning the game.
This leads to my personal account of how the Apex Legends Battle Pass Experience was for me. Considering that it lasted for around 3 months total, I’m going to try my best to split each month into its own section to give a sense of progression of how my playstyle changed, how the game experience changed, and how my feelings on the game and the battle pass itself changed during this period of time.
When I first purchased the Battle Pass and checked out the potential rewards I could receive, to say that I was let down would be an understatement. I came into the pass expecting to find at least some neat character or weapon skins that I would admire, but many of awards were gun skins that all shared the same 3-4 uninteresting designs. As for character skins, there were barely any in the pass total, with most of them being unlocked at just level one… and they were not that great to be honest. If this was not bad enough, the actual level up process within the Battle Pass felt unnecessarily slow during the first month. I feel like some of the slowness came from the choice Apex Legends made to not include a battle pass achievement system that royale games like PUBG utilized to reward players who complete specific missions with experience points to level up the pass faster. Instead, they chose to add exp multipliers as rewards to stack, as a player progresses with the pass overtime. What made things slower personally for me was my unfortunate case of not having any friends available to play the game with me on PC. This meant that I not only had to play with random people who might not be so pleasant to be around, but I was unable to receive a vital point multiplayer for playing with friends on the Origin Client. Considering how the Battle Pass went up to level 100, I realized that it was entirely possible that I might not be able to reach even the halfway point if I did not manage to get over this leveling nightmare.
My frustration with the battle pass began to show itself online, as my month long efforts only got me to the mid 20’s. It was becoming frustratingly clear that playing 1 hour every day was not the way to approach the battle pass if wanted to make noticeable improvements. This meant that I had to approach Apex Legends with a mindset that I have not used in awhile, which is to think of it as homework. I needed to not spend 1 hour every day, but rather level up at least one level a day. This meant increasing my Apex playing time to at least two to three hours each day to ensure that even on a bad day that I could guarantee at least one level up in the pass. What helped in this process was focusing my attention on a point multiplayer for getting a first kill of a day with each legend before going back to my favorite, Caustic (the edgy gas scientist that likes murder and gas). An unintended consequence of this was purposefully choosing characters that did not match well with the other player’s characters in order to get that one bonus. Although I understand why the developers of Apex Legends did not want to implement the bonus exp mission structure found in the PUBG battle pass that could lead to players approaching the game in ways that hinder the overall experience, the encouragement of playing characters one doesn’t touch normally still lead players like me to tank the squad’s chances of victory for the sake of personal gain.
It should be of no surprise that this was also the month I used the mute player function of the game quite often when someone on my team either verbally chastised my skills, or decided to share with the class the number of slurs they felt comfortable screaming. It did not help that around this time, there were a couple of articles spreading around about the dwindling number of people playing and streaming Apex Legends in comparison to the juggernaut known as Fortnite. This would occasionally lead to me listening to a teammate rant about the “lazy devs” during the more quiet moments of a match, a conversation topic I found annoying rather quickly. Despite the initial panic I felt at the start of the second month, the routine I developed for clearing the Battle Pass was not only working (despite still not having any friends to play with), but I was also quickly becoming an actual good player of the game as well. I was even winning games! I was feeling remarkably confident towards the end of month two, as I went from not even reaching the 30’s to already going beyond level 50 in the battle pass.
The hopes for a pleasant race to the finish died during the last month of the Battle Pass. Within the first week, I had somehow reached the limit of Legend points I could earn while playing as Caustic, despite the game stating that 25,000 points would be added to the overall limit each week. Essentially, if I were to play as Caustic, I would no longer receive a vital score multiplier that boosts the battle pass exp depending on how long you played as a character during a round. It became clear that characters I once considered to be backups, in case someone else picked Caustic, now had to become my new mains. This also meant that my current method of just one level up per day was not going to cut it if I wanted to make it to the finish line before the last day. I had to start playing every day with the goal of leveling up the battle pass rank two times MINIMUM. This could mean leveling up only twice in the 2-3 hour play period I had set up for a weekday, or could sometimes mean leveling up 5-6 times during the weekend with breaks in between. Thankfully, I was able to boost my progress with this method alongside becoming more comfortable with different Legends to the point of winning games multiple times a week and sometimes per day.
This was also the month that Apex received some major updates that included new music that would play in the main menu and the start of matches, as well as a new game mode called Apex Elite, that would only let you play as long as you were placed in the top 5 in a recent match on standard. Sadly this meant for a brief period of time that the wait for finding a match with two random people to join with me would become quite lengthy before wait times mostly went back to normal. What sadly did not change, was an increase in players I was matched with either wanting to separate from the main squad to fight on their own, or wanting to land in the appropriately named location, Skulltown. The later would often lead to short matches where teams would kill each other rather quickly in the hopes of getting to the top five faster, while the former would often end in their death followed by an immediate disconnect before myself or the remaining teammate could attempt to revive them. Both cases usually involve a teammate screaming or typing “GODDD YUO GUYS SUK” to a point where I myself would occasionally get mad and would consider petty actions like choosing to play poorly in the hopes of dying faster and getting the chance to work with someone better.
Perhaps the most frustrating thing to happen this month was the devastating realization that level 100 was not the end goal of the battle pass. As it turned out, the BONUS section placed right next to 100 was actually the secret level cap that I had to reach to truly be finished, 110. What made things worse was that I discovered this terrifying truth with only five days left before the battle pass was over. The level up pace I had grown accustomed to immediately became obsolete. I had to find ways to play the game even LONGER than I already was if I was going to make it by the final day. Thankfully around the same time, the game would reward you with one instant level up per day if you managed to place top five in a match. However, this would sometimes mean playing through a few dozen bad matches for the sake of getting the one top five placement I could be comfortable ending the day with. All of this culminated with me sitting down in front of my computer the day before the battle pass ended, and not getting up from it for almost five hours until I reached 110. This could not have happened if it were not for two friends joining matches with me during my final hours to ensure I would finally earn the coveted Friend EXP multiplier that was always outside my reach. At long last, I had finally become the Apex Legend…. and proceeded to celebrate via sleep.
100%ing a Battle Pass for the second time has made it clear to me how immensely unpleasant the entire experience can be. The rewards I received for going through the process were honestly not worth the over 260 hours I put into the game, especially with the 110 level awards being a gif of a t-rex skeleton moving and a weapon skin for a gun I don’t even like using in the game. I tried to reward my efforts the day after finishing the battle pass by not playing the game, but I ended up having some sort of weird sensation in my brain when it realized I was removing Apex Legends from my daily schedule for the first time in three months. It got to the point where I could not bring myself to play another game on the computer for at least a week without feeling like I needed to be playing Apex instead.
My suggestion to anyone who ever buys a battle pass for any video game is to not go for the 100% goal, even if it seems more reasonable than what I went through. Before even buying the pass, look at the rewards for playing and see if there is more than one thing you really want to have. Maybe check and see what level you have to be to earn it in the first place? Try to set a goal that seems doable, not something that makes you grind against the game until you are even an inch away from it. My hope is that a method like this makes things like the Second battle pass for Apex Legends turn into something you can enjoy instead of a daily chore.
Hopefully I learn to take my own advice next year, when I inevitably end up playing another battle royale game with a daunting battle pass. Until then, I’ll see YOU… in Skulltown I guess.