I’m A Slave To The Battle Pass

Across the past decade microtransactions have gradually permeated their way into about every facet of gaming culture. Loot boxes, skins packs, and bonus DLC. For the most part I’ve prided myself as someone who saves those precious pounds, and rarely looks twice at some fancy new skin. In fact, for the longest time I quietly and secretly mocked those that splurged on such needless extremities.

Yet as I have increasingly turned to Apex Legends this past couple of months, I decided that I played the game enough to warrant the purchasing of my first ever battle pass, for its sixth season of content. Upon purchasing, I was treated to the various weekly challenges, which gifted you battle pass levels and XP towards your BP rank. Of course, as a newbie to the whole battle pass experience, I gladly obliged.

We are now on the seventh week of season 6, and I am hell bent on reaching the end of this infernal affair, and I simply cannot stop. With word spreading of my friends blitzing the Modern Warfare battle pass in mere weeks, I thought I could easily pat myself on the back with my newly minted G7 Scout skin. Yet seven weeks in and I sit at rank 63 out of 100. I’m getting there, but the clock is ticking. With a handy little reminder sitting idly at the top left of the menu screen, the days count down to the end of this season, and with that, the threat of losing out on that exclusive skin.

The inclusion of Apex Coins is the initial hook, promising that if you pay and work your way through the battle pass, you won’t need to pay for the next or the next. It is a devious little way of keeping those players logging in day after that. Not since the days of Destiny have I flirted with the idea of daily challenges, yet without fail, if I have slither of free time, I gleefully hear that famous PlayStation beep, and the jolly taunts of my favourite legends are quickly echoing through my headset. However, there is something psychological that goes beyond the need to save on money.

Part of me believes that this impulsion is in its presentation. In a simple listed format, you can easily keep track of each challenge, and with seven weeks of said challenges, they have become quite plentiful. You see, I have always been a list person. Household chores; write a list. Things to buy; write a list. I even have a large whiteboard in my office detailing daily, weekly and monthly to-dos in various separated lists, and quite often writing something down in a list officialises it in a way that urges it into reality. So yeah, I am a list person. The satisfaction of striking another item off becomes a goal I must achieve, and that seems to have translated to Respawn’s deliciously time-consuming battle pass.

As I creep one level closer to the completion, I don’t even want to consider the implications of it rolling over to its seventh season of content. Apex has categorically conquered my gaming time over the last couple of months, to the point that a game like Marvel’s Avengers, which I paid the premium £60 price for, has been left to gather its digital dust.

While of course, there is a level of enjoyment being had, as I find Apex far more complex gameplaywise, I’m unsure of whether I want this trend of mine to continue. I had planned to spend the PS4’s sunset months working through my backlog of unfinished games. But for now, let’s just say I really want that G7 skin.

Published by Aaron Bayne

I’m a film and video games journalist based in Scotland. I write stuff about them on my website, talk about them on my podcasts and film videos about them for BBC The Social.

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