The new Peacekeeper skin fundamentally misses the mark.
Cosmetics in Apex Legends can get pricey. It’s a free-to-play game in which cosmetics largely have no effect on gameplay at all, so most players have simply gotten used to the sticker shock that you see on some items that enter the game, such as Heirlooms. After all, if you play the game for as much time as you would be playing three or four $60 single-player games but for free, it gets a little bit easier to justify splurging on a cool knife or sledgehammer your favorite character gets to wield.
That’s been the pattern the game has followed for a while now: Heirloom and Prestige skin rewards tied to collection events that reward you with very cool and unique cosmetics for high prices. It’s a lot of money and some players might say that the practice is even a bit predatory, but it’s become a comfortable and familiar rhythm for Apex players.
The newest event in Apex changes that rhythm, however. Instead of a new, unique Heirloom with custom animations or a Prestige skin that players can work toward leveling up to its full form, players who purchase all the cosmetics on offer in the Celestial Sunrise event will receive a weapon skin. And not just a weapon skinit’s a recolor.
The Jadeite Retribution Peacekeeper skin is a recolored version of the season three battle pass rewards for completing the battle pass, the Frostbite and Blood Stone Peacekeeper skins. They’re highly sought-after skins thanks to their reactive nature, which causes the crystal formations along the barrel of the weapon to push out as the player gets more and more kills with it.
The Frostbite and Blood Stone skins cost $10, the price of the battle pass, and required players to complete the battle pass to unlock them (alongside all the other cosmetic rewards they receive from the battle pass). This recolored version of the same skins? $160.
Typically, Apex doesn’t bring back battle pass offerings from previous seasons, and when it does, they’re usually recolored and otherwise altered in small but significant ways to be sold. Even then, these skins are usually sold at normal Legendary skin prices, around $20. To have a recolor of an old skin cost as much as a Mythic rarity item like an Heirloom or a Prestige skin is a new low for the monetization in Apex, and fans have immediately made their feelings clear on the subject.
The monetization models of FTP games will always be sticking points with the communities that play them. Developers and publishers need to make money on these games, just the same as players have the right to feel hard done by some items in the game or claim they’re predatory.
What the Peacekeeper skin reward fundamentally misunderstands about the Apex community is that by and large, many players want to reward a game they love. They want to spend some money here and there on one of the best battle royale experiences you can play. Apex took the place of multiple other games in people’s lives, and it was free, so who’s to say that purchasing an Heirloom that you really want isn’t a good way of saying “thank you” to a game that takes up so much of your time?
Offering up a recolor for the same price as an Heirloom doesn’t feel like an honest offering to make player’s purchases worthwhile, and it especially doesn’t in a season that’s been riddled with complaints about stale content cycles, including other recolor skins as full-priced event items, and bugs.
In the end, every Apex player knows that buying an Heirloom or a Prestige skin is a little silly. It’s hundreds of dollars for special pixels on a screen. But they’re special pixels in a game that players have often poured days, weeks, and even months of time into. And if the game continues to be special, those pixels are worth it, even if buying them is just a player’s way of saying thanks.
The Celestial Sunrise event doesn’t feel like an opportunity to say “thank you” for a game. It feels like an attempt to diminish the quality of cosmetics Apex offers players in their events. And if the immediate player reaction is anything to go by, it’s not a smart monetization path for the game to pursue if it wants to be around for a few more years.