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Battle Passes - Yay or Nay?


Battle Passes  

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Wondering how people feel about the now ubiquitous battle pass in every other game?

 

I used to play a fair amount of Fortnite back (back when it first came out and had about 3 skins and they were treating it like an experimental mode for the now mostly forgotten campaign mode). When they announced they were going to use a battle pass model instead of loot boxes I really liked it. I don't think Fortnite was the first game to use this approach (I believe League of Legends was already doing it), but it was certainly the game that popularised it to the extent that every publisher and their dog jumped on the bandwagon.

 

At first I liked the model, it was relatively cheap, after the first payment it was essentially 'free' (deliberate scare quotes) in future as you got enough currency just playing for the next one. However, soon I started to find it exhausting as they added more and more content and limited time events to it. The whole model is built around FOMO.
 

With Fortnite, the breaking point for me was one night when I wanted to watch a film or try a new game (can't remember which) and found myself thinking 'Oh I can't, I have challenges I need to complete before the deadline', then caught myself and went hang on this is meant to be a leisure activity not my bloody job. After that I pretty much walked away. I appreciate this is partly due to my own psychology, but these practices are laser focussed how on to use people's behavioural tendencies. If you don't believe me read up on how much big publishers have consulted psychologists on their business practices.

 

Now I'm conflicted. Games have to monetise somehow and we're not going back to old models of buy a complete package (and expansions of it does well) any time soon. On the one hand it's far better than seedy gambling masquerading bloody loot boxes, but on the other hand it feels a bit tiring now every game does it. To fill up 100 tiers that also have to fill up games with all kinds of crap as it would cost way too much to make a 100 skins. Seriously, does anyone give a shit about things like nameplates and sprays.
 

I saw an interview with the Avengers devs (a game that seems to have fallen from the annoying modern trends tree and hit every branch on the way down) boasting that each character will essentially have their own battle pass. Screw that. I only have so much time and publishers planning for every AAA game they release to be long-term hobbies is not sustainable.

 

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Yeah, they're crap and overdone. Made me stop playing Clash Royale, as I seemed to be spending most of my gaming time 'claiming' stuff I didn't give a shit about. CoD has just got weird, just firing hundreds of useless callsigns and nameplates and gun knick-knacks and outre kill animations at you as some sort of signifier of value. Fall Guys has one, but their art style is so sparse it kind of looks like you are grinding to earn the colour blue or something. Unlocks are always going to feel good, but having to have 'seasons' of 100 just means there is so much tat.

 

(I'm the type of player who's idea of character creation is to hit the randomize button a few times, so maybe I'm a bad person to judge.)

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I don’t think I’ll buy any more of them. I don’t play fortnite but that one seems to have a really good amount of content. The PUBG and Destiny ones, which are the only ones I’ve bought and played through, were extremely unsatisfying to complete. 
 

I think it speaks to a larger problem with monetisation. Destiny is a great example, because the game started out with traditional expansions and still releases shit little ones. It was noticeable how pointless everything they added was when they switched models. They have to sell things, but they can’t sell things that actually have any function because selling gameplay advantages is bad. But that means everything you can buy is useless and does nothing. Now they’ve got the vast majority of their developers working on cosmetic shite and the game is completely stagnant. Every new update contains the absolute minimum of actual content and the majority of it is pointless, boring skins. And now to try to make it feel less stale they’re making all the stuff you could buy obsolete, furthering the feeling that all that stuff was completely pointless.

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I like them but I've managed to eject the FOMO with them. I don't feel compelled to buy every single one in every game I play now. I've not come across a battle pass that feels like it has mandatory content so you can just ignore them, but I am a sucker for cosmetic bullshit.

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I’ll buy them if the cosmetics and unlockables are good, but the last Apex one and this new CoD season 5 are pretty poor. I’ll just buy a new skin I like rather than paying for unlickable stuff I’ll never use.

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Yeah I think Fortnite gets it just right. You know what you're going to get, you just have to judge how much time you're willing to put in. And if you do it enough in, it pays for itself anyway

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I've not actually played a game with them (Fall Guys is structured for them and I guess I'm playing one there but you don't pay for it so not really).

 

But... I need them to be more than an XP grind if you want me to pay for it. Give me quests and tasks to do as well as just playing the game for XP. Basically like a set of achievements to get. Some I might get organically and others I might need to go out of my way, maybe even sacrifice my chance of success for a round or two.

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In the midst of my Street Fighter V addiction i'd eagerly anticipate Friday nights to do the next sat of challenges to accumulate that precious fight money. It was so hard to get i ended up hoarding it though - when I went cold turkey about 18 months ago I'd got 5.2 million saved up and still didn't want to buy anything. 


In SFV's case it takes so long to get competent with a single character I rarely wanted to try the others. I can imagine the Avengers game suffering a similar deal except of course for whales who will buy all the character passes even if they only regularly use one

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In theory I like the Battle Pass model – nice sense of progression without affecting game balance, have a goal for each play session, etc – but when every other game features one it's counter-productive. For example, I enjoyed playing Apex at launch but I didn't 'invest' in any of its Passes as I didn't have time, but now putting any time into the game almost feels like a waste because I know I'm not going to make any (meaningless) progress and I've already missed out on a bunch of fluff the completionist inside me wants to tick off.

 

It would be interesting to see how much of Fortnite's fortune stems from outright purchases rather than Battle Pass sales. Feels like the former is the actual money spinner.

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I voted yes  to this but from reading your posts I think things have changed since I last night bought passes.

 

It was for BF4 and amounted to several new maps etc. Didn't realise these days it was all skins and cosmetics. Can't be arsed with that.

 

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9 minutes ago, Down by Law said:

In the midst of my Street Fighter V addiction i'd eagerly anticipate Friday nights to do the next sat of challenges to accumulate that precious fight money. It was so hard to get i ended up hoarding it though - when I went cold turkey about 18 months ago I'd got 5.2 million saved up and still didn't want to buy anything. 


In SFV's case it takes so long to get competent with a single character I rarely wanted to try the others. I can imagine the Avengers came suffering a similar deal except of course for whales who will buy all the character passes even if they only regularly use one

 

I don't think there's much danger of the Avengers characters having much depth.

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58 minutes ago, iknowgungfu said:

I voted yes  to this but from reading your posts I think things have changed since I last night bought passes.

 

It was for BF4 and amounted to several new maps etc. Didn't realise these days it was all skins and cosmetics. Can't be arsed with that.


I think you’re thinking of season passes.

 

I think the progression of trends for how do publishers continue to monetise games over the years went roughly something like this.

 

- Standalone Game

- Standalone Game and then Expansion Packs, bought separately if you wanted them later.

- Game and Expansion Packs and additional 'Microtransactions’ (nothing micro about them)

- Single player is included out of the box, but you only get a ‘pass’ to use multiplayer if you bought it new. Dirty renters or second hand buyers have to pay £10 for the privilege (quite a short lived phase that EA we’re at the forefront of).

-  Season Passes (hey pay up front for expansion packs that you have no idea of the quality of in advance and will probably be cheaper than the price you paid when they eventually come out).

- Loot Boxes (euuuurrgghhh)

- Battle Passes


I’ve probably missed some stages.

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I don't care about skins. 

 

Especially in games where I can't see my characters.

 

They change nothing about the core experience. Utterly pointless to me. 

 

 

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As with everything (including entire games and DLC), it hangs on:

- How much I paid for the game,
- How much I'm compelled to continue playing the game, and
- How much value (in the form of enjoyment) I'm getting from your additional bullshit at said nominal fee.

If I'm still playing that game a fucking load and I like the stuff on the pass, I'll probably buy it - but I'll most likely won't bother playing at all if the pass is shit and my interest is wavering. Admittedly, my mindset is because most of the games I've played with a seasonal pass mechanic either gave me the pass with some other shit, or can be bought with currency earned in-game.
 

56 minutes ago, Stanshall said:

I'd much rather pay fifty quid for the game and unlock more interesting meaningful stuff through progression.


Unfortunately, picking the wrong games to play means paying fifty quid and still being bugged to pay for locked away, meaningless stuff behind piecemeal DLC, season passes and microtransactions. Just ask Bungie.

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The only F2P game I ever got into was Apex in its launch period, and I played the ever-loving shit out of it but then stopped the day they introduced the battle pass. No interest in paying to feel pressured into playing, so I took the opportunity to bow out. Never been back. 

 

I understand they have to make money somehow but the F29-nickle-and-dime model isn't for me, I think.

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37 minutes ago, DukeOfEarlsfield said:

Sorry, what’s a battle pass?

 

Quote

a type of monetization approach that provides additional content for a game usually through a tiered system, rewarding the player with in-game items for playing the game and completing specific challenges. Inspired by the season pass ticketing system and originating with Dota 2 in 2013, the battle pass model gained more use as an alternative to subscription fees and loot boxes beginning in the late 2010s

 

Wiki

 

E.g.

 

maxresdefault.jpg

 

Destiny 2 kind of has something like this as part of its seasons, but to me that's just a secondary distraction compared to new activities, new things that reward players with powerful gear, or specific exotic questlines...

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47 minutes ago, Harsin said:

 

- Single player is included out of the box, but you only get a ‘pass’ to use multiplayer if you bought it new. Dirty renters or second hand buyers have to pay £10 for the privilege (quite a short lived phase that EA we’re at the forefront of).

 

 

Interesting factoid about this stage I think I read on EG (and why it was so short lived) - publishers were horrified to find that well under half the playerbase even bothered redeeming the code.

 

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Fortnite is case study in watching a developer strip mine a game to monetise every aspect of it.

 

When it came out it basically had nothing. There was a tiny assortment of skins, one of which was assigned you randomly at the start of the game. Then they introduced a premium shop with a handful of items. Then they moved to the season/battle pass model and firing the tiers you basically  had.

 

  • Character skins
  • Emotes
  • Backpacks
  • Pickaxes
  • Gliders
  • Emblems
  • XP boosts

It expanded massively after that season by season.and I think that when I stopped playing it ages ago you had (split between the premium shop atone the battle pass).

  • Contrails
  • Sprays
  • Gun skins
  • Vehicle skins
  • Emojis
  • Loading screen art
  • Main menu background music
  • Pets
  • Throwable items

Like I say, unite a while since I played it, so there's probably more now.

 

CoD is going the same way. It's funny thinking back to when the fanbase shit a brick at them going with a sci-fi setting for Infinite Warfare and how they wanted a 'grounded, game. Now one of the best selling items for Activision is tracers, whereby people can make their gun (that may have a skin of anime girls on it) fire neon coloured tracers that make it look like people are firing pew pew Star Wars guns.

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1 hour ago, Qazimod said:

 

 

Wiki

 

E.g.

 

maxresdefault.jpg

 

Destiny 2 kind of has something like this as part of its seasons, but to me that's just a secondary distraction compared to new activities, new things that reward players with powerful gear, or specific exotic questlines...

Thank you for the explanation, but unfortunately I didn’t understand any of it. It sounds like paying to access a free-to-play game.

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I just cannot be bothered with them. Modern games are enough like work without having an actual set of real-world deadlines thrust upon me. Okay, I really got in to Death Stranding, but if I took a month off from that I wasn’t throwing money down the drain.

 

Remember when we all turned up on games like Halo 2 just because they were there and they were great?

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  • 2 weeks later...

If I was the kind of gamer who choose one game and stick with it a battlepass would be fine to keep things fresh and interesting, but being the kind of gamer that I am, buying far more games than I can ever care to finish I simply don't have any interest in them. I tend to go for games with singleplayer campaigns and rarely do I play a lot of multiplayer. I have one proper gaming night per week now, where I team up with some friends and we usually play two or three different games each night. 

I played a lot of Apex Season 2 last year but I only managed to get to level 30 in the battlepass before the season was over so I've got no chance in hell to ever reach the end. 

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Allow me to explain why they're a bit shit - they're an extension of the games as a service model which exist solely to suck up as much of your time as humanly possible. This might be okay if you only play one game, but generally I play loads. I started to begrudge logging on to Apex - a game I absolutely love - just because the season pass was looming over me for the dailies. Now imagine you've three of these types of games you want to play at once, all demanding countless hours from you, as well as whatever singleplayer games you want to play.

 

That's okay though. If you're falling behind on the battle pass, just toss them a hundred quid or whatever to skip the tiers. So it's either countless hours of your life to reach the maximum level or a mere hundred quid. How can you lose?

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