They say you’ve got to spend money to make money. In the case of Apex Legends’ new event, you’ll have to spend $160 to earn the opportunity to spend $10 to unlock a $35 virtual axe. Confused? Oh, my friend, we’re just getting started.
Raven’s Bite is an Heirloom-quality melee weapon added as part of Apex Legends’ Iron Crown Collection event. Heirloom is the highest tier of items in Apex Legends, so you’d expect the axe to be pretty expensive. Raven’s Bite will cost you about $170, and you have to jump and/or buttslide through a ridiculous series of hoops to get it.
The Iron Crown Collection contains 24 other rare and legendary-quality items players can unlock. In order to sink your own loot-hungry teeth into Raven’s Bite, you’ve first got to unlock every other item in the collection. This involves—what else?—opening event-specific loot boxes, which thankfully do not contain duplicate items. You can pick up a whopping two of those loot boxes by earning an event-specific in-game currency called Crowns via in-game challenges. However, you’ve got to buy the rest with the game’s regular currency, Apex Coins. Iron Crown packs go for around $7 a pop in said currency. That totals out to $154, but you have to buy coins in packs. If you want to get the least-bad bang for your buck, your best bet is to grab two packs: one that contains $100 worth of coins and another that’s worth $60. This will leave you with some bonus coins (pricier packs contain additional coins), which will come in handy.
With every other Iron Crown item unlocked, you do not simply obtain Raven’s Bite. Instead, you unlock the right to purchase it for 3,500 coins, or around $35. Because you will, by this point, have a couple thousand coins left over, you’ll only need to purchase an additional 1,000 coins for $10. Then, finally, the axe will be yours. For a total of $170.
To be fair, it’s a neat-looking axe. Is it $170 of neat? In my travels across both coasts of the continental United States and Japan those two times, I would argue that I’ve never seen an axe I’d spend $170 on—real or virtual. But that’s just me. I bet there are some pretty good axes out there. I should travel more.
Apex Legends fans are not thrilled. The game’s subreddit is in revolt over this clear test of people’s tolerance for complex microtransaction schemes, with people saying that this is where Apex Legends “lost” them and warning others not to spend money on Iron Crown packs. Even big Apex Legends streamers like Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek—who helped consult on the game before it came out—find the whole thing mind-boggling, asking during a recent stream “Why would they include this?”
Apex Legends’ only other Heirloom-quality set, Wraith, is similarly surrounded by a moat full of loot boxes and guarded by a dragon (also made of loot boxes). There’s a less than one percent chance that the Wraith set will drop, but you’re guaranteed to get it after opening 500 regular, non-event loot boxes. Regular loot boxes mercifully cost $1, but that’s still hundreds of dollars in total if you go the pure spending route. After the Iron Crown event wraps up, Raven’s Bite will, according to developer Respawn, enter Apex Legends’ regular loot pool, likely with similar odds to the Wraith set.