Hotcakes: Make Battle Passes Suck Less

How more developers are figuring this crap out.

I’m all about rewarding good behavior here at MMO Fallout and showcasing customer friendly business practice, and over the last year or so I’ve been focusing heavily on battle passes for that effect. Battle passes are an ever evolving system that some developers continue getting wrong, but others mostly have the right idea. And I think we’re seeing a gradual shift in how companies use battle passes to generate income.

Specifically for this article I’d like to propose that time-limited battle passes are going the way of the dodo. Actually strike that, as it would imply total extinction. Time-limited battle passes are going the way of McDonald’s bratwurst, in that they won’t be gone completely but there’s going to be less of them over time. I spoke about this last year when Vigor announced that it was bringing back old passes, making them available for new players to buy and old players to complete.

Since then Halo: Infinite has jumped on board with a halfway-there idea. Season passes still rotate out of the store once every x-months, but if you buy a pass you have an infinite amount of time to complete it. No more trying to grind those 100 levels before the three month timer runs up. Dauntless meanwhile is working on an update to re-release previous hunt passes, as well as making them and the bounty points you get no longer expire.

To give players an opportunity to explore legacy content they may have missed when it first launched, we’re re-releasing previous Hunt Passes. This comes with an important change: Once purchased, Hunt Passes will not expire.

Like Event Passes, you will be able to choose which of your Hunt Passes is active at any time. Switch between them easily to unlock the rewards in the order you want.

I think more developers are realizing that they can retain the casual crowd easier by not putting such arbitrary demands on their time and efforts. The time limits on passes exist because companies want to rotate out the content. They’re also so predatory developers can sell skips for real money, but again I don’t think this played out in the way they expected. Your average casual customer isn’t going to shell out $1-2 per level to catch up on a game they’re not that enthused with.

In fact I’d be willing to bet that the whole system is more likely to make them quit. There’s a few games I haven’t gone back to because I’ve missed season passes and the game just feels like it’s taunting me with all the cosmetics I’ll never be able to obtain but have to see others walking around in. The concept is idiotic, and the benefits of creating this subculture of smarmy idiots acting superior because they got the thing surely doesn’t outweigh the lost income and engagement from people who are disenfranchised.

Look, this is an MMO website. I completely understand the idea of the “I want this to show I was there.” But limiting battle passes on a timer is some dumb bullcrap and the faster the concept dies out the better. What it amounts to are developers asking for $10-15 for content that they’ll eventually rob the player of ever obtaining if they don’t treat the game like a part time job. It’s 100% arbitrary, meant to bully players into engagement, and is often just a landing pad for predatory behavior that builds contempt over time.

And I’m not even suggesting removing the level skip option. Keep it in, your hardcore “I want it now” players are probably the bulk of people buying those skips in the first place. I also understand that not all battle passes can be brought back in cases where licensing deals would prohibit it. But the more this industry fades away from exploiting FOMO, the better off it will be.

Otherwise I have no opinion on the matter.

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