The Battle Pass Is The Worst Thing To Happen To Modern Gaming

Maybe it's time to look for an alternative solution.

                                                                            Story Highlights

  • The battle pass is a form of monetization that lets players unlock items by playing through the game.
  • At a glance, battle passes are a good way to support developers, especially for F2P games.
  • Many games feature a maliciously designed battle pass that is exploitative for players.

If you’re an adult in your mid-to-late twenties, picture this: You’re at the office. You’re working under strict deadlines to meet a meaningless quota so you can get a pat on the back for a job that means nothing to you. When you’re done, you come home and decide to play a game. You want to try out that fancy new game you just bought, you’ve heard it’s amazing – but wait! 

You feel a cold, icy grip on your shoulders. Your blood runs cold and your heart starts screaming in morse code. You turn around and you see the dreaded evil. Your favorite game has a new limited-time battle pass. Better go grind it out quickly before it goes away. 

As a developer and a publisher, of course, you would want your games to be played regularly. Unfortunately, their solution feels deeply malicious and manipulative.

Battle Passes

Diablo 4
Diablo 4 is a $70 game with a paid battle pass.

A battle pass is something most online games have nowadays, but what is it really? Remember when multiplayer games used to have progression systems that would always give you new goals to work towards while playing? Things include unlocking those shiny golden weapon skins in Call of Duty 4 or working towards unlocking that one armor set in Halo 3. 

A battle pass is just that, you play, you earn XP and that unlocks cool rewards as you level up through it. The catch, however, is that now you have to purchase the ability to grind out these passes to get the rewards, and also they are on a timer. Each battle pass lasts for a limited time and once that period is over – poof! it’s gone, for good. 

So not only are you paying to unlock a game’s progression system, but it can also be taken from you as soon as the current season ends. Didn’t have enough free time to grind out the last battle pass? Sucks to be you, pal. 

Remember when multiplayer games used to have progression systems which would always give you new goals to work towards while playing?”

It’s a system that aggressively preys on your FOMO and feeds into the idea of “if I don’t grind out this battle pass then I would’ve wasted all my money.” when the real concern should be “Why do these companies have the right to take away content I paid for?” 

The kicker is that with nearly every game jumping on the battle pass trend, it makes it almost impossible to keep up with if you’re enjoying more than one game. Whether it’s Fortnite or Overwatch, you’re meant to keep playing and keep churning the never-ending grind. Don’t you dare stop, don’t you dare move on to another game. 

Another major issue is the Battle Pass progression itself. When I talked about Embark’s excellent “The Finals”, I mentioned its slow progression. It was so slow in fact, that many players decided that it would be impossible to level up through this battle pass unless they were playing frequently every single day.

It takes 59 days’ worth of challenges to beat The Finals’ battle pass
byu/1-UP_Media inthefinals

In theory, a battle pass is a great middle ground between the customer and the developer/publisher. It keeps the servers running and gives developers the funds for future content. With game development getting progressively more expensive it’s a good way to support the games that you enjoy. There are even games that do it in a way that doesn’t feel greedy in the slightest.

A Healthy Middle-Ground

Helldivers 2
Helldivers 2 is one of the very rare games that get monetization right.

I think the two games I’ve played that do this fantastically are Helldivers 2 and Deep Rock Galactic. There’s none of that ugliness that you find in other live service games such as Overwatch and Diablo 4. The key factor behind why Deep Rock and Helldivers 2 work when most of their contemporaries don’t is simple: The battle passes are permanent. 

While Deep Rock Galactic doesn’t have paid battle passes to begin with, since they’re all free. Helldivers 2 does require a premium currency called “Super Credits”. The reason that’s not a bad thing though is because Super Credits are very easy to earn just by playing the game normally. Once you have enough Super credits, you can choose to purchase the battle pass and level through it at your own pace.

Helldivers 2 shows how you monetize a game without greed and correctly. Diablo can learn a lot from that
byu/Gilbert-from-Yharnam indiablo4

Who knew that giving the player the agency to grind for the things they want when they want feels better than forcing them into what feels like menial, soul-crushing labor? 

Hunt: Showdown does something similar. While the battle pass unfortunately does end as new seasons come and go, the game is fairly generous with its premium currency. The battle pass itself also gives you enough currency to get the next one without really spending anything. Another cool thing is that f you missed out on unlocking the new weapons the game adds it to the weapon pool after the season ends whether you progressed through the battle pass or not. 


Overwatch 2
I could probably add an entire segment here venting out my frustrations with Overwatch 2 but this has gone long enough as is.

Some exceptions aside, I don’t think the battle pass is a net positive for gaming with how they’re implemented in most live service titles. Back then games could only try to grab your attention, now they boldly demand your attention by exploiting you as a person. It’s a system that is tailor-made to wring the most amount of profit out of the consumers. 

I’ve played numerous online games over the past few years and despite enjoying many of them, I immediately lose interest when playing said game starts to feel like a job, which is exactly what doing battle passes feels like. I think this is a system that could work if it’s implemented sparingly, but in a climate where every game is demanding your attention, just how many games can you keep up with before burning yourself out? 

Did you find this helpful? Leave feedback below.

Thanks! Do share your feedback with us. ⚡

How can we make this post better? Your help would be appreciated. ✍

Subscribe to our newsletter and get up-to-speed gaming updates delivered to your inbox.

We don’t spam! Read more in our privacy policy.

Subscribe to our newsletter and get up-to-speed gaming updates delivered to your inbox.

We don’t spam! Read more in our privacy policy.

Nameer Zia is a video game News Writer on eXputer obsessed with hunting down all the latest happenings in the industry. Nameer has been gaming for more than 15 years, during which he has spent more than 3,000 hours on Overwatch 1 & 2. As a literature student, his literary chops feed into his passion for games and writing, using eXputer as the medium to deliver the latest news in the industry. Websites such as GamingBolt and IGN have also credited his works.

Experience: 4+ Years || Previously Worked At: Tech4Gamers || Education: Bachelors in English Literature.

Related Articles

Join Our Community

Enjoyed this article? Discuss the latest gaming news, get expert help with guides and errors, and chat about all things gaming on eXputer Forums and Discord Server. Connect with fellow gamers who share your passion by becoming a part of eXputer's community.