Battle Passes and Diversity – Up the Creek With Paa

Hi everyone!

Thanks for stopping by this month’s Up the Creek with Paa! We’re starting things off strong for our second entry with some very good questions about Battle Pass practices and representation in the scope of World of Warcraft and the larger Blizzard Gaming Universe! Hope you enjoy this one and as always you can submit questions via our form or feel free to DM them to me on Discord (Paacreek#1590), Twitter, or wherever else you might be able to find me!

Would you say that battle passes will become the norm for multi-player games? Do you think it's sustainable? That gamers will accept that? At what point is a company clearly just trying to be greedy? Are there games that do Battle Passes right?

This is a great question and something that we mention frequently on our show at Experimental Card. Battle Passes seem like a new thing because so many companies are already trying to capitalize on them after seeing their competitors be successful. I’m going to break this one down question by question and give my overall thoughts at the end.

Would I say battle passes will become the norm for multiplayer games?

Overall yes, and we have to look at DLC as a whole first in order to properly dissect this, to which I’m just going to say that Battle Passes are already the norm in some popular multiplayer games today.

We already have several major games such as Dead by Daylight, Apex Legends, Fortnite, Valorant, and Genshin Impact, that all have some form of a Battle Pass, with Fortnite probably having recently redefined the Battle Pass experience as a whole. I do not think that we’d be seeing a lot of these Battle Passes across multiple genres if it were not for the success of Fortnite.

Obviously, I acknowledge that DOTA 2 did the Battle Pass first, but I do believe Fortnite has changed the experience in recent times.

Fortnite: Fortnite's Battle Pass usually introduces a number of base outfits with new variations of them being unlocked down the road, most end the Pass having at least five variations.

Do I think it’s sustainable?

DLC in general is going to be sustainable because it’s already been established as the norm, the only thing that I see changing over time is the delivery or the way we’re programmed to look at additional content. Overall, sustainability will depend on the game rather than the industry as a whole. With some games it totally makes sense to have a Battle Pass because they operate in seasons — like mini-expansion passes (I could definitely relate this to World of Warcraft but I’m already getting long-winded).

At what point is a company clearly just trying to be greedy and are there games that do Battle Passes right?

I think that GaaS and DLC are a predatory practice as a whole nowadays, but I also understand that it makes sense for some games. I don’t have a dedicated side as in support or in opposition of this if I’m being completely transparent. I’m a frequent purchaser of Battle Passes for a lot of the games I play, but I can justify getting these Battle Passes because I find entertainment and enjoyment from them.

So, I don’t see those companies as greedy. What’s greedy to me is the introduction of Battle Passes into games that don’t have a reduced price or are free-to-play. 

Overwatch 2: Overwatch's Battle Pass provides consistent rewards for the first 85 levels, but actually requires more time to unlock the Titles.

In free-to-play games, it’s absolutely fair for companies to have a Battle Pass or a premium/paid version of one as well, and it makes sense because it’s meant to keep the ongoing production of the game.

In my opinion, Fortnite absolutely dominates the Battle Pass game, so much so that it’s the reason why any game that came out after it has a Battle Pass. Not only did they redefine the Battle Pass, but they should be considered the standard. Fortnite provides so many cosmetic options. It’s less than $10 USD (950 V-Bucks), and leveling the Battle Pass is completely interactive and fun because there are so many quests and challenges you can do all season.

Plus, it’s not hard to complete. In moving forward with Overwatch 2, Blizzard should definitely be looking at Fornite’s shop, Battle Pass, and quest systems and loosely copying their homework.

To just sum everything up neatly, I don’t think Battle Passes are inherently bad. We have to look at the intent behind them, what you get from them, and match that against the value of your time.

However, we shouldn’t need Battles Passes as the norm, especially if I’ve already paid full price for a game (looking at you Diablo IV). I’m getting older, and with that starting to value my time more than I have before. So, I ask myself with many of these purchases if that’s what I want my money to support, and if I want to spend that much time playing a game. Hope this helps some!

Have you played Dragonflight? What do you think of the diversity and inclusion changes? Naleidea Rivergleam Is a new blood elf NPC that introduces the player to the Dragonscale Expedition. There are many side quests that center around LGBT couples as well.

Just because it doesn't matter to you does not mean that it doesn't matter.

Before I even get started, I just need to say that before I am an American, I am a Naleidea Rivergleam fan! With that being said, I commend Blizzard for being more aware of the lack of inclusion in-game. A lot of people might roll their eyes at this, but I think it’s important to discuss and be aware of it.

I want to speak directly to a specific part of the WoW community when I say this “Just because it doesn’t matter to you does not mean that it doesn’t matter.” 

There are too many times within this community that I see people saying this is Blizzard getting political, virtue signaling, or trying to find some kind of way to explain this in the lore and insisting there are just some things that don’t need explanation. 

Rebecca Lee is the voice behind Naleidea Rivergleam, and just like me: Libra AF.

In a role-playing game where people put parts of themselves into their characters, the idea that we shouldn’t get to represent who we are in a game that features player self-expression is absolutely ridiculous.

It’s easy for non-marginalized people to laugh or prod at important topics like diversity, equity, and inclusion, but the reality of this is that those people are completely incapable of being able to relate with us when it comes to inclusionAnother part of me says: “Why did it take you so long to catch up?” Blizzard in general has not had the best relationship with representation in the past.

A few things I would like to point out is that Blizzard hasn’t had a character who’s a Black woman up until 2019 across all their franchises. It took until 2020 to be able to play as a non-white character in World of Warcraft. In Overwatch 2, Sojourn is the only Black woman in the entire hero roster. In addition to that, we were also told she’d be the new box art character, which in essence, sounds like there’d be more of a concerted effort to put her in the spotlight. 

I would like to point out Blizzard hasn’t had a character who’s a Black woman up until 2019 across all their franchises.

I mention these as grievances, but on the player side of it, there are still so many micro- and direct aggressions that we deal with from other players, and Blizzard either doesn’t know how to prevent or turns a blind eye to it. While certain words may be banned from chat and stop certain messages from showing up, people can still finesse this in so many different creative ways. It makes you wonder why they have done more to prevent people from saying “gg ez” than trying to find ways to keep slurs out of their chats as a whole.

So while I am beyond ecstatic to see more and more marginalized groups getting represented in-game, I simply cannot ignore the fact that Blizzard doesn’t really do a lot to help ensure a safer play environment for those marginalized groups. 

My outlook isn’t all that bleak, but. I do have hope, and I think this progress does need to be commended to a certain degree because this is better than the scraps of nearly nothing that we’ve gotten over the decades with them. It’s not there yet but it is getting better. 


Show Host

Paacreek is one of the most casually competitive Overwatch players you'll ever meet, what does that even mean? He doesn't even know but he's beyond excited to share his love of Overwatch with the world. You can catch him creating content on YouTube, Twitch, Tik Tok, and more but now you'll be able to hear some of his more off the wall thoughts and opinions with the Experimental Card podcast.

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