Apex Legends was developed by Respawn Entertainment and published by EA Game’s as their offering to the Battle Royale genre. With no prior announcement, Respawn Entertainment decided to simply release the game on February 4, 2019. So far, the reviews have been incredibly positive. Indeed, it is incredibly smooth for a newly released game that managed to attract over one million users to its servers within the first eight hours of its release.
It is based in the Titanfall universe, 200 years after the events of Titanfall 2. This allows players to access futuristic abilities and characters, such as the playable robot-legend, Pathfinder. As with the others, it is an FPS F2P title and the main difference so far seems to be that the different characters actually have different abilities, which means that skins do matter. However, EA has stated that they want to make the legends as balanced and synergistic as possible.
Apex Legends takes over Twitch
Despite the lack of advertising, the game immediately exploded. Top streamers soon found out about it and started playing it. By the second day, Ninja and Shroud had both managed to attract over 68,000 viewers. When Shroud ended his stream, there were even more viewers keeping Apex Legends at the first spot in the gaming category, as it moved from 120,000 viewers from the first day, to around 200,000 by the end of the second. Other streamers experienced similar results, with dakotaz also managing to cross 25,000 viewership mark.
Each character (champion) has their own unique backstory, according to the trailer. This hints that Respawn Entertainment might try to patch together some kind of motivation for the characters in a similar way that Overwatch does.
Apex Legends is three-man-squad-only with a maximum of 20 teams per map. The exception to this is where there are not enough players in queue and players may only be paired with a single teammate. The same holds true if a team-member disconnects from the server of leaves the game. There are no solo options. This makes choosing the right combination of characters more important, which is why the developer tried to keep the legends as balanced as possible, and why the game doesn’t allow for team-members to choose more than one of a particular legend per team. To keep it fair, the game determines the order in which teammates can select their hero, as well as a time restriction. This also forces players to master many of the characters instead of just focusing on a single legend. Unless of course the play with friends who also have a favorite character.
Once they have completed the tutorial, players will be able to form teams, either by joining up with their friends or through matchmaking. They will then be assigned a number for selecting their hero so that each teammate has a different champion, and therefore a mixed skill-set. Of course, with only 8 possible champions available for 20 teams, there is a good chance that players will find their characters fighting against and killing ‘themselves’.
As with other battle royales, each match starts with the teams being propelled out of an aircraft, in this case some sort of a futuristic jet-plane. One player will automatically be given the role of the ‘Jumpmaster,’ whom the other characters will automatically follow to where they choose to land, unless the other teammates opt out of following them. When they land, they then scramble around to find weaponry and items and work together to kill other squads before they are killed themselves.
The Ring closes in regularly, with less time between each. This slowly forces remaining squads into confrontation. Players can keep track of the remaining number of squads and their kill count in the top right corner of their screen.
Each match usually lasts between 1 – 20 minutes, depending on how crowded the landing-zone is and who grabs the best goodies first. Fortunately, players can keep track of the name and appearance of their current teammates’ legends on the bottom-left corner of their screen.
Players can verbally communicate with each-other by pressing ‘T.’
The terrain is extremely detailed and varied. While there is no destruction of property and building like there is in Fortnite, there is variance not just aesthetically, but also experientially. Players can land on airships at the initial launch and duke it out with other teams in mid-air or land in a normal zone. Some areas are mountainous, cavernous, built up or waterlogged.
There are tethered hot air balloons that players can climb up to either get a better vantage point or to launch themselves off of. This is useful, given that vehicles are purely ornamental at this time. Players can also climb on to rooves and up the mountains. However, players need to be careful, because if they don’t watch their footing, they can kill themselves by falling off the side of a cliff.
When a teammate is fatally wounded, their teammates have a small window period to revive them. If they don’t make it in time, then their teammate will really die and disappear, leaving their loot-box behind. Their loot-box contains all of their items as well as their banner. Players have a limited time-frame to claim the banner before the loot-box completely disappears. Once they’ve retrieved the banner, they can take it to a respawn bot, which can then revive their teammate. These bots can be found in several locations on the map.
Weapons and Inventory
Similar to CoD: Blackout, weapons and items have different levels of rarity, with rarer items having better stats. These items are scattered on the floor, in loot crates, in supply crates that are dropped during the game, or from, Lifeline’s Ultimate ‘Care Package’ skill and from the loot boxes dropped by killed legends. Their skins are set by the player, according to what they’ve unlocked either through Apex Packs, store purchases or crafting. Players can also find weapon attachments, which will automatically attach to the weapon when it’s picked up.
Players start out with 8 items slots each game. Six more slots can be unlocked by equipping backpacks and similar items.
Skins, Emotes and other Customizations
As players progress in the game, they will earn XP towards levelling up. At each level, they will receive different rewards, such as an Apex pack or Legend Tokens. Each pack contains a combination of three skins or other customizations, with Respawn Entertainment having guaranteed that once a player owns something, they cannot receive a duplicate item in the future. This means that players are always guaranteed to receive three new items per pack. Furthermore, there is a Bad Luck insurance mechanism built in to packs, whereby if a player doesn’t receive a Legendary item for 29 packs, they are guaranteed to find a legendary item in their 30th pack. Packs can also be bought with Apex Coins.
The current level cap is Level 100 with 45 Apex packs being awarded along the way. This means that players can currently win 135 free items through Apex Packs. After that level cap, players will only receive Legend Tokens. Respawn Entertainment has confirmed that as with Fortnite, all player levels will reset each season, meaning that they will be able to acquire another 45 free packs every three months, provided that they purchase an Apex Battle Pass.
Additionally, each pack guarantees that at least one item will be rare or better, with a 24.8% chance of an Epic. Potential items that can be contained in an Apex Pack include legend and weapon skins, legend finishers (the cut-scene shown when a player kills an opponent in close-combat), banner frames, poses and set trackers, kill and intro quips, as well as crafting metals. Each of these have different rarities, namely common, rare, epic and legendary.
There are three types of currencies in Apex Legends:
These are earned by players as they level up. These can be used to unlock new Legends (there are currently two bonus legends available, but it’s presumable that more will be released over time) and Exclusive weapon skins from the store. Each exclusive alternate skin is only available for a limited time and requires a base weapon skin to be activated. So far, it seems that store items are only Legendries.
They can be used to craft new items in the armory. These include legend and firearm skins; the cost of each weapon will depend on its rarity. The good news is that these are purely cosmetic changes to the weapons and will only affect how they appear to the player during the game, with no other added benefit. However, they can also be found in Apex Packs, so it may be wiser to save up for Epic or Legendary skins, than to spend crating metal on regular rare skins. As there are six main firearm categories each with three subclasses and a further
- Apex Coins
Outside of Battle Passes, Apex Coins can only be purchased with real-world money and are used to purchase four featured Legendary cosmetic items from the store. Each item cycles out of the store within 1-2 weeks, but can are also available as craftable items or Apex Pack drops. Apex Coins are also among the unlockable Battle Pass rewards.
Battle Passes are seasonal and allow players to earn skins and items that are exclusive to that season and accessible to Battle Pass holders only. Additionally, Apex Battle Pass holders also receive 1,000 Apex Coins, and both an Epic and Legendary Apex Pack. The first three skins are awarded immediately upon purchase, while the rest are award-based. Each season lasts for 3 months, with approximately 100 unique items being introduced each season. The Battle Pass only awards cosmetic items, so FTP players won’t have to worry about missing out on legends. When the first season was launched on March 18, 2019, the ninth Legend, Octane, was made available in the store. The first Battle pass cost 950 Apex Coins.
The game seems to combine elements of CoD and Overwatch over other games. It’s likely that there will be more to the game than what is currently available, as Apex Legends was only meant to be announced on February 4, 2019. Furthermore, the original patch required 12.77G of space and Respawn Entertainment already scheduled a patch update for February 6, 2019.