Respawn’s Apex Legends is releasing its 13th season of the franchise. After many years of new game modes, characters and maps, the new “Saviors” season brings significant changes to one of the most beloved modes in the popular shooter game.
New Legend: Newcastle
As always, the release of a new Apex Legends season means a new competitive legend. This season, players will see the introduction of Newcastle, otherwise known as “The Hero of Harris Valley.” However, his story ties into other legends more than players had expected.
The first released Season 13 trailer shows two legends, Bangalore and Loba, talking about Bangalore’s replacement since she was planning on departing from the games after finding out about the death of her brother Jackson. Bangalore stated that she was only fighting in the games for her family, and now that he is gone, she can leave too.
This quickly sparked rumors that Bangalore would be permanently leaving the game. These speculations were pushed aside as players realized that Respawn is unlikely to permanently retire a legend, considering that many players have spent money on customizations for these characters. Though, no one knows for sure until the season’s official release.
The trailer then turns into a battle royale, featuring all the players coming together to fight what appears to be a new monster. After Bangalore fights alongside the new legend, Newcastle, she takes off his helmet to reveal his identity: her brother, Jackson.
As a defensive character, Newcastle brings a lot of new helpful abilities when working on a team. He is the fifth defensive legend in Apex Legends, joining the ranks of Caustic, Gibraltar, Rampart and Wattson. All three of his abilities will benefit the entire squad more often than just himself:
Passive: “Retrieve the Wounded” — Newcastle can drag his downed teammates while reviving and protecting them with his Revive Shield.
Tactical: “Mobile Shield” — Newcastle can throw a controllable drone that creates a moving energy shield.
Ultimate: “Castle Wall” — Newcastle can jump and slam down on a target ally or area and create a fortified stronghold.
Reworked Map: Storm Point
Rather than introducing a brand-new map, Respawn elected to reimagine a map that players are already familiar with. Storm Point, first introduced in Apex Legends Season 11, is getting a monstrous update. The most significant addition is a new point of interest (POI) known as the “Downed Beast.”
In the season release trailer, legends are seen working together to take down a terrifyingly large creature that emerges from the water. After their successful takedown of the beast, it has become the perfect place for looting. Players can go in and around the monster, allowing for new tactical plays against enemy squads.
Other new POIs come from map extensions called the “IMC Armories.” These large, rectangular armories seem to be dormant and left underground for many years. The monster emerging from the water caused an earthquake, making the armories pop out of the ground and become playable ground.
The armories have valuable weapons, but they come at a price. If players choose to loot from the armories, they have to deal with a flurry of robotic guards known as Spectres. If players survive the waves of Spectres for 60 seconds, they will receive “smart loot.” Additionally, the more Spectres players can kill, the more loot they will receive. These additions, including Newcastle, can be seen in the gameplay trailer.
As previously mentioned, this map reworking introduces the idea of smart loot. This can come in the form of dropped loot from Spectres or loot boxes found around the map. Smart loot is defined as loot tailored to an individual player. Nothing is more frustrating than opening box after box only to find the items are not what you need or are at levels lower than what you already have. Smart loot erases that problem, automatically offering the player loot that is an upgrade from what they already have or an attachment they are missing for their weapons.
The last update to the map includes changes to creatures that players have become familiar with running into. This “quality of life” update adds some new terrain to already established Prowler and Spider nests and introduces a handful of new ones to find around the map. Players can look forward to fighting nonstop in the new Storm Point map because if you aren’t fighting an enemy squad, you’ve got plenty of AI to deal with instead.
Game Mode Modifications: Ranked Reloaded
While the introduction of a new legend and an interesting update to a map is exciting for players, Season 13’s most significant update pertains to ranked gameplay. Ranked leagues, which have been around since the game’s second season, allow players to compete and get placed in divisions based on skill. Once established, players can climb the tiers by winning matches and getting kills and assists. The goal of ranked leagues is to allow players to play against similarly skilled gamers, making for more competitive and fun gameplay.
As the seasons have gone on and Apex Legends has established itself as a prominent first-person shooter game, the importance of ranked leagues has become an even bigger deal as it allows many professional streamers and e-sports players to play in lobbies that are consistently of equal skill.
The “reloaded” version of ranked leagues emphasizes team play for victory and accurately recognizes individuals’ skills. The leagues are receiving many changes that will hopefully force players to work together more often.
While there are a lot of changes being made, here are some of the major ones:
- Kill RP cap is removed: Now, the value of kills is worth increasingly less as players rack up kills.
- Assist timer extension: The current assist timer sits at 10 seconds, allowing downed players to fall back to stop someone from getting an assist. The new timer is now 15 seconds, which is sure to make a big difference in the upcoming season.
- Tier demotions: This is possibly the most significant difference, and it comes after a long time of waiting. Players can now be demoted from tier to tier. Before, if a player ranked up from silver to gold but couldn’t win in any gold lobbies, they were forced to suffer through it. Now, players can demote back down to the tier below them and work back up again, allowing for a more accurate representation of player skills.
In addition to these three significant changes, the new ranked leagues will also feature changes in entry cost, the value of kill RP and RP thresholds, and a new “rookie” tier. Respawn has also tried to end third part kill stealing, which has been a severe issue in the past. For a more comprehensive list of changes, players can read Respawn’s blog post about it.