Apex Season 2 Grades and Season 3 Wishlist

As we wind down Season 2, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on the progress that Respawn Entertainment continues to make on their popular battle royale game. We previously covered the launch announcements prior to the season but there have been many updates over the last couple of months.

Apex continues to be our video game of choice these days so there are plenty of things we can comment on from Season 2. Similar to last season, we’re also including a bonus wishlist for the developers to draw inspiration from.

Legend Changes

Season 2

In Season 2, we saw a fair amount of changes to the stars of the arena. Wattson was introduced at launch to add another defense character to the mix. As expected, there was a huge wave of Wattson play early in the season. 

This legend’s usage has stayed strong even at season’s end. She has a ton of utility in mid-game and becomes especially helpful late-game to hold a position with her electric fences. 

Her ultimate ability, which prevents throwables and airstrikes, is invaluable in small spaces. Additionally, having a passive shield recharge can make the difference between wins and losses as your shield battery stores are depleting.

The other major change in the legend category was the Fortified and Low Profile traits. The bigs of the arena, Gibraltar and Caustic, absorb 15% less damage. Conversely, Wraith, Lifeline, and Pathfinder take on 5% more damage. This was a thoughtful change which led to Gibby and the mad scientist becoming more viable.

On PC, these traits were met with a mixed reception. Many mouse + keyboard players said the Low Profile nerf is a dealbreaker since the increased accuracy on PC means a lower time to kill (TTK) vs console. 

Intuitively, this makes sense, but this was also the intended purpose of the nerf. It’s tough to say whether the developers would make changes that only apply to players using a controller, but that may help with these concerns.

It wasn’t all blue skies. We can’t remember if it was officially discussed or the result of rumors catching on, but 2 legends were expected for Season 2. Instead, we have waited for the big reveal of Crypto.

Grade: B-

Season 3 expectations

That’s right, the hacker is coming! Crypto is expected to premiere at the launch of Season 3. We are sure most of you saw his easter egg in The Labs.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xr_FJVYo_oA

He is labeled as a Surveillance Expert. It sounds like his tactical will be a 40-second aerial camera view of the surrounding area. This could be a more powerful version of Bloodhound’s Eye of the Allfather, but we’ll have to wait and see just how effective this is.

His ultimate is an EMP blast which can slow and deal damage to players while also destroying traps. This seems like a great counter to the Caustic-Wattson bunker meta, which is extremely strong in the endgame.

We know that the drone will have several functions, but not much else. If we’re lucky, a second legend can make an appearance near the middle of the season.

There have been several leaks showing other characters under development, so it’s difficult to predict when we’ll see new releases. Maybe it’s time for another support character to share the spotlight with Lifeline and Pathfinder?

Map Changes

Season 2

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TylJnGVgw94

 

The arena was invaded by flyers and leviathans at the start of Season 2. Remember? 

The behemoth leviathans stomped through the map as they made their way to their resting places. Along the way, they destroyed Cascades and Bridges, damaged Repulsor, and added a handful of new points of interest (POI). 

The Cage and Containment offer frantic areas, with a high level of verticality and solid loot potential. 

The former is a mountain of a building, offering sightlines virtually across the entire map. You can use ziplines and ladders to scale the different floors, plus there’s ground loot and supply bins surrounding the main structure. Given its location on the map, there’s usually a lot of action at The Cage after the first circle as teams rotate towards the middle of Kings Canyon.

The latter is a complex of buildings to duck in and out of. A few caged beasts are scattered around this location, drawing attention to your character when you get close. We’ve found the best thing to do here is to loot up quickly then get on top of a building to get a better angle on the opposing teams.

Additionally, later in the season, we saw the introduction of Octane’s Gauntlet and The Labs. The Gauntlet found a spot between Thunderdome and Airbase. It is an appropriately fast-paced area with Octane’s signature jump pads sprinkled on ramps. At its center? A ring of fire. 

The Gauntlet offers some great rotation options if you make it out of the chaos. There’s a zipline which leads north to Airbase or you can hop on the jump tower to fly to the top of Skulltown. 

The Labs were pure chaos. A giant portal reaching into the sky could be taken to throw your team, along with the other 3-6 teams, into an underground laboratory. Possibly the most concentrated loot drop area in the entire arena, if you survived the pandemonium, you were set for a strong midgame.

A safer option is to land at the base of the portal, grab loot from the nearby supply bins then make your way through the front door of The Labs to clean up the ongoing fights. We’ve been going this route for the last few weeks and it’s worked much better (ie. we survive longer than 8 seconds).

Though we didn’t get to fly or land on the flyers, they were a source of loot on the fly – pun intended. Our squad grabbed everything from gold flatlines to much-needed disruptor rounds from these supply boxes.

Another underrated inclusion with these dragon-like beasts are the scattered cages throughout the map. Get close and they start clanging the cage and screaming at you. This may alert nearby enemies that may have otherwise not known you were around.

For some reason, it felt wrong to shoot these caged animals, but it was sometimes necessary to keep your location hidden. Alternatively, you can just avoid the cages altogether. 

Overall, there wasn’t too much more we could ask from a map perspective. We got new locations without it feeling excessive. The game also stays consistent with the story Respawn has been building from the beginning. 

Grade: A

Season 3 expectations

A new map has been teased in the latest Season 3 trailer. While the POI approach of adding, removing and changing has worked for Fortnite, it sounds like Apex is going full send to a new geography!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Te5wn9E2l-0

In the Season 3 video, the legends are moving to a fresh location which, at first glance, looks entirely different from Kings Canyon. Dubbed Meltdown, we catch glimpses of a much greener map featuring a couple “cities” with multiple high-rises. It looks like verticality is going to play an even bigger role in Apex Legends moving forward. 

An enormous volcano is seen in one of the scenes. Does that mean there will be volcanic eruptions? Can people fall or be pushed inside the volcano?! It’d be great to have more opportunities for environmental kills and a volcano seems like the perfect touch. 

Finally, at the climax of the video, Mirage is arguing with Crypto while on a moving train. During one of the scenes we see a track circling the new arena. Having a fast way to get around the map should be interesting. 

Will it constantly be in motion? Will there be stations that it stops at briefly? Would getting hit by the train be instant death, similar to getting stomped by a leviathan? We’ll find out the answers to all of these soon!

Ultimately, we hope that the new map promotes more verticality and transportation while experimenting with different environmental options. It’s going to be tough saying goodbye to the old map. Splitting user bases between two maps would not be advisable, but it might not be the last time we see the arena we’ve grown to love.

Weapon Changes

Season 2

“I need a hop-up (Disruptor Rounds).”  

With the addition of this hop-up and the other pistol/mozambique attachment, Hammerpoint Rounds, Respawn really tried to promote weapon combos.

While disruptors need to be nerfed again, we really love that the developers decided against constantly changing weapon stats. Instead, hop-ups allow otherwise useless guns to hold their own in the right scenarios.

Enough attachment talk, let’s talk guns.

The Office Gun GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Let’s be honest. The L-Star was hardly the “beast” that it was promised to be. Want a laugh? Go back and check out it’s introduction video. 

To be fair, the L-Star isn’t horrible, but for a legendary gun it simply is not deserving of the honorary category. It needs… something. An optical attachment would be a huge upgrade over the stock iron sights. Can we get a digital threat as the standard? To make it even better, how about a variable scope that can switch between digital threat and 2x sight?

Maybe we are just bad with it, but it also feels like the gun overheating starts too soon. The developers advised firing off 8-10 shots at a time, but this often isn’t enough to take down an opponent in late game

Overall, the attachments delivered but the actual gun content let us down. Yoshyaes had a chance to play through some of Titan Fall 2 recently and suggested adding some of the Grenadiers class of guns to the game.

GRADE: C

SEASON 3 EXPECTATIONS

Weapons

Another hop-up called “Double Tap” has been announced. It will provide a 2 shot burst for the G7 Scout. Since the sniper update, the G7 has taken a backseat to the Longbow. This could make the often-forgotten sniper much more deadly and viable moving forward. 

The community consensus is that a second weapon will be compatible with this attachment. Some think the R-301 – this would make Yoshyaes ecstatic. Others have theorized that it could be the suffering EVA-8. Either way, it seems that soon every weapon will have an attachment which boosts its combat stats.

Logically that means, we need more guns. Perhaps a shotgun that takes energy ammo or another variable rifle to counter the G7? 

At some point, it may be time to start retiring weapons and rotating in new ones. We aren’t saying the time is now since getting rid of weapons too early can really anger the user base. Just ask Fortnite fans of the pump shotgun or drum gun. However, hop-ups can only do so much before we simply need new weapons without saturating the options.

Legendaries + Throwables

The Titan Fall series didn’t have a bow and arrow weapon, but that could also be a unique direction to take. Fortnite found success by introducing silenced weapons in their battle royale and it’s likely that a silencer attachment would be a great introduction to Apex Legends as well. 

Titan Fall “grenadiers” have the potential to do high damage by firing explosives. This is always a delicate subject in shooters as gamers describe grenade launchers as noob tubes, catering to the novice players. At the same time, these can be rare legendary drops which would still be countered by Wattson’s ult.

Since we already have fire damage with the thermite grenades, why not have a flame thrower as the next legendary weapon? That could potentially be devastating! 

As for throwables, how about a flash grenade that, if landed correctly will temporarily blind opponents (and ill-positioned friendly’s)? It’d also be cool to have a cluster grenade that explodes into multiple smaller grenades to clear out squads from a small room.

Gameplay mechanics

Another idea would be experimenting more with melee options. They should explore this with care, though. Because punching already does significant damage, a melee weapon could easily become OP.

The developers should also make an update to the ping system. In theory, the system should improve communications across your squad. However, the ping feed can get overwhelming when a dozen attachments show up in a matter of seconds. 

It’d be great to allow players to set which notifications show up in their feed. For example, you could mark which ammo or attachments you need and only those pings would be displayed to you.

Another improvement could be made when pinging an enemy on the move. How cool would it be to show an enemy path of movement on your minimap vs tens of unique pings? It’d also be awesome to mark an enemy, similar to the system in The Last of Us MP.

Battle Charge Challenges

SEASON 2

The challenges have been solid this season. You had your standard, location-specific challenges – open 3 supply bins, get 6 knocks – as well as challenges unique to each legend. In this format, the game encourages players to get familiar with the entire map and try characters who they wouldn’t normally pick.

The daily challenges were fairly vanilla though. Most of them were either incredibly easy to accomplish (ie. play a game as Wraith) or only relevant in the early game (ie. get 2 kills with a pistol). It’s clear to see that the developers wanted a straightforward way for players to gain battle charge experience regularly, but it would be good to see more challenging tasks in the daily challenge list.

Weekly recurring needs a lift as well. Currently, the game just asks you to complete 5 and 10 daily challenges. 10 dailies can be accomplished by with consistent play and there should be a third weekly challenge which involves a more difficult mission, possibly based on the number of wins. 

There were also some challenges that should have been earlier in the season. Respawn gave Yoshyaes the “get 10 L-Star knockdowns” challenge with two weeks to go! Given the frequency that this weapon drops and how bad Yoshyaes is with the gun, this will take at least 6 weeks to complete…

GRADE: B

SEASON 3 EXPECTATIONS

To up the difficulty on completing challenges, the developers at Respawn need to get more creative in balancing ease of completion with the rewards you earn (more on rewards later). Currently, it feels like you can just play a lot to grind your way to level 110.

Ideally, there are certain challenges that are very difficult to achieve which reward the player with enormous XP boosts. To make things interesting, there can be a challenge board for each legend. The community would have access to see who is performing the best on specific characters and you get rewards for reaching a certain level on the leaderboard.

On the UI side, there needs to be a better way to view battle charge challenges while in-game. It’s great that the developers added a ‘daily challenges’ view, but we’re all concerned about having better tracking of the BC challenges.

Battle Charge Rewards

Season 2

After an underwhelming Season 1, Respawn bounced back with a ton of cosmetic rewards for the Season 2 battle pass. As expected, we got weapon skins, legend outfits, loading screens, and new game music. Additionally, you gain Apex coins that can either apply to the next season’s battle pass or for exclusive items from the store.

The legend skins unlocked in this season are especially impressive. The Octane one has a fitting sleekness that is unlocked at level 75. Check out all of the rewards at EA’s site.

You can still get a few rewards without purchasing the Battle Pass, but this Season 2 rewards list was worth the money, especially to continue supporting the devs. The only way this could be better would be if they gave us Wraith’s Heirloom Knife.

Grade: B+

Season 3 expectations

The developers gave as a small dose of emotes with airborne backflips. It’s possible that we’ll see emotes on the ground in the near future so people can celebrate after a crazy play. 

Respawn can also do more to promote the items in their shop. It was a rare occurrence for anyone in our squad to actually check out the store tab and browse through the selection.

Apex should also add new trackers to be shown on the “champion squad” team. It’s pretty boring to see that the winner of the last game has ‘2 season 2 wins’ and ‘4 LMG kills’. Including overall account stats or some unique fact from their last match could make the champions seem more menacing.

​Game Modes

Season 2

Solo

Solos was offered as a limited-time mode which pitted you against 59 other combatants. There’s a heightened sense of pressure knowing that no one can revive you, but there’s also an increased level of pride when you kill someone who immediately disintegrates into a death box!

We noticed that there are far fewer chances to heal or shield in this game mode since enemies played very aggressively. As soon as you finish a fight you can expect that at least one other enemy to be pushing in for the cleanup. 

The flow of the game was still very smooth and opponents tend to have very good loot by the mid-game. If you manage to be the victor of a location, you’re typically set with a decent shield and two well-stocked guns.

Strangely, gold knockdown shields spawned in abundance in this game mode. These were only actually useful if you get knocked from very far away and are able to self-revive behind cover. It seemed like a quarter of the people who got downed would be crawling around looking for an opportunity to res.

You could fairly easily get to the top 5 by landing far from the action then slowly making your way towards the safe areas as the ring closed. Occasionally, you would have an overzealous streamer patrolling the edge of the circle, waiting for late arrivers. For the most part, one could play it safe, stock up your inventory and third-party the final fight to grab a dub.

Ranked

The first few days of ranked were a mixed bag. Since everyone starts off at the bottom tier, we saw several games where opposing squads were clearly better than our own. After about a week, the elite players had ranked up and we were matched with opponents closer to our skill level.

Bronze and Silver queues felt very similar to the standard mode in terms of strategy. Once we got into Gold and Platinum, there’s a bit more camping and retreating from fights as people try to preserve their rank points. Being overly aggressive would usually land you as the victor of a fight but you’d find your squad being attacked shortly after taking out your initial prey.

There were several moments where we identified an enemy with purple shield and opted to run away to a safer location given our level 1 armor. Similarly, if we found ourselves involved in a fight that lasted too long (1-2 minutes), it was usually time to move on and find a more tactical position on the map.

Overall, the ranked mode worked well with the system of swapping points for the opportunity to move up the ladder. There’s an obvious gambling component where players need to calculate whether their decisions are worth the amount of currency committed vs the expected likelihood of a win.

Grade: B

Season 3 expectations

From Respawn’s announcement, very few people actually made it to the top tier of Apex Predator. The developers said they were happy about this distribution.

It’d be good to have a ‘looking for group’ queue where you can enter the legend that you play and the legends you prefer on your team. Then, the matchmaking could connect you with other people in your rank who play synergistic characters. This would be similar to Overwatch’s role queue and would be beneficial at the higher ranks.

Solos should return for a limited time again, possibly in the middle of the season to give a break from the standard queue. If the devs decide to make this a permanent mode, there should be a tiered ranking in solos as well. It can follow the same structure as the squad ranked games.

Outside of the existing modes, we still want a training queue. The initial training when you first start the game is nice, but a playground mode with customization options for multiplayer friendly play would be incredible. 

Having 6 of us jump into the map to work on tactics or just mess around and have a good time would add the bandwidth to actually improve your skills. It’d also be nice to play against bots on the real map. The player could select bot traits, similar to the ones from N64’s Perfect Dark, and practice in a low-stress environment against enemies who actually shoot back.

Finally, we’d love to see how duos or even quads game mode would work. Either 30 teams of 2’s or 15 teams of 4’s would shake up the pacing and how battles are won.

As new legends are introduced, the potential team comp meta could really get interesting. In the meantime, check out Yoshyaes’ first Apex Legends gameplay review video!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qj6b1S3z93M

What did Season 2 do best and where did it fall flat? Are you excited for Crypto or do you think his abilities will be more gimmick than useful? Are you going to miss Kings Landing or have you been anxiously waiting for a new map? Let us know in the comments below!

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