It’s been three years since Apex Legends showed up, seemingly out of nowhere, and made giant waves in the Battle Royale genre. To celebrate the birthday of one of its most beloved IPs, EA and Respawn are pulling out all the stops with some free stuff for existing fans, and one of most content rich seasons yet with season 12: Defiance.
For starters, logging in on each of the first three weeks of the season will grant you permanent access to three legends for free: Octane, Wattson and Valkyrie. Players will also be given 10 free cosmetic packs.
The meat of the update, though, resides in the new season, Defiance. Defiance of course will bring along the usual suspects in terms of a fresh new battle pass, new challenges, new ranked splits, and a continuation of the story-line that has been slowly unfolding over the years. But it also will shake things up quite substantially with a new map variant, a new legend, and a completely new way to play.
Olympus : Sabotaged
Olympus, one of Apex Legends four Battle Royale maps, is getting a rework in the form of Olympus: Sabotaged. While the original Olympus map was beautiful to look at, it was often criticized for not having enough interesting combat arenas, weird choke-points, and too much open space, which often forced a lot of the maps action to take place in the central areas. This redesign is focused on spreading the map out more, adding more opportunities for rotating out of those chokes, and giving people more enticing reasons to explore areas that were previously unpopular.
Rebel warlord / leader of the Cracked Talon mercenary group Margaret Kōhere, aka “Mad Maggie”, reluctantly has been sentenced to pay for her crimes by joining in on the Apex games. This new legend has been somewhat heavily featured in the game’s meta story since Fuses introduction in season 8, and brings with her an interesting kit. Her passive allows her to move faster while holding a shotgun, making her only the second legend to have a weapon-specific perk. Her tactical ability is called the “Riot Drill” and is a breaching charge that can damage enemies through walls, a direct counter to popular meta pick Gibraltar. Her ultimate ability meanwhile is a “Wrecking Ball” that will damage and disrupt enemies that are unlucky enough to get caught in its path, as well as provide a speed boost for Maggie’s allies in its wake.
New Mode : Control
Apex is known for being a Battle Royale with impressive gun-play, movement, sense of momentum, and unique cast of characters. But Respawn feels the gameplay sandbox they have honed over the years could benefit from branching outside of the Battle Royale genre, and have recently put that to the test with the release of the Arena mode. Arena is the round-based 3v3 PvP mode that borrows some of the economy features found in the likes of Counter Strike.
Arena was a big step away from the big open areas and large scale combat that can be found inside of a Battle Royale, and the new Control mode is somewhat of a middle ground between the two. Control is a 9v9 (three teams of three vs. three teams of three) mode that takes place on very large maps built from within the battle royale maps (think big team battle from Halo). Each team will try and take control over three different zones, and the team to control them the longest wins. It’s rather straight forward but with this mode also comes a major fundamental change in Apex gameplay which is unlimited respawns.
Control aims to put the player in a position to experience the Apex Legends multiplayer sandbox in ways that are just not possible in a Battle Royale setting. From choosing a specific loadout, to practicing with a specific gun against live opponents, or simply working together with a big team of nine players, it’s all new to Apex Legends. It also has an opportunity to shake up the meta slightly with Legends like Rampart, who currently have the lowest pick rate in the game. Thus skills such as placing a mounted stationary gun suddenly becomes more useful when your objective is to hold down a specific area.
There’s quite a lot to look forward to here for longtime fans, returning players, or people who have yet to jump in. Apex Legends season 12: Defiance launches in just a few days on February 8th and is currently free to play on all platforms. To learn more about season 12, checkout the game-play overview below!