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What’s new in Apex Legends Season 16?

No new hero, but Respawn has plenty more for players in ‘Revelry’

Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Apex Legends season 16, “Revelry,” kicks off on Feb. 14. If this season has a theme, it’s that developers at Respawn Entertainment are taking a look at four years’ worth of iteration on their massively popular battle royale, and revisiting big-picture concepts rather than introducing shiny new things for already-seasoned players to collect and play with.

That makes it quite a different season from the ones fans are used to. Season 16’s patch notes have already been published; here we’ll condense them to their high points and explain why they’re being added to the game, with commentary from Respawn developers.

Who is the new character for season 16?

For the first time, Respawn Entertainment is kicking off a new season without an accompanying new Legend for players to get to know. Instead, the designers have reworked the game’s class system and given each role a unique perk.

The characters and their new assignments are:

  • Assault: Ash, Fuse, Mad Maggie, Bangalore, and Revenant
  • Skirmisher: Pathfinder, Horizon, Octane, Valkyrie, Wraith, Mirage
  • Recon: Bloodhound, Crypto, Seer, Vantage
  • Controller: Caustic, Wattson, Rampart, Catalyst
  • Support: Lifeline, Loba, Newcastle, Gibraltar

Respawn has given seven characters a more comprehensive rebalance. Not surprisingly, two of them are Recon characters — Bloodhound and Seer — as an effort at getting on top of a “notorious scan meta” that has been the source of some controversy in the game since Seer was introduced in August 2021.

Twelve Apex Legends Characters, fitted in exotic cosmetic skins, face one another in a group standoff Image: Respawn Entertainment/Electronic Arts

Is there a new map for Apex Legends in season 16?

Also no, though the game did get a new, huge battle royale map, Broken Moon, in Season 15, and Respawn usually does not deliver a new map (Battle Royale or Arena) each season. Instead, Respawn devoted its efforts to implementing a new Team Deathmatch game mode, a feature long requested by the Apex Legends community.

Team Deathmatch in Apex is a battle between two teams of six, with the player choosing their legend and loadout at the beginning of the match, with respawns occurring automatically after an elimination, much like team deathmatches in many other popular shooters. First team to 30 kills wins the round, and winning two rounds wins the match.

“That’s pretty much it, pretty vanilla TDM, pretty simple,” Martin Wong, an Apex game designer, said in a media preview two weeks ago. “The on-launch maps are going to be Party Crasher, Habitat, and Skull Town,” Wong added, meaning Skull Town will return (according to lore, it was destroyed) after leaving the game in season 14.

Team Deathmatch will be a limited-time mode for the first three weeks of season 14.

What happens after Team Deathmatch’s three-week run?

Players will get a new playlist called Mixtape, which begins March 7. Mixtape will be a rotation of Limited Time Modes fans have enjoyed in the past. “Mixtape is going to be a permanent place where players can play Control,” Wong said, referring to a very popular LTM that debuted in season 12 and was last available in mid-January.

“We definitely want Mixtape to evolve, to always have new stuff for people to enjoy,” Wong added. “We don’t have any hard rules right now for what goes into Mixtape. So you’ll definitely see new modes there. We might bring back old modes into the Mixtape to keep things fresh. We’ll see what happens from season to season.”

What’s in the Apex Legends season 16 battle pass?

All players will get a Wraith Skin, 7 Apex Packs, 11 weapon skins, 4 load screens, trackers for all Legends, 2 music packs, 200 Apex Coins, and a season badge through the free tack of the Revelry Battle Pass.

Apex Legends players who pay for the premium battle pass will get cosmetic rewards for Crypto, Valkyrie, Bloodhound, Mirage, and Rampart. You can see those in the Apex Legends season 16 battle pass video above and in the gallery below.

Is there at least a new weapon?

Yes! Apex Legends hasn’t gotten an all-new weapon since November 2021, when season 11 delivered the CAR SMG from Titanfall 2. For season 16, players will get the Nemesis energy assault rifle.

Another view of the new Nemesis rifle in Apex Legends season 16 Image: Respawn Entertainment/Electronic Arts

“This is a four-round burst assault rifle, and it’s got an automatic trigger,” said designer Eric Canavese, “which means that when you hold the trigger down, it’s just going to fire out those bursts as fast as it can.” Further, the delay between bursts shortens the longer that trigger is held. This faster-burst mechanic is actually a charge-up that briefly lasts in the weapon, even when it isn’t being fired, meaning players can reload in the middle of the bursts while maintaining their increased speed.

Canavese said that the goal with Nemesis is “a really smooth burst-fire weapon experience. […] You can do some combat repositioning, make some combat choices, and you’ll still have a fully ramped-up Nemesis to lay down fire, downrange.”

There is also a new attachment — a Legendary Shotgun Bolt, which is an upgrade over the existing attachment for the EVA-8, Peacekeeper, and Mozambique shotguns. This, too, increases the rate of fire to those shotguns. The Gold Perk for this attachment automatically reloads a shotgun whenever the player is sliding, whether the shotgun is equipped or not.

What is Respawn doing to bring new players to Apex Legends after four years?

Respawn’s developers seem mindful of the fact their battle royale has evolved into a very competitive space that can be forbidding to new players who are interested in stepping foot into a new world. To that end, they’ve made changes to the game’s Firing Range practice mode, and introduced AI bots in “orientation matches” for completely new players, before they can head into a full Battle Royale.

The Firing Range changes come as 10 new challenges that introduce players to some of Apex Legends’ fundamental moves — from basic capabilities to shield-swapping and breaking down doors. Completing those challenges earns an “Apex 101” badge for the player’s collection.

The AI bots will be opponents in the Orientation Matches. “This will help to take off the pressure, let [new players] get their bearings, understand what a drop ship is, how the ring works, things like that,” designer Aaron Rutledge said.

Assault-class legend Ash holds her sword out at the viewer’s chin level Image: Respawn Entertainment/Electronic Arts

New players will also be able to invite experienced friends to join these matches, Rutledge said. The field is not entirely user vs. bots, he added. There will be 16 teams of bots, who will never be a new player’s teammates; they will be matched up with other new players (or players they have invited) on 16 other teams. Orientation Matches will take place on the main King’s Canyon map.

“Once the new players come in first place, or place in the top five a few times, or even just get enough reps in the Orientation Matches, they’ll be graduated out and thrown into the regular population,” Rutledge said.

What are Apex Legends season 16’s start and end dates?

Apex Legends season 16, “Revelry,” goes live at 10 a.m. PST/1 p.m. EST on Feb. 14. An end date has not been announced (probably because that would prematurely announce the start date of season 17) but the February season of Apex Legends usually ends in early May.