Apex Legends turns five this week, and for the game’s next season, named Breakout, developer Respawn Entertainment is mixing things up with some big changes for longtime players. But the developer is also trying to bring in a new audience, with modes designed to get players right into the action and more chances to unlock Legends through gameplay.
The biggest change coming to Apex Legends with the launch of Breakout on Feb. 13 is a new Legend upgrade system. Over the course of a match, players will have the option to choose from four upgrades, letting them customize their character’s abilities. (For example, players can now make Mad Maggie’s Wrecking Ball ultimate ability a flaming Wrecking Ball.) While each Legend’s core abilities will stay the same, these unlockable augments will let players go deeper with mastery and flexibility, Respawn says. The developer described upgrades as “another lever” in Legend balancing.
Legend upgrades will happen twice during a match. The first decision-making point will happen early-game, while the second will occur mid-game. Upgrades are unlocked by a earning a resource known as Evo, and each new level reached presents a choice of abilities for your Legend, an armor upgrade, or both. Progression resets after each match. Evo can be earned through combat, exploration, assisting teammates, or by collecting Evo caches.
With Legend upgrades, there’s also going to be a change to how armor works in Apex Legends: Armor is no longer a lootable resource. Instead, a new tier of armor is unlocked each time players’ level up.
Longtime Apex Legends players can expect other sweeping changes in Breakout, the game’s 20th season. Ranked play is shifting to a “high-risk, high-reward system that incentivizes combat.” Ladder Points (LP) are being renamed to Ranked Points (RP) and players will earn bonuses for kills, match placement, and outperforming higher-ranked squads, Respawn says. With season 20, all players’ Ranked progress will be set to 1 RP and Provisional matches will be disabled — everyone will start their Ranked climb from scratch.
During Breakout, a new Legend will become free-to-play for the rest of the season during a two-week cycle. Legends Fuse, Seer, Rampart, Mad Maggie, Loba, and Valkyrie will be unlockable by completing series of challenges, and will be free to keep forever, Respawn says.
Breakout will also feature a new limited time, 30-player mode called Straight Shot that’s designed to get players straight to the action. That means no drop ship; players are instead dropped randomly into a point of interest on the map and armed with fully kitted weapons. When players are eliminated, they’re immediately queued into their next match, without having to return to the lobby.
There’s also a new Mixtape map called Thunderdome, a modular floating station that’s an homage to Kings Canyon. Respawn describes it as “the deadliest entertainment venue on the Frontier.”
Expect more details on Apex Legends’ Breakout season, including the season 20 battle pass, next week.