2 years ago Apex Legends seemingly appeared out of nowhere. It quickly became one of the most popular games at the time. Spurred on by streamers and the people who watch them, the game quickly rose to prominence and enjoyed a brief time eclipsing other contemporaries, namely PUBG and Fortnite.
But of course, the passing of time chipped away at those numbers to something closer to its intended audience. Not helping was the fact that the game was kind of bare-bones at the start. A fact most of us didn’t really acknowledge until further down the line. The benefit of hindsight, I guess. The game also suffered a cheater problem for an extended period of time as well. Players who weren’t entirely put off by the constant annoyances of cheaters and bots found new homes on their console of choice.
Sadly, it would take several months for the issues to resolve themselves and for the game to hit its stride as a bonafide live service game. The moment it did, however, the player base got a constant stream of new content and limited time events that only got better with time.
Most games start falling off into their second year of release. Games like Overwatch no longer have the same appeal and intrigue they once had in their first year. The same can be said with Apex Legends but the difference between Overwatch and Apex Legends in their second year is that the latter continues to grow. Overwatch peaked out in terms of actual innovation, recycled yearly content, and expected the player base to be content with new skins and the occasional balance patch. Unlike Overwatch, Apex Legends continues to tell a larger story behind the scenes. And though it might only be seen by a smaller part of the overall player base, the very fact that it’s there at all is greatly appreciated.
The biggest takeaway I will have about the anniversary Lock and Load event is that it NEEDS to be part of the base game. Having a weapon and meds on hand at the start changed the feel for the game that is very hard to describe. Just try playing games in ranked, and tell me about all times you wished you had an actual gun in your hands as opposed to landing with nothing at all. The difference is quite obvious.
The event rewards this year are quite nice to boot. A couple of free anniversary loot boxes plus a bunch of other stuff. Standard fair as limited events go. But because it is the anniversary, it feels different. It wouldn’t go more than a week to complete the whole rewards track with enough games played. It’s the extended rewards that give me a moment of pause. Getting 100k damage might be easy for skilled players, but the rest of us lowly grunts have to play a boatload of games to reach that point. I guess that’s why we were given the whole season to complete them. Also, what better way to celebrate Apex Legends than to rack up huge damage numbers.
That’s all I have to say in the matter, let’s get back to Season 8 and the current state of the game as a whole.
In my humble opinion, Season 8 may be the best season of Apex so far. The introduction of Fuse was loud and bombastic, and the new 30-30 Repeater added a new layer of trigger discipline that required players to space their shots in order to secure a kill. The new golden magazines started a new way of playing the game that finally puts the spotlight on largely neglected weapons in the LMG line. Apart from that, we got balance changes to several guns and Legend abilities. King’s Canyon has been changed in ways that appear to respond to many players’ requests. And here’s why I think it didn’t matter for the most part. That alone deserves an article all on its own.
The introduction for Fuse may be less spectacular compared to previous legends. I do think it has something to do with the way Revenant was teased and later revealed. Sufficed to say that we might have been spoiled by it. Regardless, Fuse is still a very fun Legend to play as. His Knuckle Cluster tactical makes enemies think twice about camping in the same corner of a building. His grenadier passive allows for the spamming of grenades at great speeds.
Interestingly enough, stacking grenades used to be a thing in the early days of Apex Legends. That’s how many games back in the day ended. With one team stacking as many grenades as possible and chucking them into the final circle like there’s no tomorrow. Yeah, that wasn’t fun to play against. But the idea was fun enough that it lives on as a passive ability instead of something that all Legends started with.
It’s been a month since Fuse’s release, and yet he doesn’t appear in as many lineups as I initially thought. In fact, I don’t run into many Fuse players all that often in the middle of games. I suspect it has something to do with his limited mobility options.
When Horizon first came out, it was somewhat difficult to get a chance to pick Horizon from the second position, and harder still as the third player choosing. That’s all accredited to the Legend’s kit that allowed her and the team to take the all-important high ground in many engagements. Also, her ultimate forced enemies to remain mobile or become subject to grenade spam. Fuse doesn’t have that kind of movement abuse. It doesn’t mean that he can’t carve out a niche for himself, but in a game where mobility Legends like Octane reign supreme, Fuse’s usefulness is completely reliant on landing his abilities on the right targets.
The latest Legend balance changes bring super jumps into the forefront of many engagements. I don’t need to go into detail with the changes to Octane’s jump pad. All you need to know is that because of this simple change, Octane’s pick rate has skyrocketed. It’s not all that common to get an Octane teammate every other match, if you already haven’t chosen said Legend. The pad’s usefulness extends further than just a simple ambush initiator. It can provide critical aid as a means of escape. I’ve been in a fair number of situations where my Octane tossed a pad in my direction to get my sorry ass to safety. Crawling onto a jump pad when downed helps out a bunch too. Works out more often than using a Wraith portal in the middle of a firefight.
For the honorable mentions, let’s start with Rampart’s shield buff. She’s always been a niche playstyle, but she’s currently enjoying a slight bump in usage rates. I don’t believe it has anything to do with her shields. Rather, it has more to do with gold magazines and the newly buffed spitfire. That coupled with her LMG passive makes choosing her somewhat appealing. Mirage’s decoys now emit footstep sounds. I must admit, I’ve been fooled by them thinking that the real Mirage was close. And lastly, there’s Loba’s ult change. I don’t know how to really feel about this one. It’s cool that she can pick up care package weapons the moment they land. But in all my games, it seldom changed the outcome of my late-game fights.
Moving on to weapons.
The new 30-30 repeater is very strong at mid-range. It deals a respectable amount of damage, averaging around 45 per shot. Aiming down sights charges the weapon. A fully charged shot to the head can have the potential to down an enemy, provided they didn’t have a helmet equip. From my experiences so far, it’s the not-best weapon in both close quarter and long-range. Weapons like shotguns and submachine guns out damage it in close range, and it takes some skill to accurately lead shots from afar. Something that’s not an issue with sniper rifles. All-in-all, a decent weapon to have with you, if only for the burst damage potential.
As a result of the latest weapon balance patch, we are seeing a wider range of options when it comes loadouts. Gone are the days when an EVA-8 shotgun was a placeholder for the Mastiff. The rate of fire buff makes it so that it is more consistent in a gunfight. The Mastiff is still overpowered, mind you. At least there’s some variety when it comes to shotgun choices.
The Spitfire received the most love this season, in my opinion. It is dangerous simply because of its sustained firing and suppression capabilities. Keep in mind that Legends without the fortitude passive get slowed when shot. A few shots is all it takes to restrict enemy movement and to go for the inevitable clean-up. The longer reload times may cause an issue in close quarters, but with a little help from the Gold magazines and some trigger discipline, it becomes a must-have in any engagement.
Finally, we have the Alternator. I swear this gun disappeared from the face of the Earth the moment Respawn decided to vault disruptor rounds. Since then, it’s been demoted to being a place holder for more superior guns, like the R-99. So who would have guessed that adding one more point of damage to the alternator would make such difference. Right now, the gun just feels right. The lower rate of fire means that it’s more forgiving compared to the all-or-nothing nature of the R-99. As a result, I find myself picking up the Alternator more often than the R-99 or Volt. (The Volt is still incredibly versatile. Though it’ll take an additional bullet to down someone as compared to pre-nerf Volt.)
Whenever the topic of King’s Canyon gets brought up, I try my best to not speak too ill about it. Yes, the map’s been altered and several new points of interest now appear to break up the clusters that once plagued many a game. Unfortunately, King’s Canyon and third parties are inseparable. Places like the hilltop between Bunker and Containment always seem to attract multiple battles. The same goes for the caves around Market. Though it is not impossible for such an occurrence to happen in other locations on the map, the frequency is far higher compared to other locations.
Crash Site and Spotted Lakes are interesting new points of interest, to be sure. Crash Site, in particular, has become a hotbed of activity at the start of rounds. That’s attributed to the loot abundant cruiser that’s sticking out in the side of the mountain. Spotted Lakes, on the other hand, is all about open spaces, and the loot is spread out evenly around. The new observation towers are also located there. A part of me wishes they were as spread out as the explosive holds. But I suppose that’s asking too much for a map that’s already known for 3rd party fights.
All-in-all the changes to King’s Canyon are the most comprehensive to date. It didn’t change the nature of the map, but that’s all right. We need something to contrast with the incredibly open lay out of World’s Edge. And when that map returns back to the rotation, I’m expecting some major changes that’ll further emphasis the hot and cold parts of the map.
And that’s everything concerning my thoughts on Season 8.
When I look back to the last couple of years of the game, I see great strides in improving the overall experience playing Apex Legends. We have come a long ways from duking it out on a single map for hours on end. Nowadays, if we wanna work on our survival skills, there’s ranked for that and we can always blow off some steam in public lobbies.
Apex Legends continues to evolve by the day. Players are discovering new tactics not heard of a month ago. Before season 8, the idea of using a Revenant ultimate in tandem with an Octane jump pad wasn’t as known, but as the idea catches on and the number of players who victim to it increases, the tactic becomes more and more common in games.
I can’t wait for what’s next for Apex Legends. If the latest batch of teasers is anything to go by, we are nearing a Caustic town takeover. There’s always something to look forward to with this game. In any case, it doesn’t seem like Apex Legends is going to lose steam for the foreseeable future. Might as well enjoy it while it lasts.