THE E3ODUS [E3 2019 Preview]: Apex Legends – Season 2.

Neil Nessa Smith @drugzbunny

APEX LEGENDS: SEASON TWO (Respawn Entertainment/EA – PS4/X1/PC – Out Now) –

THEN

Free-To-Play Battle Royale game Apex Legends came out of nowhere and surprised the whole industry back in February this year. It became an instant hit and broke all kinds of records, amassing 25 million players within its first week and 50 million by the end of the month. Concurrent Twitch viewers were also through the roof with numbers peaking at almost 700, 000 viewers. All impressive numbers indeed.

Players fell in love with the legends abilities, character movement, controls, weapons feel and new game mechanics as well as some excellent in-game communication tools that shook up the Battle Royale genre. It was shaping up to become a real competitor to the other BR heavyweights and the game was on everyone’s lips. Launching back in February, Apex remains GHG’s highest rated video game of the year.

NOW

Five months have passed and the current game is in a different state, cracks have started to show, and with it sadly a lot of negative press. Twitch viewers have plummeted, most of the big streamers have gone back to other games and EA hasn’t reported on player numbers in a while (signs the game could be stabilizing). News also broke that famous streamer “Ninja” was paid 1 million dollars by EA to stream the game on launch day to help advertise the game, something not uncommon when promoting a new title.

The launch of the Season 1 Battle Pass was poorly received by players with feedback saying it was plagued by a huge grind to unlock subpar skins, banners, stat trackers other and lackluster items. Thankfully, the devs have plans to greatly improve the quality of the Season 2 Battle Pass and judging by the teasers they’ve given us it’s already looking great.

Since launch, the game has only supported trios, which some would say is the perfect fit for the way the game and map is thoughtfully designed. Meanwhile players have been craving for some new modes to be added to the game as well as meaningful map changes and balancing to legends, weapons and items.

Lastly, the game has been plagued by bugs and glitches as well as the worst netcode in any of the BR games currently out (proven facts). On top of this the PC version has been plagued by cheaters which stole headlines when the first official esports tournament was held this weekend. Luckily, the developers have promised to improve anti-cheat detection and measures with upcoming updates.

It’s not all bad though, the game is still very fun to play, has a ton of potential and we’re seeing a lot of great communication from the developers about the issues they’ve been facing and what they are doing to fix them.

Let it be clear that the game has only been out for 5 months. Compare this to the other heavy hitters like PUBG (March 2017) and Fortnite (September 2017) it’s safe to say that Apex Legends is still young and has a lot of room to grow and get things right. It’s worth noting that Respawn has delayed work on their next Titanfall game to focus on AL, just in case anyone was doubting their dedication to making the game succeed. Respawn Entertainment also deserves high praise on taking a stand against crunch, which is a massive industry plague.

THE FUTURE

Looking to the future there’s definitely cause for excitement.

Season 2 is set for reveal at EA Play — just days before E3 2019. Already confirmed for S2 is a less grindy battle pass with better and more meaningful rewards, new legends as well as daily & weekly challenges to give players incentive to keep logging on every day to play. The current map is also bound for some updates to change up the meta and keep things fresh.

Then there’s also the announced mobile version and China launch which I’m sure will be a massive hit and generate lots of new players as well as revenue.

-Neil Nessa Smith

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