It has been a month to date since “Fortune’s Favor”, Apex Legends’ highly anticipated fifth season, was released which was probably one of the largest overhauls of the game to date. Although its initial release was rocky thanks to a myriad of bugs and glitches, the meta that has now evolved over the past month has shown that the game is now the most balanced and fun to play it ever has been. This is thanks to a combination of much needed character and map changes. The introduction and greater accessibility of new story elements via “Quests” has made the game feel much more like a traditional game, allowing greater investment and retention. Fortune’s Favor has essentially introduced two new characters this season. Not only an expected new character, Loba, but also made such an overhaul to Mirage that he feels like a new character.
Loba – A High Society Thief
For those out of the loop, Fortune’s Favor made a massive initial impact in its reveal trailer, proving right both data miners and lore-fanatics alike that the new character to be introduced into the Apex Games was to be Loba Andrade, a character previously teased in the Season 4 release trailer as a child whose parents were killed by preceding introduced character, Revenant. Loba is seen introduced to the Games due to her failing to exact revenge on the seemingly immortal Revenant’s one weakness. Forcing the two to now to interact in-game has opened up a huge avenue for potential new story.
Loba is stylised as a “High Society Thief” and her abilities reflect this, being able to see rare and powerful items through walls, teleport short distances and set up a portable device that teleports loot to you. She has seen a lot of play, which is to be expected of a new character, and carved herself into the meta nicely. While still outclassed by other more aggressive play styles, she has made a good addition to a team’s dynamics. For a “thief” character, however, she is surprisingly unstealthy. Her ultimate ability is loud and highlights the team as easy targets to nearby players. Her teleport skill is similarly plagued, easily showing where she is going and takes too long to execute effectively; better suited for manoeuvring terrain than outsmarting an enemy in combat. Overall: a fun “tech” character but her critically disappointing downsides keep her away from the top tier.
Heaps of Story
This season was huge success for lore fans! In previous seasons, the storytelling of Apex Legends was rarely seen in-game, forcing with fans to swap the battlefield for various subreddits and working collectively to mine for small details while game devs watched approvingly from Twitter. However, this season, developers Respawn changed pace completely and instead leaned heavily into this story narrative through the “Quests” mechanic. Unlocked on a rolling weekly basis, these Quests mark a groundbreaking development for the game, taking the form of short PvE missions that players can play privately (1-3 players). Once completed each mission will reveal a new chapter in the season’s story. This has allowed greater accessibility of the lore to more of the fanbase than ever before and allowing players to discover new details in how the increasing roster of characters interact when not fighting to the death in a futuristic blood-sport.
Unlocking the Quests is a nightmare, however, as you need to spend “treasure packs” to do so. Mirroring more a mobile game than a Triple-A blockbuster, treasure packs are essentially login rewards; they’re found in-game but can only be collected once per day, encouraging players to play everyday. Fine for daily players but a huge blow for fans who are unable to play the game as regularly. Never fear though, you can use premium currency to catch up on days missed, so remember to say thanks to our capitalist overlords over at EA(!) However, it is important to remember it is a free-to-play game so we can’t complain too much on how they make their money, at least they don’t roll ads (yet!).
Old Legend, New Tricks
Fortune’s Favor overhauled a lot of old mechanics, especially for some of the legends, which has really effected the way the game plays. Mirage, who is a personal favourite of mine, was known to be the most underpowered legend since even the preseason and fans had been demanding a buff ever since. Now his time has come. Mirage’s abilities have been tweaked, allowing him to take control of both his tactical and ultimate’s holograms, which now mirror the player’s movement rather than standing around awkwardly; additionally, he now turns invisible when reviving and respawning teammates. This has been a welcome change as Mirage now finds himself playable again and defining himself as an aggressive-support character who makes mid battle revives viable.
More controversially there was a massive nerf to Pathfinder which reduced his manoeuvrability. This caused some small outrage from a selection of the fanbase, but in all honesty it is a much-welcomed change to the rest of the fanbase.
Loba’s arrival also saw the destruction of the fan-favourite King’s Canyon map location “Skulltown”, which even saw some players conducting in-game memorials to the much-loved site. This season also saw the introduction of “charge towers”, an in-game structure that immediately fully charges nearby players’ ultimate abilities. These are now go-to drop locations for those in teams with Lifeline or Loba, making looting more efficient and worked effectively to maintain the game’s fast tempo.
Also introduced to the game is “Conditional Legend Chatter”. This tiny addition adds unbelievable flavour the game and makes you wonder why this wasn’t implemented already. Almost like mini Easter-Eggs, in-game certain characters will uniquely respond to other characters in specific situations. For example, Loba and Revenant. Loba’s quips are full of hate towards him, while Revenant mocks her for murdering her parents. When Revenant is reviving Loba he quips darkly: “Isn’t this interesting? Too bad your parents aren’t alive to see this”.
This has opened up so much more information on the characters personalities leading fans to speculate on their relationships with one another. I have found that some of Mirage’s interactions with Loba show his romantic interest with her, while his with Revenant reveal he is deathly afraid of him.
There are still many combinations of characters and situations to be found, get in contact and let me know what you find!
Having been developed and released during the COVID-19 outbreak, the game was full of bugs and glitches, but the community responded supportively with understanding. Now more it is polished, this season is the best it has ever been. This is because, technically, the gameplay is the most balanced and therefore makes it more fun and accessibly to play. The current meta allows players to move away from “what works” traditionally and instead try new styles of play. By leaning more heavily into the rich story of the game, players can stay hooked into the gameplay and see it develop over time, something desperately needed as Battle Royale games are seemingly on the way out. But something must have worked as EA and Respawn announced that it has seen the highest figures of returning and retained players in Season 5 than any other; even though EA, like Epic for Fortnite, rarely make their player numbers publicly available.
Is this one final success for Respawn or does this mark a return to the spotlight for Apex Legends?