What to Expect from Apex Legends' Huge Season 9 Update

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What to Expect from <i>Apex Legends</i>' Huge Season 9 Update

Respawn Entertainment just dropped a six minute trailer diving into what’s coming to Apex Legends’ ninth season, titled “Legacy.” With a new permanent mode, its own accompanying maps, and the usual new character, as well as a tease of something else, I think it’s safe to say that this is probably the busiest season of the game yet.

Let’s start with the big picture: Apex Legends has been toying with the idea of introducing new modes for a long time now. Often, the game will have an event going where it cycles through modes for a couple of weeks, testing them out to see what works and doesn’t. These modifiers come in a variety of shapes and sizes like Locked and Loaded, which spawns you with armor and a Mozambique, or something more extreme like Always Be Closing, where the ring is constantly coming at you. But those have always existed for a limited time and within the framework of the arena and the typical battle royale trappings. Now, Apex Legends is finally diversifying into something more than just a BR.

The new permanent mode, Arenas, is pretty standard. It’s a 3v3 mode where the first team to 3 wins (with a 2 win margin) takes the game. There are no respawns, but you can still pick up downed teammates. Where it gets more interesting is where it departs from here. Typically, there’s ground loot to pick up in Apex, but in Arenas, you can only collect materials and consumables. Instead at the beginning of every match, you have a buy phase, like in Counter-Strike or Valorant, and there you can use materials to buy and upgrade weapons, consumables like health kits and shields, or your character’s skills. None of it carries over between rounds like they do in the aforementioned games, though. You can save up your materials for pricier high-grade stuff in later rounds, or opt to spend it freely and throughout the whole game.

To mix things up just a bit more, an airdrop with increasingly powerful weapons will drop in the middle of each round, providing a powerplay to whoever manages to snag it and turning a patch of the map into a warzone. Additionally, if the game gets to a tie, fire just rains down from the sky in a sudden death match to decide a winner. It seems like the team really had fun designing this mode.

Arenas is coming with a few maps that are derivatives of existing locales and at least one brand new location. The Party Crasher map takes place in a busy downtown area that Mirage, er, crashed his ship into. You can play on the downed ship or in the surrounding city area. Alongside Party Crasher is Phase Runner, which seems to take place near the World’s Edge map and has a teleporter that should speed things up a bit. These two new maps will be complemented by a bi-weekly rotation of spots on Kings Canyon, World’s Edge and Olympus, making for five maps total.

The trailer finally pivoted after this to showing Valkyrie, the new character that Titanfall fans got excited about last week. The daughter of one of the antagonists from Titanfall 2, she’s a Pilot with no Titan, but she still seems to have some moves. She has a jetpack that looks to let her and her companions fly up into the sky and redeploy somewhere else, much like the balloons that dot the maps allow you to do. Her ultimate ability looks to send her up in the air, where she then hones in on a spot and unloads a quick barrage of missiles. She’s also got a gnarly finisher where she kind of hovers down onto her downed enemy and lets her jetpack flames roast them. All in all, she looks pretty rad.

Finally, Respawn showed off the new bow weapon that’s coming to the games, which predictably places an emphasis on pinpoint precision to do high damage. There’s nothing new there, but it is coming with some modifiers that can either make the arrow scatter into a shotgun-like spread or increase the speed at which you can fire off arrows, which will likely nerf the damage.

At the very, very end of the trailer, we see a ship landing in front of a squad and get a glimpse at what might be some kind of survival co-op mode in an overgrown map. We’ve got literally zero idea what that might be, though I’m sure data miners will know before too long and then so will we. Until then, we’re just going to have to enjoy the new mode, maps, character and weapon coming when Season 9 of Apex Legends drops on May 4.