With the start of Season 3: Meltdown, Apex Legends received the largest update it ever has–implementing so much new content that the game is almost unrecognizable from what it was in Season 2. Whether a conscious decision or not, the new changes make for an experience that’s more accessible to those who haven’t played the battle royale in a while or are looking to start.
Fundamentally, Apex Legends is still the same game. You still team up with two other players in a 20-team battle royale match. Every previous Legend is still playable as well, giving a leg up to those who’ve been playing the game since launch. However, with Season 3, a lot has changed, giving newcomers time to get acclimated to how Apex Legends works while veterans get readjusted.
For one, the map is completely different. Everyone plays on World’s Edge, as Kings Canyon has been (most likely only temporarily) removed. So all the strategies that tie into knowing the terrain–whether it’s ideal drop spots, best sniping locations, or secret hiding nooks–all have to be discovered again. For the first time in a while, veterans don’t have an advantage when it comes to knowing the map inside and out because everything is brand-new.
World’s Edge is also huge, easily more than twice the size of Kings Canyon. This provides two benefits for those who aren’t used to Apex Legends’ fast-paced firefights. For one, there are now way more viable places to land and find decent loot, so it’s easier to avoid dropping next to another squad right at the start. And second, because the map is so big, you’re not going to run into other squads nearly as often in the beginning of the match. There are now long stretches of nothingness between firefights–something that almost never occurred in Kings Canyon–providing numerous opportunities in a match to safely heal and loot for supplies. The vastness of World’s Edge means you’re likely to see enemy squads before they can ambush you too. You have to contend with snipers more often as a result, but the new map has certainly made Apex Legends matches play out a lot more slowly.
All of which isn’t to say the fast-paced battles are gone. For those looking for a more traditional Apex Legends experience, you have options. The blue circle that highlights high-tier loot areas is back and the loot-heavy dropship has been replaced by an equally loot-filled train. Both spots are clearly marked on your map, making them both easy to find and avoid.
Weapon loot has also been changed to better appeal to new players. Respawn has redesigned many of the weapons so that you no longer need to know which guns are objectively the best, you just have to find the firearms you’re best with. Two of the stronger weapon attachments in the game–disruptor ammo and skullpiercer rifling–have been removed, affecting every weapon that utilized either hop-up. Specifically, the Alternator and Wingman have dropped in utility, no longer being nearly as dominant as they previously were. Both guns were almost unfairly powerful with their corresponding hop-up attached, but only if you were a decent shot; the Alternator has a powerful recoil and the Wingman requires an exceptionally steady and patient hand under pressure to be effective. It’s not easy to be proficient at either one at first, especially if you’re new to first-person shooters, presenting a significant advantage for those who’ve been playing Apex Legends for a while. Now that advantage is just gone.
In place of those weapon attachments, a bunch of guns that are fairly easy to use have brand-new hop-ups in Season 3. The two easiest assault rifles to use in the game, the R-301 and Flatline, (as they have no wind-up time and possess fairly low recoil and decent range) have a new attachment, the anvil receiver, that increases their semi-auto damage. The easiest sniper rifle to use, the G7 Scout (as it has low recoil and semi-auto fire), and the far easier of the two shotguns to use, the EVA-8 (as it fires very quickly), have a new double tap trigger hop-up that allows them to fire two shots with every trigger pull. Respawn has also implemented various buffs and nerfs across most of the library of firearms in Apex Legends, all of which have seemingly created a more balanced experience.
The new weapon, the Charge Rifle, is also a nice addition, presenting a fairly beginner-friendly option for long-range combat. Though it requires time to charge, the weapon fires a targeting laser as it’s warming up. Provided your scope has a powerful enough zoom to see what you’re shooting at, the targeting laser assists in pinpointing your shot. The laser itself also does minor damage, so even if your shot misses its mark, you’re still assisting your team just by pulling the trigger in the right direction.
One of the cooler new features added in Season 3 is the brand-new audio cues, specifically warnings for when you’re being attacked by more than one squad. Apex Legends’ firefights can be hectic once the playable safe area becomes small enough, so it’s occasionally difficult to discern one enemy team from another. For anyone who’s worried about holding their team back by not knowing when to retreat, there’s now an audio cue to help you out. If you’re fighting an enemy squad and another squad suddenly tries to flank you, a teammate’s character will call it out. Bangalore, for example, might yell, “Ambush! Ambush! There’s another squad!” or Caustic may call out, “We’re being attacked by two different squads!” It’s a small change, but it makes it so much easier to understand how much the odds may be stacked against you–a boon for those who struggle with situational awareness.
However, more than anything, Crypto’s addition to Apex Legends provides the easiest way to join your friends and not have to worry about knowing how everything works. Crypto is at his best when he’s tucked away in the corner and using his tactical to get eyes on enemy targets. Playing as Crypto actually gives you an excuse to not jump headfirst into a firefight because you benefit your team most by initially pinpointing targets with your drone. You might not rank as high as your teammates for your post-game stats, but playing as Crypto allows you to contribute without being adept at shooters–so you don’t have to worry about your teammates being too angry at you if you’re still learning. Crypto is a great addition to Apex Legends as a result. He’s certainly not the best character for aggressive styles of play, which is common if you decide to participate in Gold or higher ranked play, but he’s definitely the easiest of the current eleven Legends to grasp. At the very least, simply playing as him helps you get acclimated to Apex Legends’ role-centric gameplay as well.
And once you do reach level 10 and go into ranked play, you don’t have to worry about being judged for a low kill count at the end of a match. Ranked matches now also keep track of your assists, rewarding you for your performance if you manage to shoot an enemy a few times before your teammate finishes them off. It’s immensely satisfying to know the game rewards you for fulfilling a support role. In Season 2, it was very difficult to engage in ranked, knowing you were primarily rewarded for only surviving and kills, as it then curated a competition within your squad to get the kill shot over winning together. Apex Legends–which has remained entirely squad-based save for a limited-time solo mode during Season 2–finally feels more like a cooperative experience. If you’re just jumping into Apex Legends with Season 3, you don’t have to immediately be good enough to get kills. And, of course, this new assist system means veteran players will most likely be more willing to come to their less experienced teammate’s aid as well, now knowing their own performance and rank will get a nice boost even if they don’t get the kill shot.
There has never been a better time to get into Apex Legends. Crypto is the most beginner-friendly Legend ever introduced and the distance between veterans and newcomers has been shortened by evening the playing field in terms of guns and forcing everyone to drop onto a brand-new map. Some of these perks will diminish as the season goes on and new patterns settle into old habits but, for now anyway, Season 3 is the most accessible Apex Legends has been for new or inexperienced players since the battle royale game launched.