Apex Legends Season 9 starts next week. Ahead of its launch, developer Respawn detailed the game’s upcoming Arena mode, which sees two teams of three face off in a series of rounds.
As detailed in a blog post, Arena will be a permanent mode. Players can be revived if knocked down but not respawned. Rounds end when an entire enemy team is killed. Teams will “need to win at least three rounds and be ahead of the enemy team by two points,” with the game going into extra rounds if needed, culminating in a “sudden death mode” if the match gets into nine rounds. It all sounds a bit convoluted to me, but the developers write, “Our new ruleset takes a bit of getting used to, but prevents total blowout games from dragging on for too long. It also lets more competitive games keep the heat going for longer, and give teams a chance to come back and win!”
Players will start each round with some basic equipment and materials, which are also earned through kills or found around the map. Materials are used to buy basic weapons, upgrade their levels, and buy supplies like grenades and healing items.
“Getting a weapon gives you the base gun with no attachments. Weapons can be upgraded to white, then blue and finally purple. Upgrading a weapon equips it with all available attachments of that tier. Fully upgrading to purple will fill out the hop-up slot for weapons that have one,” said Respawn.
Weapons won’t carry over between rounds, with Respawn writing that this is “to free players up to swap weapons freely between rounds, and 2) to prevent matches from snowballing too hard after one or two rounds.”
Ultimate and Tactical abilities will also be limited in Arena, but “additional charges and Ultimate abilities can be purchased with materials when customizing your loadout.”
The Arena maps themselves look pretty cool, featuring futuristic plazas and mountain ruins. While two of the maps, Phase Runner and Party Crasher, are new, three existing maps (Kings Canyon’s Artillery, Thermal Station from World’s Edge, and Olympus’ Golden Gardens) will rotate through.
I’ve been away from Apex Legends for far too long, but I’m curious about this mode. As described here, I’m a little wary—fiddling with so much equipment between rounds and the finicky points system seem like a lot of hassle, and I wonder if having only two teams and no revives will mean clashes will be over too quickly. But I’m definitely intrigued to have a spin on Apex’s standard battle royale format, and it sounds like fun to get to try out new Legends, weapons, and abilities. I’ll definitely be popping in to check it out, which is something I haven’t said about Apex in a while. We’ll see how it all plays out when Apex Legends’ next season launches on May 4.