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Apex Legends

All there is to know about Olympus and Control in Apex Legends new season, Defiance

We've attended a panel where Respawn dished out a bunch of details on what Defiance is serving up.

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With the new season of Apex Legends soon to arrive, as of late Respawn has been sharing a whole range of new information about what Defiance will include when it drops on February 8. For the most part, this has been through trailers, which have given us plenty of new information about the narrative and the changes that will be arriving, but with the release a week out, we've had a chance to attend a developer panel to learn more about the update to Olympus, the new limited-time game mode, Control, and the biggest balance changes that are set to be introduced.


Sabotaged Olympus

At the forefront of what Defiance is bringing is a major update to the floating city map of Olympus. Set to be the largest update the map has seen so far, this will see Olympus changing in a variety of ways thanks to the forced phase jump that almost caused the city to fall from the sky. With this in mind, the location of Olympus has been altered, with the city now significantly lower to the ground (you can actually see the metropolis of Malta deep below thanks to an all-new skybox model), but the position change isn't all that is new, as the map has actually been expanded as well.

The southern portion of Olympus is growing in size and to accommodate for that, it will be seeing two new points of interest (POI) added to fill the space. The first one is known as Phase Driver and will let players explore the high-tech piece of machinery that was altered and nearly saw the city reduced to rubble. It's here that a new interactable Teleporter system will be present, allowing players to get their hands on high-tier loot at the price of having their location compromised. The second POI is Terminal, which is serving primarily as a new section of the teleporting Phase Runner that stretches a portion of the map. To add to this, we can also look forward to a new terrain zone, which is modelled after the malfunctioned artificial terrain of the city, meaning players should be in store for quite the unique place to visit. All of these are being added to encourage players to explore the southern area of the map a little more than it currently is.

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On top of these bigger changes, Defiance is also seeing more traversal options dotted around Olympus, as well as tweaks to the placements of Survey Beacons and redeploy balloons, both to encourage more player movement. Last of all, several locations are seeing the incorporation of more loot bins to further entice players to try starting in a less crowded main location.

We're also told that for Defiance, the maps that will be in rotation are; Olympus, Stormpoint and King's Canyon.

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As for Control, this new game mode will see two teams of nine players competing in a variety of objective-based modes. While the team size is much larger, the core teams consist of three squads of three, meaning the base Apex experience is still present to some degree. In terms of how the gameplay works, this is a little different as certain aspects from the battle royale are being removed to create faster, less punishable gameplay. There is no bleed out phase, shields regenerate faster, and players have infinite ammunition, and to top that off, looting has been scaled back significantly, with players earning better rewards through eliminating opponents and for amassing and levelling up their Rating.

What is Rating you ask? This is a form of scoring that judges a player's impact on a match and evaluates them on it. For example, if you put a lot of focus on objectives and eliminating enemies, you'll have a higher Rating compared to players who prefer to keep out of danger and prevent themselves from dying more frequently. The advantage to building your Rating is that if you amass enough and rank up, you will be rewarded with better gear and equipment to take into the fight. You can still grab floor loot, but that will only be found on eliminated foes.

With this in mind, this question of whether certain loot centric or team-based Legends will be seeing temporary changes to suit the mode was posed, with Lifeline and Loba (two Legends' with loot-heavy passives/abilities) being the focal point. Game designer David Swieczko revealed that this wouldn't be the case as "One of the goals of the Control mode is to help casual players learn how to play these characters, and returning players or new players can try them out."

It's worth noting that Control, while a pretty significant new mode, is only a limited-time game mode, meaning it will leave Apex eventually. Yet, this doesn't mean it will be half-baked, as it'll feature maps that have been taken from portions of the full BR maps, with various features that are specific to them. Control will run for three weeks, starting from February 8, and as for if it will return at some point, perhaps as a permanent addition to Apex, game designer Mark Yampolsky simply said, "It's something we can explore in the future. The decision is to keep it an LTM for the moment."

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Balance Changes

The final piece of information we were told revolved around balance changes. While we can expect to read more about these in the upcoming patch notes, it was mentioned that Caustic and Crypto would be seeing slight changes to their main abilities, and that certain Hop-Up attachments (Kinetic Feeder, Hammerpoint Rounds, Shatter Caps) are all seeing changes or a return to the live game.

It was also briefly noted that the crafting system will be seeing more weapons added to it, and that the Volt SMG would be entering the Crate (the place where items are moved to after they are removed from the live game) as the Alternator is returning after a stint in the Crate itself.

As for any other reworks or changes that are on Respawn's radar, we were told that the team is keeping an eye on the EVA-8 Auto, and that Gibraltar is "definitely a candidate for a balancing patch" and that "Crypto is on our radar for sure," as balance designer John Larson noted.

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While you undoubtedly have noticed the lack of Mad Maggie in this article, we'll be learning more about the character and the background to her design in the near future. Until then, be sure to watch the gameplay trailer for Defiance below to get an idea of what Maggie is bringing to the table.


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Apex Legends

REVIEW. Written by Mike Holmes

"The mix of weapons, the revive mechanic, the excellent design of the map, the fluidity of the controls, and the stellar gunplay all combine to make a slick first-person experience."

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