Mad Maggie, Third Anniversary, and the future: what you need to know about Apex Legends - Defiance
We have a bunch of other details about what this new season of Respawn's battle royale will be bringing to the table.
While we've already learnt a lot about how Olympus is changing, and what Control will play like, EA and Respawn have been particularly quiet when it comes to sharing the finer details about the new Legend, Mad Maggie. Fortunately, we attended another developer panel, which was focussed mostly on this chaotic and anticipated character, so we have plenty of details to share.
First of all, a little bit of narrative to provide some colour to Maggie. Thanks to Fuse's Stories from the Outlands trailer, we already knew that Maggie and Fuse were childhood friends and pretty much partners in crime, at least that was the case until Fuse revealed his intention to join the Apex Games. A fight broke out, Fuse lost an arm, the friendship was shattered, and soon after Maggie decided to blow King's Canyon to smithereens, a deed for which she became a criminal of the highest order. To repent for her actions, Maggie (as was shown in her Stories from the Outlands trailer) has been sentenced to die in the Apex Games, however, Maggie is a pretty hardy individual and won't succumb to her fate without a fight, meaning the popular tournament now has a fearsome new competitor.
If you've seen any of the trailers, you'll instantly notice Maggie's iconic accent. This is because the character is from New Zealand and uses a dialect akin to the region. But this goes a step further, as Maggie is also Maori, and frequently uses terms and phrases in the language. Narrative lead Sam Gill told us a little about this decision and how it came to be, saying, "the second that we discovered that she would be from New Zealand, we knew there was an opportunity, and maybe a responsibility, that she'd be Maori. She speaks Maori in the game... and knowing we had that opportunity it became like, 'there's no way we can't put her in the Games'."
This is an ad:
But, inspiration and backstory aside, how does Maggie play in-game and what do her abilities do? This Legend is designed at her core to cause mayhem and havoc and to be an aggressive playmaking figure. To accommodate this, Respawn has created a set of abilities that accentuate constantly attacking and uprooting foes.
Her Passive ability is called Warlord's Ire, and has two main parts to it. Firstly Maggie does not have a movement penalty for wielding a shotgun, meaning she can bolt around the map with a Peacekeeper in-hand, at the same speed as those with holstered weapons. When she gets into a fight, the second part of Warlord's Ire comes into play, as she will be able to highlight and see any foe she damages for a short while. This is specific to Maggie, so don't expect to use it as a recon or supporting ability for the whole team.
This is an ad:
As for Maggie's Tactical ability, this is known as Riot Drill and is used to whittle through cover and protected locations to force and defend opponents out into a less safe area. For example, this could be simply cutting through a metal barrier or even something far more challenging to overcome, such as Gibraltar's Dome of Protection, as the Drill will chew right through.
Lastly, her Ultimate is called Wrecking Ball. This allows Maggie to fire a large ball forward, which will continue rolling and bouncing off objects until it either comes into close proximity with an enemy or exceeds its duration, at which point it will explode for a little bit of damage and knockback and disorient nearby enemies. This is mostly a supportive ability believe it or not, as in the Wrecking Ball's wake will be a speed boosting path that Maggie and her team can use to close the distance to foes. Due to its chaotic nature and its ability to cause a lot of mayhem especially in enclosed spaces, gameplay engineer Chris Winder told us that the Wrecking Ball was "definitely one of our biggest development challenges."
As for Maggie's strengths and weaknesses, the development team told us that she excels at dealing with Legends that prefer a slower more defensive playstyle, alike Gibraltar, but really suffers and struggles against characters like Wattson, as her Interception Pylon will destroy both the Wrecking Ball and the Riot Drill if they come into its range.
Third Anniversary on onwards
To round out this bumper look at Defiance is a quick mention to the Third Anniversary in-game event and a look into what the future holds for Apex Legends. Set to last three weeks, the Third Anniversary will celebrate the milestone by serving up fans various goodies, including chances to acquire Legends that you may not already own, as well as a bunch of cosmetics to flaunt.
The first week (Feb 8 - 15) will give players the chance to earn Octane as well as three cosmetic packs. Week two (Feb 15 - 22) will offer up Wattson and some more packs, and then week three (Feb 22 - March 1) will serve up Valkyrie, three more packs, and a Legendary pack to mark the end of the anniversary celebration. While this is already a lot to look forward to, game director Steven Ferreira told us that "surprises are key" for Apex, and that there will be more to share about the Anniversary soon.
Otherwise, the development team used the panel to tease what other Apex content we can look forward to for the rest of the year. Design director Evan Nikolich said, "we're committed to being the best competitive shooter out there that's both fun to play and super engaging to watch. That being said, the BR needs to evolve. We want to attract players who have maybe been on the outside edge or are maybe intrigued by the Apex universe." To do so, Nikolich added, "we have to do a better job at teaching players how to play the game," before continuing with, "we're going to start making LTMs that teach you the skills how to play the BR, and we're going to take lessons from old LTMs and use it to help inform future decisions."
Furthermore, when future Legends were brought up, particularly framed around supportive and healing characters, Winder stated, "we might have some things cooking," which suggests there may be a new medic Legend on the horizon.
Following this, the question of how Apex's new-gen native versions are looking was posed, with Ferreira telling us that there will be more details coming very, very soon, and that when the PS5 and Xbox Series versions drop, Respawn plans to continually expand on them with new features as each future season arrives.
As a final note, while it was only mentioned in passing and very briefly for that matter, Ferreira also made a point to affirm that "we've got mobile this year as well," suggesting that it won't be too long before we can play Apex Legends on iOS and Android on the morning commute.
You can look forward to diving into Apex Legends - Defiance on Tuesday, February 8, when it launches on all platforms.