Respawn Entertainment has introduced the new “Arena” mode to Apex Legends as part of its 9th season, dubbed “Legacy.” Arena simplifies the combat experience of the game into one head to head match between two squads of three players. At the beginning of each round, players get to select and purchase their weapons and equipment in a style that is similar to other round-based games like Valorant or Counter-Strike. Given that Arena is a brand new experience with a setup and even maps of its own, Arena represents one of the biggest content additions to Apex Legends in the game’s two-year existence. It’s likely no coincidence that with the addition of Arena, both the Apex Legends player and viewer base seem to be at their peak. So now that Arena is here, what can Respawn do to keep it fresh, improve upon its foundation and keep it exciting? Let’s play out some ideas to find out.
- Ranked mode
The most obvious improvement that can be made to Arena in Apex Legends is the offering of a Ranked mode. While Respawn has confirmed that Arena is using some type of hidden skill-based matchmaking on the back end, offering a formal Ranked variant of Arena gives players a new way to distinguish themselves by testing their talents and seeing how high they can rank. While there has always been a debate regarding how rewarding Apex Legends’ current ranked mode is, offering a ranked mode in Arena would undoubtedly give motivated and competitive players a new way to challenge themselves, with no real incentive needed.
2. Wild Card Rounds
Anyone who has spent a significant amount of time in the Arena in Apex Legends will surely have come up against squads that are evenly matched. While some matches of Arena can be over in only 3-rounds which last a matter of minutes, evenly matched squads can play up to 9 rounds, which significantly increases the match time. While this can be compelling in its own right, it can also be frustrating for players who are jumping into Arena for more fast paced fun when compared to the traditional battle royale experience which can sometimes last 30-minutes per match.
To counter this, I propose the addition of “Wild Card Rounds” in the Arena which would shake things up. Instead of traditional tie-breaker rounds which allow each team to buy weapons like normal rounds, Wild Card Rounds would fix the loadouts of players and change the flow of the coming round by equipping all players with “fun,” sought after weapons. For example, one wild card round might start all players off with the Kraber while another might give everyone the EVA-8. Another wild card round might give everyone the Wingman, Triple Take or even Mozambiques, only. These wild card rounds would break the flow of the match and force players to shake up their strategy. Not only would these rounds be fun, but it would also give one team the chance to change the momentum of the match and break the stalemate.
I believe that this wild card idea is solid enought to be implemented into Arena as a whole but Respawn could take it in a number of different directions. They could flat out add Wild Card matches to the timer rotation and make every certain number of Arena matches that you play be full-scale Wild Card matches or they could use the idea for a limited time event where everyone participating in Arena gets Wild Card match after Wild Card match. Regardless of how Respawn implements this idea, I believe that its a solid idea to shake up Arena and create new content for players.
3. Skull Town
Though player opinion of Apex Legends’ original map known as King’s Canyon is varied, very few people who ever played Apex Legends back in the day would argue that Skull Town is one of the most legendary drop locations that the game has ever contained. Skull Town was such a popular drop location that Respawn decided that they needed to remove it from King’s Canyon altogether because it was attracting too many players and leaving the rest of the map too sparse in players, at times.
With that said, Arena is the perfect opportunity to bring Skull Town back. Skull Town featured tons of small buildings, tight corridors and roof tops to fight from, along with a dinosaur skeleton for maximum height. While part of the fun of Skull Town was jumping in and knowing that you’d be squaring up against at least a handful of other squads and Arena will pit you against only a single squad, there’s no reason not to fall back on the nostalgia of Skull Town and make it an Arena map. Skull Town is already content complete and would require little effort on behalf of Respawn to implement. If I were Respawn, I would make it the first new Arena map of Season 10, which would undoubtedly create a buzz and excite players for the new season.
While this may be controversial with some players who prefer the “One squad versus one squad” concept of Arena, I believe that Respawn should give the addition of a third squad in Arena a try in some form. The most obvious and least risky format would be as an optional Limited Time Mode. Many players have long bemoaned “third partying” in virtually every battle royale but its an element of the battle royale experience that will never go away. By including a 3v3v3 variant of Arena, players could teach themselves how to handle fighting two squads at a time, without the risk of “losing” the match and having to start over thanks to round based nature of Arena. Players will have to think differently about how they position and when to push a team with three squads fighting it out in Arena. While some highly competitive players may enjoy the “One versus one” element of Arena which negates the potential for a third party, I believe that it is important for players to learn how to play against multiple squads and a 3v3v3 variant of Arena is the perfect opportunity to do that. If we take this idea to its fullest potential, Respawn could even design Arena maps specifically for this idea and introduce it later down the road as an all new experience for an upcoming season.
5. Limited Time Modes
While I already spoke of the Wild Card concept which could also work as an LTM and contains ideas for other LTM’s in itself, there’s no reason that Respawn couldn’t host a wealth of other LTM’s for Arena Mode, some of which we are already familiar with. Respawn has already exposed us to the “Always be Closing” concept in battle royale during which the ring never stops moving. This could be duplicated in Arena for an LTM which would ultimately force players into close quarters and shake up the way rounds play out.
One of my community members also came up with the idea of a “Bomb collar” mode inspired by the new Saw movie that is worth considering. In this mode, all players would have a set time limit (Let’s say, 60 seconds) to eliminate the other team before their “bomb collars” explode, killing them in the process. This would create an urgency to jump into combat right away, again teaching players the importance of finishing fights quickly, which translates into battle royale mode. Speaking of bombs, how about an “Offense versus defense” mode where one team has to plant a bomb and the other has to defend a given site, ala Counter-Strike? These are only a couple quick ideas for LTM’s that Respawn could host though the potential is limitless. Though Arena is strong enough a mode to stand on its own, the more twists that Respawn can introduce to prepare Arena players for Battle Royale, the better.
I’m very curious to hear feedback from the Apex Legends community on Arena and the ideas that I have assembled here. Let me know which of these ideas you like and which you dislike. If you have exciting ideas of your own that you think would shake up or enhance Arena, please share them with us in the comments!