Apex Legends Season 9's new game mode looks like a riot - but could it endanger VALORANT's strong player base?
Apex Legends, now one of the battle royale genre’s leading titles, has had some luck over the last few updates. Each new buff to the game adds something new for every type of player, and whether it’s new characters, weapons or returning maps, something about the fast-paced title is magnetic. The game’s success has been skyrocketing and has dominated Twitch’s gaming categories as of late. And now, it’s set to get even better.
The Season 9 Legacy update is almost upon us and is set to bring an incredible slate of content to the game. The airborne new legend Valkyrie may be the most exciting part of Season 9 for many players, but something else is stoking a lot of intrigue; the new Arenas game mode.
What is Apex Legends’ Arenas Mode?
Arenas is a whole new way of experiencing Apex Legends, and makes good on the promise by Respawn that the game would be “more than just battle royale”. The game mode takes two teams of three legends and pits them against each other in one of three small rotating maps. In their spawn rooms where they’ll be locked for a short period, players can confer, strategise, and use the new economy system to purchase legend abilities, weapons, items, and armour.
It’s a far cry from the battle royale gameplay we’re used to, but hopefully, it’ll be a pleasant change that brings a whole new element to Apex’s structure. The mode looks to be a fast-paced riot with very strict teamwork and strategy to determine the all-important win.
But we’ve seen this before. Recently, too.
Why Are Fans Worried For VALORANT?
Arenas might be a whole new level of fun for Apex veterans, but there’s very real concern that it could be at the expense of another game’s player base.
VALORANT, Riot Games’ leading title, is a 5v5 objective-based shooter that bolsters intense teamwork skills and management of its iconic economy system to offer players armour, items, weapons, and abilities. Sound familiar?
The trouble with the introduction of Arenas is truly how much it borrows from VALORANT’s gameplay. Of course, Riot Games don’t own the concept of economy systems, but they’ve certainly popularised them enough to catch EA’s eye. And while it might not be fair to label Apex Legends’ new mode as a plagiarist, it’s very clear that it’s taken heavy influence from VALORANT to the point where fears of a large-scale player overlap have become very real.
Will Apex Legends’ Arenas Kill VALORANT?
While speculation remains rife, the sad possibility is that yes, Arenas could well absorb VALORANT’s player base. The similarities between the two games are striking, and the cause for concern is fair - but it could be their differences that save VALORANT and set the two game modes apart.
Ultimately, the games have a major point of disagreement. The usefulness of weapons and transmission of damage between characters in Apex Legends is significantly different, with Arenas’ legends soaking up bullets like sponges and VALORANT’s agents taking single bullets to an early grave. Plus, while it could only take three round wins to come out on top in the Arenas, it takes 13+ to be crowned champ in VALORANT. They may seem like minor differences, but they shift the metas of these games drastically.
The thing that appears to separate Arenas and VALORANT is their degrees of competitiveness. Apex’s new mode still offers the gameplay of its main game with a fresh and compacted twist, with its new competitor rather taking a different road, making way for ultimate clutches and high-risk, high-reward scenarios. If you’ve ever played Apex with an Octane on your team, you’ll know to expect more off-the-wall ballsy plays than you might see in a tense competitive match of VALORANT.
At the end of the day, if Arenas turns out to be gaming’s next big thing and Apex’s crowning achievement, it could seriously endanger the player-base of a beloved modern title. Apex Legends has undeniably taken from VALORANT in the way of influence and framework but has added the sleek AAA finish that we’ve come to expect from titles born of gargantuan studios like EA. But, there is hope that Riot Games’ underdog might still wave a flag for the uber-competitive from under the rubble that Arenas leaves in its wake. Only time will tell, and hopefully, both games will stand strong as ever after Season 9’s impact.
Images via Electronic Arts | Riot Games