Apex Legends devs explain why removing RNG from armour system is ‘healthier’
Since the release of Apex Legends, armour has been a lootable item that players can find throughout the map if they’re lucky enough. Stumbling upon a blue or purple shield can be a game-changer, especially in the early game.
However, Season 20 is completely taking the RNG out of armour and instead, will require players to earn their upgraded shields.
This in the eyes of the devs is a change that’s “healthier” and more fair on competitors, as getting strong armour is no longer tied to any amount of luck.
So, how do you earn higher-tier armour, and what made Respawn make this massive change to the game in Breakout?
How does armour work in Apex Legends Season 20?
You can no longer loot armour from the ground in Apex Legends Season 20, it has to be earned by collecting XP and levelling up. Everyone will start a match as usual with white armour at level 1. Dealing damage, scanning beacons, reviving teammates, getting assists, and all team-related activities will grant you XP towards levelling up.
Once you hit level 2, you’ll be offered a Legend Upgrade and granted blue armour. Level three brings the same with purple shields and of course, level four gives red armour.
Now, the question on everyone's lips will likely be shield swaps and luckily, Respawn has come up with a solution. After killing a foe, their death box will no longer contain armour, it will include a new item called a Shield Core which will be equivalent rarity to the armour the enemy was wearing (White, Blue, Purple, or Red).
This will act in a similar to an armour swap, instantly replacing any missing shields you have equivalent to the tier of Shield Core you picked up. It will not level up your armour though, it will simply overcharge if you pick up a higher tier Shield Core than your current armour.
For example, a player who is currently level 2 (Blue) and armour swaps into a level 3 Shield Core (Purple) will be granted an extra pip of armour. As soon as this extra pip is gone from taking damage though, they will return back to blue tier armour until they level up.
Why did the devs make armour changes in Apex Legends?
During a Q&A with the Apex developers at the 5th Anniversary Summit, both Josh Mohan (Lead Battle Royale Designer) and Devan McGuire (Lead Game Designer) spoke about why they thought the armour changes were important.
“It might take time for players to absorb the changes,' Mohan admitted.
"I think they're going to miss that feeling of grabbing a purple shield off the rip and feeling like you just got dealt pocket aces but I think in the long run people will see that it’s a healthier change," he added.
“Having (Armour) be something that’s an earned expression across the game does kinda create a nice curve of engagement, even if it’s going to take people a while to be like ‘oh I can still fight at the beginning of the game in my white and blue armour’ as the other teams are going to be in the same situation,” explained McGuire.
Ultimately, it’s clear the goal of these changes was to completely remove RNG and put everyone on a level playing field when it comes to earning armour, seemingly rewarding aggressive play right from the drop. If you want to hit red shields, it’s going to take a lot of work in Season 20 as there are no shortcuts anymore.