Apex Legends’ Skull Town Returns In Season 14 To Improve Kings Canyon Map Health

Apex Legends Season 14 sees newcomer Vantage join the playable roster (though I’d rather see more of her mother), and Apex games return to Kings Canyon. After being destroyed by Leviathans, Loba, and Mad Maggie, the original Apex Legends map is finally partially rebuilt in the new season, as the Syndicate builds a new landmark in the southwest portion. Where Skull Town once stood, you’ll now find a familiar-looking town covered by a massive leviathan skull. It’s called Relic.

Relic is not an individual replica of Skull Town. For one thing, it’s much smaller and not nearly as big – more of an outpost or settlement set in the middle of a small desert canyon, with plenty of sight lines for snipers to ambush. to squads trying to enter or exit the point of interest (POI). Don’t expect it to house enough loot for nearly a dozen squads like Skull Town, either; instead, Relic will only offer enough loot and space for two or three squads (perhaps four).

Relic isn't exactly Skull Town, but it is a town overshadowed by a massive skull.
Relic isn’t exactly Skull Town, but it is a town overshadowed by a massive skull.

The new addition to Kings Canyon represents a narrative conclusion to Kings Canyon’s journey since Season 5, when Loba inadvertently blew up Skull Town and Thunderdome in her quest to kill Revenant.

“There’s been some sort of salvage operation going on, salvaging the bones from the ocean, and this new update is kind of the end point of that story,” lead designer Jeff Shaw told me. level of Apex Legends. “It was the rescue [POI] operation, which is now complete.”

Relic will replace Salvage – the POI that replaced Skull Town – but that’s it. It doesn’t stretch far enough to make up for the ground lost when Thunderdome was also destroyed. “We want each map to have its own area, its own statement, and its own type of niche,” Shaw said. “Kings Canyon is one of our smaller and more frenetic maps. We definitely wanted to keep that. We didn’t want to disrupt that because we think that’s part of what makes it special and what sets it apart. .”

The goal is for Relic to act as a bridge between Gauntlet and Caustic Treatment, in the same vein that Skull Town once connected Gauntlet and Water Treatment. It’s a job that theoretically any type of POI could have done, but the level design team chose to create something resembling Skull Town in order to capitalize on the popularity of the old POI. . They know that veteran players will be drawn to the landmark like moths to the flame, which satisfies several aspects of Kings Canyon that the team wants to see fixed.

“We really wanted to bring that kind of gameplay that people loved with Skull Town and were missing, but not bring back a lot of the issues that Skull Town had and put on the map,” Shaw said. [Relic] is an answer to a problem we saw with the flow and the path through this area in rotations – like the rotation between [Gauntlet] and market, and caustic treatment and recovery. This whole area generally always has forced encounters and forced combat scenarios, especially if you had a good team keeping watch in the middle of the market. You were sort of almost always engaged in an engagement.”

From the inside, Relic is not as big as Skull Town.
From the inside, Relic is not as big as Skull Town.

In theory, Salvage should have kept players away from the market, or at least served as a place of retreat and redeployment to avoid unwanted engagement. The big problem with this is that, as many Apex Legends players will tell you, few people love Salvage quite as much. It’s hard to fight and the loot there is decent but not as good as the places around it. When playing Apex Legends I tend to avoid it at all costs, only visiting the POI when the ring closes in that direction and I’m forced to go.

“Gameplay-wise, we wanted to introduce a POI that was definitely a bit more appealing than Salvage,” Shaw said. “And we wanted to bring back some of that frenzy [close-quarters combat], building-to-building action that Skull Town had, but do it on a much smaller, more controlled scale. We expect Relic to mostly support two to three teams comfortably.”

While the addition of Relic is the big change for Kings Canyon, the map will also see major adjustments to Cage and Broken Relay. Cage loses its top floor and all the walls except those on the ground floor collapse. This means that the once easily defensible tower has been significantly opened up, making it much harder to hold, as now Pathfinder, Octane, Revenant, Loba, Horizon, Valkyrie, Ash and Vantage can easily climb or jump on any ground with the use of their abilities, and there isn’t much cover unless you bring a tower defense legend with you.

The cage is now open, giving snipers plenty of sight lines.
The cage is now open, giving snipers plenty of sight lines.

Broken Relay, meanwhile, is no longer broken, having been renamed Basin. The POI has been expanded north over the precipice below, replicating the precarious nature of the area prior to the start of Season 8. So, yes, you once again have to do a pretty good job of watching your step or you can accidentally jump to your death.

There are also several small tweaks scattered around the map, which should help players better deal with choke points and tricky loot lanes. “We touched on so many aspects and facets of the map,” Shaw said. “We made a lot of really nuanced changes, like changing how the loop is actually positioned and laid out in POI Labs. … We changed some core paths, some core macro paths, and closed a few access points. We looked at the foliage and the trees and everything in the swamps, we looked at the explosive holds on the map, the loot balance on the map.

In our chat, my favorite little change that Shaw talked about was the giant walls that prominently surround the artillery and repulsor. From the start, the only way to get to the top of these walls was to redeploy on them or use a mobility legend like Pathfinder or Valkyrie. This will no longer be the case, as Shaw said, the level design team added “a few more paths” so that all legends can now reach the top of these walls, removing them as a relatively camping spot. safe for snipers – perfect timing too, considering that Vantage’s abilities make her a long-range specialist and the G7-Scout returns to ground loot.

With the addition of Relic, Kings Canyon is a larger map – however, it's still significantly smaller than World's Edge and Storm Point.
With the addition of Relic, Kings Canyon is a larger map – however, it’s still significantly smaller than World’s Edge and Storm Point.

All of these changes are aimed at improving the map quality and health of the whole of Kings Canyon, not just part of it as we’ve seen in previous map updates. “[Season 14] is a new way to look at Kings Canyon updates – we took a much larger bird’s eye view of the map and looked holistically across the entire map,” Shaw said. was a challenge: trying to find all the places that were pain points and getting community feedback and getting feedback from the design team and the rest of the team and looking at the data, and trying to really analyze the map and figure out what are the things we can do to just improve the quality of the map and improve the health of the map. That was kind of the philosophy behind this whole update.”

Apex Legends Season 14 kicks off August 9. Along with Vantage and a new Kings Canyon, the new season introduces an all-new safari-themed battle pass, featuring legendary character skins for Caustic and Wraith, as well as reactive legendary weapon skins for the Triple take. The Season 14 Battle Royale map rotation will include Kings Canyon, World’s Edge, and Storm Point. Kings Canyon will be the featured map for the first half of the Ranked Division, and Storm Point will be used for the second half.

The Season 14 Battle Pass features Legendary skins for Wraith and Caustic that make Legends look like big game hunters.
The Season 14 Battle Pass features Legendary skins for Wraith and Caustic that make Legends look like big game hunters.

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