There’s a lot to take in with a new Apex Legends season, and Season 13 is no different. As much as some players complain that we have to spend a week playing Storm Point at the start of the season, or want to meme that the map footprint hasn’t changed that much, there’s still so many changes to get stuck into.
First off, Storm Point is clearly the best map (the title would go to World’s Edge if it wasn’t for the entire lobby landing at that one building in Fragment. You know the one.) Secondly, a lot has changed. Even if you don’t take into account all the weapon balances, the brand new Legend, or the drastic changes to Valkyrie Ultimates, Storm Point is hugely different. Sure, the new POI is tucked away on the western edge and the Volt has been left to decay in the Care Package, but Season 13 is quickly becoming one of my favourite updates yet, and that’s in part thanks to the IMC Armories.
I didn’t land at an IMC Armory for a good while when Season 13 dropped. I was preoccupied with the Downed Beast – and clearly so were most of my opponents. A new POI is a guaranteed hot drop for the first couple of weeks of a season, so it takes a long time to actually explore it fully between battles and untimely deaths.
It’s cool, though. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it’s the first organic POI in Apex Legends, even if the organism in question is the decaying corpse of a kaiju crustacean. Fighting in the guts of such a great creature is an excellent backdrop to your Storm Point hot drops, simultaneously befitting the natural theme of the map (the unnamed central POI has been dubbed ‘Jurassic Park’ by the community thanks to the abundance of Prowler nests) and bringing something entirely new to proceedings. Fighting around the bones of the beast, breaching its gaping maw on the hunt for loot, or repositioning atop its slick carapace, makes it feel like Apex is suddenly a Pacific Rim FPS. All we need now is Titans…
If you don’t want to drop at the new POI, it may feel like not a lot has changed. I disagree, of course, due to the fact that Newcastle’s Castle Walls are now dotted across the map, pinpointing the remnants of forgotten battles. Similarly, the rattle of the Spitfire is now a far more common sound to hear echoing off the map’s cliffs – and you’ll usually find me legging it in the opposite direction.
But in a few spots, there’s a new PvE minigame to take part in. The IMC Armories seal your squad inside a small, metal box – it’s a planetary defense protocol, lore-wise – and send waves of Stalkers towards you. Your squad must defeat as many as possible to unlock the Smart Loot Bins and get your rewards, rewards which are quite simply stunning. Just look at what NRG's Christopher 'sweetdreams' Sexton finds in a ranked match:
In one match I played, two team members received Gold Backpacks from their Smart Bins. I got a Gold Heavy Magazine for my Flatline, a good sight, a Purple Shotgun Bolt, as well as more ammo than I could carry. Seriously, these little boxes are what John Wick sees in his wet dreams.
My trio was set, kitted out with better loot than any other team on the map, and we were gagging for a fight. Like a group of rugby lads on tour who’d had one too many WKDs, we had a swagger to our walks and a chip on our shoulders. But we were miles away from anywhere or anyone.
Again, the IMC Armory came through. Most of Storm Point’s detractors say that it’s too big – and it is big, I’ll grant you that. But the Armories double as redeployment stations once the Stalkers have been defeated and the loot has been collected. A panel glows green, and you can be ejected from it in a similar manner to Gravity Cannons. The biggest criticism of Storm Point, traversal options, is now invalid.
I imagine this could also come in handy if an enemy team is camping outside the Armory waiting for you to finish, although I haven’t had the pleasure of that experience just yet. But the IMC Armories are incredibly strong additions to the game. The loot you gain would be enough – it’s far better quality than Bloodhound’s Trials – but the redeploy options as well? Let’s just say that POIs with Armories nearby could be in demand when it comes to the ALGS, if only for edge teams.
Of all the additions to Apex Legends in Season 13, I didn’t expect the IMC Armories to be the ones I would spend my day writing about. I haven’t written more than a couple of sentences on Newcastle yet (the jury’s still out for me), and yet these micro-POIs are strong enough to warrant close to 1,000 words. Don’t forget that Respawn senior game designer Samantha Kalman said that the Armories “could be added and moved to other maps as well,” depending on community feedback.
While the Syndicate continues its hostile takeover of the Apex Games in the lore, it looks like the IMC may be making the most important changes to the gameplay for seasons to come.
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