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Apex Legends Season 17 launch date confirmed, adds new Legend Ballistic and weapon mastery system

Plus map changes for World's Edge and new portable Evac Towers.

Apex Legends Arsenal Ballistic Key Art Respawn Entertainment
Image credit: Respawn Entertainment.

Apex Legends: Arsenal, the 17th season of the ever popular battle royale, will land on Tuesday, 9th May. Alongside map changes, a new mastery system, and evac towers, we're being treated to a brand new Legend to kick this season off with a bang.

August "Ballistic" Brinkman is a veteran of the Thunderdome Games, the predecessor to the Apex Games we know today. After a tragedy, Ballistic retired and disappeared from public view. Until now, that is, with Ballistic back and ready to show the younger generation of Legends just how it's done.

Ballistic's abilities are well suited to both ranged and close quarters combat in any mode you choose to play. However, he truly shines at singling out a target and taking them out in a stylish manner. His passive 'The Sling' allows him to carry a third weapon but only with its base statistics. This means no attachments or upgrades, if you put a purple tier weapon in, it will instantly become its base tier. His tactical 'Whistler' can overheat enemy weapons, and his ultimate 'Tempest' buffs not only him but his entire team with infinite ammunition for a period of time.

The introduction of Ballistic is not the only thing to look forward to in Apex Legends: Arsenal, as there have been some big map changes to World's Edge with vault keys being more common, a new vault in Sky Hook and the addition of new POIs.

Apex Legends Arsenal Ballistic Museum Key Art Respawn Entertainment
Credit: Respawn Entertainment. | Image credit: Respawn Entertainment.

World's Edge is starting to recover and cool down a bit, with snow now dusting Sky Hook and the deep chasms you can fall into a thing of the past. Eagle eyed players may also notice subtle changes to the lighting and skies across World's Edge. However, two of the biggest changes are in Lava City... well, what was Lava City. It's now known as Stacks, as the fragment construction building has been moved to this location.

This new place of interest is designed to give you more options for vertical play, with the building itself having several floors where multiple battles can take place. It sounds a great place to head if you want to be in the thick of it, with very little options but your wits and skills to get you out alive.

Apex Legends Arsenal POI Stacks Respawn Entertainment
Credit: Respawn Entertainment. | Image credit: Respawn Entertainment.

The next new place of interest on World's Edge is Monument. It's in the centre of World's Edge and is essentially a celebration of all things Apex Legends - a museum that celebrates the history of the Apex Games and the achievements of the developer team throughout the game's lifespan. As you traverse through it, you may recognise concept art of your favourite Legend, or even references to earlier seasons.

The Monument building itself has a glass roof, meaning that enemy squads can see you from above, but also means that you can see them which allows you a chance to plan how to attack or escape. There are several deep underground bunkers beneath the Monument which will allow for a quick getaway if things get too chaotic up top. Also, there are several zip lines leading to and from sniper nests on the building itself. All of this coupled with it being in the centre of World's Edge, we suspect that this POI is going to be highly popular.

Apex Legends Arsenal Monument POI Respawn Entertainment
Credit: Respawn Entertainment. | Image credit: Respawn Entertainment.

Other changes on World's Edge include a new landing location at the Harvester which can be accessed by skydiving through the lava tube from above. Speaking of lava, it can now mostly be safely traversed and the lava levels have been raised across World's Edge.

We have some news about Mirage à trois too. No, it hasn't crashed and turned into a flaming wreck again, but it will no longer be across all of the maps. It will only be available on World's Edge now.

While we're on the topic of maps, the map rotations for Apex Legends Season 17 will be Kings Canyon, World's Edge, and Olympus.

Apex Legends Arsenal Ballistic Execution Key Art Respawn Entertainment
Credit: Respawn Entertainment. | Image credit: Respawn Entertainment.

That's not all you've got to look forward to this season, there's a brand new weapon mastery system for you to sink your teeth into. You will now be rewarded for having a favourite weapon that you use time and time again across each map. The best part? Your progress is carried from season to season, so you don't have to worry about getting all the levels in one block!

Everyone starts with each weapon being at level one, and you can progress your mastery of that weapon by causing damage, fighting with style, and getting as many kills as possible with it.

You can do this by using your weapon of choice in any public mode (it won't count in a private match or in the firing range). Every 20 levels, weapon specific trials will unlock for you to complete. Once you do manage to complete a set trial, you will achieve a reward. These can include banner frames, trackers, and skins. Once you reach level 100 with your weapon and complete the final trial, you will have mastered that weapon to earn the final reward.

Next, let's talk about the new Evac Towers. These are essentially portable versions of the launch towers we're used to. Don't worry, as far as we know the launch towers themselves are still going to be available, but the Evac Towers are ones that you can use anywhere you want to (as long as you're outside a building). As with the normal launch towers, you can place the tower down, use the zipline to go up and then skydive back into the match.

However, they have a health bar and a timeout beacon. It will take a couple of members of an enemy squad shooting the tower at the same time to destroy it, but even if it manages to survive, it can still timeout and disintegrate.

Apex Legends Arsenal Key Art Bangalore Firing Range
Credit: Respawn Entertainment. | Image credit: Respawn Entertainment.

That's a lot of information so far, but stick with us - we're nearly there. The Firing Range has been overhauled with new areas that simulate a town, dummies that can now fire back at you, a new map, and a dueling pit where players can fight one on one. Also, you can now join friends in progress in the Firing Range session.

Finally, the ping system has been reworked with several new options that can make communication between squad members easier. Some of the new ping features include a new ping wheel for downed players, a 'regroup here' option and a 'enemy audio' option that will let your team know that you can hear enemies but can't see them yet.

Apex Legends: Arsenal launches on Tuesday, 9th May and we can't wait to see Ballistic in action.

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