Apex Legends Fortune’s Favor is reportedly the battle royale’s most popular season yet—and it’s no coincidence.
Season five boasts the "highest level of per-play engagement seen to date," the "highest daily retention" of any Apex season, and the "largest number of new players" on launch week since season one, Respawn design director Jason McCord told Dot Esports.
It’s easy to attribute this feat to a combination of new content and the coronavirus keeping players home. But Loba, along with a comprehensively calculated PvE mode, is sure to keep players coming back for months.
A new Legend reinvigorates the PvP scene
Loba has quickly become a popular legend, seducing anyone to get what she wants just as easily as she can shoot her way to victory. If digging her heel into enemies’ throats wasn’t enough to wow the Apex community, her unique ability kit certainly is.
The High Society Thief can translocate to get a better vantage point or flee from gunfire by throwing her Jump Drive bracelet. Burglar’s Best Friend gives her tons of mobility, making her a better option than a lot of her counterparts in the Outlands. With Pathfinder receiving a huge nerf to his grappling hook in season five, Loba can be a better option for players who rely on repositioning mid-fight.
And there have been plenty of instances showcasing Loba’s Black Market Boutique in action, which can snatch premier loot from under the nose of the enemy. This can be a more lucrative alternative to Lifeline’s Care Package since you and your squad can actually choose which items you want.
From a competitive standpoint, Loba has the mobility and repositioning tool needed to be successful. And she can deliver top-tier loot from a safe distance. Loba has a good blend of an aggressive and defensive playstyle, while also offering utility for her squad.
For beginners, Loba is an attractive option—she has a forgiving kit and she’s a badass. And for competitive players, the thief provides plenty of outplay potential and flanking opportunities that can help you become an Apex champion.
Loba is fun to play, plain and simple. And the entertainment she offers is enough to entice new players and keep Apex vets coming back.
PvE and lore, the community wants more
Over the course of five seasons, Respawn has strategically grown the Apex canon. And it all crescendoed in Fortune’s Favor.
The majority of people who play Apex likely enjoy the competitive nature of the battle royale genre. Drop into a match, shoot your enemies, and be the last team standing.
But season five brought in the PvE and RPG elements that many gamers grew up on. Apex gently tugs at the nostalgia of its community, presenting just enough lore to keep all of its fans happy.
It begins with a treasure hunt. Players scour the Outlands and open supply crates, hoping to pick up a Treasure Pack that will give them insight into Loba’s master plan and the Broken Ghost. Collect enough packs and you get to go on a hunt, wipe out Prowlers, and read through intense, well-written, and amusing conversations between the legends.
Respawn essentially created a mini-game for players to familiarize themselves with the legends, while simultaneously offering a casual PvE experience. You don’t have to worry about impressing your teammates, landing the perfect shots, or being the last one standing. Just sit back, shoot creatures, and unfold an entertaining tale.
Gamers who need a break from competitive titles might turn on Animal Crossing, farm turnips, and catch tarantulas. But Apex gives players the option of distancing themselves from the high-stress PvP environment with a more tranquil PvE setting.
To ensure that players keep coming back for more, Respawn was clever enough to release hunts in episodic fashion. If all the hunts came out with the season-five launch, die-hard fans would have grinded through them all and flooded the Apex subreddit with spoilers. But now, like your favorite TV show, you have to patiently wait for the next chapter. And it’s all worth it.
It also doesn’t help that these chapters pull at the heartstrings. The more you get to know the legends, the more it hurts when one of them goes down (no spoilers). And these short glimpses into the legends’ lives provide tons of inspiration for community fan art and thoughtful discourse.
This is something that traditional battle royales, like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds or Fortnite, don't do. While it may be fun to crank 90s as a tomato-headed pizzeria mascot, you aren’t exactly getting an in-depth look into his life. Those titles typically focus on gameplay and cosmetics. But Apex makes players care about the legends before gunning them down mercilessly.
It’s not all fun and games
Though Apex’s fifth season is impressive and successful, there’s still a fair share of complaints. While the typical “dead game” and “fix SBMM” chants are sprinkled into Reddit and Twitter threads, some more pressing issues did arise with the season’s launch.
Fortune’s Favor began with server and hit registration issues since the developers tried to launch an ambitious season while being relegated to their homes due to the coronavirus pandemic. It may have been bumpy but they ultimately smoothed those problems out.
But teamers have been growing rampant, threatening the integrity of the battle royale’s matchmaking system. Top Apex players were allegedly caught teaming up in Predator lobbies, while another player was intentionally respawned in front of an enemy team just so they could kill them again.
While Respawn is likely looking into this issue, it’s unclear what devs will do to fix it yet.
Fortune’s Favor gives Apex players of all skill levels an enjoyable competitive and casual experience. While dissenters may have some valid complaints about Apex, the rest of us are waiting at the edge of our seats for Hunt Three to release.