The fast-paced combat in Apex Legends quickly became one of the staples of the battle royale, but few things can put the action on hold as abruptly as having to stop and reload. Even Gibraltar, Apex‘s tankiest legend, can be caught off guard and without his gun shield when switching magazines.
That's exactly the gameplay space Respawn wanted to explore while creating the upcoming Gold Magazine, which automatically reloads weapons after 5.5 seconds and will debut in season eight. The goal behind the gadget is to give players another way to maintain aggression without having to duck behind cover and switch mags—and without making significant changes to reload speed.
Tweaking reloads was “low-hanging fruit,” game designer Eric Canavese told Dot Esports, but Respawn needed a tool to explore that space without being too intrusive. Making major changes to reload times could disrupt players' understanding of the guns. If an enemy has an LMG, players know to expect long reloads and play around it, for instance. Subverting those ingrained notions is “not quite the healthiest gameplay space,” Canavese said.
Respawn found a solution in the Gold Magazine, a tool that allows the developers to dive into the “gameplay space” of reloading without making intrusive adjustments to weapons.
Gold Magazines let Respawn work into that space by encouraging players to swap to their secondary weapons instead of disengaging to switch mags, according to Canavese. The attachment will let players maintain aggression for longer—especially in close-quarters combat, where not shooting can invite an enemy squad to rush.
The key to the Gold Magazine, however, is how long it takes to auto-reload a stowed weapon. Its timing is a mutable value that can tune into whatever gameplay spaces Respawn wants to explore.
“Right now it's tuned to about five seconds, which leans into that close-quarters combat [space], because it takes about five seconds to unload all of our magazines,” Canavese said. The timing on the Gold Magazine, however, can change—and it will be “the obvious choice” for balancing the new accessory.
If Respawn decides to extend the timer, it could become “more of a rotation tool” instead of a means of maintaining aggression. For instance, players wouldn't have to worry about reloading before running away. They could fire an entire magazine, reposition to a different area or move behind cover, and reach their destination with a full mag in hand. It may not be as disruptive as a short timer, but it can still grant a significant gameplay advantage—and Respawn will keep an eye on its timer to ensure it fulfills that role without being overly oppressive.
The Gold Magazine will be added to Apex when season eight begins on Feb. 2.