The first time I dropped into Apex Legends when Season 3 kicked off earlier this week, I was taken aback by how beautiful the new map is. It's far more colorful than Kings Canyon, the map that's kept us busy for most of 2019. In the center of it is a city even, with its own running train and a giant icicle burrowed into the earth. On the outskirts, lava flows. The vibe of World's Edge, from its neon color palette to the multi-story buildings you can fight within, feels distinct compared to Kings Canyon.
That distinctness doesn't wave away its issues though. The pacing of matches on World's Edge feels off, with long stretches of not much happening. Then, boom, you get sniped while en route across one of its many open areas. The highlight of the new map is Capitol City; it's where I keep coming back to. The area feels different from Kings Canyon in all the right ways, with elements of Titanfall-ish futuristic architecture and smaller indoor spaces. In one match, my team and another ended up in a narrow stairway in a skyscraper. We ricocheted frag grenades against the wall in an attempt to flush out the three people a floor below us; it was tense in a way that PUBG used to be back in its glory days, back when Miramar's own steep desert towns first entered the mix.
Miramar was a controversial addition to PUBG. Most players loathed it, so PUBG Corp. molded the map to fans' desires. More roads were added, and more buildings too; it was as if anything fans demanded, they would receive, even if it's to a detriment to the map's original identity. It lost the chaotic charm it had in its first iteration, even though it did have problems. Still, I fancied the map. It was so different from the bushy Erangel that it was refreshing after months of obsessively playing PUBG every night with friends. Miramar was a whole new experience.
World's Edge reminds me a lot of Miramar, even if it's far livelier in terms of design. Like Miramar, it has problems with pacing and has proven to be controversial in the community. The vast open spaces means that a lot of the named locales are bustling most of the time, and traveling between those is usually where it drags. As a consequence, the starts and ends of matches are exciting, but run-ins with other teams throughout the whole match feel fewer and farther in between than they were on Kings Canyon. I think it's because most teams are dropping on the most interesting-looking new locations and getting cleared out, which leaves only a handful of teams for the middle to end of the match.
On Miramar, PUBG suffered from the same thing. I remember Hacienda being the "hot drop" place where everyone would fall, and it'd be instantaneous madness of dozens of players scrambling for guns. It would always play out like a scene from an apocalyptic movie, or like when people need to buy smoke masks when there's a big fire in the Bay Area and all the stores are out of them. People would grab what they could and fight back, or they'd take flight immediately.
World's Edge has a loot dispersal problem too, with areas feeling more sparse of goods than usual. This could just be how I perceive it now that Apex has shed its old map for a new one and I'm just not used to it yet, but still, it does feel like there's a lot less to grab than usual. I miss the littering of Mozambiques and Alternators. With these much larger buildings to loot especially, I'm finding barely a gun per floor in most cases.
In an unexpected move, World's Edge has replaced the old Kings Canyon as the sole map that players can play on. This has, obviously, been a controversial decision. Online, I've seen fans and pals in all corners of Reddit, Twitter, and even on Instagram, mourn the loss of Kings Canyon. In an interview with Stevivor though, Project Lead Drew McCoy says it may not be gone forever-ever.
"What we don't want is for someone to get in on October 1st and be like, 'Oh, it put me on Kings Canyon, I'm going to back out.' You're going to end up with a bunch of half dead games," McCoy explains in the interview. "So at launch it's going to be World's Edge only, and then based on feedback from players, and the data we can get, we have a lot of different levers we can pull to see what we can do about reintroducing Kings Canyon." McCoy compares it to when Apex Legends introduces a new character, and when players aren't able to pick the new character, other teammates would often disconnect, leaving the player who got to pick a character first all alone. If there was map selection, Respawn worries the same thing would happen, leading to empty player pools for matches.
Still, I wouldn't necessarily mourn the complete loss of Kings Canyon, even though I do find myself preferring its layout compared to World's Edge. At the very least though, World's Edge sure is striking. It's neat to see Respawn take a real gamble on Apex Legends' future, in any case; and who knows, maybe in the distant future they'll even introduce another brand-new map. Maybe it won't go the PUBG direction in always retaining its maps, or the Fortnite direction in just constantly changing its lone map (which was the case with Kings Canyon before), but it's doing something that's risky and alienating, and at least that's a little exciting. I imagine with player feedback, before we know it World's Edge may even become unrecognizable. (Or rather, it will probably get more buildings.)
Tuesday also marked the launch of Season 3's Battle Pass for Apex Legends, and the new legend Crypto. I've only played a few rounds so far with the new hacker character, but by far, he's my favorite design-wise of the roster. He even has actually good Legendary skins—fancy that! The new skins for the season are actually pretty solid all around, likely to match the vibrancy of World's Edge. For more on Apex Legend's third season, check out our guide with tips on how to best utilize Crypto, what skins are available, and more.