'Apex Legends' Weekly Challenges: Respawn Explains Why There Aren't Any
The biggest surprise to come out of Apex Legends Season 1 doesn’t have anything to do with all the loot in the game’s first battle pass. Instead, it’s about what’s missing.
Everyone expected Tuesday’s Season 1 launch to include Fortnite-style weekly challenges as a way to keep players engaged, but Respawn Entertainment has confirmed that it won’t happen at all — at least not in Season 1.
“You’ll notice the first version isn’t built around a complex quest system where you need to do a 720 backflip off of Watchtower Artemis and get two Wingman headshots before hitting the ground,” Apex Legends Lead Product Manager Lee Horn writes in a blog post about the philosophy behind Season 1.
“While we think there’s really cool design space in quests and challenges for future Battle Passes, we wanted the initial version to allow our players to just play and learn the game.”
The closest thing to a challenge in Season 1 is a “Battle Pass progression bonus tied to playing a variety of characters,” encouraging players to experiment with different Legends rather than obsessively latching on to one or two. (Which often happens in similar games like Overwatch.)
The Season 1 battle pass rewards don’t offer anything all that different from the regular rewards already in the game. The lengthy patch notes for Season 1 on Reddit detail some much-needed balancing changes, and the release of a new character, Octane, is great. But many fans probably expected something a bit more with the launch of Season 1, especially when Fortnite has conditioned us to see the launch of a new season as some kind of video game holiday.
Some fan are outright unhappy that Respawn didn’t add challenges to Season 1. For gamers that don’t have the skills to bring home a victory royale in Fortnite, completing weekly challenges consistently offers a fun way to still play the game. Many players play competitively and do challenges, but large numbers of players probably focus on one or the other.
However, maybe it’s a good thing that Apex Legends is testing out a battle royale experience that doesn’t rely on repetitive tasks?
Challenges in Fortnite have always felt like a slightly ridiculous form of psychological programming. Millions of players log in at the same time every week and doggedly accomplish rote tasks. There’s so little variation to these tasks that, over time, the most challenging part becomes actually finding a way to enjoy the experience. The whole procedure becomes mind-numbing, even vapid.
Avoiding challenges, at least initially, makes it seem like Respawn is committing to a more holistic and competitive approach to Apex Legends. They do plan to add “more and more innovations each season,” but for now, they just want the players to enjoy playing the game.
Apex Legends is still a brand new game, and Respawn is probably trying to figure out why people love it so much and how they can keep fans happy. They’re playing it a bit safe with Season 1, but it also seems like they’re playing a lot smarter as they try to carve out a unique place for Apex Legends so it can fit alongside Fortnite rather than compete directly.
Apex Legends Season 1 is now available.