Apex Legends Arenas Mode: Abilities, Maps, and How It All Works

Apex Legends’ worst-kept secret is coming in the Apex Legends: Legacy season with the launch of the new Arenas game mode releasing on May 4th. The mode adds non-battle royale PvP experience to Apex Legends for the first time ever and should look familiar to those who’ve frequented games like Valorant. It plays much differently than the traditional battle royale mode because of that, but it’s easy to transition between the flows of the battle royale and Arena modes after a few matches.

The best thing about the Arenas mode right from the start is that it’s permanent, so unlike the other rotating game modes that stick around for a while and then get replaced, this one isn’t going anywhere. What will change, however, are the maps that players battle on.

Before getting to those maps, though, it’s more important to know how the whole Arenas mode works. You’ll find everything you need to know about the Arenas mode below including details on guns, maps, abilities, and more.

The Setup

Arenas matches are played in a 3v3 setting where players choose their Legends before the match just as they would during a typical battle royale experience. There’s no Jumpmaster in this mode, however, so you won’t have to worry about passing that off or guiding your team into a drop. Teams load into spawn areas on opposite ends of the map with a setup timer ticking down before they’re free to leave and do battle.

When playing in the Arenas, matches can go up to a total of nine rounds. You have to win at least three rounds by a margin of two with the ninth round being a sudden-death showdown.

Apex Legends Arenas
(Photo: Electronic Arts)

The Loot

One of the biggest changes in the Arenas mode is the lack of loot compared to a typical battle royale experience. You can’t find weapons just laying on the ground like you would normally. Instead, you have to purchase them from the pre-round store using Crafting Materials you’ve either earned or saved up. Varying prices are attached to different weapons, throwables, and healing items, and you can pay more Crafting Materials to upgrade your weapons. You don’t get to keep your weapons between rounds, however, so don’t get too attached to whatever gun you buy, and don’t invest a lot into upgrading it unless you’re sure it’ll help make a difference in that one round.

There is some loot to be found in Arenas, but only if you get to it first. Blue Supply Bins can be fought over to obtain healing items which similarly don’t carry over to the next round, and one Care Package drops each round to award people with loot if they can claim it first. The contents of the Care Package are revealed prior to the round starting when you’re buying your gear so that you’ll know if it’s worth fighting over.

The Abilities

Second only to loot in terms of what’s changed the most are the abilities players use. You can spam those moves as much as you want in a normal mode so long as they’re off cooldown, but you don’t have that option in Arenas matches.

To limit things like Lifeline teams turtling behind a wall or Octanes sprinting around the map until they drop, abilities have limited uses in Arenas matches. Your passive ability (or abilities) are always active, but you’ve got only a few uses on your Tactical each round and have to purchase your Ultimate if you want to use it. This part, similar to the loot, will feel most familiar to those who’ve played a few Valorant matches.

Apex Legends Party Crasher
(Photo: Electronic Arts)

The Maps

One of the most exciting parts about the Arenas mode is that it’ll be played for the most part on different maps other than Olympus, World’s Edge, and Kings Canyon. It’ll feature new maps that rotate over time to give players a chance to get familiar with each of them.

The Arenas mode will start with two different maps called “Party Crasher” and “Phase Runner.” Party Crasher (pictured above) is set in an Olympus-like urban area where Mirage crashed his ship into the middle of the venue while Phase Runner features a one-way teleportation machine to create some interesting strategies and rotations.

There will also be three other maps joining the rotation to keep things fresh while more 100% new maps are worked on. These maps pull key locations from the existing battle royale maps to give players bite-sized experiences of the battlegrounds they’re already familiar with. Artillery from Kings Canyon, Thermal Station from World’s Edge, and Golden Gardens from Olympus will all be featured.

How’s It All Feel?

Apex Legends’ Arenas mode takes some getting used to if you’re coming over from only battle royale, but if you’re familiar with some round-based tactical shooters, particularly those with abilities, your learning curve won’t be as steep. Different metas will form, but the Legends still feel the same as they did before since they haven’t been balanced any differently than usual except for having their abilities limited.

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The Arenas mode feels like it’ll consist of one-sided stomps at least for a while until players get the hang of it. During a hands-on preview of the mode, it felt like a tight, strategic experience focused more on teamwork than the traditional battle royale experience with heightened pressure since you know it’s just you and one other team with no third parties to worried about. It’s the same feeling as when you come down to the final two in a normal battle royale mode except that feeling is refreshed every round.

The fact that it’s already been declared a permanent mode and that at least five maps have already been confirmed shows that Respawn Entertainment is all in on this mode, a reassuring sign for those worried about its longevity. We’ll have to see if the plans to avoid balancing Legends separately for the mode and the battle royale experience hold up, but for now, the Arenas mode feels like it’s exactly the kind of refresh players have been waiting for.