Is Apex Legends copying CSGO with its new Arenas game mode?

By Olivia Richman


Apr 26, 2021

Reading time: 5 min

Apex Legends is getting a permanent new game mode on May 4. Called Arenas, it will feature three vs. three combat action, two custom maps, and even a buying phase each round. 

According to the official press release, Arena will “condense the chaos” of a 20-squad battle royale match by creating combat between two teams of three. No other squads can crash the party. The goal is still to survive and be the last team standing. But this game mode will feature multiple rounds that players must come out as the last team standing each time. Eliminated squadmates can’t be respawned. 

Before each round starts, teams will use materials they earned from the previous round to purchase weapons and also upgrade existing weapons. They can also purchase and upgrade healing supplies. 

If that sounds like “Apex Legends does Counter-Strike,” that’s basically because it is. There’s a distinct tactical shooter feel to Arenas and that’s sure to be an interesting alternative to the wildness of its battle royale mode.

What is Arenas in Apex Legends?

To win an Arena match, a squad must win at least three rounds and be ahead of the opposing team by two points. That means the easiest way to win, according to Respawn Entertainment, is to win three rounds without dropping more than one round to the enemy. The goal is to go 3-0 or 3-1 to quickly end the match. 

There can be up to nine rounds, with the final round known as sudden death. The developers originally had a “best of seven” system but it kept leading to 4-0 blowouts. This was both terrible for the losers and boring for the winners. Developers noted that the best-of-nine format will prevent total blowouts but also ensures that games don’t drag on too long. This creates a more competitive feel for Arenas. 

Arena upgrade

Arenas: Weapon upgrading and abilities

Both teams, even the losers, can purchase weapons between each round, to decide their approach for the upcoming action. They can also use materials they won in the round to upgrade the weapons or pick up additional supplies. More materials will be rewarded each round, giving players more options. 

A purchased weapon will have no attachments. Weapons can be upgraded from white to blue or purple, similar to the attachments found in the battle royale. Upgrading a weapon equips it with every available attachment for that tier. 

Weapons won’t carry over from round to round. According to the developers, this was debated for a time before they decided that players should be more encouraged to swap weapons between rounds. This would prevent teams from snowballing too hard after one or two wins. 

Just like in the battle royal, each legend will have their own unique tactical abilities and ultimates. They must be used wisely in Arenas, since players will have a limited number of charges each round instead of a cooldown. Instead, legends must purchase abilities with materials, customizing their loadout before each round. Stronger abilities in this mode, like those of Bloodhound, will cost more. Players must choose between weapon upgrades or abilities. Unlike the weapons, unused abilities will carry over to the next round.

How to play Apex Legends Arenas

Eliminating an entire team will make the other team the victor, but to encourage interaction and fights, players will be rewarded for going to certain locations. Scattered around the arena will be supply bins with healing items and material canisters. Collecting these canisters rewards a team with 200 bonus materials to spend in the next round. Killing an enemy awards 75 bonus materials. 

As the rounds continue, the ring will start to close and care packages filled with upgraded weapons will start dropping in. Players will be able to see where the ring will close and what weapons are incoming before the round begins. Squads will then strategize and figure out their own plan while also discussing what they believe the enemy will do. 

New Apex Legends maps coming for Arenas

Kings Canyon, World’s Edge, and Olympus from the battle royale will exist in the new game mode. Players will compete in dedicated locations within those larger maps. 

Arenas is first and foremost about proactive combat and that means creating spaces that give you plenty of room to analyze the other team, make meaningful choices, and utilize Legends’ abilities to come out on top.

“With the Legacy update, we’ll launch with two custom maps, with more coming in the future,” developers explained. 

There are also new maps coming as well.

Party Crasher is a new Apex Legends Arena map

Party Crasher Arenas

This is a downtown plaza where players can choose to engage on the crashed Voyage or the buildings within the plaza. There’s a wide range of fighting strategies and options on this varied map, with each side playing to different strengths. Players will be forced to make quick decisions due to the many flanking options in the downtown plaza. The Voyage offers great sightlines and elevated positions for players that want to fight from a distance. 

Phase Runner is an interesting new Apex Legends map

Phrase Runner Arenas

This is a hidden, experimental zone at the peak of a mountain. It has a large, open center with an abundance of long sightlines. There are also industrial points of interest that have more of a focus on close-range combat. There’s also the prototype phase runner located at either spawn, which players can use to “gain almost immediate access” to other areas of the map. Players will have to fight through an abandoned space that offers engagement ranges and flanking options. 

When can you play Apex Legends Arenas? 

Arenas is coming May 4 along with the rest of Season 9 which includes new legend Valkyrie. Battle Passes will be able to level up by playing Arenas since many challenges will be specific to the new game mode. 


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