Apex Legends Season 12's Mad Maggie Can Easily Breach Enemy Defenses As An "Aggressive Playmaker"

Mad Maggie's ability kit dates back to Husaria, a legend datamined in the weeks following Apex Legends' launch.

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Apex Legends Season 12: Defiance introduces Mad Maggie, an offensive legend with an explosive close-quarters skill set. During a preview event, Apex Legends game engineer Chris Winder went into the origins and design goals of Mad Maggie, as well as where in the in-game meta Respawn predicts she'll fit.

"Maggie is--first and foremost--an aggressive playmaker," Winder said. "She really likes to break up enemy defenses and push other characters."

Apex Legends already has a few legends that can technically fit such a description, with characters like Octane and Revenant excelling at aggressive close-range playstyles. Maggie differs, however, in how she's able to disorient an enemy and get up in their face. Mad Maggie's abilities make her somewhat of a breacher--so unlike Octane and Revenant, who are geared towards rushing an enemy before they have a chance to get situated, Maggie can safely get to her foe even if they've already managed to hide themselves behind cover.

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This is most evident with her tactical ability, Riot Drill, a mining tool that Maggie has modified into a weapon. When fired, the Riot Drill burns through obstacles, ejecting burning flames out the other side. Maggie's Riot Drill can even burn through Rampart's Amped Walls or Gibraltar's Dome Shield. Basically, if you're taking cover behind something, the Riot Drill can reach you--the only way to deal with it is to sit there and take the damage or abandon your position. In either case, Maggie and her allies can potentially turn that to her advantage.

"We're always looking for that open space [in the meta]--new problems to solve, new play styles," Winder said.

Winder went on to explain why the more recent legends have fit far more specific roles than the characters seen earlier in Apex Legends' roster. "Early on, we were thinking about Apex with no characters--there was a lot of open design space for the kind of gameplay spaces that legends could take over," he said. "There's the smoke character, toxic gas character, grappling [character]--all these different kinds of spaces that we could explore, we did with those early characters. And naturally this design space sort of closes over time."

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He continued: "[Apex Legends] has changed and it's changing all the time with how players are playing different characters and how the meta shifts from season to season, and the types of gameplay that we want to encourage and players want to see more of. So that's definitely been an interesting challenge, and one of the fun, surprising things is being able to adapt a breacher character like Maggie from when we were thinking about her to what types of breaching that she'll need to do by the time she needs to come out and how she needs to evolve."

Intriguingly, Winder explained that Maggie's abilities weren't always hers. Originally, her kit belonged to another character. "We started with the inspiration of a Polish winged hussar--it's like a mounted soldier with plumage as decoration for some really awesome imagery--named Husaria," Winder said.

Husaria is an old name in the Apex Legends' community--it first appeared in files datamined during the early weeks of Apex Legends' launch. The name appeared in a list of 10 upcoming legends, which included Octane, Wattson, Crypto, and Rampart, as well as legends that fans theorize may have gone on to become the inspirational template for Year 2-4 characters, like Rosie (who players believe is the basis for Season 5's Loba).

"The [Husaria] kit began as a breacher character, a one-woman SWAT team, a character that could really take some of the defensive legends and their abilities to lock down a building and really bust in there and help breach that situation for her and her team," Winder said. This kit evolved in numerous ways as Respawn adapted this breacher character to fit Apex Legends' changing meta. Winder said that the team tried a riot shield and flashbang grenades, and for a while, Husaria had "a shotgun attached to her leg which could blow down doors in one kick."

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Though this trait ultimately didn't stick around, this affinity for shotguns did, becoming the inspiration for Maggie's passive ability, Warlord's Ire, which highlights enemies through walls that Maggie has damaged and allows her to move faster while holding shotguns.

Rounding out Mad Maggie's skill set is her ultimate ability, Wrecking Ball. When used, Maggie tosses out a giant metallic ball that slowly breaks apart as it bounces forward. The pieces left behind will offer a speed boost to whomever steps on them, allowing Maggie and her allies to quickly cover a lot of ground by trailing after the ball. Once set in motion, the ball will keep moving forward, only changing direction if it bounces off a wall. The Wrecking Ball stops when it's either completely broken apart or runs into an enemy, which causes it to explode. According to Winder, the explosion knocks players back, temporarily stuns them, and deals 20 damage. Wrecking Ball isn't designed to bring the pain; it instead introduces a chaotic force to the battlefield (especially when indoors) that's meant to both distract an entrenched enemy team and help Maggie and her allies close the distance on said team.

"Wrecking Ball was definitely one of our biggest development challenges," Winder said. "Finding a good fantasy for explaining what this ball was and how it worked and what it exactly looked like took a number of tries. Our team, I would say, was initially a little bit skeptical of the idea and how it might fit in our somewhat grounded world. But despite it being a little bit ridiculous, the sort of intuition of how it plays and the fun really won out in the end."

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And if all that sounds like Mad Maggie may launch a bit on the strong side, then you're right. That's a bit of what Respawn is going for with Mad Maggie--purposively launching a new hero shooter character in an overpowered state. It's a strategy Respawn has used before to encourage players to pick a new legend more often at the start of a season, allowing the developer to gather a large pool of data about said legend right from the get-go.

"You heard Chris [Winder] talking about Mad Maggie's kit, and if you look at the last few seasons, I think it's very clear that we don't shy away from launching legends strong and really shaking up the meta," Apex Legends game director Steven Ferreira said. "I think the same is going to be true of Maggie and I'm looking forward to seeing how her aggressive nature and her kit that flows out of that is going to change things up this season."

Apex Legends Season 12: Defiance begins February 8. Alongside adding Mad Maggie, the new season introduces a nice buff to Crypto, a nerf to Caustic, and map changes to Olympus. Season 12 also marks the start of Apex Legends' in-game celebration of its three-year anniversary. A roadmap of Season 12 teases two new events as well.

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