Apex Legends Season 17 Adds Weapon Mastery, Rewarding Skilled Gunplay
A long-requested feature is making its way into Respawn's battle royale during Season 17, which starts May 9.
Apex Legends Season 17 will add a weapon mastery system, giving players another form of progression in the game. Starting in Season 17, getting kills with a firearm will eventually unlock a series of trials for said weapon, encouraging you to expand your skillset and destroy other players in unique ways. Completing these trials will unlock special cosmetic rewards like legendary weapon skins and banner frames.
"For the most part, the weapon trials are all bespoke designs," Apex Legends experience design director Aaron Rutledge told GameSpot. "So it's not like the second trial for every gun is going to be the same. They're not that simple. They're designed to evoke the nature of the gun and what the gun is good at. I don't want to reveal any specific trials because they are hidden at launch, so they're all locked and you don't know what they're going to be."
Rutledge said that players will unlock their first weapon trial when they reach level 20 with that weapon. Rutledge is hoping to keep these challenges a secret--though he joked that he assumes "they'll all end up on a wiki somewhere"--but revealed that, as an example, one of the weapon trials for the Mastiff shotgun is to "knock two people within a certain amount of time." As he put it, these trials are designed to encourage you to use each gun for what they're each good at.
Unlike the daily and weekly challenges unlocked in each season's battle pass, every player will unlock the same weapon trials in the same order for each gun. So if your friend is on the third trial for the Wingman, for instance, and you're only on the first, they can give you an idea of what's coming up.
For this first season of weapon mastery, Respawn wants the rewards to reflect each player's affinity for their favorite gun. As such, most of the rewards give you bragging rights for your player banner.
"[For Season 17], it's really about giving you the chance to show off your affinity and tenure with a weapon," Rutledge said. "So the badges [you can earn] are very specifically what your current weapon mastery is for that weapon, and there are two tiers of that badge. And then the trackers [you can earn] are your career progress with that weapon. So if you've been using the Wingman for a long time, when you get that trial--I think it's Trial 2--it will give you your lifetime damage with that gun, and so that's a cool tracker if you really like [using the] Wingman. And then at the end, there's a legendary banner frame that shows off your affinity for that gun, and then the final prize is a guaranteed legendary skin that you don't own for that gun."
Rutledge clarified that the legendary skin you get for fully mastering a weapon is based on RNG and it will only pull from the pool of skins listed for that gun on its weapon page. That means that, unfortunately, legendary skins that were limited to certain Collection Events, reward tracks, store recolors, and battle passes don't count. Which is a shame--I'm still missing those legendary reactive weapon skins for the Havoc from the Season 1 battle pass. I think weapon mastery would have been a good place to include recolors of reactive legendary skins--way better than charging $170 for them at least.
Apex Legends Season 17 is set to kick off May 9 at 10 AM PT.