Should Apex Legends' Evo Shields Stay In The Game? Yes.
They don't just reward aggression, they specifically reward careful aggression.
I love how Evo Shields--now live in Apex Legends via the System Override Collection event--affect the in-match meta of Respawn's battle royale game. I hope the new item manages to make its way into the regular game modes once the limited-time event ends, as Evo Shields could be a fun addition to both the casual and Ranked playlists.
For now, the Evo Shield is limited to System Override's brand-new mode, Deja Loot. The glowing body shield begins out weaker than a common white body shield but grows more powerful as you damage enemies--ultimately maxing out just above a legendary gold body shield.
As the Evo Shield evolves, it doesn't automatically heal itself. So to take full advantage of the Evo Shield, you need to carry extra shield cells and batteries to keep the armor fully charged. If you don't want to make the climb yourself, you can loot Evo Shields off of other players as individual Evo Shields will maintain their level even after their users have fallen.
Using an Evo Shield is risky. Its default form is incredibly weak and you generally don't get to enjoy the benefits of leveling it up until a fight is over, seeing as the shield doesn't fully charge when it evolves. Plus, with how the in-match inventory system has changed, holding extra shield healing items can be detrimental.
But I love this system of risk vs reward, especially since the Evo Shield specifically rewards careful aggression. You have to pick and choose your battles--the Evo Shield's first two levels are so weak that you could be at a disadvantage--but you do have to choose to battle because you only get the full benefit of the Evo Shield by dealing damage.
When most people are fighting in Apex Legends, they go for one of two extremes--fully commit to engaging on an enemy team or retreat from the fight. The Evo Shield rewards players who are willing to try other strategies, such as flanking an enemy's position, taking a few shots at a team too far away to commit to, or utilizing an ultimate ability to split up an enemy squad.
These aren't glamorous roles, but doing them can now reward you with powerful body shields. Players will likely begin adopting these strategies, all of which add a significant new wrinkle to a battle royale that's largely been focused around close-range engagements. Previously, a pesky sniper simply resulted in the loss of a few shield cells or a battery. Now that same sniper is growing stronger with each subsequent hit. If you don't hide or move in on them, they'll become a much more significant threat.
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It now suddenly pays to commit to a fight a little early or just shoot at a fight even if you're just running past it, if only to get a few shots in and buff your Evo Shield. With the Evo Shield in play, players need to reexamine each area of World's Edge in a brand-new light. You can't just consider third-party squads will immediately move in on you--some now might remain on the outskirts and wait for a flanker or sniper to buff themselves before moving in.
In simpler terms, the Evo Shield basically encourages your squad to utilize rotations and move about the map strategically--a habit that's easier to pick up thanks to the nature of Deja Loot, which sees loot spawn in the same location for every match. At least in the few matches of Deja Loot I've played so far, squads moved about more purposively than before, setting themselves up in ideal locations prior to attacking. Those with Evo Shields typically stayed back or rotated out of the firefight quickly, buffing themselves and healing before committing to the fray to finish the fight. And I'm all about encouraging randoms to consider how to fight, not just whether or not to fight.
As mentioned before, the Evo Shield is, for now, exclusive to Deja Loot. However, Respawn wants to add the item to Apex Legends' regular game modes. "After the event, we'll gather feedback--see what people think," Respawn design director Jason McCord said during Apex Legends Devstream #4. "The intention is to turn [Evo Shields] on for the full game afterward."
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