Apex Legends Season 8: Mayhem is in full swing, introducing playable character Fuse and the 30-30 Repeater. Both are welcome additions to Apex Legends, but not nearly as much as my favorite Season 8 additions: the brand-new locations on Kings Canyon.
Kings Canyon has had a rough go of it. Apex Legends’ original map has been destroyed and remade several times–it first suffered an invasion of leviathans and flyers when Crypto accidently destroyed the relay tower keeping the beasts at bay, then Loba caved in the facility beneath Skull Town and Thunderdome, and most recently, Fuse’s ex-friend Maggie blew up the mountains bordering the northern portion of the map. But this most recent case of destruction has been for the map’s benefit as it has fixed my longest-standing issue with Kings Canyon: it was too small.
See, Kings Canyon is Apex Legends’ smallest map. It already felt cramped in comparison to the much wider, far more open World’s Edge that was introduced in Season 3–so when developer Respawn decided to blow up Skull Town and Thunderdome in Season 5, leaving nothing but a giant crater where Apex Legends’ two fan-favorite landmarks used to be, it left the map feeling even smaller. The map wasn’t unplayable, not by a long-shot. But I do remember having a much better chance of experiencing a balance of quiet-loot-time and frantic-fight-time on World’s Edge in Seasons 5 and 6.
So when Kings Canyon was temporarily removed from the game in Season 7 to make room for Olympus, I was happy. Respawn was removing my least favorite map for one that, personally, felt like it better served the best parts of Apex Legends. Olympus is sized somewhere between World’s Edge and Kings Canyon, and it maintains that balance of ensuring there’s plenty of ideal landing spots without being so big that squads never run into one another.
With Season 8, Kings Canyon returns to Apex Legends’ map rotation. As mentioned before, Fuse’s arrival heralded a terrorist attack from a former fellow freedom fighter, which destroyed Slum Lakes, damaged both Artillery and a tunnel leading into The Pit, and blew open the mountains that acted as the northern border of the map. All this new real estate means Respawn greatly expanded the area that was once Slum Lakes (now named Spotted Lakes) and added a whole new landmark behind Artillery called Crash Site. Additionally, The Mirage Voyage has parked itself over the crater where Skull Town and Thunderdome once stood.
Granted, all of these aren’t huge differences, but they’re effective. The Mirage Voyage is a wonderful loot spot that calls for talented players to duke it out in enclosed quarters, typically pulling two or three squads to a previously empty corner of the map. And Spotted Lakes and Crash Site essentially act as a new Thunderdome and Skull Town–they’re far enough apart and contain enough mid-tier and high-tier loot to host several squads. Plus, they’re new–and new is almost always appealing in a two-year multiplayer game–so they’re currently pulling half a dozen squads towards them.
Between all three landmarks, plenty of teams are being pulled to the northernmost and southernmost corners of the map–and so far, it seems to be the squads that want to land hot and jump immediately into a fight. This frees up the rest of Kings Canyon for those looking to drop at landmarks where there’s typically only the possibility of encountering one other squad, and from there, looting and moving on to other landmarks around the same time that the squads at The Mirage Voyage, Crash Site, and Spotted Lakes have finished killing each other, thinning out the overall herd.
So far, it definitely feels like there’s a more natural rhythm to the loop of loot, fight, repeat to a match on Kings Canyon. Who knows if it will remain like that forever; I assume that at some point, the novelty of Spotted Lakes and Crash Site will wear off, though I feel confident in the two locations continuing to draw players even when that happens. But at the very least, I’m having a lot more fun playing on Kings Canyon in Season 8 than I did back in Seasons 5 and 6–fingers crossed that Respawn doesn’t blow up anything else and make the map smaller again. Unless the studio is planning to further unearth what seems to be a leviathan skeleton sticking out of the canyon walls–I’d be down for a whole new Skull Town.
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