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Apex Legends Season 20 removes shields from floor loot in favor of level-ups

The core of Apex Legends is changing forever in time for the game’s fifth anniversary.

There are lots of things that give Respawn’s battle royale its unique identity, from the movement to the Legend abilities to how shield swaps work in the heat of combat, but in Season 20, you’re going to have to relearn that last one.

Evo shields will no longer be available to loot in Apex Legends, and you won’t be able to upgrade them in the crafter anymore either – in fact, crafting points no longer exist, as we broke down in our post about Apex Legends’ replicator and crafting mat changes.

You can take Shield Cores from enemy death boxes, but these will only top up what shield you already have or provide a temporary shield buff (essentially an overshield) if they happen to have a higher-level shield than you do. Once that overshield is reduced, you’re back to whatever you’ve earned. Take responsibility for your own circumstances.

Shield Core in Apex Legends Season 20

Shield Cores in Apex Legends Season 20

Respawn wants to take some of the RNG out of the Apex games, so you won’t ever drop into battle to face off with someone who landed on a purple shield again. Instead, everyone has to earn their shield, either through getting damage and kills or finding a new item on the field called an Evo Harvester, which, once collected, gives you and your teammates some points toward the next evo level.

In theory, this should make the game more predictable. In the first few minutes of the game, almost everyone will be either on white or blue shields. Mid-game, you’ll start to see some purples. By the end game, most people will be either purple or red.

“It makes it a lot easier for players to look at their enemy and before firing and estimate their power potential,” lead gameplay designer Josh Mohan explains. “Because in the previous season, you'd see an enemy and you have no idea. They could have purples you could be on whites – there could be a huge power differential and it scares people away from getting into combat engagements. Smoothing out that progression allows you to estimate your opponent's strength a bit better.”

As well as making the game more predictable in terms of what you’re up against, the new system will put rats at a major disadvantage. If you make it to the endgame without taking some fights, you’re going to be severely underpowered compared to everyone else in the final circle. And you’ll deserve it, ratty.

Layered on top of this is the all-new Legend Upgrade System, which offers up a choice of perks when you hit both blue and purple evo charge.

Apex Legends Season 20 Upgrade Tree

Legend Upgrade Tree in Apex Legends Season 20

For example, once you hit purple as Fuse, you can choose between getting a speed boost when a cluster hits or being able to see grenades through walls. These perks come in various flavors, from the predictable – faster cooldowns – to the seemingly OP – a self-revive for Lifeline and self-healing gas for Caustic stood out to me. The Caustic one makes me feel ill, honestly.

According to legend designer John Larson, these upgrades – four options per legend, making over 100 possible squad combinations – stay true to the core of the characters, which is good news considering the potential for readability issues.

After trying the update out for a few hours, I have to say I agree. I never felt confused when I came up against another team, though there are some legend upgrades you need to be aware of all the time – like a Lifeline potentially self-reviving whilst you’re cleaning up, for example. Just scruff all Lifelines, yeah?

All in all, it seems like a good direction to take Apex Legends. It puts the focus back on fighting for what you have and punishes those who abandon their team or spend the match sitting on some ledge tucked into the side of a cliff. Combined with Season 20’s Ranked changes, Apex Legends should feel like it rewards you for playing well once again.