Alright y’all, I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is that squad-based free-to-play battle royale shooter Apex Legends is finally adding a much-requested feature: The ability to queue and play solo, without being placed into a three-person squad. The bad news is that solo queues will only be available for the duration of the Iron Crown Collection Event, which starts next Tuesday, August 13. The announcement was made on Apex Legend‘s official Twitter account, as seen below.
As for what the Iron Crown Collection Event actually is, or how long it will last, who can say. I assume that it involves iron crowns and the collection thereof, but whether it introduces any secondary mechanics, or is just like “hey here’s solo queues, go nuts,” remains to be seen. The teaser trailer does introduce several new character skins, however, so it looks like there’ll be new loot to unlock while the event is active.
Aside from a fun change of pace, the Iron Crown Collection Event might also be Resepawn Entertainment’s way of testing the solo queue waters for future, permanent implementation, based on a statement made by Community Manager Jay Frechette on Reddit. “We’ll talk more about Solos when it’s live and you’ve had a chance to play it,” Frechette said. “For now we’re going to put it out there and see what happens and what kind of feedback we get.” This definitely sounds like Respawn will be collecting data while the rest of us are collecting iron crowns.
Next week, only one can reign. ????
The Iron Crown Collection Event featuring an all-new Solos limited time
mode begins 8/13. pic.twitter.com/8tG4EhIqQf
— Apex Legends (@PlayApex) August 6, 2019
People have been clamoring for an ApeLeg solo mode since its release last February, when it upended the battle royale duopoly held by PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite. But unlike Fortnite and PUBG, Apex Legends has distinct player classes that are built to work together, hence the game’s three-person squad default.
During the Iron Crown Collection Event, Respawn Entertainment will almost certainly be looking to find out which of the game’s 10 characters perform best on their own. Pathfinder, for instance, has the best mobility options of the bunch, thanks to its grappling hook and zipline abilities. But Lifeline, being the medic, can heal herself at will, assuming that her healing drone isn’t on cooldown. Characters like Bangalore and Caustic, both of which are primarily damage characters with ancillary crowd control abilities, may have a tough time hanging without support from other legends.
It makes sense then that Respawn would want to see how everything shakes out before committing to the permanent addition of a whole new mode. Adding a solo queue as a permanent option also runs the risk of splitting the player base between modes — right now, everybody funnels into regular or ranked matches, and that’s it. A solo queue segments the population even further, creating four buckets for players to fall in, provided that solo queue also gets its own ranked and un-ranked options. Even with a community as large and active as Apex Legends‘, four distinct queues could still create longer wait times for players, since fewer people would be in each individual line.