The first huge update to 2019's biggest game is worth every penny

Apex Legends (new hero)EA/Respawn Entertainment

  • The first major addition has arrived in "Apex Legends," the wildly popular new Battle Royale game.
  • The "Wild Frontier" expansion includes the first new character, Octane, and the game's first Battle Pass - a massive set of unlockable items tied to your level.
  • At $9.50, the Battle Pass is an inexpensive way to add a lot more content to an already-excellent game...especially since "Apex Legends" itself is a free download.

The first major content update to "Apex Legends" arrived this week, and it's a delight.

The "Wild Frontier" expansion includes the game's first Battle Pass and a brand new character named Octane, all for 950 Apex Coins ($9.50).

"Apex Legends" is a totally free game, but this Battle Pass adds some extra goodies that don't change the core gameplay, or confer any material advantages. What you get for your money is the chance to earn items that can make you look extra-stylish while fighting your friends and foes.

The new content officially kicks off the first "season" of "Apex Legends" - and it's an excellent addition to an already excellent experience.

Here's why!

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First and foremost, here's everything you can unlock by playing "Apex Legends" after buying the Battle Pass:

First and foremost, here's everything you can unlock by playing "Apex Legends" after buying the Battle Pass:

Just in case you're not familiar with the concept, a Battle Pass like this one offers a level-based set of unlockable items that you earn through playing. When you reach a new level in the Battle Pass, various items unlock and you permanently own them — but if you don't unlock items during the season, they disappear forever.

As you see above, there are two different flavors of "Apex Legends" Battle Pass to buy:

1. The standard Battle Pass (what most people should buy).

2. The Battle Pass Bundle (only if you're feeling especially spendy).

The difference between the two is simple — if you buy the standard one, for $9.50, you'll get access to the vast swath of content that can be earned through play. But if you spend 2,800 Apex Coins ($28!) for the bundle, you'll immediately unlock the first 25 levels of the Battle Pass — and the sweet, sweet swag therein.

Additionally, with the bundle option, you get three exclusive character skins.

Let me be all the way clear: You do not need to buy the more expensive version of the Battle Pass. Unless you're arriving to the Pass late in the season, and you're trying to jump a bunch of levels to make up for lost time, there is no reason to buy the more expensive version.

Oh, and yes, there's a new character named Octane. Even if you don't buy the Battle Pass, he's unlockable with in-game currency or real money.

Oh, and yes, there's a new character named Octane. Even if you don't buy the Battle Pass, he's unlockable with in-game currency or real money.

Regardless of whether you buy the Battle Pass or not, anyone playing "Apex Legends" can unlock and play as the new character. He costs the same 12,000 points of in-game currency that the two previously released additional characters cost, though he can also be purchased outright using 750 Apex Coins ($7.50).

What's the deal with Octane? He's a super intense movement-based character who automatically recharges health (slowly) and is able to temporarily boost his movement speed well above any other character by using one of his powers. His ultimate ability allows him to drop a jump pad anywhere on the map.

Some "Apex Legends" players say that Octane is overpowered. I disagree, but he certainly is fast.

So, what's new? Aside from the new character, a ton of little changes were made.

So, what's new? Aside from the new character, a ton of little changes were made.

Everyone's favorite robot, Pathfinder, is now able to use his grapple to attach to ziplines! And anyone who doesn't like the shaking their screen does while running in-game now has an option for minimizing that visual effect.

These are just two of dozens of small changes that came with the first major expansion to "Apex Legends." One of the worst issues with the initial version of the game was various characters having abnormally large "hit boxes" — their physical form didn't match up with the area that the game recognized as hittable by bullets. That has been fixed.

Check out this highly detailed list of patch notes if you're looking for the full list of changes.

All those little changes, in addition to the new character and all the new stuff to unlock, offer "Apex Legends" a new layer of depth.

All those little changes, in addition to the new character and all the new stuff to unlock, offer "Apex Legends" a new layer of depth.

Just as millions of "Apex Legends" players were starting to feel the repetition of the game's one mode, the Battle Pass offers a welcome new way to feel a sense of progress.

It's small, I realize: The Battle Pass more or less just adds a new leveling system that corresponds to various rewards. And, unlike "Fortnite," there are no specific objectives tied to the Battle Pass in "Apex Legends."

But there's a good reason for that, according to Respawn Entertainment. "The first [Battle Pass] version isn’t built around a complex quest system where you need to do a 720 backflip off of Watchtower Artemis and get two Wingman headshots before hitting the ground," the studio posted this week. "While we think there’s really cool design space in quests and challenges for future Battle Passes, we wanted the initial version to allow our players to just play and learn the game."

All of which is to say one thing: The Battle Pass concept is expected to evolve in "Apex Legends" as the year goes on. There are three more "seasons" expected by the end of 2019.

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