Apex Legends introduced map rotation at the beginning of April and promptly adjusted it to make Season 4 easier to grind. Kings Canyon and World's Edge are now available at different times throughout the day, finally giving players the chance to enjoy their preferred map. The two regions offer very different environments, but which approach is better? Kings Canyon fan Emma and World's Edge defender Phil met up to pitch their case.
Emma: Kings Canyon may be the older map, but it's a great example of how a developer can strike gold the first time around. All of Kings Canyon's points of interest feel as though they were developed to create one consistent arena. Spacing between each zone is minimal, so you never have to venture too far to find decent loot. This also means that your teammates are more likely to stay reasonably close by, which minimises the chances of you getting picked off individually. Having everything closer together also makes it easier to catch up with the circle if you've landed in a suboptimal spot; if I want to play a running simulator in a battle royale game, I'll stick to PUBG.
Phil: OK, yes, I'll grant you that Kings Canyon is consistent. It feels like it could be a place, with its sandy bit and its swampy bit and its part-sandy-part-swampy bit. But consider this: consistency is boring. World's Edge is bright and weird. It has a big meteor just there like it's been plucked out of a Final Fantasy game. There's lava everywhere, for reasons. It's an amusement park; a collection of Sonic the Hedgehog zones stitched together with no rhyme or reason. I inherently just think that's fun. It's bigger, too, I'll give you that, but I actually think that's for the better. Yes, if you spread out you're more likely to be picked off, but that's not the map's fault. The map is being generous: it's saying, "look at all this loot that I have! I'm not like Kings Canyon with full zones containing nothing but level one armour and Mozambiques." It's on your team to safely gather its generous bounty.
Emma: Are you telling me that you've never experienced the rush of downing a full squad with nothing but a Mozambique, Phil? I agree that it's on you to weigh up the risks of spreading your team too thin when looting. However, on a larger map you're kind of forced to split up in order to find stuff. It's easier to stray further from the team when scouring Capitol City than it is in Skull Town, for example. If a teammate is downed, getting to them is much quicker in a condensed cluster of buildings.
In all seriousness, I think parts of World's Edge are cool. It's interesting to see the extreme conditions of both snow and lava on one map. They feel so disjointed though. Granted, World's Edge has a train that you can hop on to travel between areas, as well as balloons for redeploying, but the corridors between points of interest are just a little too wide. This is glaringly obvious when I'm hunting for enemy squads. Even on occasions where I've gone out of my way to drop in hot spots, other players feel too few and far between. These open stretches just encourage more teams to camp out with snipers, too. Which I personally cannot stand.
Phil: If I could snap my fingers and delete every sniper rifle from every videogame past, present and future, I absolutely would, although I don't think they're much of a problem in Apex—even with World's Edge's larger open areas. They're viable, but there are things you can do as a squad to lessen the threat. Here's the secret: avoid the train yard. Do everything possible to never be near the train yard. If you find yourself in the train yard, recognise that you've made a tactical error and promise yourself you won't do it again.
Personally, I've not had much trouble getting into fights on World's Edge, although maybe that's an experience thing. I didn't start playing Apex seriously until after its inclusion, so I've developed a good sense of where squads are likely to be (usually heading to the train yard). Plus Apex loves to tempt players together. You can hear firefights a good distance away, meaning it's rare to find yourself wandering aimlessly with no sense of what to do next.
Where World's Edge excels is in the number of ways to get yourself immediately killed. That train isn't just a way to get around, it's one of the best drop locations in the game. At best, it's a desperate scramble for quality loot—fully modded gold guns included—in a contained space that often devolves into desperate punching. There is nothing funnier than a squadmate getting punched off of the train and having to deal with that carnage. Kings Canyon doesn't really have that, and so everyone just drops in Skull Town. And for what? Some cheap kills over average loot to pad out some YouTube montage video? Do you drop in Skull Town, Emma? Does your Origin tag have TTV in it? Do you main Wraith?
Emma: Ah, I see we're getting spicy now. Right. I'll be honest, I love a good Skull Town drop from time to time. I enjoy the rush of frantically bursting through doors in search of a weapon and chasing an opponent into one of those long bungalow-type buildings. Then getting caught in an awkward duel where each squad's downed teammates just crouch sheepishly between you. Other squads always pop up just as I'm looting, too, so its possible to clear two or three teams if I'm having a good game. Slum Lakes can also be a great spot for early game action and, usually, respectable loot. I'm glad that you mentioned the train yard. I hate that spot.
With regards to the train, I suppose the closest Kings Canyon equivalent would be the supply ship, or Singh Labs. Rushing towards the ship only to watch a squadmate drop to the floor like a stone a few moments later is quite funny—sometimes I'm the unlucky one, too. Singh Labs has great loot and offers a similarly heated situation early in the match.
It feels as though Kings Canyon is more geared towards players having a sustained sense of urgency across a match, though. Everything being closer together encourages squads to pile into fights from all angles. My time in World's Edge usually consists of a firefight or two in a crowded area, then a long pause as I trek across the map in search of others. As someone who likes playing fast characters like Octane, my gameplan is usually aggressive. Ideally, I want as many back-to-back firefights as possible.
Phil: I feel we may have hit on the core philosophical difference here. I'm in my 30s. I get tired easily. Sometimes, after I've won a thrilling train encounter, I want to take a little time to get my shit together before heading off to the next thing. I think pacing can be an overlooked element of multiplayer design, and I agree that PUBG builds around too much downtime. But World's Edge has an ebb and flow that just clicks with me. I think its greatest triumph is providing more options—there are routes to follow if you want more action. There are things you can do if you're not yet ready for the fight.
I will say, I'm not sure I have the same experience as you on Kings Canyon, though—at least not consistently. Singh Labs is probably my favourite drop location on the map—I like to go through the big sky portal because I crave random chaos. If you're the victor of the Singh Labs scramble, though, you're likely in for a fairly quiet mid-game, because the other squads ran to Skull Town and are busy battling over in the desert. Compare that to Mirage's Town Takeover hovercraft on World's Edge—which my group has dubbed the Influencer Zone. Not only do you get the exciting dash for kills and loot, but it leads elegantly into a few different possibilities. Maybe you'll get a vault key and have to suffer the indignity of the train yard. If not, there are some handy buildings to check on the way to Harvester, which usually has some action. In contrast, Kings Canyon seems to favour the all or nothing approach. And I refuse to accept that the fact I'm usually on the 'nothing' end of the map is my fault, whatever the evidence to the contrary.
Emma: With recent teases pointing at Kings Canyon as the focus for Season 5, I really hope the upcoming adjustments are enough to sway you into giving it another chance. I think the only way we can settle this is by playing a few rounds together to fully demonstrate what each map has to offer. Happy to carry you through Skull Town, anytime!
Phil: Skull Town? Pft, we'll settle this in the time honoured tradition of my people. Meet me in the train yard in 10 minutes.
So which is the best Apex Legends map? Tell us who's wrong in the comments.