Why aren't players raiding Apex Legends' bunkers?

Apex Legends bunker Crypto drone
(Image credit: Respawn Entertainment)

Bunkers and vaults have been appearing in popular battle royales over the past year, creating yet another hotzone for eager players. While there's no guarantee that you'll land at them quickly enough, or find the keys to pry their doors open, they all serve as a promising beacon of top tier gear and weapons. 

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Season 5 introduced four Apex Legends bunkers to Kings Canyon, and while they were firmly closed when Fortune's Favor kicked off, curious players managed to find a way to access one of them via the cliffs along the newly forged Broken Coast. After the novelty of plummeting towards the open cliff face to find a single golden Knockdown Shield wore off, player interest waned. With no word from Respawn, the bunkers quickly became static pieces of furniture on Kings Canyon. 

Curiosity dwindled until Apex dataminer Shrugtal posted a detailed leak outlining what was contained within each bunker, and when they were due to open. Three golden weapons awaited below the map's surface and, as predicted, each bunker opened weekly, introducing a guaranteed golden Prowler, Sentinel and Havoc spawn every match. It's now been a few weeks since the final bunker opened, and I can't help but notice how little players seem to care in unranked matches.

(Image credit: Respawn Entertainment)

There are several reasons why the bunkers may not be teeming with sweaty firefights in casual games. Firstly, there was little fanfare around each bunker opening. The first bunker to unlock was Terminal Station F-85, containing the golden Knockdown Shield. Apart from a countdown timer that appeared roughly a week before the tiny screen on the hatch turned green, there was no indication that anything exciting was about to happen. Understandably, the golden Knockdown Shield had already been accessible from a different entrance for a while at this point. So, surely Terminal Station W-73's reception would be more enthusiastic.   

The Lost Treasures collection event trailer showed a glimpse of Crypto opening one of the bunkers, and the event's start date also coincided with the next bunker opening. Tying the mysterious hatches to Crypto's story should have given players more of a reason to visit and explore. Three of the four bunkers even contain a secret message in a hidden room that can only be accessed and decoded by Crypto's drone. 

While the community briefly discussed what these messages meant for Apex's lore, it felt as though few folk were actually making the trip to check them out for themselves. Even on the day the bunkers opened, I found that I could drop directly onto them and skitter inside unscathed. In the weeks that have followed, my squad often stumbles across them mid-match and we rarely encounter resistance—apart from that one duo that patiently waited for us outside the exit hatch at W-73. You got us good.

I'm unsure whether this is the same story in Apex's Ranked mode, although checking in with streamers like ShivFPS and MaTaFe_ daily, I haven't noticed their game plans revolving around an early bunker drop. If anything, I should probably avoid drawing too much attention to the fact that few players in casual servers are visiting these areas. So far, this has almost always guaranteed that I can pick up the golden guns without having to fight for them. It just seems peculiar how deserted these spots usually are, given how popular the World's Edge vaults continue to be, and those rooms require keys! Granted, the promise of a single golden item may not be enough to sway trios to make bunker visits a priority, but it seems like a slightly better deal for duos.   

Respawn may not have left a complicated trail of phones for players to hunt down as Infinity Ward has with the Warzone bunkers, but it's actually far easier to get to the golden weapons in Apex than it is to find a Red Access Card in Warzone. Maybe Apex players are just too deep in their regular dropping habits to freshen things up and land somewhere new. However, if they're happy to participate in the chaos at Kings Canyon's Labs, or World's Edge's train, it's definitely worth visiting these areas for guaranteed top tier weapons. Or don't. I'll happily take that golden Prowler every match, if I can.

Emma Matthews

As PC Gamer's guides writer, Emma is usually juggling several games at once. She loves competitive first-person shooters like CS:GO and Call of Duty, but she always has time for a few rounds of Hearthstone. She's happiest when she's rescuing pugs in Spelunky 2.