Samuel Jones
With a couple of hours of the new season under my belt, I thought it’d be worth getting down a few of the thoughts I had thus far about the overall changes, and what impact I foresee them making to the meta and competitive season. This is possibly the biggest meta change that we have seen during a new season since the beginning of the game, and it is going to be interesting to see how things develop as people fully comprehend the new strategies, rotations, and other parts of the meta.

It’s worth starting off with the most obvious change, the new legend Rampart that has joined the fray. The competitive meta has definitely skewed towards more defensive play over the last couple months, with Gibraltar, Caustic, and Wattson all seeing heavy amounts of play. With another defensive legend getting added into the mix, it will be a surefire way to give these more defensive compositions some flexibility in their rotations. With Rampart’s mobile cover and extra firepower from her ultimate, Rampart can help further fortify those Wattson fences when things are coming down to the last couple of circles. Though it is hard to say right now whether or not she will make a big splash, it is safe to say that Rampart will definitely be in the running as a pick in defensive compositions. And don’t worry Wraith fans, the top legend pick won’t be going anywhere any time soon.

The second big change comes with the crafting system. A number of crafting stations sit strewn across the map, with additional stations dropping over the course of a match. These stations have daily rotating items, as well as mainstays that will remain for the entire season. The crafting station is a welcome change to the game, as while it does not significantly change the way the game feels, it is important to pay attention to the daily rotations, as this might influence what loadouts your team decides to run. If specific hop-ups are available to craft so that you don’t have to struggle to find them strung across the map somewhere, you might be more inclined to pick up that Prowler knowing that a Selectfire awaits not too far away. The crafting system will help keep the competitive ladder feeling fresh every day, as a new system that routinely changes will make it so things get a little less stale as time goes on. Eventually the rotations will be “solved” so to speak, so keep an eye out for any patterns with crafting rotations, and use those to plan accordingly.

With the r-99 being rotated into a drop weapon and the Devotion being reintroduced back into the ground rotation, it is possible we are going to see a return to the Energy meta. The recoil on the Havoc was adjusted to be similar to other guns in the game, and the new Volt SMG in a way replaces what was lost with the r-99 being rotated out. The Turbocharger also makes a return, making the Havoc an even stronger pick for the season. Light meta has been reduced down to the R-301 and Scout, which are still both strong picks, but are likely going to wind up being overshadowed by the Energy and Heavy weapons this go round.

The new map rotations and additions to World’s Edge are welcomed, breathing a little bit of new life into the map. A couple of additional landing zones means that things are less likely to get super sweaty during drop, and the additional rotations make it so that there are more ways to get around the chokes that players tend to struggle to get through. While I can’t say whether any of these drops will wind up being a solid area to drop, most of them create defensible positions, so at the least once you clear out any other squads that landed with you, you should be safe to loot before deciding to move on to somewhere else.

And the last, but what I believe to be the biggest change this season, the new Armor system. The Armor system. Every single Body Shield has been removed from the game except EVO shields and Gold Shields. EVO shields of different levels can still be found around the map. Shields no longer go above 100 either, with Level 1, 2, 3, and 4 of the EVO shield providing 25, 50, 75, and 100 shields respectively. The Gold Shield provides 75 shields and the extra minor healing effect. In addition to this, each player spawns with a Level 0 EVO shield, which provides no shields up front, but is easy to level up with those first few skirmishes you might run into. This is a huge change to the meta, and no longer will players ever feel behind as a result of not finding better armor out on the field. It is now up to squads to deal some damage early on to level up their armor, so when they make it to those final circles, they are not behind the EVO levels of the enemy squads they run into. As a result, it is going to be less beneficial to camp during the first initial circles, and rather you are going to want to take small engagements to make sure you are as shielded as possible so that when the bigger fights roll around, you are ready to go. Overall this is the biggest change, but one of my favorites, as it will reward careful planning and engagements taken by players early on, instead of the team that just happened to find better armor always having the advantage.

All said, I think that the changes are gonna end up having a positive change to the game. While we are not likely to see the legend meta change much, the weapon swaps, crafting, and armor system changes will heavily change the way the game is played. And this isn’t even mentioning the legend buffs that we saw, with many underrepped legends getting some small buffs that will hopefully increase their overall usage. I am very excited to see what season 6 has in store for us, and I hope that as things develop we continue to see diversity spread in the overall meta.