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Apex Legends Season 21: Upheaval Patch Notes Revealed, Another Season Of Huge Changes Incoming

For the game’s 5th anniversary, the team at Respawn did its best to give the Apex Legends community a present, which came in the form of massive changes to the core game.

Something to shake things up after 5 years, which it definitely has, but with Season 21: Upheaval on the horizon and its patch notes having finally been revealed, it’s clear that Respawn isn’t done making changes.

Arguably the biggest change, Artifacts. An entire new class of melee weapon, Artifacts are something that every player can use, and can potentially even earn just through gameplay, purchased with a new kind of currency, Exotic Shards – though unsurprisingly the faster way to collect these shards is through the premium currency you pay for, Apex Coins.

Still, that you should be able to earn them through gameplay is something, since Respawn teases the currency will potentially be earnable through the battle pass.

From there, the patch notes reveal plenty of the usual changes, such as gold weapon rotations, what’s going in and out of the care package, weapon and attachment updates.

The most notable of these is that the 1x Digital Threat Optic is being removed from the loot pool for the season. “The Digi represents a sharp power spike in Apex,” reads a dev note just below the news.

“A single loot item that both counters and synergies with a specific Legend. It’s power ebbs and flows with the Legend meta in a way that proves very difficult to tune. We’re giving the 1x Digi a hiatus while we investigate healthier optic based perks.”

Then there’s also a brand new legend, Alter, being added in this new season. She’ll belong to the Skirmisher class, and is the game’s third legend to have their abilities based around a portal.

Her passive ability is called “Gift from the Rift,” and allows her to take one item from a deathbox without having to be right on top of it. So long as it’s within range, you can grab it – but you can’t grab shield cores. You can grab shield cells or batteries, though.

Alter’s tactical is called “Void Passage,” which simply creates a portal through a surface, perfect for a surprise attack or desperate getaway.

Finally her ultimate is called “Void Nexus,” and with this ability players can create a point which their teammates can portal back to through a phase tunnel, very similar to how Revanent’s abilities used to work, though this doesn’t happen automatically, you still need to go through a portal.

Out of all these changes, the one that likely has players talking the most is the return of Solos, which will take over the Duos queue beginning May 7, 2024 into June 24, 2024. The Apex community has consistently been asking for a solo queue, despite the game’s three-team core.

It’s all a testament to the season’s name, because for long-time Apex veterans, at least in ways it really is an upheaval of the game. You can check out the full patch notes below.

Apex Legends Season 21: Upheaval Patch Notes

Balance Updates

Care Package

  • Wingman returns to the floor
    • Projectile size reduced to pre-care package values
    • Damage reduced to 45 (was 50)
    • Skullpiercer Elite removed
    • Hipfire accuracy reduced
    • Now takes Boosted Loader Hop-Up
    • No longer takes magazines as an attachment
  • Devotion enters the Care Package
    • NEW Reverse Hipfire: sustained hipfire will tighten accuracy instead of widen
    • Damage increased to 16 (was 15)
    • Magazine size increased to 54 (was 48 at purple)
    • Reserve Ammo: 324
    • Empty reload time significantly reduced

Gold Weapons Rotation

  • Nemesis Burst AR, Triple-Take, Peacekeeper, Prowler PDW, Longbow DMR

Guaranteed Weapons out of Loot Bins

  • The first loot bin opened by an unarmed player will always contain a weapon

Dev Note: Bringing knuckles to a gunfight isn’t the most engaging gameplay, so we’re improving weapon acquisition consistency in the early game. When completely unarmed, opening a bin will guarantee at least a low tier weapon.

Retrieving Banners from Death Boxes

  • Collecting a banner will no longer lock the player out of critical gameplay actions
    • Running, shooting, punching and reviving will all break out of the banner collect animation while still registering as a successful collection
    • Players can immediately interact with a Death Box a second time while the animation is playing or continue holding the interact button to collect and enter a Death Box in one flow

Dev Note: It’s happening, it’s finally happening! I’ve died, you’ve died, we’ve all died trying to help our allies get back in the fight, but at least now we can’t blame grabbing the banner! Collecting banners is a positive action in Apex and for too long we’ve punished that action with a brief moment of pure helplessness. We’re putting your gun quite literally back in your hands, so get out there and save some Octanes and Wraiths!

Survival Items + Support Bins

  • Survival items now only spawn from a support bin’s tray if the team is in need

Dev Note: Survival items have been feeling abundant lately so we’re reducing their frequency in support bins by only spawning them when players meet specific requirements (like needing a Mobile Respawn Beacon when you’ve got eliminated allies)

Weapons & Attachments

30-30 Repeater

  • Skullpiercer Hop-Up removed

Dev Note: The 30-30 has been dominating the mid-long range for a few seasons and our recent adjustments weren’t quite enough to dethrone it. Removing the Skullpiercer should create some space for other Marksman and Sniper rifles to shine.

Charge Rifle

  • ADS recoil improved and stabilized

Dev Note: The Charge Rifle remains a high risk-reward weapon, however the risk slightly outweighs the reward. We’ve taken a smoothing pass at its recoil so it shouldn’t be quite so unwieldy when firing.

Longbow DMR

  • Skullpiercer Hop-Up removed
  • Barrel Stabilizer attachment removed
  • Base recoil significantly improved
  • Projectile gravity reduced
  • ADS in and out time reduced

Dev Note: We’ve always considered the Longbow a great entry level sniper that’s easy to run. Over time, we’ve come to realize that being a good entry level weapon and requiring lots of attachments to come online are at odds with one another. Simplifying the Longbow’s loot chase to make it more base level approachable is intended to improve its early game effectiveness and overall consistency as a sniper.


  • Now takes Boosted Loader Hop-Up

Dev Note: The Triple-Take is a strong weapon on paper, but it can feel a bit sluggish to maximize damage output. Providing quick reloads and extra ammo in the mag allows players to keep pressuring for longer with more chances to punish.


  • Skullpiercer removed from the loot pool
  • Boosted Loader added to the loot pool
    • Reloading while near empty will speed up reloading and overload the next magazine with extra rounds

1x Digital Threat Optic

  • Removed from loot pool and all locked set weapons

Dev Note: The Digi represents a sharp power spike in Apex—a single loot item that both counters and synergies with a specific Legend. Its power ebbs and flows with the Legend meta in a way that proves very difficult to tune. We’re giving the 1x Digi a hiatus while we investigate healthier optic based perks.



  • Arc Snare
    • Changed to left-hand cast
    • No longer stows weapons or interrupts consumable use when launching
  • Phase Breach: inspired by some Alter tech, nearby enemies will be highlighted for players traveling through the Void

Dev Note: It’s about time, huh? Allowing Ash to fire her Arc Snare with her off-hand has been something we’ve wanted to do for a while now. Holstering and redrawing her weapon to use the snare put Ash at a disadvantage in combat and minimized a lot of her play options. Ash should now be able to be much more active with her snare and apply pressure more aggressively when successful.


  • Whistler: damage from a planted smart bullet increased to 10 (was 5)
  • Upgrades
    • Care Package Insight: removed
    • NEW Sling-Shot: improves Ballistic’s base sling weapon to a blueset at Level 2 and a purpleset at Level 3

Dev Note: We’re replacing a lackluster perk with something more interesting, especially for those Ballistic players that like tapping into their sling weapons in non-Ult scenarios. Three Tac related upgrades is plenty, let’s make some room for that third weapon.


  • Beast of the Hunt
    • Cooldown increased to 4m (was 3m)
    • Knocks with Ult active no longer extend duration
  • Upgrades: Level 3
    • Tactical Cooldown: removed
    • Taste of Blood: buffed HP gain on knock to 50 (was 25)
    • NEW Long Hunt: knocks extend Beast of the Hunt duration

Dev Note: Beast of the Hunt has a lot of power baked into it considering perfect vision through smoke, increased move speed, and a generous extension timer. We wanted to break that down to see if players lean into a specific playstyle and ax the uninteresting hidden power of a decreased Tac cooldown. Bloodhound synergizes very well with two of the most popular Legends at the comp level, but we want to be mindful of their appeal across skill bands. We’re not doing anything big to this approachable Legend until we gauge their place at the top-end in a digi free world.


  • Piercing Spikes
    • Cooldown decreased to 20s (was 25s)
    • Long Cast upgrade integrated into base Tactical
  • Dark Veil
    • Dark Veil length increased to 45m (was 40m)
  • Upgrades
    • Long Cast: removed
    • Long Veil: moved to Level 2
    • NEW Ferro-Door: fully rebuild and reinforce missing doors with Passive.

Dev Note: Catalyst could use some love after her Ult nerfs, and Sister Spikes needed some competition. Hopefully making Tac charges more available with a baseline cooldown buff and creating a situationally strong alternative via passive upgrade helps strike a balance. Now that the Ult upgrades are decoupled, there are some difficult choices to make at both levels that we suspect are influenced by match flow. Will you hunker down with a friendly zone pull, or will you need an upgraded wall to help with rotations?


  • Gas damage and slow now stops immediately after Caustic’s squad is eliminated
  • Gas damage ramps from 4 → 10 max (was 5 → uncapped), damage on knocked players down to flat 4 (was 5)


  • Radiant Transfer
    • Can no longer target a Revenant while Forged Shadows is active
    • When Revenant activates Forged Shadows, any temporary shield generation ends immediately. Revenant will keep any temporary shields generated before activating his Ultimate.
  • Upgrades
    • Battery Collection: removed
    • NEW Battpack: can stack up to 3 Shield Batteries per inventory slot (doesn’t stack with Gold Backpack)

Dev Note: Conduit maintains a healthy pick rate and has cemented herself as a strong Support pick even after her last round of nerfs. We don’t want to hit her effectiveness as a Legend that pushes the tempo in combat. This is a targeted nerf to one of her synergies that felt more exploitable than we’d like.


  • Neurolink
    • Network Traffic upgrade now integrated into base kit
    • Squadcount banners are now visible anytime the drone is in a deployed state
  • Upgrades: Level 2
    • Tac & Ultimate Cooldowns: removed
    • Network Expansion: moved to Level 2
    • NEW Quick Ping: improved drone handling (faster accel/decel)
  • Upgrades: Level 3
    • NEW Satellite Imagery: drone scan persists for an additional 1.5s
    • NEW Hackathon: cut the drone cooldown in half, gain a speed boost anytime he uses his Ult or the drone is destroyed

Dev Note: Crypto’s upgrades at the start of Season 20 left a lot to be desired. We hope this suite of changes resonates with a couple different playstyle types—particularly when it comes to players’ affinity to pilot the drone more actively vs. passively.


  • Upgrades
    • Big Bang: removed
    • NEW Ring Master: gain access to Ring Consoles
    • Scar Tissue:
      • Simplified and buffed damage mitigation to remove lingering burn effects
      • Take a flat 20 damage when crossing The Motherlode instead of 37 (50% of 75 hp) over time
    • Wreckless: fixed explosive damage mitigation not being applied on continuous Knuckle Cluster hits (should only take about 32 damage from a full Knuckle Cluster now with Wreckless)

Dev Note: Fuse is destruction and chaos. The goal of these changes, whether it be a new strategic-level upgrade or a simplification of a convoluted damage model, is to bring some method to the madness.


  • Mobile Shield: throw anim speed increased (~2.5x faster)
  • Castle Wall
    • Will now destroy incoming projectiles headed towards the front of the wall while energized. It will not destroy projectiles fired from behind the wall nor bombardments from other Legend’s Ultimate projectiles.
    • Castle Wall energized duration increased to 1m (was 30s)
  • Upgrade – Stronghold: increased energized duration to 3m (was 2.5m)

Dev Note: The Castle Wall’s in-game strength rarely matches the grandeur of its presentation. More often than not, the wall serves as a grenade beacon to surrounding threats knowing that Newcastle just jumped to an ally in distress. An Ultimate-level wall should not fail as much as it does, especially on a Support Legend that’s built around turning the tide when his squad starts losing the advantage. The wall now requires more calculated counterplay and makes the Stronghold upgrade a more compelling option. We were also finding the long wind-up when tossing his Mobile Shield left him pretty vulnerable trying to get back to his weapon, so we’ve sped up the animation to let him be more reactive with it.


  • Upgrades
    • Wreckless: removed
    • Mad Hops moved to Level 2
    • Thick Skin: now Level 2 and 3, updated to take 5 less Stim damage to reflect that it can be selected twice (was -25%)

Dev Note: Octane has a “Plus Ultra” tattoo, so we shouldn’t inhibit his ability to double down on his tac or ult. While Wreckless was thematically fun, Octane already has one of the best forms of explosive damage mitigation that’s less hidden: stim away.


  • Upgrades
    • Falling Stars: Pylons will stop spawning Arc Stars when her squad is eliminated
    • Split Circuit: no longer reduces shield regen capacity


  • Into the Void and Dimensional Rift: nearby enemies will be highlighted for players traveling through the Void


  • Broken Moon shattered
    • New POIs: Cliff Side, Experimental Labs, Solar Pods, Space Port, Quarantine Zone, Underpass
    • Breaker Wharf updated
    • New rotations to switch things up and keep squads on the move
  • Added new possible Ring Console, Survey Beacon, and Crafter spawn locations to World’s Edge and Storm Point, and further evened out the probability of a prop spawning at any specific location
    • World’s Edge
      • Added possible Ring Console spawn locations to Mirage à Trois and Survey Camp
      • Added possible Survey Beacon spawn locations to Survey Camp and The Geyser
    • Storm Point
      • Added possible Crafter spawn location to Command Center
      • Added possible Survey Beacon spawn locations to The Wall, and the unnamed POIs Northeast of Checkpoint and at the edge of the map East of Storm Catcher



  • Six week Duos takeover
  • 50 players
  • Second Chance Respawn
    • Automatically respawn once if you die in the first 4 rounds
    • Second chance converted to EVO if unused by the round cutoff
  • Battle Sense: HUD indicator when enemies are within 50 meters
  • Auto Heals
    • Health regenerates out of combat
    • Auto heal starts after each kill
  • Additional adjustments to loot pool, circle sizes, and round times to accommodate solo play


  • Lockdown added to rotation: Zeus Station, Monument
  • Mixtape Map Rotations
    • Default rotation
      • Control: Production Yard, Thunderdome
      • Gun Run: The Core, Wattson’s Pylon
      • Lockdown: Monument, Zeus Station
      • TDM: Skulltown, Zeus Station
    • Mixtape rotation (5/24-5/28)
      • Gun Run: The Core, Wattson’s Pylon
      • Lockdown: Monument, Zeus Station
      • TDM: Skulltown, Zeus Station
    • 1st Week of Pride Month (6/1-6/7)
      • Control: Barometer
      • Gun Run: Wattson’s Pylon
      • Lockdown: Zeus Station
      • TDM: Zeus Station
    • Mixtape Rotation (6/11-6/17)
      • Control: Barometer, Caustic Treatment
      • Lockdown: Monument, Zeus Station
      • TDM: Skulltown, Zeus Station
    • TDM 24/7 (6/18-6/24)
      • Rules
      • Scorelimit: 35
      • Time Limit: 10 minutes
      • Increased health regen
      • Skull Town, Zeus Station, Monument, Thunderdome, Wattson’s Pylon, Fragment
  • LTM Rotations
    • 5/24-5/28 Control: Production Yard, Thunderdome, Caustic, Barometer, Lava Siphon
    • 5/31-6/3 Control: Production Yard, Thunderdome, Caustic, Barometer, Lava Siphon
    • 6/11-6/17 Gun Run: Skull Town, Zeus Station, Thunderdome, Wattson, Fragment, The Core


  • All players in a premade Ranked squad must be within 3 Rank tiers of each other or they will not be allowed to progress to matchmaking
  • No tuning changes to be made to ranked scoring for the launch of Upheaval

Dev Note: While we are happy with how Breakout Ranked was received, there is some feedback that we want to address for the start of Upheaval. As always, we’ll be monitoring feedback and data for any required tuning changes during the season and any major updates required for the future.

Season Reset

  • Where you ended in your last season of Ranked will determine where you start in Upheaval
    • If you ended your last season in Rookie, you will be reset to 1 RP
    • If you ended your last season above Rookie, you will be reset to Bronze IV

Split Timing

  • Split 2 will take place at the same time as the .1 patch, not a week after like in previous seasons

Upheaval Ranked Rewards

  • Your end-of-season rewards will now be determined by the highest Rank tier you achieved during the entire season
  • Split Rewards: your season-end reward badge will be animated if you match or surpass your Split 1 Rank in Split 2
    • If you do not achieve this, you will get the normal version of your badge

World Systems

  • Improved end ring generation system

Bug Fixes

  • Equipping an Evac Tower or Mobile Respawn Beacon will no longer close the inventories of all other players in the match
  • Firing Range: fixed some edge cases where Legend change was available when it shouldn’t be
  • Fixed occasional crash when interacting with an enemy’s crafted banner
  • “Mischief Medic” no longer appears as “Highlighted Healer”
  • Olympus: players can no longer enter/exit Vault without key
  • Survey Beacons and Ring Consoles should now be pingable again from the map
  • When hip firing with the Devotion, it will now properly track its reticle


  • Ballistic: duration of speedy whistler restored to 2s
  • Bloodhound
    • Passive markers no longer appear for teammates not on player’s squad
    • Players can once again be scanned by two Bloodhounds at the same time
  • Catalyst: fixed Dark Veil not charging for a short duration off of spawn
  • Crypto: recall audio when the drone is far away from you is audible once again
  • Maggie: Removed drill burn audio for players in the area of effect while phased
  • Removed Wraith Shadows from the void if you aren’t playing as Wraith
  • Wattson: resolved bad spawn points for Arc Stars generated from the Falling Stars upgrade

Quality Of Life

  • Additional security improvements
  • Airdropping Replicators now project a beam upwards as they are descending to help differentiate them from other airdrops
  • Back by popular demand, you can requeue at the end of Pubs BR and Mixtape matches
  • Ballistic: can now add any locked-set weapon into the sling where it will be converted to the proper locked-set tier and restored to its original state when being moved out (red-tier still not allowed)
  • Death Box Flyers: option to automatically ping the location of the Death Box will be prompted when knocking it from a Flyer’s grasp
  • Improved the choice of consumables that are auto-selected when either reaching full health, reaching full shields, or when dropping your last selected item. The new choice should more intelligently select shield consumables or prioritize syringes for quick healing. These changes were made to help new players have more optimal outcomes.
  • Improved use interactions with doors when self res is available
  • Map spawn audit for all Mixtape Modes: Phase Runner, Habitat, Thunderdome, Zeus Station
  • Upgraded to the latest version of Easy Anti-Cheat


  • Should now go through all translucent surfaces like windows
  • Players can now request for Grenades (Arc Stars, Frag Grenades, and Thermites)
    • Works similar to healing items: hold the Grenade button to open the Ordnance Wheel, hover on an ordnance item, select Ping to request


  • Airdrop location adjustments
  • Control
    • Moved C capture point to landing pad
    • Adjusted spawns attached to B capture point


  • Added new “Map Detail” PC video setting to adjust the amount of environmental decoration and set dressing (this may improve performance for players with low-spec PCs and those targeting high framerates)
  • Changed the way players opt-in to the DX12 beta: if you’re playing via the DirectX 12 beta now, the launch argument “-eac_launcher_settings SettingsDX12.json” should be changed to “-anticheat_settings=SettingsDX12.json”
  • Improved accuracy and visual fidelity of baked environment lighting for static outdoor objects
  • Improved accuracy of baked lighting for dynamic objects, to avoid situations where Legends would appear unlit
  • Significantly improved CPU performance of the Rendering Hardware Interface (RHI), mostly benefitting the PC DirectX 12 beta

Nessie Note: Nessie would like to congratulate everyone on the success of finally finding Blue Nessie. Our girl is finally free! The Nessie Army is now complete!

Source – [Respawn]