The Apex system is part of a series of new features that the developers introduced to further enhance and improve the current character development ecosystem within Tera, Apex, also known as Awakening, takes place as part of character development after reaching Level 65. It's part of The Two Banquets quest line.
After reaching level 65, the process is calculated from item level. Upon reaching level 65 the player is given Guardian gear and is expected to enchant and upgrade the gear to unlock more end-game content. Reaching higher and higher item levels unlocks even more quests from NPCs in Highwatch that introduce some in-game activities, mostly Single-User (Solo) content but also some dungeons.
The Apex system unlocks at item level 439, which is roughly equivalent of reaching Frostmetal gear. This lengthy quest gives the character new active and passive skills, awards one superior glyph to improve skills and 5 extra glyph points (total 60 points), and also an exclusive title "Apex". This new system is supposed to also give around 20-30% of increased damage output when attacking monsters, All of this of course, after new skills are fully unlocked and mastered.
The first part of this new system was out in NA/EU in April 2018 for 7 classes. (patch 67: Sevenfold Apex). Classes awakened in first patch were berserker, brawler, lancer, mystic, priest, slayer and warrior. Same patch also had other changes that affect even pre-awakening skills. Awakening 2 for rest of classes was out in October 2018.
Awakening on console version launched at the end of June 2020.
The Apex Quest Line
The Apex quest line is part of story quest line The Two Banquets. Actual awakening quest unlocks depending on item level. Some future patch changes this and makes instead the preceding quest line obligatory.
Awakening starts with in Highwatch. Talk to Nerinder in Velika Travel Control Office to enter Velika Banquet. Banquet ends in disaster. Mystel saves you. Return to Velika and use Velika Banquet Coin. Talk to Seir, then Maius and Bellenun at Pegasus Platform to enter second part of quest.
Second part takes place in Elenea and Wyrmgorge that are instanced, not normal open world places (do not travel to Elenea, quest is accessed from Velika). Person you met already at Velika Banquet, dragon expert guides player whole this part. This part involves fighting some tough Dracoloth monsters and Vergos follower, female warrior Allendra. Upon reaching Zaeltarazad Shrine defeat Vergos follower, examine the report about Velika Invasion and activate the Unknown Device to exit instance.
Beware, if you die during quest, you have to start this part again all the way back from Velika (talk again to Bellenun at Pegasus Platform to return to the quest area). Bring healing potions, preferably 50% heals from weekly quest. Using Bravery Potion for fight and to reduce damage is recommended.
Third part of quest takes place in open world Fyrmount. It involves defeating Shurian Summoners and Summons and more Elite Dracoloths. After that use other teleportal device to fight a BAM, the Black Dragon, . First fight with will not succeed. Use Mystel's Aura to enter the Inner Abyss and defeat your, personified inner negative feelings, like Insecurity, Self-Doubt, and such, before returning to the Veil and finishing once and for all.
Quest returns you to Velika Banquet day that now goes smoothly. At the end you can see a certain person is not very happy about this.