Respawn Entertainment has released its first major balance update for its free to play battle royale title Apex Legends. As many suspected, the Wingman revolver and Peacekeeper shotgun have seen some slight nerfs to their overall viability. Attachments like the Skullpiercer mod and Shotgun bolt for their respective weapons have also seen tuning.
Speaking about how the studio approaches balance, community manager Jay Frechette stated on Reddit, “A core philosophy of our development process for Apex Legends is to listen to player feedback, parse through all the data we get from the game, try things, and then playtest them a ton to get them just right. And… repeat.
“The goal is to ship polished, closer to the mark updates than if we got things out rapidly and iterated in the live environment. We know y’all are putting a ton of time into the game and mastering every nuance (like Wraith portalling people off cliffs for the final kill lolz). Our goal is to make less frequent, better tested, higher impact changes, so it minimizes the effects on your time spent mastering a particular mechanic, weapon, character, etc. You shouldn’t have to read our patch notes every few days just to keep up with how characters and weapons now work.”
Of course, Frechette noted that if something were completely out of balance, it would be addressed immediately. “We didn’t want to make any hasty changes around launch, because we know a ton of players are still learning the game with lots of new Legends dropping in everyday. The week one meta vs. the week two / three meta was meaningfully different from what we’ve seen, so want to make it sure it settles a bit before we act.”
Frechette also revealed that adjustments to the size of large character hitboxes were in the works. Other possibilities the studio is looking at if these changes aren’t enough include “natural damage reduction” and tweaks to individual kits. Extensive testing will be done before they go live in that circumstance though. Adjustments to Legends will begin in Season 1, with some characters like Caustic received some buffs (like for trap radius and proximity radius). Check out the changes, current and future, below.
WEAPON ADJUSTMENTS LIVE ON ALL PLATFORMS
- Rate of fire reduced from 3.1 -> 2.6
- Skullpiercer Headshot damage multiplier reduced from 2.5 -> 2.25
- Increased base hip fire spread and decreased the rate at which hip fire spread decays (shrinks back down).
- Shotgun Bolt rechamber rate has been reduced for the Peacekeeper only.
- Level 1 mitigation 10% -> 7.5%
- Level 2 mitigation 20% -> 13%
- Level 3 mitigation 25% -> 16%
- Wingman and Peacekeeper availability has been reduced in all zone tiers.
- Increased availability of energy weapons & ammo in all zone tiers.
Why no P2020 or Mozambique buffs?
- We love y’all’s ‘Bique memes, so we’re hesitant to lose that 😛
- In all seriousness, our goal is to have a power curve of weapons. “Power curve” just means that some weapons will be weaker and more common, while others will be stronger and rarer. Some weapons are intentionally less powerful until fully purp’d with hopups and attachments, while other weapons on the bottom of the power curve are your early game, better-than-melee, but-gotta-upgrade-out-of-ASAP weapons. We’ve seen some good feedback from players about how to make these pistols more exciting without losing out on the goal above that we’re listening to. We’ll be continuing to watch player data and feedback and trying things out internally but for now, they’ll remain the same.
Additional patch notes
- Caustic occasionally causing disconnects while throwing his Ultimate.
- Pathfinder occasionally causing disconnects when activating a Survey Beacon.
- Players occasionally causing disconnects when removing an attachment.
- Gibraltar occasionally causing disconnects when pulling up his Gun Shield.
- Players occasionally causing disconnects when entering Spectate Mode.
COMING IN SEASON 1
Major balance changes
- Hit box size reductions and optimizations for Caustic, Pathfinder and Gibraltar
- We’re better sizing hitboxes to character gear & model
- Since these adjustments have a MAJOR impact on the game, we want to make sure there aren’t any major bugs, so we didn’t want to rush them out
- If these adjustments prove to be insufficient, we’ll consider additional adjustments during Season 1
Minor balance changes
- Traps – Reduced cooldown to 25 seconds from 30 seconds
- Traps – Increased radius and proximity radius by about 10%
- Traps – Removed a 1 second delay on the smoke dealing damage to players
- Insider Knowledge – Increased the number of beacons in the world to 12 from 10
- Care Package – Removed slight chance that level 4 armor and helmets will drop
- Into The Void – Cooldown increased from 20 -> 25 seconds
- Double Time – Reduced move speed bonus to 30% from 40%
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