Apex Legends

Apex Legends dev responds to demands to remove SBMM

Published: 29/Feb/2020 19:47 Updated: 7/Oct/2020 17:51

by Alan Bernal

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Skill-based matchmaking might be a part of Apex Legends for a while after a response from a Respawn dev suggests the online feature is here to stay.

A portion of the Apex Legends community is still reeling from the effects of SBMM since it pairs people in all playlists with other players of similar ability.

While more skilled players want it removed to destroy noobs for highlight clips and content, others look for a casual setting to play with friends of varying skill levels.

Respawn Entertainment
Players looking for a casual playthrough in Apex Legends are stifled by SBMM.

A response from Respawn Entertainment Principal Coder Michael Kalas was essentially the nail in the coffin for people wondering if Apex would ever scale down the matchmaking feature.

A player chimed in to ask if “random matchmaking in the ‘Play Apex’ mode” could become more prevalent instead of the effects from SBMM that makes every game, Ranked or not, filled with competitive players.

The developer simply replied with a gif of Dave Bautista with the iconic ‘Deal with it’ sunglasses superimposed on him. While it was a brief response, it echoes what the Apex community have been hearing about SBMM from the devs.

Even in the Season 4 patch notes for the game, Respawn gave a ‘Matchmaking Update’ to the community. In it, the devs doubled down on their decision to include SBMM saying that it “has existed in Apex since launch and [they’ll] be continuing to improve on it over time.”

In that update, they acknowledged that SBMM has been a “contentious topic among players” but maintained their position that it’s going to stay while they look for natural improvements to make.

Previously, Respawn Senior Systems Designer Eric ‘Ghost’ Hewitt told their players that SBMM “will become the norm for most MP games,” citing the “indisputable evidence” that “it helps out something like 80-90% of the community with retention for most of those games.”

Ghost’s comment on November 24 and the February’s Season 4 patch notes both suggest that SBMM or its residual effects still need some refining.

The decvs will continue honing their online matchmaking system to appease their players, as much as they might want SBMM taken out of Apex Legends.

Apex Legends

Apex Legends dev responds to complaints about “recycled” LTMs

Published: 2/Dec/2020 15:49

by Alex Garton

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An Apex Legends developer has responded to players’ complaints about bringing back old LTMs (limited-time modes), rather than adding new ones. His candid response shed some light on why Respawn continues to “recycle” LTMs and the effort that goes into perfecting them.

The debate surrounding Respawn’s continued use of recycled LTMs is not a new one. Certain members of the Apex community continue to voice their issue with the lack of all-new LTMs being added to the game.

Although there are have been numerous different limited-time modes since Apex released in 2019, Respawn brings back fan-favorites such as Armed & Dangerous and Always be Closing on a regular basis.

Although these modes are generally well-liked, some have assumed that they are recycled as a low effort means of adding ‘new’ content. However, senior game designer Daniel Klien has explained the team’s thinking.

Respawn Entertainment
‘Winter Express’ is the LTM returning with the Holo-Day Bash event.

Apex dev responds to complaints of “recycled” LTMs

Complaints surrounding LTMs on the Holo-Day Bash announcement thread led to a response from the dev. A number of players had expressed their disappointment that ‘Winter Express’ was just another “recycled” mode.

But, the game designer outlined the amount of effort that had gone into perfecting and reworking the ‘Winter Express’ mode: “between the supply ships and the new stations and a LOT of behind the scenes changes to reduce downtime it feels so much better to me.”

Despite the response, this only led to comments stating that ‘Winter Express’ was still a recycled LTM and that no new content had been added.

This led to an extremely candid statement from the developer that revealed the exact reason Respawn choose to bring back fan-favorite LTMs: “Real talk… everyone ASKS for game modes but looking at our numbers, it doesn’t seem like people play them nearly enough for us to put in the amount of effort required to make a new mode.”

This certainly offers some context to the debate surrounding “recycled” LTMs. If the player numbers don’t justify the resources needed to make a new LTM,  then why would Respawn continue to produce them?

Respawn Entertainment
LTMs are popular for a short period of time before players head back to the main modes.

It’s often difficult for developers to grasp what content a player base is looking for. Although social media can be a good indicator, it often only represents those who shout loudest, rather than the entire community.

Respawn devs remain very active and engage with players about issues, so feedback should always be encouraged.