Apex Legends devs explain iron sight changes amid ‘pay-to-win’ controversy

Apex Legends Flatline being used by BangaloreRespawn

Apex Legends developers Respawn Entertainment have provided more context to the battle royale’s iron sight changes, after players raised concerns over the ‘pay-to-win’ nature of some weapons’ base optics. 

Iron sights are difficult to balance for the devs of any shooter. They naturally vary depending on a weapon’s design, meaning every gun offers a slightly different base optic. 

That has proved problematic in Apex Legends, with players raising serious concerns about ‘pay-to-win’ iron sights on certain weapons.

In particular, the VK-47 Flatline has come under scrutiny for its Heat Sink and Revelations weapons skins, which players believe afford unfair advantages to users because of their iron sights. 

Apex Legends devs announce nerfs to Flatline iron sights 

As weapon skins are purchasable for players, some have accused the BR of being ‘pay-to-win’, with those willing to invest money gaining in-game benefits. 

On September 16, though, Respawn provided an ‘Update on Iron Sights’, explaining that changes are being made to the contentious Flatline skins. 

They said: “Default iron sights are designed to push players to loot for better optics. We also believe that skins shouldn’t be a factor in the sights functionality as well… To make things as fair as possible, we wanted to address feedback for the Heat Sink skin and also update other skins we thought could be improved.” 

Attached were images of the adjusted iron sights, with the comments ending: “We believe that any competitive edge in Apex Legends should be gained by honing your skills and not due to any perceived advantages from buying gun skins.” 

Respawn went on to add more context via Reddit, where they expanded on the decision to nerf the weapon skins themselves, rather than the base Flatline. 

“We know that players will need a period of adjustment and that for those who primarily have been using Heat Sink—it does suck for now,” they acknowledged. “But we did need to make a decision that displays a classic example of a designer’s job: to diagnose and separate what the player and the game needs from what is wanted.” 

There could well be further adjustments down the line depending on player feedback and the stats behind the powerful AR. 

In spite of the potentially contentious changes, many praised Respawn for their transparency and the attention to detail in explaining the adjustments.