Respawn have revealed why some of the least-played or least-powerful Apex Legends characters, typically, do not receive massive ability overhauls or ‘reworks’ when the developers are looking to balance gameplay.
Following the release of Horizon in Season 7, there’s now a total of fifteen unique characters that players can choose between in the Legend Select stage, ahead of competing in the Apex Games.
Although each of these Legends has their own abilities and playstyle, it can be difficult to balance them all at once and, as a result, it usually leads to a few characters falling out of the meta for a short while.
Apex devs will typically introduce small buffs throughout a season to help bring a struggling Legend up to par, but if any of the characters’ troubles persist across multiple seasons, fans often call for complete reworks to be considered. Mirage was one such Legend to receive a total rework.
Respawn Game Designer Daniel Klein responded, highlighting previous reworks and revealing that they often try to find other ways of balancing the Legends before adding anything that “meaningfully changes the play pattern of a character.”
He followed up by explaining that reworks can dramatically change a Legend’s playstyle and that it often requires players to completely re-learn a character, “we try to avoid reworks whenever we can because they invalidate previous player learnings.”
“Reworks are a last resort for us: when it seems that there really is no other way to make the Legend either fun for the player or healthy for the rest of the game.” the Apex dev added.
Klein shared that they have also considered reworks for characters who do not live up to their potential, pointing at Lifeline’s passive rework to make her stronger as a Support Legend.
The senior game designer later revealed that many of the biggest changes, such as reworks and new Legend releases, are often saved until the start of each season, suggesting that the next rework would likely happen at the start of Season 8, if any characters require one at that time.