Apex Legends leaks reveal new details for Mirage rework - Dexerto
Apex Legends

Apex Legends leaks reveal new details for Mirage’s Season 5 rework

Published: 23/Apr/2020 6:11 Updated: 23/Apr/2020 6:57

by Isaac McIntyre


Mirage could be set to become the very first Apex Legends character to undergo a rework, after new leaks revealed the Holographic Trickster’s impending buffs ⁠— confirmed by Respawn earlier this month ⁠— will be a pretty big overhaul.

Elliott Witt, the Legend in the Apex Games more commonly known as Mirage, has struggled to find his place in the battle royale’s meta since release. Apart from a few minor bug fixes in the last 14 months, he’s mostly been left out to dry.


The situation continued to worsen for the smooth-talking trickster as new roster debutants like Revenant and Wattson outshone him. Early favorites like Wraith and Gibraltar were also better picks, and Mirage dropped to a 2.40% win rate.

Now, Mirage mains have had enough. Their outcry across social media reached fever-pitch as they demanded Respawn “save” the loveable larrikin. For a time, it looked like the devs had simply decided to let him rot.


That is, until Respawn dev Carlos Pineda confirmed buffs were coming “real soon,” but didn’t reveal what they would be. Now, thanks to new leaks from data miner ILootGames, we know ⁠— a full rework is potentially on its way.

Mirage may finally be brought in from the cold in Apex Legends, if the rework rumors are true.
Respawn Entertainment
Mirage may finally be brought in from the cold in Apex Legends, if the rework rumors are true.

Mirage rework could draw on Dummies Big Day LTM

According to the popular code-dipper, who revealed a handful of tidbits about the potential upcoming Mirage rework in a YouTube video on April 22, Respawn are planning to draw on the “Dummies Big Day” LTM for the overhaul.

“What I’ve been told… is that Mirage is going to get the ability of the Emergency Dance Party,” ILootGames said. He added it would make sense considering the “weird Mirage bugs” which had been plaguing King’s Canyon recently.


“Whether that’s a tactical ability or a replacement for his ultimate, I don’t know, but that’s what I’ve been told will be part of his rework. It’s not just going to be a buff, it’s going to be a rework. We’ll find out in Season 5 is my hope.”

Using the Dummies’ ultimate move from the short-lived Grand Soiree Event is no new idea ⁠— players have been demanding devs use the “believable” Dummies ability for Mirage for some time ⁠— and it certainly makes sense as a buff.

For mobile readers, the related segment begins at 3:48 in the video below.


When can Apex players expect the Mirage rework?

According to ILootGames, there’s nothing solid in the battle royale’s code relating to Mirage just yet. That means Respawn is likely still hard at work testing these changes on their internal servers at the moment.

When other big changes have come down the pipelines, they’ve come during major seasonal swaps. As such, Mirage’s big switch-up is, in all likelihood, penciled in for Season 5’s update. That means it should arrive on May 5.

Stop the clock - Mirage is finally in line for Apex Legends buffs.
Respawn Entertainment
Stop the clock – Mirage is finally in line for Apex Legends buffs.

It is worth keeping in mind, the leaked Mirage updates are also, as always, subject to change. Respawn has proven they’re happy to switch direction ⁠— as seen with their Revenant-Forge trick ⁠— so we’ll see if this rework lands on live servers.

Apex Legends

Apex Legends SBMM controversy: Is EA rigging your matches?

Published: 8/Oct/2020 14:06

by Calum Patterson


In the midst of Season 6 in Apex Legends, the controversy about SBMM (skill-based matchmaking) has reared its head again. A 2017 paper from EA researches appears to show a nefarious matchmaking algorithm, leaving players both concerned and angry.

But, before you grab your pitchforks, there are a few key facts that have been lost among the debate on social media.


In an attempt to better explain what we know about matchmaking in Apex, the research from EA, and what it all actually means for you – the player – here is everything you need to know.

First, though, if you don’t know what SBMM even is, here is a quick recap.


What is SBMM?

Skill-based matchmaking is the name for the predominant system used (or allegedly used) in the majority of online, PvP, multiplayer games. Respawn, the developers of Apex Legends, have confirmed that their system uses skill level as a factor in matchmaking.

They’ve said that this system has always been there, will stay, and that they are constantly trying to improve it. The say SBMM is better for the long-term health of the game, and for keeping players playing and having fun.

However, this 2017 paper, written by a handful of researchers from EA, appears to argue the opposite; that fairer matches are not actually best for ‘engagement’ (i.e. keeping you playing or spending). Instead, another system called EOMM is apparently better. So, is SBMM not actually a thing at all?

SBMM in Apex Legends
Respawn Entertainment
SBMM has been a hot topic in Apex for ever since launch.

Is Apex Legends rigging you to lose?

The short answer: No.

Respawn’s Principal Coder Michael Kalas has confirmed that Apex Legends does not use EOMM, and said “no one working on Apex matchmaking has read the patent.”

“Apex matchmaking is designed off skill. It’s not literally designed to make you lose, spend, nor play longer,” Kalas confirms. “Apex features are designed and measured to result in fun, entertainment, accomplishment, playing longer, etc.”


Some players, even professional players, have said based on their own feeling and experience, that there is some kind of system working against them in matchmaking.

Perhaps players are right to feel this way, perhaps not. We will probably never know for certain, as publishers like EA and Activision will never reveal the inner-workings of their matchmaking algorithms. This is because, once known, players could deliberately attempt to game the system. 


What is the EA research paper?

First, remember that this 2017 research paper is not linked to Apex Legends. After all, Apex was released two years after this paper was published.

It is simply a study, testing if such a system is successful at increasing player retention, and in turn, spending. This system is not SBMM. In fact, it argues that SBMM is actually worse for increasing player retention.

The system is called EOMM = engagement optimized matchmaking. Rather than matching players randomly, or based on their skill level, it combines a number of different factors, to try to increase ‘engagement.’

The paper concludes that “EOMM significantly outperforms all other methods in the number of retained players.”

What is EOMM?

Engagement Optimized matchmaking (EOMM) “aims to match players in an optimal way that maximizes overall player engagement.”

Based on a player’s last 3 outcomes (W)in, (L)ose, or (D)raw, the risk of them quitting changes. The paper presents this table, showing that three losses in a row, or two wins and a loss, will result in the highest risk of quitting (4.9% – 5.1%).

However, if a player has DLW, LLW, LDW, or DDD, their risk of quitting is almost half (2.6% – 2.7%).

A simplistic appraisal of this system then, would be, if you get a win, you might get a harder opponent the next match. If you lose, you get an easier opponent. Keeping the balance of wins, losses, and draws, is core to the EOMM system.

The fear is that the game could be “rigging” your matchmaking, to make you win or lose in a certain pattern. The goal of this system is to increase player engagement; things “such as time or money spent in the game, the number of matches played within a time window, or churn risk.”

But, the research paper was based on 1v1 matches, which might apply to a game like FIFA, but not Apex Legends. However, it concludes that EOMM could easily be applied to other, more complex matchmaking.

AC Milan FIFA 21
Games like FIFA could use EOMM, because it’s based on 1v1 matches.

Of course, EA and Respawn want players to be engaged with their game. They want players playing, staying to play more, and hopefully, spending money. So, it stands to reason that they would employ some matchmaking algorithms to optimize this.

But, this study was based on 500 players. Not the tens of millions who play Apex Legends. In the real world, there are countless other factors to consider, including ping, server location, partying up with friends, and much more.

What about SBMM?

The paper on EOMM argues that SBMM doesn’t work because of one key reason:

“Consider a cautious player who cares about protecting his rank among friends, and a risk taker who enjoys difficult matches. Pairing them with similarly skilled opponents will affect these players very differently. Even for the same player, their expectation on the coming match when they just lost three games in a row can be very different from that when they recently performed well.”

In their testing, EOMM retained 0.7% more players compared to SBMM, after one round of matchmaking. This might not seem like much, but over more matches, this number will increase: “For players who play 20 rounds of matchmaking games within eight hours, there will be 15% more players retained by EOMM” than SBMM.

But, the dislike of any system that is not purely random and based totally on connection, cannot be denied. It became a massive issue during Call of Duty’s Black Ops Cold War Alpha recently, where even pro player Scump pleaded with developers to make changes.

We can only hope that the developers take into consideration players’ concerns, and promote having fun in the game, and not just “engagement.”