After Respawn Entertainment revealed the patch notes for Season 7’s Fight Night Collection Event, pro Apex Legends players have taken to Twitter to voice their concerns that the game is leaning too heavily into Legend abilities.
Character abilities have always been a core pillar of Respawn’s design philosophy surrounding Apex Legends. Each Legend has their own set of special abilities that set them apart from the others and the developer works hard to ensure all characters remain fun and balanced.
Despite the impact abilities have on Apex, Respawn’s BR experience is simultaneously based around gunplay. Senior Game Design Daniel Klein laid this out on Reddit by saying “you can learn to be good at controlling the Flatline, and now you’re good at controlling the Flatline with any character.”
With the Pathfinder-themed Fight Night event scheduled to kick off on January 5, Respawn released their patch notes for the update. After seeing what the developers have planned in terms of Legend ability tweaks, several Apex pros voiced their concerns on Twitter.
Apex needs to stop buffing Legends abilities or I won’t even recognize what game I’m playing anymore
— TSM Snip3down (@Snip3down) January 1, 2021
TSM’s Eric ‘Snip3down’ Wrona criticized Respawn for buffing Legend abilities to an extreme level. The professional player voiced concerns that, if more ability buffs are added, he “won’t even recognize what game I’m playing anymore.”
Several other pro Apex players responded to Snip3down’s tweet in agreement, TSM’s Phillip “ImperialHal” Dosen and Sentinels’ Nathan “retzi” Telen among them. Retzi joked that “we won’t be able to recognize it [Apex] through all the gas” referencing changes to Caustic that the community is unhappy with.
Snip3down responded to ‘retzi’ clarifying that he’s agreeable to changes in the meta, but argued that “we can’t keep giving every character the Gibby treatment where we buff until you almost have to have him.”
Apex is actually becoming overwatch at this rate. Use to be who could gun the hardest now its who can use their abilities the best
— ceryal (@ceryal_) January 1, 2021
Fellow professional player Andrew ‘Ceryal’ Vargas tweeted out similar concerns. The pro and streamer noted that with all of the recent buffs to Legend abilities, “Apex is actually becoming overwatch at this rate.”
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Popular Apex streamer Diego ‘diegosaurs’ Raymond Navarrette responded to ceryal’s Tweet in agreement. He joked that “I feel like I’m [Soldier] 76 and everyone else is Roadhog,” referencing a severely imbalanced meta — something that Overwatch players have dealt with many times.
While some responses to Ceryal and Snip3down’s posts were negative, the majority of the community seems to agree with their sentiments. While buffing Legends like Rampart might be seen as Respawn trying to make her more viable, players have not taken to the additional Caustic buffs that are in the pipeline.
yeah except its getting to the point where i feel like im 76 and everyone else is roadhog playing these thick boys with fucking mastiffs lmfao
— diego (@diegosaurs) January 1, 2021
Ceryal’s comparison of Apex to Overwatch is in fact the opposite of the mindset Respawn has previously identified in terms of game balancing. In the same Season 7 Reddit thread where he discussed the Flatline, Klein also mentioned Overwatch specifically.
“Overwatch is primarily an ability-based game, and Apex is primarily a gun-based game” he said in response to Legend balancing. After discussing those differences, Klein transitioned into his point regarding the Flatline and the importance of focusing the game around gun balance.
It appears that the professional Apex scene thinks Respawn have strayed too far from their original design philosophy. The developer has not responded to either post at the time of writing, and it remains to be seen whether they will roll back any of the Fight Night balancing changes based on community feedback.