How bad is Apex Legends netcode compared to Fortnite and PUBG? - Dexerto
Apex Legends

How bad is Apex Legends netcode compared to Fortnite and PUBG?

Published: 23/Nov/2019 11:22 Updated: 23/Nov/2019 12:33

by Andy Williams

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Apex Legends’ players have long been affected by tickrate and a host of netcode issues. But just how can Respawn tackle their connection snags to compete with the likes of Fortnite and other battle royales?

After its surprise launch in February 2019, Apex Legends’ innovated the battle royale genre. Ushering in a fluid movement system and a brand new in-game dialogue (with the ping system), the battle royale was the fresh lick of paint that the genre so desperately needed.

Respawn pushed the boundaries in terms of what was previously thought to be possible with a battle royale. However, amid all of the unique in-game features, the game’s netcode continues to plague players to this day. 

Respawn Entertainment.Respawn beacons are now a staple to any flagship battle royale.

Netcode is an umbrella term used to explain the networking dynamics of online gaming. From ping latency to packet loss, netcode refers to all of the parameters which affect the speed at which your client can synchronize with the server. 

Apex Legends suffers greatly when it comes to tickrate — the frequency at which the client (i.e. the player) sends packets to the server (per second). This is especially pronounced when compared to its battle royale counterparts, such as Fortnite or PUBG.

YouTuber Battle(non)sense highlighted the impact this is having on in-game variables, such as gunfire and movement.

Battle(non)sense (YouTube).Apex Legends’ low tickrate means that damage, gunfire and movement appear less responsive/consistent.

As pointed out on the Apex Legends subreddit, Apex’s tickrate is currently set at 20 Hz. By comparison, Fortnite (30 Hz) and PUBG (60 Hz) work off a higher client-server threshold. 

Put simply, if Respawn increased the tickrate of their servers, the game would update with the server more frequently. The net result would be avoiding issues such as that underscored below. In an attempt to flee from the opposition, the player attempts to close the door, which their enemy manages to shoot them through. 

How long untill we fix the _______ NetCode? from apexlegends

However, in order to enhance tickrate, Respawn would see a tenfold increase in bandwidth usage, which they would need to accommodate for accordingly. 

In turn, the issues identified by Battle(non)sense would be mitigated. Of course, this isn’t something Respawn can ‘flick the switch on’ and they’d need to implement this after thorough planning. 

As of right now, the best way of improving your in-game responsiveness is to select the server with the lowest ping at the home screen of Apex Legends.

Apex Legends

Apex Legends dev explains why “useless” Wattson won’t get more buffs

Published: 26/Nov/2020 5:27 Updated: 26/Nov/2020 5:29

by Isaac McIntyre

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Bad news Wattson fans… Respawn has no plans to buff the Apex Legends engineer again in Season 7, despite the fact much of the battle royale’s player base believes the Static Defender is “useless” in her current state.

Wattson who has been part of the ever-growing Apex Legends roster since mid-2019, was recently handed a buff in Season 7’s ‘Ascension’ patch; her signature ability, “Perimeter Security,” had its damage topped up slightly.

According to the Apex Legends community, however, the French defender is still relatively “useless” in the Season 7 meta. In fact, the view is so widespread that a Reddit thread simply titled “Buff Wattson please” racked up 15.1k upvotes, and more than 125 awards.

In the thread, ‘BaguettePaquette’ declared: “It’s time to radically remake Wattson. Not just +5 to fences, but the whole concept of a ‘defending legend’.”

Unfortunately, when an Apex Legends dev did finally arrive in the thread, it was to deliver bad news: there are no plans to give Wattson more buffs in Season 7, despite the defender’s low pick rate in public playlists and ranked lobbies.

Respawn Entertainment
Wattson has been dubbed “useless” by the wider Apex Legends player base.

Wattson isn’t “useless,” says Apex dev

The reason, game designer Daniel Z. Klein explained, is twofold. The first is that Wattson is “all over the place” in pro play. According to the dev, who “rewound the final game,” four of the final six squads in ALGS finals included a Wattson.

The second was a rebuttal to the Reddit thread’s suggestion Wattson is “useless,” both on new map Olympus, and in all Apex Legends lobbies.

“I’m going to respectfully disagree… on Olympus, or elsewhere. You’re confusing two things; pick rate and effectiveness,” Klein said. “Yes, she’s lowest pick rate, but her win rate is very good. She’s is top 4 across most power metrics.”

The “fun” problem: why no one plays Wattson

The problem, he continued, is that Wattson “isn’t super fun for most people.” Her abilities are based around holding choke points, which Apex Legends players often shy away from.

“[That] means we can’t just put power into her until she’s more widely played, because she’s already very near the top of our power charts; on the other hand, it means that putting power into her won’t address the problem either,” he said.

“It’s not that people pick her and fail to be effective. Clearly the people who do run her have more success than on most other characters. There’s something about the FEELING of playing her that isn’t attractive, and power doesn’t fix that.”

Wattson Apex Legends screenshot
Respawn Entertainment
The French defender is powerful, but fails to be “fun” in public lobbies.

Rework may be one possible solution

So, no more Wattson buffs in Season 7, especially as she continues to hit top scores on many of Respawn’s hidden metrics. A rework though? That’s another story.

“Your suggestion for a rework is most promising,” Klein admitted, but said there are two issues there; the cost ⁠— “reworks are incredibly expensive” ⁠— and two, she already fills an area “very needed” in competitive play: defensive strengths.

“I don’t think she should be 100% or near 100% pick rate in competitive… ideally we find a rework that makes at least part of her kit exciting in the moment, while not losing her identity as a structure giver,” the Apex developer concluded.

Respawn Entertainment
Mirage (pictured) and Lifeline have both got reworks; could Wattson be next?

There was a glimmer of hope for fans of the French defender, however. Klein admitted he “could be convinced to buff her” in an effort to “throw a bone to Wattson mains,” but promised that “wouldn’t change the problems.”

For now, Wattson mains should hold tight. There’s a rework in the pipes that may eventually land, and more buffs are possible; it may just take a bit of begging!