Respawn has finally shipped a new Pathfinder rework in the Aftermarket collection event update, after a fan-made Apex Legends balance change shared on Reddit inspired the battle royale devs to take a second look at the loveable robot scout’s core ability.
Pathfinder will now have a variable grapple cooldown moving forward, “based on distance traveled”. This means the Forward Scout can now enjoy cooldowns as low as 10 seconds per use. The maximum 35-second cooldown remains for long-ranged hooks.
This decision was a “compromise” from simply reverting the change, Respawn explained in their Aftermarket patch notes. Interestingly enough, they added, the idea was actually first posted on Reddit, well before the planned Oct. 6 update.
“Instead of dropping grapple cooldown back to 15 seconds where it was before, or move it to 25 seconds as a compromise, we considered a player suggestion — thanks Reddit! — to have the grapple drain energy as it goes,” the devs explained.
Funnily enough, the original Reddit post, shared by /u/Luckyshoe50 on Sep. 22, only got two upvotes and nine comments. Respawn’s developers also didn’t reply to the /r/ApexLegends thread at the time, though they clearly took notice.
Pathfinder’s new grapple rework now works similarly to the Titanfall 2 hookshot ability, which would be set to a cooldown depending on use. “The difference is,” the devs continued, “we’re looking at your full distance traveled [for the timer].”
The new Pathfinder rework should help both skilled players, and those Pathfinder mains who “faceplant the grapple” a few times more than they’d like every Apex Legends match.
“Bad Pathfinder players no longer need to fear the faceplant… if you’re not going anywhere, you’re not incurring much of a cooldown,” the devs explained.
“If you’re a really, really good Pathfinder, and looking for the absolute max distance grapple, you’ll still have a 35-second cooldown… assuming you land it.
“This both buffs Path a little less for the scariest robot players out there, and also opens up room for extra skill expression; can you find useful short grapples that give you a shorter CD but still do something good [in the middle of a fight]?”
Pathfinder copped his first huge grappling hook nerf in the Season 5 update on May 12. The Forward Scout’s core ability was slapped with a monster 20 second nerf, up to 35, to balance his ever-growing power in Apex Legends ranked play.
The Apex Legends release hero had a small buff added in the Aug. 17 patch three months later; he could drop the cooldown on his Zipline Gun by using survey beacons. This change did little to bring Pathfinder back into the top-tier meta, however.
Before the Pathfinder changes in 2020, the robot scout boasted a 10.3% pick rate. This didn’t change much in Season 6; he is played in 11% of Apex Legends games.
The new Pathfinder rework isn’t the only Legend change coming in the Aftermarket event update either; Wraith is in line for a sprint rework, and Bloodhound has had their cooldown numbers tweaked slightly. Rampart got a turret buff too.
Read the full Apex Legends Aftermarket collection update patch notes here.