Loba abilities revealed in Apex Legends Season 5 launch trailer - Dexerto
Apex Legends

Loba abilities revealed in Apex Legends Season 5 launch trailer

Published: 5/May/2020 18:13 Updated: 5/May/2020 18:25

by Matt Porter

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Respawn Entertainment have officially released the full trailer for Apex Legends Season 5, giving fans a look at upcoming character Loba as she hunts for Revenant, the Synthetic Nightmare who killed her family.

As always, a new season of Apex Legends brings a brand-new character for players to sink their teeth into, and for Season 5 Respawn have decided to go with Loba, a character who has been mentioned in the game’s files for most of its lifespan, but had never officially made an appearance inside the battle royale.

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That all changed with the release of the first Season 5 teaser back on April 30, ‘Legacy of a Thief,’ and since Loba has been spotted in the game’s menus, seemingly keeping an eye on what’s going on around King’s Canyon as the game prepares for her imminent arrival to the game.

Respawn Entertainment
Loba will finally join Apex Legends on May 12.

The storyline between Revenant and Loba actually dates back to Season 4 and the introduction of the simulacrum, who was seen murdering an entire family after realizing that Hammond Robotics and the Syndicate had turned him into a robot. Only one member of the family was spared, a young girl who watched the entire incident unfold, and grew up to become Loba, now determined to take down Revenant once and for all, and avenge her family who he brutally murdered.

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Throughout the early Season 5 teasers, Loba has been hunting down the machine, following him to Kings Canyon where he’s been sent while they try to figure out how to deactivate him permanently.

Skulltown destroyed?

The trailer ends with Loba facing off against her nemesis, but as she’s joining the games, is putting off her revenge for a bit. After all, they might need to be on the same team somehow. The trailer also appeared to show some significant map changes, with what looks like the destruction of Skulltown.

Apex Legends Season 5 Launch trailer

Loba’s abilities

In the trailer, we finally get a look at what she is capable of in the Apex Games. Like the leaks suggested, she will be able to teleport, using her special tool.

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Another ability shows her stealing a weapon from an enemy, seemingly also using the teleport ability. We don’t know yet, officially anyway, which is her ultimate and which is her tactical ability.

These line-up with the leaked abilities:

  • Burglar’s Best Friend – throw a disc and teleport to that location
  • Supply for Demand – Hold to choose a type of loot. Reveal that type of loot in the area around you through walls
  • Eye for Quality – Loba can see through nearby walls for loot
  • Black Market Boutique – Place a device that can steal all nearby loot.

What else is coming in Apex Legends Season 5?

Quests

One of the biggest additions in Season 5 is the introduction of Quests, which will act as a new way for players to earn rewards. The official description from Respawn says that players will “hunt for treasure and answers,” with a mysterious promise of rich rewards for those who are successful.

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How exactly these Quests will work remains unknown, but it’s expected that they will run throughout the season, giving Apex players an overarching objective to work towards over the coming months.

Season 5 Battle Pass

A new Battle Bass for Season 5: Fortune’s Favor will also be added, with 100 items including Legendary character and weapon skins, Apex Packs, and other cosmetic items up for grabs to those who choose to purchase it.

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Respawn also teased that “new Battle Pass content” would also be making a debut this season, but what that could be remains unknown.

Ranked Series 4 & Map Rotation

A new season means a new Ranked Series, which will be the fourth running of the game’s competitive playlist, designed to test your skills and see where you rank among other competitors.

Just like last season, the Ranked Series will be split in half, with the action shifting from World’s End back to Kings Canyon at some point in the next few months.

Apex Legends Season 5 will be available on PC, Xbox One, and PS4 on Tuesday, May 12.

Apex Legends

Apex Legends SBMM controversy: Is EA rigging your matches?

Published: 8/Oct/2020 14:06

by Calum Patterson

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.”

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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. 

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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
EA SPORTS
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.”