Wattson has been the most contentious Apex Legends balancing point in the last few seasons. While Respawn have confirmed they will be giving her a buff, the changes will also include a nerf, to maintain balance.
Wattson is far from being the most popular Legend in Apex Legends. In fact, she has the second-lowest pick rate in Season 9 at 1.6%, only higher than Rampart at 1.5%.
However, despite this, Respawn believes the Legend is totally balanced — and even “outperforms” some of the more meta picks like Wraith.
The tug-of-war between developers and players over Wattson has hit fever pitch though after the Genesis Collection update, which saw a “major buff” to the Legend only giving her extra Nessies to drop on the map.
After the update, lead game designer Daniel Klein confirmed that they plan to “make it more in the moment fun and powerful to play Wattson while removing some of the invisible power.”
This means the changes will “likely need to include a nerf”.
“Wattson doesn’t have much room to increase her power, so once we make changes to make her feel better, we’ll also have to nerf other parts of her kit to make up for this,” he said on Twitter.
I'm not saying she's a little strong; I'm saying if we look at the entire skill spectrum, she is the strongest character in the game. That's Lifeline/Pathfinder/Wraith below her there. pic.twitter.com/sSjyc5lkDV
— Daniel Zenon Klein (@danielzklein) June 28, 2021
Wattson hitbox changes likely solution, Respawn says
Developer John ‘JayBiebs’ Larson added later on July 15 that Respawn’s first ‘solution’ for Wattson is likely to be a hitbox change. Regardless, the Legend won’t be receiving “a straight-up buff”.
“I think, and we can talk about this, low-profile removal, that’s the single biggest thing for a character. That’s massive. In Arenas [and] BR, Lifeline and Wattson are at the top just because of high values.
“So we beefed out Lifeline a bit, make her hitbox match a bit better, and Wattson, when we make these changes, will inevitably, for the health of the game, most likely a hitbox change will accompany that.
However, they want to try and increase Wattson’s “fun factor” to tap into her utility and make her more enjoyable to play, without being completely overpowered.
“We wouldn’t be so cheeky if we didn’t have changes in the works. Right now we’re trying to work on the fun factor for her. There’s a lot of usability there that we can change, a lot of changes with the ultimate. We are working on it.”
The related segment begins at 50:25.
It’s a bit more of a solid indication of Respawn’s ideas on Wattson after Klein said devs were “working on stuff” in the immediate aftermath of the recent update.
We will update you once Respawn finalizes the changes — perhaps in Season 10, which is fast approaching.