Caustic’s balancing in Apex Legends has remained a topic of debate for several seasons. With the start of Season 8, Respawn confirmed that their team agrees with the community’s feedback and will be nerfing the Toxic Trapper at some point.
Success in Apex Legends requires a combination of skillful gunplay and smart use of each Legend’s abilities. While Respawn has confirmed many times that the battle royale’s primary focus revolves around gunplay, they are certainly aware of the impact Legend abilities have on the game.
While every character has been buffed or nerfed in some way since their release, Caustic has remained a controversial Legend after receiving several buffs in Season 7, and the community did not hold back from criticizing Respawn for the character’s balancing.
In a Reddit AMA following the release of Season 8, one user asked “Why wasn’t caustic nerfed after the significant calls from the community? [His abilities] are directly counteracting the design philosophy that was given at the release of the game, which was guns first, then Legends.”
Following further criticisms that the game was “becoming more like Overwatch,” a common concern from the community during Season 7, John Larson – Associate Live Balance Designer at Respawn – responded with an explanation.
“Good question. I think ever since the change to gas allowed teammates to play in gas with relatively no repercussions, there was a lot of unrealized potential that was quickly tapped into within the past couple months. Caustic is undeniably strong and has the highest win rate in matches that last longer than 20 minutes. Caustic plays a unique role as a defensive legend that can act offensively in certain scenarios, and we have to make sure we tweak him in a way that removes frustration without hurting how it feels to play as Caustic.
Long story short, we hear the community feedback, as a player, I feel it’s valid, the data backs up that he’s strong, and he’ll be getting some attention in the near future. In regards to Apex becoming “Ability Legends,” as new characters are introduced, it’s important they take up unique design space. This opens the door to potentially devastating synergies between legend abilities. I’ve seen (and experienced myself) the clips of chaotic ability driven end games, and that’s something we’re actively working on resolving.”
Following this response, TSM streamer and former Apex pro Mac “Albralelie” Kenzie Beckwith provided another suggestion on how to address Caustic’s balancing.
He proposed that the gas from Caustic’s barrels should only debuff opponents to make them more vulnerable, instead of doing damage on their own.
Thought of a balance change for caustic i talked about on stream a few days ago, basically remove damage from the barrels but give anyone in the gas a vulnerable status effect which increases all damage taken by a % while also highlighting anyone in the gas for all team mates.
— TSM_Albralelie (@TSM_Albralelie) February 6, 2021
Whether or not Respawn decides to change the function of Toxic Trapper’s abilities like Albralelie suggested, or simply reduce their damage or duration remains to be seen.
Either way, a Caustic nerf will certainly come as welcome news to much of the community, particularly professional players and content creators.