28 days after Respawn Entertainment promised they would be taking action against Apex Legends players who used the Alt+F4 dashboarding exploit to avoid ranked series losses, the long-awaited day of reckoning has arrived.
Ranked playlists in any game are a measure of one’s skill in the title, and the competitive mode in Apex is no different. To climb, you must earn high placements, kills, and assists in matches, and progress from Bronze to Apex Predator.
In Season 3, however, the top-tier playlist was overrun with a horde of players taking advantage of a new exploit—referred to as “dashboarding”—which would allow players who dropped out of the game to avoid losses.
This easily-exploitable glitch meant any player who was in danger of having a poor game points-wise could disconnect and be given a 0 point game instead of -48RP for Diamonds, and -60RP for Predators.
Of course, this exploit basically ran a sword through any integrity on the Apex ranked ladder, and many saw it as a major devaluation of the top ranks. If anyone could avoid point losses by dashboarding, skill was irrelevant in becoming Predator.
Respawn knew they had to act to ensure seasonal ranked rewards didn’t become worthless, and on January 8 senior system designer Eric ‘Ghost’ Hewitt declared “Judgement Day was coming.” Now, in Season 4, it’s finally here.
With the arrival of Season 4: Assimilation, all dashboarding culprits who regularly left games have been stripped of their Ranked Series 2 placements and rewards. If they finished Diamond or above, they were dumped back to Platinum.
While their ranked points from the previous season have been stripped, and any chance at the stylized drop-trails from Season 3 had been wiped away, it does look like any repeat offenders have avoided being banned completely.
This was confirmed by senior designer Chin Xiang Chong, who tweeted out an email sent out to all dashboarding exploiters, explaining what they had done to break the rules while playing the title, and why they had been stripped of their rewards.
“For everybody who’s been pinging me about not getting the right ranked rewards etc, please check your email. Literally every single one who’s reached out to me should have gotten this,” Chong said, alongside an attachment image of the email.
“I was actually pushing for a full ranked point reset to 0, but more forgiving people than me decided that wasn’t a good idea,” he added. “Ah well.”
The email details how “repeated and excessive intentional abuse” of the dashboarding bug was the key reason behind rewards being stripped. It also suggested offenders “read up on how to play by the rules.”
According to data miner That1MiningGuy, who admitted he was “so happy Judgement Day had come quietly in the night,” Respawn had begun tracking dashboarding players “a while ago” so they could log exit codes.
While not every player was right under the crosshairs of the banhammer, regular offenders were allegedly “D-Dayed back to Bronze 4 for abusing it” a lot across the battle royale’s third season ranked series.
Respawn started tracking it… a WHILE ago. The way they do this is by logging the exit codes from the client (server sees the client closed from a force close, disconnect, etc) – Habitual abusers just got D-Dayed back to bronze 4 for abusing it.
— That1MiningGuy (@That1MiningGuy) February 4, 2020
So, while dashboarding offenders have avoided the Respawn banhammer this time around, it looks like the Apex Legends developers are more than happy to hand out heavy punishments for anyone bringing their ranked series into disrepute.
It’s well worth keeping that in mind heading into Season 4 and the royale’s new competitive series. If you want to try and get a leg up on your Apex Predator competition, remember – Respawn is always watching.