Apex Legends launched way back in February and quickly rose to stardom. The game had fresh ideas that really set it apart in the world of Battle Royale gaming. However, over 3 months later, same cannot be said for the game anymore. Apex Legends has been consistently losing its player base and viewership on twitch over the past few months and there are no signs of it going back up. There are many factors that contribute to the game not doing very well after a few months with the major one being a lack of content. Let’s be clear, no one expects Apex Legends to compete with Fortnite on content pacing. However, the game has literally had only a single new character added over the past 3 months and that is just not acceptable.
Respawn Entertainment, the studio behind Apex, has released some information on their future plans and what they intend to do with the game. However, those are not exactly encouraging either. According to them, adding stability to the game is more important than new content. This is true to some extent but we’ve seen many other developers pulling off both things at the same time. The game has clearly been stagnating and the only thing people have been holding is hope. However, that hope might just get thrown down the drain as well. In a blog post detailing the next update, Respawn Entertainment stated that it would be banning players who ‘piggyback‘ off teammates in matches without significant contribution and earn their rewards.
The Piggyback Ban
In the official statement, Respawn said that the ban is in place to reduce the frequency of players teaming up with higher skilled players and then reaping the rewards of their hard work. The ban has not been immediately put in place but it will be implemented in the coming days. Piggyback ban is also going to start as a temporary ban. However, in extreme conditions, the ban might actually turn into a permanent ban. Yes, the team balancing issues are a major part of why a lot of players are frustrated since a lot of times you’re up against someone who has put a million hours into the game. The other players reaping the rewards off that skilled player is a problem too. But, is this really the best solution that the people at Respawn could come up with?
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Banning someone is no joke. We have seen instances where people get banned out of the game permanently as a mistake. This results in them basically losing all the money they have spent on the game. These bans rarely ever get reverted back. Banning someone for blatant cheating or doing something extremely offensive is fine too as these things are clearly discernible and can be put against a black and white set of rules. The thing with banning players for piggybacking is that there is always going to be a massive grey area that will always result in players getting banned from the game unfairly. I wonder what the parameters for the ban are. For example, if your teammate has 9 kills in a match and you have dealt a total of 40 damage, will you get banned? What about the players who unintentionally get paired up with skilled players?
Why is Banning Players for Piggybacking Wrong?
There are clearly some massive caveats with implementing this system. It would be almost impossible for Respawn to make sure that no one gets banned unfairly. Consequently, the change also did not go very well with the gaming community. People are angry because the change just does not make any sense. Most of the time when you’re ‘piggybacking’ off a teammate, you do not even intend to do it. Sometimes, you’re just not good at a game. The matchmaking system of Apex Legends also doesn’t really discern between the skills of players. It matches you up randomly meaning that you could get teamed up with the best player in the world and potentially get banned if you don’t have godlike reflexes like them. People have actual jobs and lives and not everyone can improve at a game at the speed of light.
@PlayApex instead of rolling out a system to ban “piggybackers” why dont you smarten up and release a solo option. Where the so called piggybackers can play and improve. Instead of being deprived the chance to play at their own pace. Hmm?
— schev (@NamesSchev) May 13, 2019
There is also the issue of Respawn completely ignoring the community demands. After over 3 months, Apex Legends still does not have a solo or duos option. Introducing these two would erase a lot of issues that Respawn has been facing with the game. The game also does not have a proper matchmaking system. However, this is a more widespread issue with most Battle Royale games. Players should be divided into divisions and should be matched up based on skill levels. This would decrease the piggybacking as well as the skill gap resulting in much more competitive and fun to play matches. However, with every new update, it just seems like Apex Legends is doing exact opposite of what the fans want. If this continues, it won’t be long until the servers for Apex Legends get deserted. Let’s hope that this is not the case.
Respawn has also introduced some other bug fixes and improvements to the game with the latest update. These are mostly issues with hit-boxes and lag issues at the start of a match. You can read the notes down below.
While searching for possible explanations for this bug, we have been able to reproduce and locally fix many cases of incorrect hit registration, mostly related to mismatches between the way the game client and server pose characters in their animations, but also caused by various other factors. The next patch will address these issues. However, we don’t believe that we are out of the woods yet. There is still more work to be done, but we believe that the fixes coming next patch will be a good improvement.
This is an issue that came up in the balance changes we made to Gibraltar and Caustic. We have a fix that will be deployed in the next patch.
Slow Mo at Start of Match
By adding additional tracking and telemetry to our dedicated servers we have identified a number of machines that were passing our health checks but actually had faulty hardware. We have removed these from our server pool, and match quality should be noticeably improved in all datacentres. We are continuing to profile our servers to catch hitches, persistent slow-mo, and other game quality issues. We have a few server optimizations rolling out but there are many more areas of work left and as we identify these, we will be rolling out optimizations and fixes and keeping players updated.
Two areas we can confirm will be addressed in the next patch:
- Overall audio performance [addressing sounds dropping out / stuttering / distortion]
- Footsteps audio
We had been seeing some feedback from players around this and have been doing some internal investigations looking at game data to understand how many of the matches being played are affected by this behaviour. After looking at the data and internal discussions, we’ve decided that in the future we’ll start instituting temp bans for players that exhibit piggy-backing behaviour and extreme cases could lead to a permanent ban. This change will not be immediate but wanted to give a heads up to players so you can adjust that behaviour.