The Apex Legends March update has seen Respawn take to Reddit to shed some light upcoming changes, including the weapon adjustments that are now live on all platforms and hitbox changes that are coming with the start of the first season. With things gearing things up for Season 1 and the imminent Apex Legends battle pass we're likely to see plenty more changes on the way, like additional characters such as the rumored Apex Legends Octane or Apex Legends Wattson and plenty more. In the meantime, here's what the new Apex Legends update is brining.
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In a Reddit post hosted by community manager Jay 'Jayfresh' Frechette, multiple members of the design team opened up about Respawn's core belief when it comes to balancing: "less frequent, better tested, higher impact balance changes in order to minimize the impacts on your time spent mastering the game." The only exception will be when something feels grossly overpowered or broken; otherwise, the team is constantly reviewing player feedback and doing playtests behind the scenes before it makes any major adjustments. "You shouldn't have to read our patch notes every few days just to keep up with how characters and weapons now work," the post reads, in what feels (at least to me) like a jab at Fortnite's ever-shifting rotation of items and constant patches that tweak all kinds of variables.
That said, some balance adjustments to the Apex Legends weapons are now live, and no, the meme-generating Mozambique hasn't gotten an upgrade. Respawn wants to maintain what it calls a 'power curve' among its arsenal, meaning that "some weapons will be weaker and more common, while others will be stronger and rarer." On the stronger side, the Wingman and Peacekeeper weapons have been slightly nerfed, specifically regarding their Skullpiercer and Shotgun Bolt attachments respectively. Meanwhile, players who enjoy using energy weapons (like the recently added Havoc rifle) will be glad to know that energy weapons and energy ammo are now easier to find.
Apex Legend hitboxes have been a hot topic among the community as of late, with larger Legends like Caustic and Gibraltar being substantially easier to hit compared to the evasive Wraith. Respawn has been listening closely to the discourse and monitoring global stats like character win rates, and it's been determined that larger character hitboxes do indeed need an adjustment to bring them more in line with the competition.
Gibraltar, Caustic, and Pathfinder will have their hitboxes tuned to better match their character gear and model at the start of Season 1, and Respawn is prepared to make further changes if the hitbox adjustments don't have the intended effect. "We’re also considering a range of other changes such as natural damage reduction as well as individual kit power tweaks," wrote the developers. "Because many of these changes are significant, we want to make sure they are heavily tested before they go live, in the event they are necessary." Season 1 will also bring about minor balance changes to the Legend abilities of Caustic, Pathfinder, Lifeline, Wraith, and Bangalore.
Apex Legends recently passed the 50 million player mark in its first month, so clearly Respawn is doing something right. But it'll be interesting to see how its approach to battle royale balance updates and patch frequency is received by the Fortnite crowd that's been conditioned by a constant influx of changes and Limited-Time Modes. In the past, Fortnite has stumbled when introducing meta-warping additions like the Infinity Blade mythic item that received an avalanche of negative feedback. If Respawn can ensure that Apex Legends updates are always a hit with the community after extensive testing and iteration, it could further cement its position among the leading battle royale games.
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