Although we've not yet received the Season 1 Battle Pass from Respawn, the Apex Legends developers have been keen to stay in touch with the community in order to gain feedback for ongoing patches to the game. Over the last 24 hours, a live balancing update has been pushed to all platforms, meaning we're now seeing the biggest changes to Apex Legends since launch.
Before we get stuck into the details, I think it's worth pointing out that the team members over at Respawn are making all the right noises at the moment. In a Reddit post providing details about the live update, Jay reiterated that "We make less frequent, better tested, higher impact balance changes in order to minimize the impacts on your time spent mastering the game". I love this. Although we all want changes to things we deem to be overpowered or underpowered immediately, it's important to make sure that the changes are truly worthwhile and not a quick fix that could ultimately make things worse in the long run.
The Wingman has been the source of both joy and frustration for Apex Legends fans over the last few weeks. A pistol that feels like it has the power of a sniper rifle, it's incredibly fun to use when you find one. However, it also feels bad to die at the hands of one because there is a serious lack of skill involved in using it at times. The usual call in these instances is for the developers to nerf the weapon into the depths of hell but I am against this kind of alteration. One of the things I tend to recall about FPS games from years ago are the guns that made the game feel fun to play, and in all honesty, these guns were generally fun because they melted opponents with ease. If you try to balance a game too much then there's no excitement about finding a specific item.
The slight nerf to the Wingman here seems sensible. The developers haven't made it useless, but have toned it down very slightly so it doesn't stand out quite so much above the rest. A slight rate of fire drop will mean that people need to be a little more careful with how they use the Wingman as missed shots could be costly against an automatic weapon. Something else I really like here is that the drop rate has been reduced. This kind of nerf allows the gun to remain a powerful item to find but means you won't necessarily see every person in the game finding one immediately after landing.
The Peacekeeper is an interesting shotgun. It's a fan favourite, and I've used it plenty of times myself, but find it to be a little inconsistent compared to the EVA-8. Nonetheless, the Peacekeeper does some serious damage at times and that's what makes it so enjoyable to use in close-quarter combat. Rather than reducing the Peacekeeper's power, the developers decided instead to nerf the rechamber rate when a Shotgun Bolt is attached to the weapon. This seems like a fair compromise as you'll still be able to smash enemies to bits with it but will need to make sure you hit your shots as the increased rechamber rate could see you scrambling not to be taken down. This kind of nerf leads me to think that players will have to become more skilful in order to get the most out of the weapon. That can only be a good thing in my opinion. Again, availability of this item has been reduced meaning you'll have to loot a little more thoroughly to find one.
Energy Weapons and Ammo
I'll be honest here and say that I'm not really sure how good or bad the energy weapons are in Apex Legends. The reason for this is that I've never seen enough ammo lying around to make it worthwhile for me to pick an energy gun up. Respawn have seen fit to change this by increasing the drop rate for both energy weapons and ammo. I'm not sure I'll be looking to drop my favourite guns for them, but this will certainly make the energy weapons more viable in early game scenarios.
One of the biggest jokes in Apex Legends is pinging the location of a Mozambique to your teammates. This gun is so bad that many people genuinely prefer to melee attack than use one. You might expect Respawn to want to buff this kind of weapon but, instead, the developers have argued that they like the fact that people think these kind of guns are so bad. It certainly makes the early game scramble more of an adrenaline rush as you look to pick up a gun to mow down an unarmed foe, only to find it's something that seems to fire marshmallows.
Overall, I think this has been a pretty good initial update to the game. Having played a few games since it went live, I have already noticed that I am not running into as many Wingman/Peacekeeper combos on my travels. With the Battle Pass apparently dropping this month, things are looking great for the longevity of Apex Legends.