Apex dataminer explains the “meteor” players saw is just a bugged airstrike

A player saw a mysterious meteor in World's Edge.

Image via Respawn Entertainment

Sometimes, fiction is just more interesting than the truth.

An Apex player found a mysterious “meteor” in World’s Edge yesterday and left the community speculating what could have caused it. Dataminer That1MiningGuy shed some light on the issue and guarantees that it’s just a misplaced rocket from Gibraltar’s ultimate.

https://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1sr464e

According to him, the occurrence was caused by wrong behavior on the legend’s ultimate and the tools it uses to randomize the locations of the rockets in the area of effect. The core functioning of the skill is based on two interlocked parts that work as intended “99% of the time,” but throwing the beacon in some locations can cause rockets to fly diagonally instead of vertically.

The dataminer said that the airstrike is released from a grenade-like beacon which uses a hidden fuse timer to initiate the bombardment. A countdown starts as soon as the ordnance hits a surface, which accounts for the delay between marking a target and the airstrike hitting it.

Once the beacon is triggered, the system uses its location in three axes to determine the airstrike’s impact radius. The game stores that position after the first check and doesn’t reevaluate it throughout the bombardment.

“This is a behavior the game expects would never be wrong, because the beacon object will always be there until the ult ends,” he said, “so the position is not checked again for the beacon after this.” Essentially, the impact radius is set in stone after it’s triggered.

Individual rockets use a similar function to ensure they don’t hit the same spot. The general area that they should land in was already determined, but the exact spot can vary.

The grenade also has a unique characteristic that causes it to delete itself from the game if it hits the bottom of the map. Its disappearance means that there is no impact with another object and makes it impossible to trigger the airstrike. “You can test this by going to into the firing range, getting the ultimate and throwing it over into the water,” the dataminer said. “You’ll notice quite quickly that the bombardment never starts.”

If the beacon is tossed in a valid place, it should follow its core programming and work as intended. But World’s Edge has a few troublesome spots that can alter the airstrike’s direction.

“There are a couple of spots on the map where the collision is … well it’s not that great,” the dataminer wrote. The bugged collision allows players to hide inside rocks and can cause a series of other conflicts with game mechanics.

The dataminer said that there are other smaller spots with bugged collisions that can’t be accessed by players, but are big enough for a Gibraltar beacon to slip through. One of them is located on the outskirts of Capital City.

When the grenade falls into the bugged locations, it drops down to the bottom of the map. The drop isn’t “fast enough” to force the beacon to delete itself, “but it still falls off the map regardless.” Throwing a grenade in one of the bugged spots essentially means that the beacon is triggered, but it disappears during the fuse time and throughout the airstrike. This behavior can cause anomalies like the “meteor” due to the skill’s programming.

The beacon’s disappearance deletes its position from the map. This doesn’t affect the general impact radius because the game only checks for its position once. Each individual rocket, however, has a secondary check to randomize its location. According to the dataminer, in that scenario, the rockets’ position checks can receive different results, either a “(0,0,0)” or a “null (or absent)” set of values.

“Either way, the formula to help randomize the projectile will still happen,” the dataminer explained. Individual rockets can adopt a new trajectory to ensure they’ll fulfill both parts of their programming: to land within the impact radius and to fall in a different spot than other bombs. Rather than plummeting downwards in a straight line, the randomized function can cause the rockets to fly off diagonally.

The explanation provided seems consistent with what’s observed in the video. The projectile does look like one of Gibraltar’s rockets, and the player who posted the video acknowledged it didn’t drop any loot.

The community believed the meteor could be a teaser for either a celebration of Apex’s first anniversary or for upcoming changes in the next season, both scheduled for Feb. 4. Though that rendition is not entirely impossible, the Gibraltar explanation seems more likely.

Though Apex’s actual anniversary celebrations haven’t started, the shooter is getting its Art Deco-themed Grand Soiree starting on Jan. 14. Players can play through seven limited-time modes and get their hands on fancy new skins.