TSM’s Phillip “ImperialHal” Dosen expressed his frustrations with the current state of ranked play in Apex Legends in a tweet yesterday, pointing to the recent changes in the points system as a possible cause for the “very boring” gameplay.
“Hopefully the ranked system is changed DRASTICALLY or a lot of people will lose interest,” he said. Hal’s tweet was only the latest salvo in an ongoing conversation between pros who grind the ranked ladder for hours every day and developers at Respawn, who attempt to balance the game so that everyone can enjoy ranked play.
The infinitesimal percentage of players who make up the top of the ranked ladder have very different priorities than the average player, and even small changes to the ranked system can have a big impact on their lobbies. Pros bring a highly valuable perspective to the issue: They’re experts, after all. At the same time, Respawn developers can’t exclusively cater to top-tier players, so these disputes are, at least to a certain extent, unavoidable.
Hal’s complaint probably refers to the most recent update to ranked play. The system has been undergoing incremental tweaks to its scoring and the newest season, Defiance, brought yet another change to the ever-shifting balance between players and teams who look to get points from kills and those who try to survive into the late game and earn placement points.
After increasing the number of points players can earn from kills in the previous season, Defiance made an abrupt U-turn. The kill cap was reduced to favor placement more than kills. The Defiance patch notes explained the reasoning behind the change. “After observing the pacing of high-level ranked games, we saw players were focused on seeking out kills a little too much,” Respawn said. “Players that focus on fighting for higher placements and teamplay should be more faithfully awarded.”
While that change should have reduced Hal’s feeling that recent games have been “glorified pubs,” it clearly hasn’t had that effect. Whatever happens next to the state of ranked play in Apex, striking a balance that pleases all players will continue to be a challenge.