Pro Apex Legends players are an opinionated bunch and they frequently butt heads with each other on issues within the battle royale. Most seem to agree on one thing at the moment, however: the Respawn title’s ranked system needs changes, especially at the top of the ladder.
As part of the wider discussion sparked by Phillip “ImperialHal” Dosen’s tweets about how boring ranked had become, Apex pros and high-level content creators have discussed what exactly is wrong with ranked and how to fix it. This time, it’s ImperialHal’s former teammate, Mac “Albralelie” Beckwith, alongside Alliance pro John “Hakis” Håkansson and streamer Thekine tossing out ideas.
Much of the discussion revolves around kill points and how vital kills are to ranked points. At the beginning of season 11, changes to how kill points worked in ranked allowed players to gain the maximum amount of RP possible in a game without finishing in first place, simply based on the number of kills the players earned. Based on feedback from players, the devs dialed this back at the beginning of season 12 after high ranks saw an influx of players making it into Diamond and Masters by taking as many fights as possible, then stagnating at the bottom of those tiers when making it into lobbies with better players.
This stagnation didn’t dissuade players from abandoning the “fight early and often” playstyle, however, and it resulted in lobbies full of teams willing to ignore their final placement completely, which goes against the ethos of the battle royale genre.
These changes didn’t do enough, according to Hakis, simply because the ranked system still relies on kills to gain meaningful RP. Teams are still fighting as much as possible and ‘griefing’ other players in games by making bad pushes in the hopes of getting kill points.
To that, Hakis suggests a simple solution: finishing in first place should guarantee a game max RP, regardless of the number of kills they secured during the Apex game.
It seems overly simple to incentivize being the team that actually wins, which should be the point of any competitive game. But, the ranked system hasn’t incentivized coming first over the past few seasons. And that’s led to an influx of players into the higher ranks that have, in the top players’ minds, diluted the talent and experience in the highest ranks.
Other players and figures in the Apex community have suggested their own fixes to helping ranked, including tier demotion, an idea that’s been loudly championed by Cloud9 coach and streamer Jamison “PVPX” Moore for quite some time.
In ranked, once a player reaches the bottom level of a tier, the ranked system won’t allow them to fall out of that tier. Even if a player sits at the very threshold of Gold IV and gets negative points, the player remains in Gold IV.
Demotion is a popular idea in the higher tiers of the game, where players can legitimately be discovered and possibly transition into pro play or make names for themselves as content creators because it severely punishes the playstyle so many players take issue with. If players are stuck right along the 10k RP threshold for Masters but are protected from demoting back down to Diamond, the game doesn’t punish them for bad pushes or hunting for kills. Rank demotion, the theory goes, forces players to adapt and become better, since more is at stake.
Whatever the solution, it seems the changes made to the ranked system at the beginning of season 12 still haven’t improved the ranked experience for the best players.
And while that is a tiny portion of the player base, that population must be catered to because their fans make up a much larger portion of the Apex fandom. If those players aren’t happy or are leaving the game, that is ultimately bad for the game.