The introduction of Storm Point to Apex Legends also introduced wildlife on a much larger scale than the game previously explored. Nests of prowlers and spider eggs dot the map, promising players some extra loot at the expense of needing to kill creatures and possibly attracting other squads to the area. It shouldn’t be too surprising, then, that some players don’t particularly like the addition of PvE elements into the once-exclusively PvP battle royale.
A post by Reddit user DaltonCrosss on the subject recently gained traction on the Apex subreddit, with players flocking to give their opinions. Many agreed that, at the very least, the prowlers that roam around their nests (as opposed to spiders, which players must intentionally shoot out of their eggs) should either be tuned down or removed completely from ranked play.
But removing prowlers threatens the flow of combat and rotations unique to Storm Point, and shouldn’t be removed from ranked play, at the very least.
Let’s start with the game itself: it’s a battle royale. Not a team deathmatch. Fighting is important, yes, but it’s not the only thing that matters in the game. The game is also about navigating the map safely, and picking the fights you want to take. It’s about improvising solutions on the fly, trying to survive until the final circle. The whole point of the genre is to be the last team standing in a lobby full of other players and other squads. That means players need to figure out the best way for their team to rotate around the map and into the next zone.
Prowlers and spiders on Storm Point provide a wrinkle in rotations that the game does not have anywhere else, and it extends the risk-vs-reward scenario the game presents players who choose to take a fight to the rotations they make in the game. Do you take the fastest route into the circle, even though it’s through a prowler nest? Do you have the time to take a longer route? Can you see where the circle is going, and can you plan ahead to avoid those rotations that might wind up with you fighting two other teams in the middle of The Forbidden Zone?
These are all decisions the map forces players to reckon with that they never had to think about before. And while the wildlife might be annoying to some, it ultimately reinforces the decision-making processes Apex thrives on.
These same risk-vs-reward scenarios also help control the flow of combat on Storm Point, and prevent the map from falling into some of the same pitfalls as the second-largest map in Apex, World’s Edge.
World’s Edge has a reputation as the most competitively viable map, largely in part thanks to professional players’ and streamers’ preference for the map over Kings Canyon and Olympus. In the vast majority of ranked and unranked games on the map, however, players will be familiar with a certain pattern: roughly a third of the server drops into Fragment East and West, and cleans each other out before the first circle closes. And it’s easy to see why! Fragment is more or less in the middle of the map, it has plenty of big buildings with a bounty of loot, and some people don’t have the attention span to go a full circle closing without fighting. It does, however, make things very dry for players that want to try to win the game, and decide the best way of doing so is to not leave your team completely to the mercy of the loot gods in Fragment. The map becomes big and empty in the middle and later stages of the game.
To counteract this, Storm Point has the Forbidden Zone planted right in the center of the map. It’s the largest wildlife area on the map, and it splits up the lobby so that combat might remain a bit more consistent throughout the game. While Storm Point does have a few POIs that can attract the attention of several teams, the map really does a good job of dispersing teams around the map, at least in ranked, where simply hot-dropping in the nearest POI as quickly as possible isn’t as common. Part and parcel to that is the Forbidden Zone: the threat of dying to a hundred prowlers while you fight off an enemy team in the Forbidden Zone is real. It’s a dangerous place on the map to be.
But the Forbidden Zone can also turn long and even impossible rotations with the circle closing into shorter, manageable ones. And the couple of buildings within the zone promise high-tier loot, as well. So, players are faced with another risk/reward scenario: do you go into the Forbidden Zone, which is a place specifically designed to be kind of a nightmare to fight in, because a successful rotation through there can be vital to your team surviving? Or do you plan around it? No circles are supposed to actually end in the Forbidden Zone, or in any other wildlife nest, so it’s never a place a team should feel absolutely forced to traverse unless earlier decisions in the game necessitate it. And again, Respawn literally named the POI “The Forbidden Zone.” It’s not supposed to be forgiving.
Tuning down the radius at which the prowlers begin to attack players, or the distance they will actually chase players, could be nice in moderation. But eliminating wildlife completely from ranked only a couple weeks into Storm Point’s lifespan is short-sighted, at best. The prowlers and spiders make more areas of the map interesting, and open up far more combat opportunities in various situations. I’ll never forget the harrowing escape I made as a solo player, running from the team that managed to finish off both of my teammates, which I successfully completed by shooting out all of the spider nests in a choke point just after running through it, forcing my enemies to deal with them if they wanted to get to me. And while some players voiced concerns that Storm Point isn’t as fun in non-ranked modes because there isn’t enough fighting, well then just go ahead and take a fight or three in the Forbidden Zone. Learning how to fight around and through the prowlers with multiple teams all around was, surprisingly, very fun.
Apex is, primarily, a PvP game, and potentially losing out because of a PvE element in the game doesn’t feel very good. That’s fair. But Storm Point and all of its design elements deserve a little bit more time to feel out and learn before making a drastic change to such integral parts of the new map. Give it time, strategize a bit more, and you’ll probably find yourself not dying because of a prowler any time soon.