Apex Legends players are deliberately avoiding each other to last longer in the battle-royale team-based shooter’s ranked mode, according to developers Respawn. That’s a bit of a problem when it comes to multiplayer gaming on, you know, filming – so the studio plans to target what it says is a growing “ratting” trend in the upcoming Season 18.
The declaration of war on ratters came via a detailed breakdown of Apex Legends ranked matches on Steam, which revealed a noticeable increase in the amount of time players have spent idle since the start of the game’s current Season 17.
Respawn has confirmed that “ratting” – a term for players trying to avoid battling to survive longer and earn more points – has recently grown in popularity in standard ranked matches and even pro-level teams playing in its Apex Legends Global Series esports league.
“Part of this is due to an increased number of players waiting for the ring to close, but we can safely say that this is mostly due to players hiding and avoiding others (by crouching or standing),” the developers wrote.
As such, the next season of the game will bring a number of changes when it arrives on August 8, adjusting the timing of the rings to get players to meet sooner, adjusting its damage so players are encouraged to stay indoors, and addressing specific “stall points” – with more fixes on the way.
“Hiding and dodging firefights is not a rewarding way to play Apex Legends,” Respawn said. “Season 18 has a few updates to target this, and more are coming in future seasons to address major gameplay issues around idle and avoidant playstyles.”
The lengthy preview of the changes to come was candid about a number of other issues in Apex Legends’ previous Arsenal update, including its overly generous ladder point distribution – training too many players to Masters level – and cooldowns, which – contrary to what you might think is a positive – Respawn insists are “too short”. The problem is that matching players too quickly means placing them in matches outside of their skill level (or Matchmaking Rating – MMR), resulting in unfair matchups between high level and lower level players.
“Matchmaking fails at very high skill extremes. These players are entering matches too quickly, creating unfair matches with too wide an MMR range – ruthlessly weeding out the lobby,” Respawn explained. “We are working on improving matchmaking for this end of the scale to combat this.”
While matchmaking, progression, and ratting are some of the notable issues Respawn is working on, he pointed out that more matches come down to more teams clashing, resulting in more exciting endgames on a more regular basis.
The increase in overall damage dealt per match also indicates that matches are generally tighter, suggesting that – aside from MMR issues for high-level players – matches are fairer than they were at the start of Season 17.
“The art of game development is rarely a straight line, it often involves developing and refining ideas – Ranked is no exception,” said Respawn. “We hit some aspects of our goals and also missed the mark with some of our tweaks and bugs.
“We want to deliver the best Ranked BR experience in the world, with the tightest matchmaking and most intense competition at every ranked level. Splits will not return at this time, as we focus on further monitoring and adjustments. We look forward to sharing more updates on Ranked and how we plan to achieve our goals, especially as we approach Season 19 – which is already underway!”