Respawn Entertainment is gearing up to launch a special event in Apex Legends later today, but has made some changes to the patch notes as of this morning. The Fight Night Collection event will feature a Pathfinder Town takeover, a new LTM, and some balance changes and bug fixes. Before today, balance changes included a buff for Caustic that would reduce the cooldown of his Gas Trap tactical ability from 25 seconds to 20 seconds. Many professional Apex Legends players expressed frustration with the perk, with many saying that the changes make Apex Legends more skill-focused, much like Overwatch.
It seems like the Apex Legends developers have listened to the community, because just hours before the Fight Night Collection event launch, Caustic’s buff was removed and replaced with a Horizon nerf that increases his Grav Lift cooldown from 16 seconds to 21 seconds. While many players may be relieved by the removal of the Caustic buff, Horizon players may not be happy with the nerf, although Horizon is considered a bit overpowered.
Along with the sudden change, Apex Legends Live Balance Designer John Larson provides a detailed explanation of why the benefit was removed. First, Larson explains the rationale for implementing the benefit, saying: “By improving tactical cooling and ensuring barrels to combat third parties or provide visual coverage in open areas, this could possibly incre ase their utility outside of their niche.” Larson explains that Caustic is primarily used as a defensive legend, but the minimal change would allow players to explore more playstyles in addition to taking refuge in a building.
As someone in the room with @danielzkleinwhen we initially decided to reduce Caustic’s tac cooldown, I want to clear the air regarding our balancing approach and provide some context as to why we’re now keeping Caustic as is.
— John Larson | JayBiebs (@RSPN_JayBiebs) January 5, 2021
Larson then explains that the upgrade was thought about a month ago, and between that time and now, Caustic has been used more competitively, and its pick and win rate increased quite a bit. After considering how the buff has been perceived and the competitive place Caustic is currently in, the balancing team decided to remove the buff from the Fight Night Collection event.
Apex Legends developer Daniel Klein recently took to Twitter to explain the benefit, referring to Caustic as a weak character. Klein faced backlash for the comment, with many players saying that Caustic is very powerful in certain situations like close range fights and finals, and is only weak when players don’t know how to use it. Klein recently commented that the removal of the benefit was due to analyzing the data and referencing Caustic’s increase in pick and win rates in the last three weeks.
Another controversial change to the patch notes is a bug fix for Mirage that seems a bit more like a benefit. After the patch is implemented, Mirage’s decoys will have audible footsteps, which will greatly benefit their abilities. Although many consider the change to be a benefit, the developers of Apex Legends have explained that it was always intended to include audible steps for decoys. Although the developers have received backlash for the patch, the amount of transparency and attention to the community from the developers has kept the game fairly balanced and open to change.
Apex Legends is out now for PC, PS4, and Xbox One, with a Switch version also in development.