Apex Legends – Progress Report

Apex Legends has been out for 3 months now and it continues to occupy the majority of our video game time. For those who don’t know, Apex is the latest entrant into the battle royale realm. Within a week of release, Fred had already written about why you should be playing this game.

We squad up regularly with our fellow average gamers and are excited about the potential this game has. Here are some of our favorite parts of the game as well as what we expect to be introduced down the line.

Favorite Legends

Fred:

Once I got my confidence up in this game, my playstyle started shifting towards the aggressive side of the spectrum. At first, this got me killed…a lot. Then, I started landing my shots and being less of a potato. The Bloodhound is ideal for my offensive-minded strategy.

Bloodhound

Starting with the tracker ability, this has come in handy practically every game. The two biggest advantages I’ve seen are:

  1. When we are chasing down a disengaged opposing squad who is running away
  2. Locating the last team in a location

The tracking icons are spaced out enough that you need to be decently aware of your surroundings but close enough that it isn’t a wild goose chase.

I find Eye of the Allfather to be incredibly situational, adding value very early and very late in the game. The range is pretty modest (maybe 10-15 meters) and only works in the direction your character is facing. This is fine for the start of the game at close quarters but isn’t nearly as helpful out in an open field.

It’s also risky to use in the end circles because opposing teams hear and see where you use the ability. You don’t need to worry about this if it’s obvious that your squad is better than the opponent though.

The thing that’s most appealing to me about this character is the ultimate: Beast of the Hunt. I mostly use this to initiate an engagement but have occasionally popped it to run away from an enemy when I’m low on health.

Squading Up

My squad typically has a Lifeline, Bangalore or sometimes even both. These legends work really well together and enable me to be even more aggressive when trying to push enemies.

I appreciate the personality behind the Bloodhound. With phrases like “the hunt begins” and “today’s victory is already written”, I like the matter-of-fact approach to the notion of going into battle.

My biggest issue with the character is that the hyper-aggressive kit encourages me to be over-confident and get myself killed. This is, of course, a personal problem, and something that I’m working on, but has definitely gotten me in trouble when I bite off more than I can chew.

I’d advise any new players to use the ult to flank enemies. You gain the tactical advantage if you can quickly turn the fight into a 2v3 battle by taking out an unsuspecting opponent. This works especially well if the other squad is already focused on your two teammates.

I started the game with Lifeline, Gibraltar and then Mirage but I’m glad that I settled into a groove with Bloodhound. Next on my list are Wraith and Octane so hopefully, they’re as fun as ‘the hunter the Gods have sent’.

Julian:

It took me a long time to get settled into a legend. Too long. To the point I was ready to abandon this game completely.

computer rage GIF

After many deaths, finally, something clicked. I realized the time and effort to kill was higher than it was in the battle royale game I was leaving – Fortnite. Once I slowed myself down and became more patient, I found my footing. From there, I tried Lifeline – the combat medic.

Lifeline

Lifeline supports (no pun intended) my playstyle of trying to make sure my teammates are alive and dangerous. Going for aggressive revives has been my thing dating back to my days running Reviver 3 on The Last of Us. The shield she provides when picking up teammates is really great and can even function as cover for your potential third teammate to provide cover fire.

Her other passive allows you to use meds 25% faster. This is arguably one of the strongest passives in the game as it allows you to get back into fights faster. 

Lifeline’s tactical deploys D.O.C. This heal drone is good for helping your team recover after a battle without burning crucial health items.

Her ultimate has been nerfed but is still good for early to mid game to make sure your squad has adequate loot. It’s not as great endgame, though Fred and I won a game when I dropped it as bait to sniff out the final enemy squad. 

morgan freeman laughing GIF

See video below. This is from Fred’s point of view but you can see the unopened drop I placed at 2:30 which popped the final battle off.

Then, I found Pathfinder. Well I didn’t really find him. I was forced to try someone new as a common member in our squad games would choose Lifeline before me. Since this game prefers I act as jumpmaster in at least 65%** of our drops, I had to find a second hero to play.

Around this time I was at the 12k mark to unlock one of the new legends and almost chose Caustic. After watching Dizzy, Shroud, and Aculite shred people using Pathfinder, I decided I would give the cheerful grappling robot a try.

 

Pathfinder

The biggest strength of Pathfinder is his ability to take advantage of the biggest positional advantage you can have in most combat scenarios. High ground.

Image result for i have the high ground gif

Now, I have a LONG way to go to use this ability even half as efficiently as the pros above. My built-in excuse is that I am on a console while they are on PC. However, it is indescribably satisfying to grapple up to a building or boulder and rain down hell on an unsuspecting enemy. Half the time they never even look up.

Because of such a strong tactical, Pathfinder has a rather pedestrian passive. He is able to scan beacons scattered throughout Kings Canyon to determine the position of the next circle. I probably played 20+ games with Pathfinder before I even remembered to do this.

There are a few reasons why this isn’t that great. One, camping in this game is not as effective as in other games. So running to the center of the circle and waiting will only get you steamrolled by a good team. The other reason is the circles tend to just close somewhat near the center most of the time anyway. Finally, it’s very easy to get around the map. From the balloons, zip lines, and other legend ultimates like portals or jump pads you shouldn’t be dying in the storm too often. Fun fact: I died in the storm last night.

Finally, Pathfinder’s ultimate is to deploy his own zipline. Not to exaggerate, but these can be game-changing.

I have used these to get the entire team to high ground, or to jump on an enemy team, or to escape certain death, or to quickly grab a drop and zip away before more teams arrive, or to revive a teammate and give them an exit route, or simply run from the storm. The only limits are your imagination and its range.

In all, Pathfinder is one of the most aggressive legends (outside of Octane) and I love playing with him.

** This number has not been fully verified, but everyone in my squad agrees.

Favorite Guns

Fred:

Obviously, the best gun in the game is the Mozambique, shown very clearly by Deaquan. 

I’ve been leaning heavily towards running with a short and long-range weapon at all times. After the nerf to the Peacekeeper, here are the weapons I prioritize.

Longbow

In any competitive shooter, sniping is tough but also very rewarding when you get a hang of the bullet drop, weapon sway, etc. I’m just starting to get comfortable with this heavy-ammo sniper. With the skull-piercing attachment, this thing does a stupid amount of damage for headshots. I pick this up every chance I get but will swap it out for a light machine gun near the end of the game.

R301 Carbine

Is this an assault rifle or a laser? No one really knows! At a minimum, it will lay people down in a couple of seconds. When fully-kitted, you can melt people before they even have a chance to react. It also uses light ammo, which I tend to find at every corner. It’s incredible how minimal the recoil is on this gun and I won’t be surprised when the developers nerf this weapon.

Julian:

If I was asked this as early as last week it would probably be different (RIP Wingman) but here are my two favorites as of the time of this writing.

Spitfire

Light Machine Guns (LMGs) have always been a gun I gravitate toward. The bigger the magazine (I would have said clip here if it weren’t for Bangalore explaining the latter is for hair only), the better. This gun simply shreds people. I don’t think I need to say much more. I’m sure you already know and if you didn’t, you’ll find it toward the top of any gun tier list.

G7 Scout

First I hated the G7. But as the developers have patched the game to make sniping more viable, I’ve appreciated the utility of this gun. It’s incredibly versatile with the right attachments. It can act as a primary firing weapon at any distance. I would have the longbow here but I do appreciate having more shots before a reload. The tradeoff for firepower suits my game. When using Pathfinder I usually (well, hopefully) have an exit plan in case I need to reposition.

Favorite Drop Locations

Fred:

Playing Bloodhound as my main, I like anything that forces close-quarters combat. Slum Lakes works really well for me for a few reasons:

  • It’s at the edge of the map so we can often jump off the ship ASAP
  • Lots of small rooms with low verticality
  • It kind of reminds me of Moisty Mire (shoutout to all my OG Fortnite peeps)

My other location is the Water Treatment plant in the south of the map. It’s a high tier spot that is often neglected by the rest of the folks on the dropship. There are at least half a dozen supply bins outside and your team can leave this area with a very strong loadout.

Both of these locations also allow for great rotations toward the next circle:

  1. Slum Lakes > The Pit > Bunker
  2. Slum Lakes > Runoff > Airbase
  3. Water Treatment > Skull Town > Market
  4. Water Treatment > Repulsor > Hydro Dam

Julian:

Anything but Relay.

But in all seriousness, I can’t stress the importance of having a looting path enough. And perhaps more important, have a backup plan and a backup to that backup plan. Hopefully, this minimizes the inevitable team from miraculously appearing below you on the drop, taking your loot and eliminating you immediately.

Water Treatment

If the dropship starts anywhere near the bottom of the map, it’s Water Treatment time! (Unless we have a death wish and want to go to Thunderdome). I appreciate the size of Water Treatment which provides enough area to loot and fight early battles. It has two logical paths after the area is cleared. First, and more commonly, balloon to the NW town then head either toward Skull Town or Market. Alternatively, balloon NE toward Repulsor. There is an in-game zip line heading directly north or I, as Pathfinder, can zip line more directly toward Repulsor. In both of these scenarios, the worry of getting attacked from behind is minimal.

Bunker

This might be my favorite if I knew how to get there first. In 79%*** of the drops, a team beats us there and we have to break off or fight for the grounds. However, in the rare situation we arrive or win the position, Bunker is a great central position. A location with decent weapon loot opportunity without having to worry about getting brutally 3rd partied or flanked.

*** Another unverified number

What Should Respawn Do Next?

Fred:

I’m a numbers guy, so I’d love to see more viewable stats. I don’t necessarily need to show everyone my total kills on the legend banner (although this would be nice), but it would be cool to check my profile and see an aggregate total of my numbers across all legends. I also want gun-specific details beyond kill count. Accuracy, rounds fired and time spent carrying the weapon would be a good start.

A custom game mode would be interesting too. They could use the training grounds to give players space for 3v3 combat with friends. This would allow people to practice certain guns and legend abilities without the heightened pressure of a 60-man BR. I would want to see some customization in this mode: ability cooldown, available items/weapons, life count, etc.

Most importantly, I need to see a more attractive offering from the Season 2 battle pass. None of my friends picked up the Season 1 pass, and I don’t see any of them buying the subsequent pass unless the unlockables are more appealing.

There should also be a ‘challenge’ system which allows players to complete actions for bonus XP. This can be tricky to implement without pushing players to complete challenges vs just playing the game to win. I have confidence in the Respawn team to implement something that adds value here without taking away from the core gameplay.

Overall, I’m a huge fan of this game. The gunplay is still some of the smoothest I’ve seen and I haven’t experienced many in-game glitches, outside of lagging servers. I’m excited to see what the next big update holds for Apex Legends!

Julian:

I don’t have a ton of critiques for Apex Legends. The biggest one would definitely be the lag. Both in-game and in the character selection. I’m not sure why this is still persistent but it can be frustrating when a friend gets kicked from a party in consecutive attempts. The stop-motion like gameplay when the game starts to lag is crazy. I take solace in hoping it’s an even playing field as everyone else is hopefully dealing with the same issues.

Outside of stability/performance though, I was not impressed with the first season pass. This may be a symptom of me not caring too much for cosmetics in the game. I would like a skin for Pathfinder that isn’t bright yellow or bright purple though, please.

I’m not crazy about the kill voice lines. Often I don’t even pay attention to what they are saying as I’m focused on what went wrong leading to my death. On the flipside, I do like the idea of banners and trackers. You can really customize how you show on the loading and champion squad screens. Eventually, they may want to explore allowing 4 or 5 stats to show. And maybe I’m blind, but I wish they did a better job of showing the leading squad around the map.

Most of this is nitpicking. The game is unquestionably fun and is keeping me from finishing Red Dead 2. Clean up the lag and I’ll be satisfied. Just don’t expect me to be interested in Apex Legend’s Season 2 battle pass without a serious overhaul.

What about you?

What are your favorite legends, weapons, and drops? Do you have anything you want Respawn Entertainment to change about Apex Legends moving forward? Is this the best battle royale game currently out? Let us know in the comment section below!

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