By Cody Perez
May 9, 2019
There is a major Apex Legends esports problem, mainly in how the game doesn’t really lend itself well to competitive play. Some of these problems are issues that aren’t really developer Respawn Entertainment’s fault, but at the same time, many of them are.
Regardless of whose fault it is, I believe that these problems don’t have to persist. There are some great things that can be done that will be a huge step in the right direction. In order to figure all of this out, I’m going to go over what Apex Legends is doing wrong in terms of esports.
I’ll also give the potential fixes for this issue that I think would work. But before I can get to that, it’s worth asking the question of why Apex Legends as an esport is so important in the first place. This is key to understanding why it needs to be fixed.
It isn’t hard to see that Apex Legends has been experiencing a steady and major decline since it launched in February 2019. That surprise launch came out of nowhere, and it took the internet by storm within hours.
As such, the game experienced some of the strongest launch numbers and popularity of any game to date. It rivaled and even brought down other battle royale giants like Fortnite in a way that wasn’t thought possible for a brand-new game.
But ever since then, the population of the game has steadily decreased to the point where it can take a good bit of waiting to join a new match. It doesn’t help that Twitch livestreaming viewership has gone down significantly, too.
The reason Apex Legends esports are so important is that it fosters a healthier community. Streamers will be streaming it on the daily, competition will blossom, and fans will want to get in on the action, too. This will not only keep the game alive and well but will help it stay near the top.
This is, in turn, important to developer Respawn Entertainment and publisher EA because that continuous success will make them a ton of money in the process. That alone should be convincing of how important esports is. But how does it get fixed? Here’s what I think about that.
This may seem like a simple solution, but it is indeed the first step towards fixing the overall problem. Both EA and Respawn need to take esports seriously. This means putting a focus on it that currently doesn’t exist for the game.
This can be done in a number of different ways. First, it means a public message that esports matters. This means talking about esports in some capacity even if it’s just to say that “we’re listening, and we have some stuff on the way, so stay tuned.”
Even something as simple as that is at least the first step, which hasn’t happened thus far. From there, it also means working towards the goal of Apex Legends esports. This could look like hiring people just to focus on this and so on.
In addition, it means fostering the relationship with the community as well — doing whatever it takes to open up the door for more tournaments and competition, which I will get into more in just a moment. But for starters, it should be all about making competitive play a focus for Respawn and EA.
This next part puts a newfound focus on competitive play into action. I think there is a severe lack of modes offered in Apex Legends, both ranked and unranked. I’ve been over this before, but there is literally a single mode in the game.
That’s right, one mode, and I’m not even talking about ranked modes just yet. This is a massive problem and probably the worst one on this list, in my opinion. If there’s anything that Respawn can work towards right now, it’s getting more modes in the game.
Of course, I do mean unranked as well. Integrating solo and squads at the very least will be enough to get some players back, but that’s not all. It only begins there. From there, there need to be more modes like ranked competitive ones.
There should be tournament modes and ranked play that players can participate in. It would be great if these new modes had ranks and brackets of their own like in other games. Everyone can start out in a certain division or rank and move up or down, depending on how well they do.
If possible, this would be a great way to promote undiscovered professional players, too. There should be tournaments and seasonal ranked events that allow players to win prizes unique to that event and based on their ranking in it.
The normal ranked modes should also reward players each season for how well they did, whether it’s with in-game currency, real prizes, or special cosmetics. Doing this will give players reason to come back each season and try for a higher rank than before.
This one is sort of a no-brainer, but it’s worth mentioning regardless since it doesn’t currently exist. Sure, it’s great that Twitch and other services are offering competition for professional players, but that’s not enough.
Respawn and EA shouldn’t expect others to do the work for them. Blizzard has made great strides with Overwatch League, creating a standard for online games moving forward. Apex Legends deserves the same treatment since it will give players something to work towards.
Twitch Rivals was a fun event for Apex, but there’s no reason Respawn shouldn’t be running it’s own league.
Just as important, it will encourage streamers and pro battle royale players to take the game seriously, too. If you can get them on board, then you have better chances of getting thousands, if not millions, of players on board, too.
If a popular streamer like Ninja is streaming Apex instead of Fortnite, people will notice and be interested, too. Unfortunately, like I hinted at, battle royale doesn’t lend itself the best to esports, which is why it’s up to Respawn to do what it can to foster that.
It already has such amazing features like the ping system and the focus on teams that already help with this, so it would help to double down on that. Have cool and interesting kill cams, maybe even let dead players tag or do more stuff for their living teammates, and much more.
With that said, there is one terrible mistake that still exists today: no useful stats or leaderboards. It should be a crime that there is no easy way to view your ranks on official leaderboards in the game or even all of your stats.
This is a massive problem that needs to be fixed fast. The game does some really cool stuff with stats that I’ll get to in a minute, but it means nothing if the full stats aren’t there. You have to go through convoluted methods to even figure out how many wins you have in total, and that might still not be accurate.
While other services do provide rankings these are no substitute for an official, in-game leaderboard.
You only get stat trackers for specific stuff like wins and kills with that character, but there is no official way to see all of those stats across all of your characters at once. Thankfully, you can view them without unlocking the tracker itself, but it doesn’t help that it’s hard to figure out how many kills you have total.
It shouldn’t be like that at all. There needs to be a clean and clear way to view all of your available stats in depth from total kills to individual kills from Legends to wins to assists and so on. Anything less than that isn’t fixing the problem for players.
In addition, there need to be multiple official leaderboards that you can view inside the game itself. There should be regional leaderboards for each server, a global leaderboard, perhaps one for your friends, and leaderboards for the ranked divisions, too, if possible.
Doing this would allow players to finally compare against one another and truly know who is the best of the best. This encourages even more competition, which furthers the esports aspect of the game overall. Now, as for the trackers, we need more of that.
The trackers are so cool and unique in Apex Legends since players can share what they’re most proud of. There should be more of these, and there should be alternative ways to earn them through challenges and such, including unique ones tied to the ranked modes. This will let players show off and only further the competitive aspect.
This next part is pretty standard stuff that I already know Respawn is hard at work on, but it’s still worth mentioning and dedicating time to. Beyond the ping system and social aspects, the Legends are what make the game so unique.
Fortnite has its building and social platform, Blackout has its vehicles, and Apex has its Legends. As such, there needs to be continuous balancing of the current and future Legends. As more are added, there needs to always be balancing, nerfs, and buffs as need be.
If Gibraltar isn’t doing so well for players, figure out why, listen to the community, and address it the best way possible. If this means buffing the character or nerfing an ability, it’s worth it. The same goes for the weapons, too.
If a weapon is too overpowered, make it more scarce or less powerful. This has already been done in a few instances, and it’s important to keep this going. But it’s also important that players don’t get stagnant. This means that we need new weapons and Legends consistently.
Players shouldn’t have to wait several months until the start of a new season to experience new weapons and characters. There should be two, preferably three, times a season at least that new weapons and Legends are introduced.
This makes it so that almost every month, players can look forward to a new piece of content. This will get them playing the game more, competing with their friends, and so on. It will also help the esports community stay fresh and alive, something that is important for a healthy competitive scene.
There is tons of great lore in Apex. It would be nice to see more of that expanded upon in-game.
It would be great, too, if Legends had more variety individually — if, for instance, each Legend had different abilities to choose from. Perhaps instead of Wraith’s normal portal ultimate, she could make her team and herself invisible for a few seconds.
Or perhaps Gibraltar could drop a turret to protect and help fight with the team. Players could switch out abilities and ultimates in between matches, making for some great variety in competition. This will make the esports competition more interesting and fun for the players and viewers alike.
Of course, adding new Legends and abilities will require balancing as well, so this needs to be a constant. If it requires hiring more staff to take care of these things, it’s totally worth it. This can lead to better esports and more success, which makes it worth the investment.
Apex Legends esports doesn’t have to be nonexistent, and it would benefit everyone around. It will benefit EA and Respawn Entertainment with financial success, players will have a new competitive option worth checking out, and fans will have a new option of esports to enjoy.
It’s still possible to shift gears towards esports, so here’s hoping that EA and Respawn do it.
Tags: Apex Legends