Discussing the Apex Legends meta can be something of a tiresome topic for battle royale fans. Despite Respawn Entertainment making constant balancing changes and tweaks, there are always calls for buffs and nerfs from the game’s community. It’s a case where you really can’t please everyone – and that’s okay. But, where does that leave the game’s meta? It’s all too easy to turn to pick rates, win stats, and rank distributions to dictate this – but, there are quite a few reasons why this only makes things worse.
When you think about why people choose the Apex Legends character they play as most, there are a multitude of reasons that shouldn’t really influence any sort of Apex Legends tier list. Even players trying desperately to climb the Apex Legends ranks choose who they’re using next game based on arbitray factors like which character’s voice lines they like hearing the most, or which character they unlocked a cosmetic for most recently.
These factors, while important to each and every one of our personal experiences with a game like Apex Legends, have absolutely no bearing on how good one character is compared to another. Yet, as we have seen with each new season of Apex Legends (thanks to statistics from Apex Legends Status), it can influence pick rates. This, in turn, influences which Apex Legends characters people play as – especially if you’re just looking online to find out who’s the best – and misinforms the meta further.
Discussing this on Reddit through the lens of looking at Crypto character changes, Apex Legends players have also raised several important points when it comes to what should be avoided when it comes to establishing a meta and dismissing unpopular legends from the conversation around it.
‘CFDsForFun’ highlights that “Crypto was a common pick” in the last ALGS championship, expressing that Crypto is always going to suffer from a lower pick rate because, simply, “some characters aren’t built for wiping [an unranked battle royale lobby]”.
Another Apex Legends fan, ‘Nouveauuu’, has also brought attention to the fact that “people would rather play a character that doesn’t rely on teamwork so much”, when they’re in an unranked battle royale lobby. It’s also worth considering the fact that legends like Crypto, Wattson, Rampart, and Caustic are all situational – which is only going to make them harder to use in an unranked lobby game where teamwork isn’t at the forefront.
Valkyrie main ‘Muddy236’ has also commented on the fact that there are some legends that simply have a higher skill floor than others when it comes to making the absolute most of their abilities. So, when you consider the fact that your primary method of attack in Apex Legends is still the weapons you find scattered around the map, it’s easy to see why players would favour a legend that’s easier to make the most of – even at higher levels.
Of course, avoiding pick rates and popularity when it comes to the meta and deciding the best legends isn’t a universal rule; there are cases when a legend’s decline (or rise) in popularity does indicate that they’re unbalanced. However, it shouldn’t dictate discourse and, as a deciding factor, it shouldn’t hold the weight it seems to at the moment.
Seer, as a legend, is almost a perfect example of the problems a reliance on pick rates brings. As explained by ‘Pan_Doktor’, Seer was nerfed and subsequently dropped by quite a few players – causing his pick rate to suffer. However, after proving popular in the latest ALGS championship, his pick rate has risen. This has led to increased complaints and calls for further nerfs, but doesn’t actually take into account the fact that Seer hasn’t changed too much at all in recent updates. People are seeing more of him, because more people are playing as him, because he was popular at an esports competition where top-level players – who spend hours working with one another – used him.
The fact that what works for a select few pro players, in a game where the importance of your skills with a gun outweigh the importance of your skills with legend abilities, is influencing pick rates and dictating the meta just makes you wonder if an actual meta can ever be established.
The Apex Legends Season 16 release date is approaching, and with it a new set of Apex Legends patch notes with balancing changes and updates. Will anything change, though, when it comes to the community’s opinions on who needs a nerf and who needs a buff? We wish it would, but we don’t think it will.