Apex Legends dropped out of the sky like a glorious Titan entering the battlefield. While gamers knew that Respawn was cooking up something interesting within the Battle Royale genre, few understood just how big a shift it might offer, and how quickly it would arrive. Now that it’s here and players have had a chance to check out its many innovations, there are a few quibbles with Respawn’s design. While it’s surely not on the developer’s mind to make large, sweeping changes to the game anytime soon, we wanted to get ahead of things with some ideas. Here’s three changes that Apex Legends needs right now.
Offer a Solo Queue Option
This is it. This is the big one, and it could be tossed in fairly quickly (I assume, having no real idea how much work it would take). Apex Legends quite infamously limits players to only a three-person squad. Join in with your friends, and all is well. Hop into matchmaking by yourself and be prepared to get hooked up with two random people, who almost surely won’t be talking on their mic. Which isn’t a huge slam on them, since you probably don’t want to talk to them either.
Apex Legends is built around this squad idea, it seems
Apex Legends is built around this squad idea, it seems, with many of its characters setup to offer support. However, even the most support character of them all can stand on their own, including the healer character of Lifeline. Aside from your abilities, nothing about your character makes them need teammates, and with many players logging off as soon as they are downed, it often feels like you’ll be playing by yourself anyway, after a firefight or two.
In fact, last night as I loaded into a match, I had just picked my character (Lifeline) and noticed a small “Disconnected” prompt at the bottom of the screen. “Oh, I guess I’m about to get matched into a new game,” I thought. Nope. Instead my two teammates had disconnected, and I was thrown into the game all by myself. And it was awesome. I didn’t do well, as is tradition, but I had a blast. The pressure was gone. No one was judging me. No one needed me. I could wander the map, taking the loot I wanted, going to the areas that I felt were best. I lasted a good long while, and even won a firefight or two.
By the end I was hoping I could figure out what had happened, so I could possibly reproduce it whenever I felt like going into Apex Legends solo. Of course, there’s no way to do this right now, but Respawn could make it happen. They have the playerbase to separate squad and solo play, at the moment, but I do understand the trepidation in splitting the playerbase. Still, many players have said they won’t jump into Apex Legends until this is done, so maybe adding it would grow the playerbase instead.
Add (Optional) Titanfall Elements
When gamers heard that Respawn was making a Battle Royale game in the Titanfall universe, their minds immediately lit up with dozens of ideas about how it could work. Almost assuredly, few got it all right, as Respawn has crafted a Titanfall BR in name only…well, not even that I suppose. Apex Legends exists in the Titanfall universe, but you’d be hard pressed to describe what makes it a Titanfall game.
In a lot of ways this is totally understandable. The Battle Royal genre isn’t suited for giant mechs, wall-running, and double jumps. At least, it wasn’t and still isn’t, but it very well could be. I’m sure Respawn did not make the decision to cut these things lightly. They’ve described internal tests that showed them why they needed to be cut. But it really feels like a missed opportunity to not have them in there in some way.
Perhaps, down the road (to abandon my “right now” protestation) they could be added in as an optional variant on the Apex Legends formula. Test servers could be setup for die hard fans of the game to jump in and try them out. Feedback could show what is working and what isn’t. Even if they’re limited, such as a single character having a mech as a time-limited Ultimate, it would go a long way in uniting this game with its supposed predecessors.
Double-jumping, wall-running, and grapple hooks could follow suit (one character kind of already does this with the grapple). All I know is, as I wander King’s Canyon, I keep looking at the flat walls of the buildings, and the tall mountainous structures, and I think about what could be. How fast I could go, how high I could jump, and how cool it would be to get that old Titanfall feel back. Can it work? I do not know, and I understand if it cannot. I would just like to try with more players than Respawn’s internal test teams, at the very least. Or perhaps these things could just be sprinkled into the Apex Legends experience in small amounts.
Add Better Cosmetics
I’m no big fan of unlockable cosmetics in my multiplayer games. Sure, I’ve cracked open a loot box or two, and if I have hundreds of hours in a game, such as Rocket League, I’ll plunk down some real world money on a widget or paint job. So far, Apex Legends hasn’t shown me much that would drive this behavior though. The Finishers are cool, and the two unlockable characters are surely worth grabbing, if you don’t have enough Legend Tokens. Beyond that though, the character and weapon skins are bland, and most other options just aren’t worth the time or money to invest in.
The loot box system is pretty nice though, giving players all the necessary info to understand what they might get, and if it’s worth the gamble. As I’ve earned items through this system, I’ve equipped a few of them. None were essential, and in many cases they’re things I can’t even see 90% of the time, such as my character. It’s always nice to know that you’re unique in the 60 player world of Apex Legends though, so the attention here is appreciated. Still, the game needs some better cosmetics if it wants to bring in those all-important whales.