Are the Apex Legends Characters Finally Balanced?
Among Apex Legends thirteen playable characters, players have always found fault. One is too overpowered, another isn’t useful, the list goes on. Although skill-based matchmaking still makes for some frustrating matches (where controllers and keyboards both face death by yeet) there are now fewer instances of “that Gibraltar just wouldn’t die” and “that Pathfinder grappled around like a crazy person and killed all of us in one minute flat”, as the Legends are buffed and nerfed over time to address balance issues.
In recent Apex Legends news the Season 5 update brought with it a myriad of ability changes to certain characters. Fortune’s Favor launched on May 12th, and the developer team at Respawn Entertainment released their patch notes, detailing all the changes coming to the Legends abilities. One of these was Mirage.
Mirage received probably the biggest buff of Season 5 and finally came into his own as a real Holographic Trickster. Mirage mains prayers were answered, and the Legend now controls his decoys, instead of letting them wander about aimlessly, giving the players a greater chance of bamboozling the enemy. His Ultimate also mimics this strategy, deploying a team of decoys who can be controlled. The biggest buff comes to his invisibility powers, and instances where fans assumed Mirage would cloak, and didn’t, have been reverted. Mirage now revives teammates AND uses respawn beacons while cloaked, making him, in our opinion, a super-powerful Support character if we’ve ever seen one.
Loba, the newest addition to the Apex Legends cast, has been met with both reactions by players: there is an argument she is overpowered, and a feeling that she is balanced.
Her Jump Drive bracelet, although useful to flank and retreat, isn’t overpowered, when you look at how long the animation takes, and the fact that the distance travelled is also minimal.
If Loba’s ultimate stole items from players themselves, and not just the surrounding area and death boxes, then a real discussion could begin about her being overpowered, but as the totem only allows for 2 items per player (which can include only one stack of ammo) this isn’t really a point that can be made.
Just merely being able to view high-quality items is also not overpowered, as again, she has no powers capable of stealing them on sight.
Long-suffering Caustic mains have wanted for one thing and one thing only since the dawn of Apex Legends – for their teammates to not be slowed by their friendly gas. And now, that’s a reality in Season 5, Caustic is a valuable Offensive character, without the added annoyance of his canisters damaging his teammates' movement during an engagement.
Pathfinder received the biggest nerf of all Legends, increasing his Grappling Hook cooldown from 15 seconds to an excruciating 35 seconds. Respawn Entertainment themselves cited that;
Given the power of quick repositioning in Apex, being able to use Pathfinder’s Grappling Hook multiple times in a fight is both too powerful and muddies combat legibility.
Pathfinder players are obviously unhappy with the change and are suggesting that while the extended cooldown period is fair enough, it is still too long.
In a very real way, the Legends finally appear to be balanced, so that no one character is taking precedence over the other as the “most powerful”. Each Legend provides their own skillsets and abilities to the team dynamic, and the match overall.
In the past, Apex has faced criticism for their characters abilities, most notably, Gibraltar and his gun-shield, but as more and more balance issues have been addressed in patches and updates, it seems like Respawn is on track to provide the best experience possible for Apex Legends fans.
Images via Respawn Entertainment