Both games have flaws, but which will prevent one from taking the crown?
On the surface, Apex Legends and Warzone appear to have little in common, despite both being FPS Battle Royale games, but what cues can Apex take from the new COD BR in order to stay ahead? Gamers on the Apex Legends subreddit have been sounding off about the improvements both games need to make.
Reddit user u/Khronikos took to the subreddit to make some very interesting points regarding what Apex could do better, and what it does well. Khronikos made several slights against what Apex is (or isn’t) doing to stack up against the competition.
THE META (APEX)
It’s well known that the gun meta in Apex has rarely changed in the last few months. Close-range weapons like the R-99, Peacekeeper and Wingman are still king, and it looks to be staying that way. Although Worlds Edge was meant to be a map that would encourage long-range engagements due to its size, snipers are still not being picked up by professional players.
Snipers are ineffective, and some players believe they’re only useful for a 2k damage badge. You can knock an opponent but finishing them is a different story. A Gibraltar can drop his shield and revive his teammates, or you can easily hide behind a ledge or rock prevent being eliminated.
To compete with Warzone, and its already millions-strong player base, Apex needs to change something to keep the gun meta fresh and make old guns viable again.
We, for one, are a little sick of being obliterated by half a clip from an R-99…
Taking away and adding hop-ups to the guns certainly seems like a way to grab players’ attention but removing them from the game sees the weapons usage rate affected dramatically. The Alternator and RE-45 get no love now Disruptor rounds are gone, and the Longbow seems pointless without a Skullpiercer.
The meta also relates to team combo loadouts, certain Legends are used significantly more than others (Wraith, Pathfinder) because the balancing issues are obscene. Gibraltar is still OP, and Crypto and Octane’s popularity died off quickly. Adding abilities (and even adding Legends more frequently) or merely balancing them on a more regular basis would switch up stale gameplay.
SOLO MODE (WARZONE)
Warzone did what Apex could never; added a permanent solos mode after just one week of the game's launch. Apex, however, has had limited time solo modes in the past, despite constant calling from the community to make that a real feature. The fact that Warzone is a beta and has more features than year-old Apex is not great news for Respawn.
SKILL-BASED MATCHING (APEX)
Skill-based matchmaking (or SBMM) is a way of forming a lobby of similarly skilled players, based on things like previous match stats and overall K/D. As you get better at the game, you are pitted against other improving players. However, many fans of Apex definitely aren’t fans of the controversial system, including the fact it’s pushed over casual and Ranked modes.
In Season 4 of Apex, developers confirmed they were aware of these woes, saying “with this patch, we’ll be pushing out changes globally to matchmaking that we’ve been testing in specific regions. We’re well aware that this has been a contentious topic among players and there’s been some misinformation out there so just to be clear: skill-based matchmaking has existed in Apex since launch and we’ll be continuing to improve it over time.”
Those improvements can’t come fast enough for the player base, who took to Reddit last year to complain about this very topic. One such post was titled “SBMM is awful, please remove it”.
u/xchasex writes “I am a diamond 3 player who enjoys playing ranked when I have a full squad of competent players. When I don’t, I just casually play unranked. The problem is, with SBMM, my unranked matches are just as hard and sweaty as diamond/pred ranked matches”, with another user (u/NewOldSchoool) adding “Apex is not fun anymore. WHY is there a ranked matching system for a pubs playlist when there is already a ranked playlist in the game?”
SBMM is much lamented in Apex Legends yet isn’t used at all in Warzone. There has, however, been confusion surrounding SBMM in Warzone, with some people vehemently claiming it exists, yet according to Infinity Ward co-head Patrick Kelly, not only does Call of Duty: Warzone not use SBMM, but no large-scale Modern Warfare game modes use the feature either.
Pro COD player Jkap took to Twitter to complain about SBMM, which he fully believes is present within the game.
He’s not alone in this theory, as the hotly debated topic was again brought to light by a fan of pro COD player Hutch.
Pro gamers Shroud and Nadeshot were caught discussing this very subject on Twitter, with the point being SBMM and the lack of Ranked mode.
AUDIO ISSUES (WARZONE)
It’s no secret to anyone who has played Warzone that the audio rendering is atrocious. Trying to figure out if gunfire is near or a long distance away is near to impossible and is becoming infuriating for players.
Picture this: your squad hears what sounds like very close gunfire, and you’re all looted up, so you decide to find them and push. You then waste minutes of the match searching for them, only to figure out they’re halfway across the map, and now you’re being pushed by a team who flanked you silently because your attention was elsewhere. Annoying, right?
There’s no word yet on when or if this issue will be fixed, and it has not yet been discussed by Activision.
Footstep audio is also a big concern for players. Enemy footsteps are barely audible, allowing full teams to get a silent flank on you and your allies.
Dimensional sounds, such as being able to tell if an enemy is above or below you, are nonexistent. This is something that Apex Legends have really nailed, it's very easy to tell where an enemy is in a large building based on footstep noises on different surfaces.
Some Warzone players have found that adjusting the audio helps them with footsteps, but not enough. Activision is actively working to fix this according to CharlieIntel.
During our capture event, footstep audio was way too loud, but they appear to have over adjusted it to be too quiet now.
The ground loot in Warzone is undeniably trash. It seems like only loadout drops are viable for good weapons, and they’re far too cheap to purchase from the Buy Stations ($6000). However, with the new update touted to be providing new guns to the game, hopefully, this is about to change.
The loadout drops however need a change. Increasing the price of loadout drops and/or capping the drops to once per match per player could provide a much-needed balance.
100 Thieves' NoahJ456 puts it best when he lists out the problems he's been facing with Warzone, including loadout drops.
1) Loadout drops price increased to $15k
2) Turn enemy footstep volume up
3) Carry up to 8 Armor Plates
4) Remove animation of putting Gas Mask on/off
5) Give kill credit to the person who downed the player
I LOVE WARZONE.
Although Warzone only boasts one map, Verdansk, is a brand-new game with room to grow. Apex Legends, on the other hand, has been out for over a year, and still only implements one permanent map at a time – currently Worlds Edge. Kings Canyon, the nostalgic launch map from Apex, is constantly called for to be made into a permanent option for players. Respawn Entertainment has brought the map back for certain limited-time events, such as Deja Loot, or for a few days at a time seemingly just for fun. Warzone will undoubtedly be going the way of PUBG and adding several maps to its repertoire, so Apex needs to be careful to not get left behind.
It’s tough to say which Battle Royale will win favour amongst fans, but it’s clear to see both have major issues preventing them from overtaking the other.
Image via Respawn Entertainment & Activision