The pros and cons of Solos mode.

19:30, 07 Dec 2020

Solos mode. A cornerstone of most Battle Royale games. 

When Apex Legends initially released back in February of 2019, playing solo was not an option. This was fine, as players assumed a dedicated Solos mode would be coming at a later date. However, almost two years later, we still don’t have a permanent Solos mode.

Closing in on Apex Legends’ second anniversary, the demand for a permanent Solos mode is as prevalent as ever. As rumours on the reintroduction of Solos heat up, there’s no better time to discuss the intricacies of this classic game mode.

Let’s go over the pros and cons of Solos mode and whether the developers will ever bless us with a permanent Solos mode.

The Pros of Solos Mode

The main reason Solos is so highly requested is that a lot of players just want to “do their own thing”. As things stand in Apex Legends, that just isn’t possible. Not everyone has a squad to play with. These players are forced to team up with randoms — whether they like it or not.

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And as all Apex Legend players know, the matchmaking experience can be cruel. Solo droppers, quitters, and griefers are all too common. Exemplifying the issue is the strict skill-based matchmaking system (SBMM). While you may be on a team with complete randoms, you’ll end up matched against a stack of three players with tens of thousands of kills that have been playing together since the game’s release. This is not a fun experience. Solos mode would allow players to avoid this sometimes toxic matchmaking system.

Diving in further, people play video games to relax. With the current playlists, teamwork and communication are necessary for success. Obviously, Apex Legends is a team game at its core. However, it would be nice to get a break from that on occasion. Sometimes you just want to mindlessly slay-out and not have to worry about supporting a team or hopping on the mic. 

Finally, nothing feels better than outplaying someone in a straight-up 1v1. The feeling after a Solo victory is unmatched. There’s no debate over who carried who and “my teammates suck” isn’t an excuse. It’s just you and your skills.

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The Cons of Solos Mode

While the pros of Solos may appear obvious, the cons are a bit vaguer.

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The Apex Legends developers have made it clear that one of the major drivers in their decision making across the board is player retention. When the first Solos limited-time mode (LTM) was released, the developers noted, “too early to say if this will become permanent or not - healthy matchmaking across all modes is priority.”

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Studying Solos, the devs found that “it actually negatively impacted the game, especially when it came to new player retention.” This is a big no-no.

Similarly, the addition of any new playlist works to split the player base and increase queue times. Every player searching in the Solos playlist is one less player in Trios. This has all kinds of negative side effects. Matches take longer to find, and the effectiveness of their SBMM decreases.

Duos mode was only made permanent after data showed it “had a positive effect on the game’s health in regards to queue times and gameplay systems in addition to reinforcing teamplay.”

Solos mode does not fit the developers' vision for the game. In the Old Ways Event patch notes, Respawn wrote, “We’ve also purposely designed Legends and their abilities to compliment teamplay and squad composition, but when played Solo some Legend abilities become useless.”

All of the Legends have been systematically crafted and balanced to support teamplay. For example, Lifeline’s kit revolves entirely around supporting her teammates. If you have no teammates, Lifeline is near useless. Legends like Wraith and Pathfinder are infinitely better in a Solos mode.

Lastly, the first rendition of Solos mode was open to abuse. Friends would search at the same time with the aim of entering into the same match. From there, they’d team-up on hopeless solo players or boost damage badges on one another. This exploit just further reinforced the developers’ decision to keep the mode available only for a limited time.

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Will Apex Legends Ever Have a Permanent Solos Mode?

It’s hard to say whether we’ll ever see a permanent Solos mode in Apex Legends. The demand is there, but the execution is lacking. At its core, Apex Legends is a team game. Everything they’ve ever built or introduced into the game revolves around this teamplay aspect. Solos mode would disrupt the synergy they’ve worked so hard to construct.

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Additionally, the developers have no incentive to go against their data. Apex Legends devs have a history of being extremely data-driven. Respawn has been on the receiving end of major backlash in the community over different features like their SBMM system. Still, they defend their decisions based on their “internal data”. It’s doubtful that Respawn would go against this data to please what they see as a vocal minority.

Still, not all hope is lost. The developers stated that they are “still exploring” ways to make a permanent Solos mode possible. As things stand, though, the pros simply do not outweigh the cons, at least in the eyes of the developers.
 

Stay tuned here @GGReconEsports for Apex Legends news, guides, features, and more.  

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Images via Respawn Entertainment

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