Apex Legends is on the rise. The battle royale first-person shooter was an overnight blockbuster for developer Respawn Entertainment, and with good reason. It’s a fantastic game! Not to mention it makes the popular sub-genre more accessible than ever. And we fully expect the next major Apex Legends update to make it even better.
But that doesn’t mean the game is perfect. Nothing ever is, really. Nor do we expect a single Apex Legends update to overhaul the game in a day. That takes time, effort, energy, and lots of constructive feedback from the community! Which is why I’ve decided to do my small part. I’ve put together a humble list of seven things I truly believe could improve Apex Legends in the long run. Let’s take a look!
“Apex Legends is the very definition of ‘easy to learn, difficult to master.’” That’s what I said in my very own Apex Legends review just over a week after the game launched. And it’s only becoming truer over time. The longer players pick the game apart, the more they uncover the hidden depths it has to offer. But Apex Legends should even the playing field (just a bit) by telling newbies what they’re missing.
The current tutorial is about five minutes long. It only lets you play one character and doesn’t explain basic UI details — such as how damage numbers change color depending on the rarity of enemy shields. There is absolutely no reason not to draw newbies’ attention to these potentially game-changing features. And if one of Apex Legends‘ key selling points is accessibility, compared to PUBG and Fortnite, the game needs to keep that philosophy alive.
More, Cheaper Cosmetics
Apex Legends has a lot of character. Its “futuristic blood sport” setting leaves a lot of room for colorful heroes, wacky one-liners, and, yes, randomized cosmetics. That’s not a bad thing! It’s fun to work towards a nice, purely aesthetic reward every now and again.
But frankly, the current crop of Apex Legends skins is pretty weak. They don’t “pop” nearly as much as they should, juxtaposed against the loud and proud cast of playable heroes. The vast majority are just color swaps, and even the top-tier “Legendary” outfits are just different arrangements of the buckles and leather we already see on the basic characters. One Bangalore skin just makes her a cop, which is honestly more of a downgrade than anything.
Couple this with the stupefying cost of Apex Legends’ cosmetics. The game’s Valentine’s Day event — its first slice of post-release new content — featured two new cosmetics. One of them was basically an animated gif, exclusive to the character Pathfinder, that cost $11 in real-world money. Come on, Respawn! The Titanfall 2 cosmetics were so good!
A True Training Area
This one may sound a lot like “better tutorials,” but there’s a key difference. Battle royale games like Fortnite and PUBG offer a pre-match area to practice looting, shooting, and other mechanics with other players. This isn’t just about teaching newbies the basics. This is about seeing how abilities and weapons work in real-time — from a third-person perspective.
The fact that you enter these zones pre-match forces multiple players to utilize it, too. So you don’t have to worry about splitting the base between “live” games and the bumper bowling equivalent. And, wouldn’t you know it, this also gives rival players a chance to strut their stuff! It dovetails perfectly with the better cosmetics we’d like to see.
The downside is that Apex Legends matchmaking might be too snappy. It would feel weird to suddenly force players to wait an extra 30 seconds before each battle. Perhaps Respawn can find some kind of middle ground.
Recognition for Playing Well
Let me be clear. This isn’t just a request for more stuff. I actually feel Apex Legends is fairly generous about doling out loot boxes and in-game currency — even if the real-money microtransactions are ludicrous. What I want is for the game acknowledge that I’ve done well, even if I’m not scoring kills.
Several Apex Legends characters, like Bloodhound and Lifeline, have few or zero direct offensive capabilities. Their jobs are to scout out enemies, revive allies, and call in defensive gear. Except the game doesn’t pat you on the head for that. When the post-game report appears, all it cares about is kills, damage dealt, and time survived. Oh, sure. You can argue that “time survived” is indirectly the result of strong support play. But there’s no fancy number for it.
Games like Overwatch support, uh, supports through all kinds of features. Play of the Game and post-match medals praise healers as well as killers. Apex Legends could benefit from something similar. It’s a great way to encourage people to play less flashy heroes. That’s especially important since, right now, the healer is pretty much the best character in Apex Legends right now.
Detailed Death Information
Speaking of after-action reports, let me know how I died! Apex Legends only includes a very brief, generic recap when you die. It’s very easy to tell who killed you… But not what weapon they used, what armor they were wearing, if they had certain attachments, etc. I’m not sure if it’s possible to implement an instant replay after every death, like in Call of Duty, but boy. I sure would appreciate one!
Penalties for Leaving
Sixty players drop onto an island. The twist is, they’re all stuck in teams of three. That’s why teamwork — and more specifically having a full team of three — is so important in Apex Legends. You’re basically screwed without your allies. So it’s a deep and real shame when your team banners appear on-screen in the opening seconds of a match and… you’re all alone.
I get it. Sometimes your connection conks out. Sometimes things come up! You can’t always commit to a 20-minute game of battle royale tension when your Uber is waiting outside to take you to Applebee’s for all-you-can-eat riblets. But there is currently no punishment in Apex Legends for abandoning teammates again, and again, and again. Other team-based games, like Dota 2, have penalties to dissuade this kind of repeat behavior. Apex Legends should, too.
This one is so pie in the sky it feels halfway like a joke to even mention it. But I can’t help it; I loved Titanfall 2. Apex Legends might be set in the same universe, and shares some of the same spirit, but it is no true successor to the mech-em-up masterpiece. But what if it was?
The idea of battle royale maps made with mechs in mind sounds too good to be true (which is likely why it is too good to be true, for the time being). Just imagine getting in and out of 50-foot robots to juke opponents. Think of using Mirage decoys to make enemies believe you dismounted your Titan, only to walk all over them — literally. Consider sprinting through buildings to loot mech upgrades, climbing inside your mechanical buddy, and turning the tides against your pursuers.
Sure, big robots wouldn’t work on the current Apex Legends map. It’s not built for it. But other battle royale games have given us wildly different environments with unique mechanics (albeit maybe not on this scale). And if I believe any developer can make Titanfall battle royale work, it’s the team that designed two of the best first-person shooters of the last decade.
I’m keeping my expectations low, but my optimism high. Hell, we already know there is more Titanfall content coming in the near future. I just can’t get over the idea of an Apex Legends update bridging these two very different games together…