Guest post – Apex Legends Ranked: Have the changes been a success?

Josh from FullSync.co.uk is back on Apex Legends again, and he’s got a few things to say about the state of ranked play. It looks like things have changed, but is it for the best?

I haven’t played in ages, so lets see what he’s go to say about the state of Apex in 2022.

Apex Legends - Squad

Well, here we are, halfway through the current season of Apex: Legends. Along with it, a new character in Newcastle, a bunch of cool new skins to earn and unlock, and finally, some changes to Apex’s Ranked system.

How it was….

Previously, I’ve enjoyed Ranked mode to an extent, although I’ve not written about it on here since Apex Legends: Season 5. I usually find myself around the Platinum/Diamond level. And when I do play, I’m usually as part of a duo, and so we always get a random player thrown into our squad.

On occasion, we get some excellent players. However, those occasions seem few and far between, although more common than when we clearly play with someone who is cheating. That’s a story for another day though. Most of the time, however, we’re stuck with absolute trash.

You know the sort. Those players who run off and don’t actually want to play as a squad. The players who think they’re good enough to go 1 vs 3 then get downed immediately and spam the ping button. Or, the players who will literally jump-pad you from your own care package to steal your shield. Luckily I had a good friend to help in that last situation.

The main issue is, that players didn’t want to play as a team. Maybe they just needed some tips for new players. But considering they were in high ranks, it’s unlikely. It’s more probable they’re just massive C#N7$.

In fact, many spent half their time just ratting their way to high ranks. Hiding and earning points purely through placements. Sometimes there is a call for doing that if your third-partied and only one player escapes who is unable to res the rest of the team.

But it meant people were quite often in a rank they didn’t really belong. And, because you couldn’t get demoted, there was no getting rid of them. So you were stuck with players who weren’t good enough to really be where they were, and they just hold you back constantly.

Apex - Ranked
 

How it is now….

That was all meant to change in this Ranked season when a number of changes were introduced. The first was the introduction of a new Rookie tier, for those players who didn’t even deserve to be in Bronze.

The next change in Ranked was developing the points system. Previously, it would cost 12 points to play a game in Silver, 24 points in Gold, 36 in Platinum and so on up until Masters. Now, those points costs start from Bronze levels, and rather than going up in 12s every Rank you climb, they actually increase with each tier within those ranks.

Earning points changed too. Now, I’m always one of two players when I play, either the bullet sponge who just attracts trouble or the one who was too busy looting to have been involved in the fight my squad just won. And if you played Ranked before, you know that kills and assists are what you need to earn points, outside of placement rankings.

Now, even if you aren’t involved, you at least get a “participation”, which is worth half the points you would get for a kill or an assist. So, if you play Lifeline like I do and spend more time saving lives instead of ending them, you now get some reward at least for being a support class. Important with the new legend Newcastle being one.

The other change with regards to points is that kills become worth increasingly more the further you make it in the game. So, if you drop and wipe a squad early on, your points are worth next to nothing. But, as other squads are eliminated, the number of points those kills, assists and participations are worth begins to increase.

Oh, and those trash players I mentioned who couldn’t be demoted? They can now in the new Ranked system! Although once you climb a rank, you are given three games of protection before being demoted. When you do drop as well, it won’t be by just a couple of points, you’ll drop halfway through the top tier of that rank so the chances of you bouncing back up are no longer there.

Ranked - Map
 

Does the new ranked system work well?

In theory, the new Ranked system should fix a whole bunch of problems. It should force teams to play together and not split off. It should prevent players from being promoted who don’t deserve to be in that rank. It also should force better games. But, there was a bit of a cock-up you could say when the new season reset.

Firstly, every split in a season drops players back, usually a rank and a half. But this time, players were dropped back a lot further. And the problem with that is it meant that the first week I played, I was stuck with last season’s Diamond and Masters players, we even bumped into and became victims of Preds, the God tier in Apex’s Ranked mode.

This wouldn’t have been as bad if it wasn’t happening off the mark when I was in Bronze. And, due to the way the new Ranked system works, this meant dropping in a location with a Pred or even one nearby, meant even in Bronze you were probably going to lose points.

I thought I’ll leave it a week before playing again, let the really good players get back to their old ranks and I can continue my journey toward mediocrity. However, even after that week, and many nights grinding (I’m currently sat in Gold IV), they were still appearing. Fewer and far between. But it wasn’t just me, the Apex Reddit pages were full of similar stories.

People were getting around 11 kills and assists in Silver, and then being third-partied by other teams. Still in negative points because there were still over 10 teams left. This was forcing players to stop even going into battles, or withdrawing from them because it wasn’t worth the cost of losing points.

This then added to the average game length, which wasn’t helped anyway by this split in the Ranked season being on Stormpoint which is huge anyway. I’ve had several games where I’ve been 14 minutes in, and there have been more than 15 teams left. Sure, the ring closing forces people to get closer on the map, and forces fights. But playing in Silver at times was like Diamond in previous seasons. Unbelievably sweaty.

No one wants to make the first move, because if you do, you are the next target. Although sometimes people are even now hesitant to be the third party because they know someone somewhere is probably waiting for a third party so they can fourth party. And it soon just becomes a massive slaughter-fest where no one wins. So, most people, wait it out and play for placement points, just picking up kills as and when they can, if lucky.

Plus, because of the increase in the cost of points to play a Ranked match, you were now paying what you would’ve paid last season in Diamond when you’re in Gold. That’s two ranks difference.

Add to that the change in the way the points are allocated, people were struggling to climb ranks at all. In fact, there have been that few promotions across all platforms, that at one point after the first few weeks, anyone that was in Masters was automatically a Pred, because there weren’t enough players. This meant to ensure they could play games, they were being put in lower lobbies.

We’ve seen people in Gold facing Pros. Like not Pro streamers who are good, we’re talking about the Pros who compete at this game for a living. Which, is just too easy for them, and doesn’t give people who are actually Gold a chance in hell.

Ranked - Teleport

So whilst some streamers and pros are loving the changes because the game is just easy for them. Those who make up the core population of the playerbase are hating it because they just can’t get anywhere.

It’ll be interesting to see how the next split goes in a weeks time, because there are rumors there may be no reset this time, in order to give players a chance to progress. But, realistically, I think the points cost needs to be looked at too. It costs far too much at lower levels, although I do agree that Bronze players should pay as well. It’s just a case of the costs being lowered.

Apex Ranked is definitely heading in the right direction, and their new Ranked system has potential. It just seems to have gone too far to combat the problem. If they ease up on the changes, making them less harsh, this system could work and work well. But only time will tell what happens from here on out. But if they do another reset, due to the number of players who have failed to progress, it’s going to be another sweat fest in the next split.

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