Apex Legends has a content drought problem. It remains one of the best battle royales and has dominated the scene thanks to its intense, fast-paced movement, impeccable gunplay, and unique Legend characters. But while it’s been four years since Apex surprise launched and quickly rose to success, it’s now beginning to look tired.
While Apex’s season launches are usually great, offering either new guns, Legends, or maps, the content between season launches is usually few and far between. There are some updates between seasons that come a month or two after launch – season 14 launched 9th August introducing new Legend Vantage – and the following update, the Beast of Prey Collection event, dropped two months later.
Collection events usually last about two weeks and offer up a few cosmetic items to buy and earn, often including an Heirloom – a legendary item that transforms your melee attack with a unique weapon tied to a specific Legend.
These Collection events also bring in limited time modes like Gun Run (basically Gun Game from Call of Duty) and Control (Domination), it’s not that much of a draw and the player base, myself included, is getting tired. We’ve had the same limited time events every year for too long now. The Winter Express train domination mode event has been the same for the last three years and, while it’s still a fun game mode, I want something new. The Halloween event is the same and even though timed events last two weeks, some players lose interest after a week, often even less.
The community has been desperate for a new permanent game mode, something like Control, which pits two teams of nine against each other. It’s appeared in previous timed events and is a welcome change from Battle Royale and Arenas.
Last week, Control returned as part of the Spellbound Collection event, which was great to see. However, the event update had so many issues. I ran into a ton of difficulties when I tried to load Apex, I was unable to get past the loading screen most times and when I eventually made it to the main menu, I’d get kicked out of the game due to a “fatal error” or Code Net.
Getting disconnected from matches has been a recurring problem especially after major Season updates when there are big game changes like new maps, guns, or Legends. I’ve stated before that I honestly would not mind Apex taking a day or two off to implement a big update to fix some of the underlying issues to the game, like what Fortnite does between seasons. But this is much harder to implement than just saying. However, players have also been asking for Apex to fix its server stability issues for a long time, especially since getting disconnected from ranked games often result in players getting a time-out penalty for “leaving” the game when they were just disconnected.
The community really just would love some open communication and updates about the situation, especially when these problems are just aggravated by the event or season updates that highlight new cosmetics and the same repeating limited time game modes.
Respawn tweeted from its official account – not even the Apex account – that it was looking into the issues following the Spellbound launch. The next day, no update, nothing from Respawn, despite a lot of players reporting they’d lost the money they’d spent to get event skins, all because of the servers’ instabilities. They finally tweeted an update that a fix had been rolled out to stabilize the issues, nearly 24 hours after the debacle and still only on the Respawn account.
Heads up, legends 📢
We just pushed a fix to resolve the connection issues players were seeing in the lobby. Thanks for sticking with us through this, and we hope you enjoy the Event!
— Respawn (@Respawn) January 11, 2023
I adore Apex. It’s my number one battle royale, and one I continually play. But I cannot ignore the issues Apex has, with its lack of content drops and poor communication from Respawn. A quick fix could be to open up custom private lobbies to everyone, which the Spellbound event did do. However, lobbies needed a full server of 30 people to launch. Any less and it doesn’t work.
Obviously game development is extremely complicated – there are lots of moving parts to consider, especially with a live service, and everything needs to be thoroughly tested before it’s launched to the public. But Apex devs have already said they look at data from current and limited time modes, as well as player behaviors, to provide updates to the game. If that’s the case, why are we still getting the same holiday events time and again, even though interest has dwindled? And bugs like server issues that prevent people from logging on are, frankly, unforgivable.
Epic took Fortnite offline for a few days to relaunch it on a new engine. It was a big move – it no doubt cost millions in lost revenue – but it ultimately meant the player experience was the best it could be when it came back online. Maybe it’s time for Respawn to do the same? The Apex community has been asking for major updates to the sound and server system for years, due to the audio bugs and server latency issues that have plagued it in the past, but right now things don’t seem to be getting any better.
The lack of updates has meant that a lot of players and content creators who used to play Apex have started to migrate to other games. According to SteamDB, Twitch viewers dropped heavily from November 21st’s peak at 285,383 to a steady decline to a low of 83,838 on December 19th. That’s a huge 70% drop. The player base also dropped 12% from 413k on Steam to 360k during this timeframe as well which was between content updates.
Major Apex streamers like LuluLuvely have switched over to playing other games like Overwatch 2. Ex-Apex Pro player Rocker, who played for one of the top North American Apex teams NRG, released a statement on Twitter on January 10th saying he was quitting not only competitive Apex, but also playing Apex in general.
He wrote, “I’m done with apex. I’ve been lying to my self for awhile saying I want to grind and that I enjoy the game, but in reality I just cannot seem to enjoy it- let alone play the game for more than 2 hours at a time.”
— rocker (@rockerapex) January 11, 2023
I also took a break, though a shorter one, from Apex for a month to play Warzone, which was a nice vacation but for me, nothing comes close to Apex’s movement and gunplay. I love Apex and its core game, but the lack of updates will be its downfall unless it’s addressed, and fast.
Apex Season 16 is set to launch sometime in early February and since the holiday season is over we may get more updates to the game. I certainly hope so, because while I love the game and want to see it continue to succeed, if nothing changes I’ll have to shift my main FPS focus elsewhere.