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Apex Legends devs say players are hiding from each other too much, as Season 18 promises to target ratting

And get ready to spend more time in queues, but Respawn promise it'll be worth it

A character jumps towards Ballistic with a blade raised while dodging bullets in Apex Legends
Image credit: Respawn Entertainment

Apex Legends players are deliberately avoiding each other to last longer in the team battle-royale shooter’s ranked mode, according to devs Respawn. That’s a bit of a problem when it’s a multiplayer game about, y’know, shooting - so the studio plans to target what it says is a rising trend of “ratting” in the upcoming Season 18.

The declaration of war on ratters came via a detailed breakdown of Apex Legends’ ranked matches over on Steam, which revealed a notable increase in the time that players have spent idle since the start of the game’s current Season 17.

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Respawn confirmed that “ratting” - a term for players trying to avoid fighting each other to survive longer and earn more points - had recently grown in popularity recently across both standard ranked matches and even pro-level teams playing in its Apex Legends Global Series esports league.

“A portion of this is due to an increased number of players waiting for ring closures, but we can safely say that it is mostly due to players hiding and avoiding others (while crouching or standing),” the devs wrote.

As such, the game’s next season will make a number of changes when it arrives on August 8th, tweaking the timing of rings to coax players into encountering each other earlier, tune its damage so that players are encouraged to stay inside it and fix specific “ratting spots” - with more fixes on the way.

“Hiding and avoiding firefights isn’t a rewarding way to play Apex Legends,” Respawn said. “Season 18 has some updates to target this, and more are coming in future seasons to address the core gameplay issues around inactivity and avoidant playstyles.”

Lifeline is surprised to find her Assault Rifle has run out of bullets in Apex Legends.

The lengthy overview of upcoming changes was candid about a number of other issues in Apex Legends’ previous Arsenal update, including its overly generous handing out of ladder points - resulting in too many players at the Masters level - and queue times, which - contrary to what you might think is a positive - Respawn insists are “too short”. The problem is that matching players too quickly means putting them in matches outside of their skill level (or Matchmaking Rating - MMR), resulting in unfair matchups between high-level players and lower-level ones.

“Matchmaking is failing at the extreme end of very high skill. These players are getting into matches too quickly, creating unfair matches with a too wide MMR range - mercilessly eliminating the lobby,” Respawn explained. “We’re working on improving matchmaking for that end of the ladder to combat this.”

While matchmaking, progression and ratting are some of the notable problems Respawn is working on addressing, it highlighted that more matches are coming down to showdowns between greater numbers of squads, resulting in more exciting finales on a more regular basis.

The increased overall damage dealt per match also indicates that matches are typically more closely-fought, suggesting that - outside of the MMR issues for top-end players - matches are more fair than they were when Season 17 began.

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“The art of game development is rarely a straight line, it often involves building upon and refining ideas—Ranked is no exception,” Respawn said. “We hit some aspects of our goals, and also missed the mark with some of our tuning and bugs.

“We want to deliver the best Ranked BR experience in the world, with the tightest matchmaking and the sweatiest competition at every rank tier. Splits will not be returning for now as we’re focusing on monitoring and further finetuning. We look forward to sharing more updates on Ranked and how we plan to achieve our goals, especially as we approach Season 19 - which is already in motion!”

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