Y'know that weird problem where Apex Legends matches would sometimes start out in slow-motion? That should now be fixed, or at least a lot better, as developers Respawn Entertainment say they found some servers had faulty hardware that wasn't detected by normal checks and have removed them. Their state of the game update chat on Friday night also mentioned other performance fixes in the pipeline for their free-to-play battle royale FPS, as well as punishment planned for another class of ne'er-do-wells: 'piggybackers' who join squads then do naff all.
Respawn Entertainment gave an update on problems they've discussed before in Friday night's Reddit post.
Hit detection? They've found and fixed a number of problems, "mostly related to mismatches between the way the game client and server pose characters in their animations." Those fixes will come in the next update, though Respawn note they think they have more work to do on hit detection.
Slow-motion starts"? "By adding additional tracking and telemetry to our dedicated servers we have identified a number of machines that were passing our health checks but actually had faulty hardware," they explain. "We have removed these from our server pool, and match quality should be noticeably improved in all datacenters." More server optimisations are coming too.
Audio performance? Some fixes are coming in the next patch, though again they note they expect more will follow.
As for piggy-backing, well, it's not a huge or common problem but apparently Respawn think it's worth tackling. As they explain it, piggybacking is "when a player drafts off other players in the squad to carry them to a good position and level up faster but doesn't actually participate in the match [meaning they never collect a weapon, fire a shot, don’t deal any damage, etc]." That doesn't strike me as a fun or effective way to grind XP but hey, the Internet is a weird place.
"After looking at the data and internal discussions, we've decided that in the future we'll start instituting temp bans for players that exhibit piggy-backing behavior and extreme cases could lead to a permanent ban," Respawn say. Which seems weird. If someone is currently doing the bare minimum, well, won't they start doing just a bit more to fool the detection system? Ah, we'll see.
The game has already banned 770,000 cheaters so they certainly do take punishment seriously.
No word yet on when the update bringing these fixes will come. The wonky servers are out of the rotation now, at least.
The second season of Apex Legends is due to be unveiled at E3 in June. Respawn say they've redirected resources from future Titanfall to Apex to keep the updates rolling while hopefully avoiding terrible crunch.