Apex Legends update nerfs Wingman and Peacekeeper, Respawn discusses plans for hitboxes

Today Respawn has released the first significant balancing patch for Apex Legends, an update that carries meaningful tweaks to two of the game's most powerful guns, the Wingman and the Peacekeeper, and that lays out a plan for changing the hitboxes of three characters.

The big takeaways from this Apex Legends update:

  • The Wingman now fires more slowly and is less accurate when hip firing ("Our adjustments are attempting to move it more into the hand cannon space and away from full auto Deagle.")
  • The Peacekeeper rechambers less quickly based on which shotgun bolt is equipped
  • Both the Wingman and the Peacekeeper spawn less frequently
  • Caustic's traps are a bit more powerful
  • Energy ammo is more abundant
  • Respawn will adjust the hitbox sizes of Gibraltar, Caustic, and Pathfinder at the start of Season 1


No new weapons, characters, or other content was revealed in this announcement. However, alongside the patch notes, the studio took the opportunity to share some of its philosophy around balance, laying the groundwork for what to expect in updates to come.
"Our goal is to make less frequent, better tested, higher impact changes, so it minimizes the effects on your time spent mastering a particular mechanic, weapon, character, etc.," writes the update, which was co-authored by four Respawn developers. "You shouldn't have to read our patch notes every few days just to keep up with how characters and weapons now work … We know y'all are putting a ton of time into the game and mastering every nuance (like Wraith portalling people off cliffs for the final kill lolz)."

The studio also shared a key detail around how it thinks about weapon balance. Respawn's goal isn't to make every gun equally viable ("We love y’all’s ‘Bique memes, so we’re hesitant to lose that,") but to deliberately build power differences between the game's weapons in order to create meaningful, fun discrepancies. "Our goal is to have a power curve of weapons," writes Respawn. "'Power curve' just means that some weapons will be weaker and more common, while others will be stronger and rarer. Some weapons are intentionally less powerful until fully purp’d [purple tier, level three] with hopups and attachments, while other weapons on the bottom of the power curve are your early game, better-than-melee, but-gotta-upgrade-out-of-ASAP weapons. We’ve seen some good feedback from players about how to make these pistols more exciting without losing out on the goal above that we’re listening to. We’ll be continuing to watch player data and feedback and trying things out internally but for now, they’ll remain the same."

In the four weeks following Apex's sudden release, hitboxes have been one of the most-discussed issues. On this topic, Respawn clarified its philosophy while shedding light on the tweaks it plans to make. "For character balance, we look at a combination of things: pick rate, win rate, and character v. character matchup win rate among other metrics, and, of course, player feedback. The results between the five small and medium rig characters have been positive—they are all in a safe band of relatively equal power. Our large rig characters, however, are underpowered and their natural size appears to be a large contributor, writes Respawn."


Respawn says it intends to "reduce" and "optimize" the hitbox size of the three largest characters—Pathfinder, Gibraltar, and Caustic—with the Apex Legends Season 1 patch. "If these changes are insufficient to bring these characters in line, we’re also considering a range of other changes such as natural damage reduction as well as individual kit power tweaks. Because many of these changes are significant, we want to make sure they are heavily tested before they go live, in the event they are necessary."

Finally, Respawn acknowledged the chorus of pleas anticipating Apex Legends Season 1 and its still-unofficial whereabouts. "We know you folks are fired up for info on Season 1 and Battle Pass," wrote Jay Frechette, Respawn community manager. "We still have work to do to get everything ready for prime time and won’t be talking about it yet. There are a lot of moving parts and coordination that go into big announcements and launches like this so please be patient. I know the wait sucks but it’s coming and ask that you all please be patient with us."

Apex Legends patch notes
  • Rate of fire reduced from 3.1 -> 2.6
  • Skullpiercer Headshot damage multiplier reduced from 2.5 -> 2.25
  • Increased base hip fire spread and decreased the rate at which hip fire spread decays (shrinks back down)
  • Shotgun Bolt rechamber rate has been reduced for the Peacekeeper only.
  • Level 1 mitigation 10% -> 7.5%
  • Level 2 mitigation 20% -> 13%
  • Level 3 mitigation 25% -> 16%
  • Wingman and Peacekeeper availability has been reduced in all zone tiers.
  • Increased availability of energy weapons & ammo in all zone tiers.
Additional patch notes
  • Caustic occasionally causing disconnects while throwing his Ultimate.
  • Pathfinder occasionally causing disconnects when activating a Survey Beacon.
  • Players occasionally causing disconnects when removing an attachment.
  • Gibraltar occasionally causing disconnects when pulling up his Gun Shield.
  • Players occasionally causing disconnects when entering Spectate Mode.

Major balance changes
  • Hit box size reductions and optimizations for Caustic, Pathfinder and Gibraltar
  • We’re better sizing hitboxes to character gear & model.
  • Since these adjustments have a MAJOR impact on the game, we want to make sure there aren't any major bugs, so we didn’t want to rush them out.
  • If these adjustments prove to be insufficient, we’ll consider additional adjustments during Season 1
Minor balance changes

  • Traps - Reduced cooldown to 25 seconds from 30 seconds
  • Traps - Increased radius and proximity radius by about 10%
  • Traps - Removed a 1 second delay on the smoke dealing damage to players
  • Insider Knowledge - Increased the number of beacons in the world to 12 from 10
  • Care Package - Removed slight chance that level 4 armor and helmets will drop
  • Into The Void - Cooldown increased from 20 -> 25 seconds
  • Double Time - Reduced move speed bonus to 30% from 40%


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