Recent changes to the early game pacing have left Apex Legends players wishing for a little more calm before the storm, with fans of the battle royale game saying that season 14 changes to the Ring are causing them to spend more time running than fighting. Apex Legends season 14 is off to a roaring start, pushing the FPS game to a record Steam concurrent player count with the arrival of new Legend Vantage and her adorable bat companion Echo.
Among the other changes introduced in the season 14 update, which launched on August 9, were some hefty tweaks to the Ring mechanics. Much like its battle royale counterparts, the Ring in Apex Legends gradually closes in on a certain point on the map, slowly forcing players to move closer and closer to one another and forcing engagements to happen. Anyone who moves outside the Ring will take constant damage over time, starting at a low value early in the match but increasing dramatically with subsequent shrink periods to ensure that players are forced to move.
Season 14 introduced three key changes to the Ring. Firstly, the ‘preshrink time’ – the amount of time after a round begins before the first ring starts closing – has been reduced from 180 seconds down to 60 seconds. The closing time on each map has been slightly increased, by about 20 seconds on most maps and by 50 seconds on World’s Edge. Finally, the damage caused to players outside the Ring during its first period has been increased from 2hp to 3hp every tick (equivalent to every 1.5 seconds), bringing it in line with the second Ring period.
The effective result of this is that players now have far less time after a round begins before they have to start thinking about where the Ring is going to end up. While the first Ring closes slightly more slowly than before, that doesn’t begin to compensate for how much faster it starts moving. Players on the game’s subreddit are expressing their distress, with one poster saying “I have been fighting the storm more than I have been fighting actual players.”
Many players are saying that they feel like the early game is now too rushed. One says “I find myself looking for heals more than I do ammo” thanks to the constant pressure of dealing with both the Ring damage and other players. Another gives a more evocative description, saying that “every starting circle turns into that scene in Pirates of the Caribbean 2 where Jack Sparrow is running away from the cannibals. Only Jack’s crew are the enemy team shooting you while also running away from the cannibals.”
Other players have suggested that they are turning to certain Legend picks to better handle the early rush, such as Octane with his fast move speed and jump pads, Valkyrie with her jetpack, or Mad Maggie with her ultimate that drops speed-boosting pads. Some users suggested that the decision to take away many of the Jump Towers for season 14 has exacerbated the issue as they present an alternative solution, allowing players to quickly traverse the map after looting a more remote area.
There is a general acknowledgement among fans in the thread that Respawn’s intent behind the patch was good – forcing players to loot with a little more urgency rather than simply wandering about the map early on. However, most players seem to be in agreement that the leap from three minutes to just one is a bit too dramatic, and that a middle ground of 90-120 seconds may prove to be more of a sweet spot.
If you’re diving into Apex Legends season 14, check out our Apex Legends character guide and Apex Legends map guide to make sure you’re up to date on everything you need to know. You’ll have to go without the ability to self-revive, however, after changes to the gold knockdown shield. Meanwhile, an accidental buff has turned relative newcomer Newcastle into the ultimate Apex Legends healer, while players in the game’s ranked mode are calling for better smurf protection to prevent them running into high-skill opponents.