Apex Legends sets new record for Masters and Predator players—and that’s a problem

It's easier than ever to achieve one of Apex's highest ranks.

Many players in the Apex Legends community have asked for changes to ranked every season, and they got their wish with season 17s release on May 9. However, the results haven’t been what many were hoping for, and many of those same players think the new ranked is worse than ever.

According to Apex Legends Status, Season 17 of Apex has been out for two weeks, and has already surpassed the all-time record for the numbers of players in Master and Predator ranks, beating previous ranked seasons by a wide margin on all platforms. Over 73,000 players have already hit Master in Season 17, in comparison to the end of season 16s split two, which featured only 19,000 across all platforms.

Respawn overhauled the ranked systems in season 13s Ranked Reloaded, where the kill RP Cap was removed, kill participation for half of the points was introduced, and kills were valued according to each players individual rank. Many pros, coaches, and content creators reacted positively to the changes, with many claiming season 13s ranked splits as Apexs best ranked experience.

Tweaks to the ranked system after that were made in what seemed like an attempt to help create a better experience for a more casual player base that didn’t appreciate what top players’ liked so much about season 13’s ranked system, whether due to the different playstyle or the sheer jump in difficulty.

Respawn intended to fix one of the longest standing problems with ranked in season 17, turning Apex into a true battle royale experience that divided lobbies between teams that won and lost a match. Instead of weighting kills as heavily, the new ranked system greatly rewards team placement, with scaling RP gains for teams that finish in the top 10 and above in a match. This was introduced alongside MMR changes to combat cheaters and trolls, but heavily failed in its execution due to one core detail: a flat entry cost across all tiers of ranked.

Previously, each rank (besides Rookie and those in provisional matches) had to pay a fee when entering a ranked match, with scaling costs dependent on a players division and tier. A new player in bronze four only had to pay 10 RP to start a ranked match, while those in Masters and Predator had to pay 70 per match, scaling up to an entry cost of 250 for how much RP they had gained throughout the season.

Now, all tiers pay a flat fee of 35 RP for every Apex match, a system which many players have already started taking advantage of. Across all platforms, the rank distribution has seen a massive skew towards the number of Masters and Predator ranked players, as players arent punished as hard as they were in previous seasons for losing matches with no kills.

The changes to the ranked scoring system have answered one prevalent issue of teams fighting early and leaving only a handful of squads left by the first ring close, but created a completely new problem. With the heavier emphasis on team placement and the diminished points for getting kills, many players have chosen ratting as their preferred strategy of ranking up, hiding away in corners and trees to guarantee a top 10 placement while the other squads duke it out.

Ratting is not only a viable strategy, but one that has produced wildly positive results, allowing players to achieve their ranks with previously impossible strategies. NRGs Chris sweetdreams Sexton, ranked number eight in the NA Pro League leaderboards for kills, actively protested the ranked changes when season 17 went live on May 9, promising a solo-queue climb to Predator with no damage done.

Sweet completed his challenge in record time, dying only 48 times on his way to achieving Predator in one day, and ranking as the 153rd best player in the world.

Sweets ranked stream presented the underlying problems with Apexs new ranked system, and how any player can achieve the highest ranks while not even interacting with the games core systems. Many other pros and content creators have voiced similar opinions about the status of the ranked environment, and how, despite Respawns intentions for more players to survive until the end game, the resulting behavior comes from all the wrong reasons.

With season 17 only two weeks in, and just one split to last the entire season, many players more can eventually get Masters by sheer grinding or ratting. However, the entire Apex community can agree that the status is stained, and the Master and Predator ranks of season 17 will never hold the same weight and prestige as previous seasons.

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