Don't be surprised if ranked looks like hide-and-seek.
Top Apex Legends players and pros were adamant last season: they wanted changes to ranked. And after getting a completely new ranked system in season 17 on May 9, those players just as adamantly think one thing: No, not like that!
Ranked in season 17 got a full overhaul, with the Respawn devs trying to reward better placements over kills in addition to several other changes to help make the ranked ladder more competitive for all players. Unfortunately, many of the game’s best players have noted that the new system implemented has swung too far in the other direction, as players don’t need to fight at all to climb the ladder. In fact, most players will more consistently gain ladder points (LP) and gain ranked tiers by just hiding and not engaging at all.
And so several players are doing exactly that to prove their point.
Ranked and its quality of play has been a point of contention that came to a head in the last couple of seasons, as several of the game’s biggest streamers just stopped attempting to play the mode completely. A system that mostly just rewarded large kill counts led to a ranked mode that encouraged players to not think about positioning or worry about placing well in a match. Instead, many teams just looked to fight any other person in sight, leading to short games and third, fourth, and fifth-party bonanzas.
That’s a far cry from the strategic positioning and rotational chess matches many of the game’s best players enjoy at the highest levels, and they weren’t shy about letting devs know how much they disliked ranked. Soon, the ranked leaderboard became mostly filled with cheaters and kill boosters as many of the game’s best players sought other ways to have fun playing the game, like Realm and other tournament settings.
But while players were adamant that placement should have a greater effect on a person’s ability to climb or fall on the ranked ladder, they probably didn’t mean it like this.
It’s a little bit difficult to tell exactly what’s going wrong because the ranked system is so new, but it most likely has to do with the new flat ranked entry costs. Instead of LP costs to enter a ranked match scaling up the higher a player climbs, every player at every rank has a flat entry cost at the beginning of a match. According to many players, that’s making it far too easy to climb without running the risk of suffering a big loss if you just decide to int a few fights for a couple of games with the hope of securing big kill counts.
Furthermore, it also seems incredibly easy to recover the LP you do manage to lose in those scenarios simply by hiding, or ratting, as Apex players like to call it. Many big players, like NRG pro Sweet, have started to do no-damage challenges in ranked, gaining hundreds of LP on their way up the ladder despite not fighting at all. Many of these players frequently just sit outside of the ring, finding a replicator safely away from any other player on the map and crafting med kits to survive the ring’s damage as long as possible.
The new ranked has several systems working in tandem, with a hidden MMR system also coming into play to determine how difficult a match you play in is according to everyone else’s MMRs in your lobby. There are also plenty of tweaks that are possible to things like entry costs as the devs see how the new ranked system shakes out with the full player base, as Apex ranked designer Exgeniar noted on Twitter in response to some of the criticism.
It’s safe to say that players being able to make big gains in ranked just by hiding outside of the ring is not the intended effect of the new ranked system. As the new ladder shakes out and players adjust, it’s most likely that the devs make some changes to the system to discourage that kind of play.
Until then, however, don’t be surprised if you see your favorite Apex streamer nervously humming in a corner in the final circles of the game with no gun equipped and zero damage on the board.