Since the buff it got in Season 2, the Alternator has become quite the talking point for Apex Legends players. Some believe the weapon feels just right after the changes, while others have called for nerfs, claiming that it is overpowered. Today, we do some math to sort out the facts!
The Alternator does less damage than the R-99
In Season 1, the Alternator was commonly described as the parts carrier for your future R-99. Since its damage buff, it is boosted to a damage-per-second (DPS) of around 150. This DPS is still the lowest in the submachine gun class and lower than almost all other automatic weapons in Apex Legends. The problem players are having is not really with the damage buff, but with the Disruptor Rounds hop-up.
This new attachment increases the Alternator and RE-45’s damage against shields by roughly 75 percent. That brings the Alternator’s DPS against shielded targets to a whopping 270. Note, though, that it loses the damage multiplier the moment the shield breaks, rounding down the damage inflicted by the last round. Since an Apex Legends player can have at most 100 shields and 100 health, the Alternator’s average DPS is a hybrid between its regular and hopped-up values, or roughly 210 in optimal conditions. The R-99, meanwhile, always has a DPS of 216.
The Alternator is easier to use than the R-99
Another common complaint against the new and improved Alternator is that it is much easier to handle. It has lighter recoil and can track moving targets better than the other SMGs. This is all true, and it’s frankly just as it should be.
From its inception, the Alternator was always the more accurate and reliable submachine gun. It still needs these qualities to have a distinct purpose in the game.
After all, it still deals lower overall damage, and it only sort of catches up in the late game. Against opponents with level 1 and 2 armor, or without the Disruptor Rounds, the Alternator is still relatively underwhelming. The R-99 remains Apex Legends‘ god tier burst gun.
Then why is everyone killing with it all the time?
If all of the above is true and the Alternator is still not sweepingly overpowered after the buff, how do we explain all the footage of players shredding with it? The answer is quite simple: hype and cognitive bias. The Alternator is not getting more kills than it should, people are just using it a lot more.
This is a common phenomenon in competitive gaming. The moment any one playable element or mechanic receives enough attention, a disproportionate amount of people start using it. Then its increased presence results in an overblown perception of its viability.
The Alternator was one of the worst weapons in Apex Legends for three months straight. Suddenly, it has a new exciting attachment that makes it destroy shields and sound like a fire alarm at a rave. Everyone is picking it up now, either out of curiosity, to test it, or because it is getting a ton of undeserved attention on Reddit.
Hopefully, this all helps you understand the current state of the Alternator in Apex Legends. We’ll have to wait and see if further changes are made to either the weapon itself, or players’ perception of it. In the meantime, stay tuned to Daily Esports for more Apex Legends news and content!