To say that Apex Legends is skill-based is an understatement. Success in this game is more mechanically dependent than perhaps in any other battle royale out there. As such, the Ranked ladder should be one of Apex‘s competitive cornerstones. It should function as the proving grounds on which competitive players practice and have fun.
Currently, the Apex Legends ranked queue follows strange and highly exploitable rules. Climbing through the leagues is based on a deterministic point system that changed very little from Season 2. Consequently, the same problems persist. Waiting in ranked queue takes forever, and smurfing is very easy. So easy in fact, that Liquid’s Lucas “Mendo” Håkansson is considering it as a matter of convenience, according to this recent tweet.
I think I'm not going to try to rush to predator, I'm going to enjoy the faster queues in lower ranks while they last, just going to try to get some good content and good memes
— Liquid Mendo (@Mendo) October 3, 2019
It’s hard to blame Mendo. By Respawn’s own admission, wait times can get pretty long in the higher leagues. To make Apex Legends ranked queue a reasonable time investment in Season 2, they even had to occasionally match Predators with players two leagues below them. In a recent game Mendo noted that he’s not excited about the prospect of having to “sit in queue forever” the moment he hits Diamond.
At the other end of the spectrum, players have the option to “grind” through the leagues for meaningless cosmetics. Play hyper cautiously and score more rank points — suddenly you are in a league where you don’t belong. In the end there are high-level players coasting in the low leagues and unskilled grinders having an awkward time in Platinum. This is fun for nobody, and especially not for the average-skill players. Regardless of your league, you can currently find yourself stuck between Apex Predators and campers.
Hopefully Respawn is working on solutions for Apex Legends ranked mode internally. A recent leak showed cross-play might be in the cards, and that would certainly help queue times by expanding the player pool. Regardless of cross-play, it might be worth reevaluating the simplistic rank point system. Scrapping it in favor of placement matches would certainly help curb smurfing and make matchmaking more fair.
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