Blackout No Longer Measures Up

When I first started blogging, my content was directly focused on Call of Duty: Blackout. I was in love with the game-play, the map, the action, the strategy and luck, all of it. It was truly the first battle royale I fell for, having numerous wins under my belt and a competent squad that I played with regularly.

Then Apex Legends happened.

Two months ago, Blackout dropped off the face of the earth for me when Respawn dropped a battle royale set in the Titanfall universe. Within a month it had fifty million players, and for good reason: it was free, and it was better. With multiple unique legends to play, a deeply colorful map, exciting weapons and game-play, and elements battle royale fans had never seen such as respawn beacons and a ping system, it became clear within a week that this game reigned supreme over the competition.

I recently went back to Blackout in an attempt to find my love for it again. After a couple of hours of playing, all I wanted to do was go back to Apex. The game felt slower, the gunfights were faster and less satisfying, the lack of diversity was painfully apparent, and not having a ping system or respawn beacons was a painful inconvenience. I realized how many flaws there were with the game I once loved, and in a way that hurt. I truly believe that Apex Legends is the best battle royale on the market right now, and moving forward I believe that will be the game I stick with in the near future. As the battle royale trend continues, I hope other companies look to Apex as a gold standard, because it truly revolutionized the genre.

Caustic is Hilarious

Since the Caustic buffs a couple of weeks ago, I have been playing him a lot more and the results have been.. well, just downright hysterical at times.

Caustic is probably the most niche character in the game as he relies heavily on terrain to get value. He’s fire and ice, and it’s all a flip of the coin depending on where your next engagement breaks out on the map. That being said, when he’s in his element he is proving to be so strong he’s borderline overpowered.

His traps doing four damage a tick, on top of his nox gas ultimate, allows him to completely control and torture his victims within his buildings. His ability to blind, disorient, and slowly leech the life out of his enemies is downright ridiculous at times, and utterly hilarious to watch. Although I think he is far from an A list legend, I think he has an actual viable roll in the game now: Area denial, confusion, and trolling. Let me tell you, his ability to troll enemies is unmatched.

So, the next time you’re playing a casual game of Apex Legends, give him a try! He is incredibly fun to use, and much more viable than he once was.

Fortify

If you read last week’s post, you may remember my complaints around hitboxes in Apex Legends, specifically Caustic and Gibralter. Well, the community’s prayers have been answered. In the latest patch, along with some weapon tuning, Caustic and Gibralter have both received new passives called “fortify”, which grant a 10% damage reduction to both legends. This makes both characters noticeably more survivable, making their massive hotboxes slightly less of an issue. On top of that, Gibralter’s personal shield was buffed by 50% and Caustic’s traps were buffed by a whopping 400%! The two worst characters in the game seem to finally be finding a solid roll in the game. After playing both legends for a considerable amount of time post-patch, it truly feels as though they die less quickly. This gives me, and a lot of the community, hope for the future of the game. It’s so great to see developers listening to their community.

Apex Legends- The Hitbox Disaster

Apex Legends is proving to be an incredible experience for both casual and dedicated gamers. With a deep and diverse cast of playable legends, there is sure to be a character to suit everyone’s play-style. These legends all have unique abilities, ultimates, personalities, appearances, and back stories. While the deep cast is an incredible touch, it left a major issue that has yet to be taken care of properly, and that is the hit-boxes of each individual legend.

There is a chart you can find anywhere online that demonstrates the sizes of each legend. Gibralter, the largest legend in Apex, is 133% larger than Wraith, the smallest. All legends in game have the same amount of health. What this means is that The largest characters, Gibralter and Caustic, are significantly easier to hit and easier to kill. This creates balance issues. These two characters in particular have incredibly low pick rates because truthfully, it doesn’t matter what they bring to the table. With hit boxes the size of Texas, Gibralter in particular is far too easy to burst down.

So, with the character models set in stone, what can be done to fix, or at least help, the largest characters? It’s hard to say really, as Caustic and Gibralter seem to be the only two who really suffer from this problem. Adding more health to these legends is a slippery slope, and changing their character models now isn’t possible. The community is getting increasingly frustrated with the problem, and for good reason. While these legends aren’t exactly worthless, there is simply no practical reason to pick them over the other members of the cast who are simply or survivable. Hopefully, this is an issue that Respawn Entertainment can resolve in the near future.

My Top 5 Apex Legends Characters

5) Bangelore- With the best passive ability in the game allowing you to zip around in gunfights, along with smoke grenades for disorienting enemies, Bangelore deserved a spot on this list.

4) Bloodhound- Tracking enemies around the map is no joke, and an ultimate that gives you thermal vision and increased speed makes this character a nightmare.

3) Pathfinder- One word; grapple. Free high ground and superior positioning for gunfights makes this legend a top three.

2) Wraith- With voices that let you and your team know enemies are close, a get out of jail free ability, a portal for your entire team, and the smallest hitbox in the game, you knew Wraith had to be here.

  1. Octane- This is merely the legend I play the most, not saying he is without question the best character in the game. However, a thirty percent speed boost every two seconds, along with a jump pad usable by your entire squad, makes Octane the best and most enjoyable experience in the game for me.

Worst Guns in Apex Legends

Every FPS game has good and bad weapons, and Apex is no exception. This is my top five worst weapons list for the game.

5. Flatline assault rifle. Truthfully, this gun isn’t that bad. There just isn’t anything particularly good about it. It has decent damage per bullet, but that’s about it. It doesn’t shine in any important category, so while it isn’t an unusable weapon by any means, it deserves a spot on this list.

4. Alternator SMG. This weapon is more or less here for the same reasons as the Flatline. The Alternator has a slow time to kill, holding it back heavily from the R-99 or Prowler counterparts. However, it is very accurate and attachment friendly. It is decently well rounded. It just kills so slowly none of the good really matters.

3. Eva 8 Auto shotgun. This may surprise some people, I just personally have a terrible time using this weapon. It’s time to kill is mathematically poor, it has irritating recoil, and feels incredibly inconsistent as far as damage output goes. That being said, it can serve as a wonderful BACKUP weapon. If you use this as a clean up tool rather than a primary weapon, you may have a much better experience.

2. Re-45/P2020 pistols. This probably isn’t much of a surprise to anyone who plays the game. These guns are bad, but they’re pistols, so they’re expected to be to some extent. No real reason to run either, although the RE-45 can be fun to play around with and, much like the Eva 8, is actually half decent for cleanup.

  1. Mozambique. Surprise surprise, right? This gun is quite literally the weakest weapon in the game by a mile, and I can’t think back to a shooter that actually has a gun weaker than Apex’s Mozambique. You should NEVER run this weapon for any reason. Period. PERIOD. You won’t kill anyone with it, I promise. I’ve hit someone with this shotgun pistol six times and not killed them. Truly an unusable weapon.

Top 5 Weapons in Apex Legends

Now that the game has been out for a while, I frequently find myself discussing the best and worst weapons with my friends when playing Apex. While there are many fantastic (and not so great) weapons in the game, I believe there are a few that shine the most. Here are (in my opinion) the best five weapons in the game, excluding supply drop weapons.

5. R-99 SMG. This weapon has an incredibly fast fire rate, and is lethal in close quarters combat. It’s biggest weakness is magazine size, which can be more or less remedied with an extended mag attachment. It uses light rounds, so ammo is easy to find.

4. Wingman pistol. This revolver, although recently nerfed, packs a huge punch. It fires heavy rounds and deals massive damage at shocking ranges. It can be used as either a primary or secondary weapon, and as long as you land your shots is incredibly dangerous in the right hands.

3. Peacekeeper shotgun. This shotgun, although a little inconsistent at times, can be a close to mid range powerhouse. With the right attachments, this weapon is pretty nasty out to surprising ranges. I don’t personally enjoy using it, but I have been wiped by it enough times to give it it’s due respect.

2. R-301 assault rifle. This weapon is a personal favorite of mine. Much like the R-99, it suffers from a small eighteen round magazine. However, once fully kitted out with good attachments, I believe it is a top tier weapon in Apex Legends. It has a fast fire rate and is incredibly accurate, making it possibly the most versatile gun in the game. It is user friendly and easy to use, and is currently considered a meta defining weapon by most players.

  1. Spitfire LMG. This bad boy is without a doubt my favorite overall weapon. It has a colossal magazine compared to most weapons in the game, and you can bump it all the way up to sixty with a purple mag attachment. It hits hard with a steady fire rate and low to moderate recoil. For extended gunfights against multiple opponents, which is a frequent occurrence, there is no weapon I would rather have in my hands.

Honorable mentions- G7 Scout sniper rifle and Prowler SMG. The G7 hits for a lot of damage, and can be shocking at times if you land your shots. The Prowler is a burst SMG that, once you find a hop up, I would consider better than the R-99. However, the select fire hop up attachment is what makes this gun good, and without it I guess it feels a little lack luster.

Apex Legends- Good, but not perfect

Now that Apex Legends has been out for a month, and amassed a player-base of a whopping fifty-million, the community seems to be absolutely loving this new take on battle royale. I certainly have a blast every time I step into the arena, boasting over fifty wins myself. The characters are fun and interactive and bring an addicting new spin to the genre. That being said, there is a massive problem with the game that, by now, most players are well aware of. That problem is character hit-boxes.

Wraith, the smallest character in the game, is 160% smaller than Gibralter, the largest. Every legend has the same base health pool, making larger characters less effective to play simply because they are so much easier to hit. So what is to be done about this? Characters like Caustic, Pathfinder, and especially Gibralter are the lowest picked characters in game simply due to their massive bodies. This, to me, is an unacceptable flaw. The issue is, now that these characters have been introduced, what can be done to help fix the problem? You can’t exactly scale down the hitboxes when the characters themselves are designed to be large. Increasing health by a small amount is the only true fix I have been able to think of, and that alone is a slippery slope that would likely prove ineffective.

Truthfully, the hitbox dilemma is a struggle for me. It is a glaring, nasty balance issue with the game to which I can offer very little CONSTRUCTIVE criticism. I hope in the near future this issue is acknowledged and worked on in some regard. As it stands, three characters in the roster border on unplayable not due to abilities or ultimates, but poor physical design.

Apex Legends- The New Kid On The Block

Any Battle Royale fan out there has certainly heard of this new game that seemingly dropped out of the blue. In just two days, with no hype leading up to it, Apex amassed a player-base of over 30 million, which is astoundingly high. So What contributes to that success? What makes Apex so good, and is it a legitimate threat to games like Fortnite or Blackout?

Apex Legends is a FREE BR (much like Fortnite) set in the Titanfall universe. While there are no Titans in this game, there are currently multiple “legends” you have to choose from, which are essentially characters with unique abilities and ultimates, similar to Overwatch. I have spent a good thirty hours on the game already, and it is truly incredible.

Personally, I believe this game is no threat to Fortnite. However, Blackout may suffer heavily. Apex is free where as Blackout costs $60. Blackout is a straight forward military shooter, where as Apex has a unique roll selection available with the diverse characters. Apex will certainly thrive, and I hope Blackout can keep up. To do so, they may want to consider going free-to-play, and updating their game far more regularly.

Below is a video going in depth on what makes Apex so good.

Map Updates in Blackout

Today on PS4 (one week away for Xbox), there will be massive changes to the Blackout map the player base has come to know so well. Most notably, a new area marked as “Ghost Town” has been added in the desert region, and it is a combination of former Call of Duty multiplayer/zombies maps Outlaw and Buried. This is a two layered part of the map. On the main ground you have Outlaw, an old west town with a cool feel. Below ground, you have the iconic zombies map Buried, which as far as I can tell looks almost exactly like it’s Black Ops 2 counterpart. This massive addition to the map, much like the earlier addition of Hijacked, should bring a new element of fun and adventure to the map. Additionally, dozens of small areas on the map are seeing big changes. Houses, garages, sheds, food chains, and other buildings are being added like crazy, and many of the areas you have passed through before may now harbor enough loot to actually justify landing at these unmarked locations. When the update drops, be sure to hop into a custom games match and explore all the exciting new changes!