INPUT TYPES IN APEX
I recently saw some tweets from @PVPX (he’s always chirping… it’s hard to miss) that I figured I could address. Most of his points stem from input-layer differences, so instead of using balance design terms (i.e. buff/nerf), I’d rather get more granular:
Make tap-strafing accessible on controller:
Even before reading the rest of this, I encourage curious minds to revisit my MOVEMENT TECH AND MOBILITY IN APEX twitlonger, as our stance here is pretty much the same.
My gripe with tap-strafing isn’t that it’s only accessible by MnK. As I mentioned in the post, it exists as a design problem (not a balancing mechanic) where the lack of readability and how it compounds with movement abilities are the biggest causes for concern. Take something like Path grapple, arguably the highest skill-ceiling ability in the game. There are identifiable cues and constraints where players can learn, “If grap attaches at x point and Path is moving in y direction, he’ll move roughly along this arc.”
In most trivial examples, sure, I can learn a player will tap-strafe around corners to cut off LoS faster. But add things that enhance mobility, and learnability and counterplay quickly become clouded. If a sweaty Path is grappling near me with a shotty, I know the tap-strafe into my face is coming, but even with the quickest of reflexes how can I improve my chances? And aside from the fact that I’m slow and washed up, mobility creep is a real concern. If something feels good (i.e. movement in Apex), doubling down on that too much can warp gameplay in the grand scheme of things.
Allow controller players to move while looting:
This may come as a surprise to some, but moving while looting is a bug. Is it a bug we’ll ever fix? No. If I were to rewind to early Apex development, I suspect I’d agree with the design decision of stationary looting. Soon after Apex released though, I saw an efficient looting meta-game emerge pretty quickly (this was before joining Respawn, and as a player I thought, “Huh, I bet they never thought this whole shield swapping mechanic would end up being such an integral part of combat!”).
Fast forward a bit, and stuff like menu cursor speed options and gold armor/finisher reworks signaled acceptance of this emergent looting gameplay. In an effort to improve parity between input types, it seems reasonable to think moving while looting on controller should be an option. I’ll defer to fellow dev @rappstar’s replies to a control scheme Snip3down proposed (looting cursor with right stick, moving with left):
“So this type of UX control is more my wheelhouse than @RSPN_JayBiebs. And absolutely yes I've thought about your suggestion. I like it. But I also like a lot of the other - incompatible - suggestions for how to solve it. That's the primary issue with this. Either need overly cumbersome & intractable customization menu that's hard to maintain & is used by v. small minority. Or pick system that minority of small minority likes & others hate. We have 16 inputs for controller; that's a huge obstacle for nuanced problems like this. But @Snip3down absolutely I've read your suggestions, talked them through with design leadership, explored technical implementation, etc. Happy to talk more (Twitter isn't great for discussion).”
TLDR; it's not as simple as adding a menu option for "loot with right stick." The fact that the left analog stick moves the cursor when menus are open is very much hardcoded, and adding it (along with other advanced interact controls) requires UI, code, and design support that isn't a top priority right now for the aforementioned reasons.
+1 that Twitter isn’t great for discussion. I leave my DMs open and even if I don’t reply, I am reading your comments.
Implement more options for interact/keybind separation on controller:
If this is referring to the classic controller conundrum of having to reload on a door with a knocked teammate by your feet, I hear you. I’m exploring options here in improving the interact system’s design, but keybind separation is a little trickier as @rappstar points out.
Revisit aim assist tuning:
We hear you loud and clear. Considering we offer different input options, it's not awfully surprising that there are gameplay-affecting variations between MnK, controller in PC lobbies, and console in PC lobbies. Anyone who's experimented with different platforms or input types can attest to this. So while I can't make any promises or provide specifics at the moment, I can say we're actively evaluating it.
In conclusion, many of the ideas I see for reaching parity between the feel of different input types are perfectly reasonable. They SHOULD NOT BE thought of as balancing mechanics that we manipulate to favor one over the other. Apex is designed to be one game that is both highly accessible AND competitive. The above ideas SHOULD BE thought of as feature requests, often requiring input and resources from multiple teams. In a live service game, juggling priorities is part of the nature of the beast, and as I see community feedback, I take note.