A lifeline for Lifeline?
Since the recent balance changes ushered in with season 5, Apex Legends developer Respawn is “working on” how its support character, Lifeline, can be improved without “straight-up add[ing] power to her”.
“Lots of talk about Lifeline and buffs, so let me speak to that a bit: Lifeline is in a complicated spot,” tweeted Apex’s lead game designer, Carlos Pineda. “Despite the claims that she ‘is in dire need of a buff’, the data says she remains top tier across different categories, e.g. pick rate, win rate, KDR. So in that sense, she does not need a buff at all.
“But I get it – everyone wants her to be unique and I agree she’s lost some of her shine due to the other legend buffs,” they added. “But we can’t straight up add power to her – that would drive her even higher in those metrics.
“What we’re really looking for is a Sidegrade. We want her to be different from other Legends without necessarily adding power. That kind of design is much harder than just cranking numbers or even just adding a new thing she can do.”
What we’re really looking for is a Sidegrade. We want her to be different from other Legends without necessarily adding power. That kind of design is much harder than just cranking numbers or even just adding a new thing she can do.
— Carlos Pineda (@pinedsman) May 15, 2020
Consequently, Pineda told fans that Respawn was “working on it, but it is a difficult problem” and asked them to “be patient”.
“In the meantime, you can feel better about picking Lifeline, knowing you’re still in good hands!”
An unofficial fan survey – which took the views of 1936 players after it was shared across EA’s forums and Apex-flavoured subreddits at the end of last year – asked players to rank Legends on their performance up until season 3. Of the views taken, 91 per cent of respondents thought Mirage needed a buff with his passive ability – which has now happened in season 5 – whilst 77 per cent of respondents thought Pathfinder’s tactical ability was just too OP – and he too had a tweak recently.
At the time, Bangalore and Lifeline were considered the most balanced of the squad, with 83 and 85 per cent of respondents stating they were happy with their skills and abilities respectively.