Caustic’s balancing in Apex Legends has been a topic of debate for several seasons. With the start of season 8, Respawn confirmed that their team agrees with the community’s feedback and will at some point break down Toxic Trapper.
Success in Apex Legends requires a combination of skillful gun play and clever use of each Legend’s abilities. While Respawn has confirmed many times that the game’s royal focus is on shooting, they are certainly aware of the impact Legend abilities have on the game.
While each character has been buffeted or nerfed in some way since its release, Caustic has remained a controversial legend after receiving several buffs in season 7, and society has not refrained from criticizing Respawn for the character̵
In a Reddit AMA after the release of season 8, a user asked “Why was not caustic nerfed after the significant conversations from the community? [His abilities] directly counteracts the design philosophy that was given at the release of the game, which was first weapons, then legends. ”
After further criticism that the game “became more like Overwatch”, a common concern from the community during season 7, John Larson – Associate Live Balance Designer at Respawn – responded with an explanation.
“Good question. I think ever since the transition to gas allowed teammates to play in gasoline without relative consequences, there was a lot of unrealized potential that was quickly exploited over the last couple of months. Caustic is undeniably strong and has the highest payoff in matches that last longer than 20 minutes Caustic plays a unique role as a defensive legend who can act offensively in certain scenarios, and we must make sure that we adapt him in a way that removes frustration without hurting how it feels to play as Caustic.
Long story short, we hear feedback from the community, as a player I feel they are valid, the data backs up that he is strong and he will get some attention in the near future. When it comes to Apex which becomes “Ability Legends”, when new characters are introduced, it is important that they take unique design space. This opens up potentially devastating synergies between legend abilities. I have seen (and experienced myself) the clips from chaotic ability-driven playoffs, and that is something we are actively working to solve. ”
Following this response, TSM streamer and former Apex pro Mac “Albralelie” Kenzie Beckwith gave a new suggestion on how to deal with Caustic’s balancing.
He suggested that the gas from Caustic’s barrels should only repel opponents to make them more vulnerable, instead of doing damage alone.
Thought of a balance change for caustic I talked about on electricity a few days ago, basically remove damage from the barrels, but give someone in the gas a vulnerable status effect that increases all damage taken by a% while also marking someone in the gas for all teammates.
– TSM_Albralelie (@TSM_Albralelie) February 6, 2021
Whether Respawn decides to change the function of Toxic Trapper’s abilities as Albralelie suggested, or just reduce the damage or duration, remains to be seen.
Either way, a caustic nerve will certainly come as welcome news for much of society, especially professional gamers and content creators.