April - last edited April
I've written below an analysis of the skills of all the legends talking about how useful they are for strategic and tactical work, and shown that Caustic and Gibraltar suck at those. Then I propose a way to fix this and make Gibraltar a surprising class that can pull off some great stunts IF the player is skilled, while also buffing Caustic just enough that now he doesn't need the 10% damage buff.
I have been thinking about how Gibraltar and Caustic were buffed, and I think there was an alternative way which might be used in the future perhaps. I am by no means an expert, and my stats back up that I'm the king of the sh!t tier, but I think this way to look at the game can reveal why Caustic and especially Gibraltar are disadvantaged in the field.
Apex Legends game play has several layers: the immediate mechanics (running, jumping, shooting and getting shot, ...), short term tactical goals (remain hidden, flank a team, ambush a team indoors, gain ground), longer term strategic goals (go to the circle, go to an area that has high tier loot, try to third-party the last 2 enemy teams).
Note that I talk about tactics here in terms of military parlance: a method of achieving a short term goal, like eg killing an enemy. What Apex Legends calls "a tactical ability" is just what happens when you press Q (or LB or L1 on consoles), and this doesn't have to give you a military tactical advantage.
I break down how all the legends act in three different layers of engagement and that shows that Gibraltar and Caustic are, on average, the worst out of all classes, with Gibraltar being the most handicapped. Then I propose solutions that would make them better.
When I started playing I was really bad at Apex and the thing that helped me get much better is to figure out that strategy is the most important thing, tactics follow, and if you have those two nailed then your shooting can be crap and you'll still win. I see Apex mostly as a game of strategy where you make decisions every 10 seconds; split second decisions simply follow out of that. Sure, decisions per sec is crucial, but a winning strategy is king.
The first level (immediate mechanics) lets you execute the second level (short term tactics) and third level (long term strategy). The second level lets you execute the third.
If you look at the legends, a lot of their passives, tacticals, and ultimates that are successful and powerful without being overpowered are mostly about higher level planning (strategy, tactics) rather than lower level (immediate mechanics, simple tactics). I'll rank em from "most strategical" to "most mechanical":
Pathfinder: Strategical. Knowing where the ring will be helps predict enemy movements, best places to loot (far from ring, close to zone), predict best fortified locations inside ring.
Bloodhound: Strategical. Can predict encounters and tell where people are, track them down, to decide best strategy for engagement.
Octane: Tactical-Strategical. Less need to heal means he can flank better. No need to stop for heals means he can achieve strategical locations sooner than others.
Wraith: Tactical-Strategical. Warnings help you figure out how to better flank or jump the enemy; some warnings inform long term strategy, by eg warning about snipers.
Bangalore: Tactical. Runs faster in a fight, can flank better.
Mirage: Tactical. Can hide when knocked down so the team can gain another gun upon res.
Lifeline: Tactical. Can heal faster, which means she can flank the enemy better or jump them before they have time to heal. Fast res helps team evac from hot zone.
Caustic: Mechanical. Can see enemies hidden by gas, but all that does is let you aim unimpaired. No new tactics unlocked. Large hit box informs distant enemies of your presence, a strategical net negative.
Gibraltar: Mechanical. Gun shield prevents you from getting shot too much. Shield warns enemies from miles away, so surveying through ADS is not done. This is a strategical net negative. Large hit box informs distant enemies of your presence, a strategical net negative.
Tactical (Q) abilities:
Octane: Strategical. Runs very fast /at will/, can recon large amounts of ground and decide on the perfect long term strategy, where to go loot or fight or how to res.
Caustic: Tactical-Strategical. Helps kill enemies as a tactical advantage. Can lock doors, set up ambushes, create warning systems. Blocking paths can disable or slow down enemy tactics.
Pathfinder: Tactical-Strategical. Can go up buildings and recon large areas of land to inform strategy. Can create new tactics by unlocking inaccessible areas.
Wraith: Tactical-Strategical. You can reach areas where you'd otherwise get shot, you might ambush an enemy without getting noticed if they don't see the blue mist. Being able to go outside the last few rings without dying can enable powerful new strategies. Mechanical bonus that you can't get shot, with the tactical disadvantage that you lose track of the enemies.
Bangalore: Tactical. Smoke can make it easier to flank or heal, but it can also make new tactics possible: fake an enemy (smoke one area, run elsewhere), allow you to flank when you couldn't, etc.
Mirage: Tactical. Can help confuse enemies and put a wrench in their tactical approach to fighting you, while opening new tactics to you by creating blind spots you can now use.
Lifeline: Mechanical-Tactical. Lets you heal up quick, but you could use this as a tactic to do this while you're shooting from cover, but also has the tactical advantage that it helps team mates who are almost down, to keep them in the game.
Bloodhound: Mechanical-Tactical. Lets you see where enemies are, letting you shoot better, and inform tactics like how to best flank or ambush.
Gibraltar: Mechanical. Stops you from getting shot. Slight tactical advantage of disabling snipers, but that's not a big difference in Apex. Strategically, a huge net negative, by informing distant teams that they can third-party you.
Wraith: Strategical. Lets you change the shape of the map drastically, enables huge time savings that let you perform strategies that would otherwise not be possible. For example, let's say your team mate was downed at the dish in Relay. Octane runs ahead to res them while the ring is coming in. Wraith creates a tunnel from the death boxes to as close to the res as possible. Team mate can go and retrieve their loot, and loot up on the enemies; everyone can loot a little while not getting too damaged by the ring. As a bonus, allows tactical advantages like being able to instantly flank enemies by moving from one position of advantage to another. Alternatively: while team mates are still looting, you can push ahead without loot to the next lootable area, and go back after they tagged stuff on your wish list. Then they can push ahead to the new location, letting you cover loads of loot ground. Tactical bonus of bailing out team mates, lots of mechanical bonuses for tricky portal setups or ambushes.
Lifeline: Strategical. Lets you get better tier loot to change your strategy from looting to hunting. Lets you bait or fake other teams later to ambush them. Mechanical advantage that it can be used as a cover.
Pathfinder: Tactical-Strategical. Gives you a strategical advantage of being able to reach a strategically better position very quickly and change the shape of the map (eg quickly go between an overlook tower and other side of river). Gives you the tactical ability to quickly bail out and to surprise enemies.
Bloodhound: Tactical-Strategical. Lets you kill enemies better and faster as a mechanical advantage, lets you flank and ambush better, and inform a longer term strategy of hunting down the whole team.
Octane: Mechanical-Tactical. Lets you unlock inaccessible areas, with the mechanical bonus of a one time speed boost.
Bangalore: Mechanical-Tactical. Lets you kill a lot of enemies, helps you herd them, allows you to run away if needed or heal up.
Caustic: Mechanical-Tactical. Lets you kill a lot of enemies, herd, allows you to run away, etc.
Mirage: Mechanical-Tactical, but mostly useless. Lets you confuse enemies, but usually only works on newbies, experienced players know to fire on the halfway invisible guy. Attempts to be a tactical advantage, but doesn't really help much. I've never seen Mirage's ultimate be used successfully.
Gibraltar: Mechanical. Lets you kill enemies, slight tactical advantage, but not as much as Bangalore.
Let's recap. This will be in the format: Legend name here: Passive, Tactical (Q), Ultimate.
Bangalore: Tactical, Tactical, Mechanical-Tactical
Bloodhound: Strategical, Mechanical-Tactical, Tactical-Strategical
Caustic: Mechanical, Tactical-Strategical, Mechanical-Tactical
Gibraltar: Mechanical with Big Strategical Handicap, Mechanical with Big Strategical Handicap, Mechanical
Lifeline: Tactical, Mechanical-Tactical, Strategical
Mirage: Tactical, Tactical, Useless (sorry!)
Octane: Tactical-Strategical, Strategical, Mechanical-Tactical
Pathfinder: Strategical, Tactical-Strategical, Tactical-Strategical
Wraith: Tactical-Strategical, Tactical-Strategical, Strategical.
Large hitbox classes have a mechanical handicap by being large targets and easy to hit.
Let's rate each:
Mechanical Handicap: -1
Strategical Handicap: -2
Big Strategical Handicap: -3
Here's the calculations for each of the legends:
The final score is below. I stress that this is just one way of looking at the legends, and I believe that there are many way to play this game other than focusing on the strategy. But to me, personally, the game is all about strategy, and after I calculated the list below, it occurred to me that this order reflects which legends I've seen winning the most over the course of the game since the beginning.
Yup, Caustic is pretty bad, but Gibraltar is really sh!t tier here. People win with Mirage because he's just less of a bulls-eye, and his Q abilities, while only tactical, are pretty sweet in close fights and in complicated environments like indoors or in towns. So what can we do about our Big Boyz to make them better? Make their abilities less mechanical and more strategical. That's why I think the current buffs aren't really smart: they must make the classes mechanically better, but that doesn't make them more rewarding to play. It just makes them sponges that make newbie players annoying to kill, whereas tactical and strategical superiority actually rewards skill, training, and education in strategy.
Let's recap the most strategically useful abilities:
Pathfinder: tells you the hidden shape of the map (how it will evolve in the future)
Octane: saves time
Wraith: informs you about enemy tactics
Tactical (Q) abilities:
Caustic: lets you reshape the map a lot
Octane: recon ability informs you about the shape of the map (which areas are useful, where fights are, ...)
Pathfinder: lesser recon ability
Wraith: lets you reshape the map in some cases
Lifeline: saves time
Pathfinder: saves time, reshapes map
Wraith: reshapes map in strong ways
It looks like the most strategically useful abilities are reshaping the map, saving time, and then informing about the map. So let's try out some ideas.
Both BigBoyz are, well, big. So a passive ability they have could be related to that.
- bump into enemies and shove them. This could be useful in areas like the towers overseeing the river where you could bump into someone and shove them off to gain time to heal or kill them from above. This passive ability would give Gibraltar and Caustic an imposing presence and would make players of other classes very paranoid about letting those two classes get close to them. This would be a great psychological warfare element that other classes don't have, and it would be a distinct advantage of the large classes. It would help build pressure.
- for reshaping the map: run through objects, destroying them, such as closed, blocked doors. Rather than punch the door twice, you can easily imagine a Big legend could just run the door down. Similarly, they could run through death boxes that are blocking a door (and shove them? destroy them? up to devs. this could be a nice double edged sword, but also annoying). Maybe you need a short run up with a holstered weapon, maybe not. This could be very powerful if the map was modified a bit. For example, there are sections of the map that are separated by long walls, cliffs, and fences. If the big guys could run through them and make a hole (say, run down a permanently closed door), that would be a great time saver, it would enable new tactics for flanking and ambushing, and would allow you to change the shape of the map, maybe even without the enemy knowing it. Maybe you could also run through railings, like the ones in the office in the concrete tower overseeing the river - just run to close the distance with your enemy if all they have is a spitfire, and all you have is melee.
- I would keep Caustic's other passive abilities.
- maybe keeping Gibraltar's passive ability (shield) would work. It would make Gibraltar less of a long range class, forcing Gibraltar players to close the distance. But honestly that's just me making excuses for it. Keep it in or don't, but make it less visible. Personally I would remove it and keep Gibraltar's 10% damage buff, while removing Caustic's damage buff.
Gibraltar's Tactical (Q) ability could be way better if it was tweaked a bit. If you make it invisible to enemies, it would stop being a huge Kill Me I'm Healing beacon, and would instead be a useful method of reshaping the map. You could hide just behind the shield, shoot people, go back. They would have to shoot you and /only then/ would they get small visual indicators of small yellow dots where their shots impact. Only this would tip them off about the shield, and now you've just faked them with your ability. They still don't know the exact shape and orientation of the shield (please make the shield generator smaller), so they don't really know the shape of the shield... while your guys do.
Gibraltar's Ultimate ability is not that different from Bangalore's. It's not unique. Ask 10 players what the difference is and 9 will not know.
Caustic's Ultimate ability is very mechanical.
I would change those abilities to something that lets the classes be better at strategy. Maybe Gibraltar's search & rescue background would let him place a res site once every 7 minutes, maybe even for team mates who you didn't pick up the beacons for. I know I would love something like this for the last few rings, because it would let me get team mates back who otherwise wouldn't be there. I mean let's be honest with each other, especially in the later game, respawning a bare team mate isn't /that/ much of an advantage, and it gives you away, so you have to build strategy around that - eg drop a gun and a shield, res a mate, run away, pick up another shield. It's complicated, and would turn Gibraltar into a class that requires a lot of skill to pull off. Or maybe you could just use it as distraction, to fake enemies. Either way, this sort of thing - being able to res people who you don't have beacons for - would make Gibraltar a very welcome class in any squad, because who doesn't just hate being unable to re-join the game, especially if you're playing with friends rather than rando's. You know how you see a rando pick Lifeline and you think happy thoughts because she's such a great support class? And when you see a rando pick Gibraltar, you just yank the power cord of your console out of the wall socket? That could stop and Gib could be great too now. Gibraltar could be the class of choice for highly skilled players who care about their team mates.
Maybe you could make Caustic's ability something that is more tactical. Say, he gets a boost in his mechanical abilities, but at the cost of the health of team mates, in a vampire mechanic. This would let Caustic make very advanced tactical movements while also being hated by the rest of the team. But he doesn't care about anyone, and his team mates are just blood bags for him. For toxic players only. Maybe on top of say, faster running and climbing and higher jumping, or a 5-10% resistance buff, this ability could also highlight enemies that are in view of other team mates, to give Caustic total situational awareness.
I think those ideas outline some paths for making the two classes much better, without giving them mechanical buffs that reward lack of skill (sorry!). I think the two classes could become much more rewarding to play while remaining true to their original design. Either way, whatever you do, make the two classes' abilities less of a mechanical advantage, and more of a tactical, and even better strategical advantage. I think this would make Apex Legends an even more fun game, and it would give those two classes a new depth that they are missing right now. This could take Caustic and Gibraltar from the sh!t tier into god tier not by giving "overpowered unfair advantages", but giving the best players ways for utilizing their skill to uniquely alter the game that they play with their enemies.
Let's give Gibraltar some love. Always felt sorry for the hate the guy's been getting. That's my squad during the first week or two after the game landed. Names blurred out to protect identities lol
April - last edited April
Personally for weapons I don't see why the fire power should change but for physical feats that require momentum I agree with you. However maybe recoil could be lower for bigger characters (their arms weigh way more, after all)
I would not say that Gibraltar is useless.. It is when you play with randoms, but when you play with your guys it's not that bad.. If you and your team have good coordination then Gib become very strong.. I don't play him very often but when I do I usually play him with my boys to have fun.. There is nothing better when in the middle of the fight you throw Q on a downed enemy, doing a finisher and your boys are in there laughing and cover ya lmao.. His gun shield is now buffed, but I usually disable it, I only use it in a close fight, if I am sniping I disable shield..
If I would call someone useless that would be Mirage and his ultimate.. But again, if you play Mirage a lot you can use it properly, hit your ult while people are already fighting to flank or something like that ( no one will notice a fkn shadow while their are fighting ).. I think people are making mistake hiting ult while they are almost dead, everybody knows what should they follow in that moment.. Few posts below you can see people crying about his ult is useless and needs a buff.. Well, in that case, it seems that Lifelines ult is useless too in late game, you could use ult in early/mid game, but in late you avoid to use it so other squads won't know where you are, does it mean then that he is useless too..? No..
I think Gibraltar shouldn't be "not that bad". Every class should be amazing! So that's why I gave some ideas above. I think breaking down doors would be one thing that the two thicc classes could do that would work quite well in gameplay.
April - last edited April
Yeah, I've seen some really good games with him What are your favorite plays?