When it comes to competitive gaming, the highest ranks of each game carry prestige with them. The status of being one of the very best should be earned with dedication, skill, and experience. Apex Legends should be no different, with only a small number of players hitting the top ranks of Masters and Apex Predator, but season 17 has proven the exact opposite.
The changes to the ranked ladder have made it much easier for any player to achieve the top two ranks, with disastrous effects for the overall ranked distribution. On July 4, two months into season 17, the amount of Masters and Predator players in Apex eclipsed one million across all platforms according to Apex Legends Status, the highest ever recorded in the history of the game.
The rise in the amount of Masters players is due to the many changes made with the release of Arsenal. A new MMR system was introduced, but led to many situations where high and low ranked players were incorrectly matched up against each other. The amount of LP (formerly “RP”) gained for kills was reduced in favor of “winning the battle royale” and surviving to the top half, but only incentivised players to hide away in corners of the map instead of fighting. The buy-in cost for a ranked match was reduced and equalized across all ranks to -35 LP, the cost of entry for Gold players in past seasons, but made it easier to break even and slowly climb even without doing damage, as Apex Predator players previously had to pay upwards of -72 LP in past seasons for each match.
Related: Apex Legends sets new record for Masters and Predator players—and that’s a problem
All of these problems compounded together to make a disastrous ranked environment, where one masters or predator ranked team could easily steamroll over one half of the lobby due to the skill and ranked disparity, while the other half hid away in corners, able to gain positive RP even while dealing no damage, sparking in-game protests from pro players against the current state of ranked.
Despite Respawn’s pre-season promises that the new MMR system would balance out with the addition of placement matches and players gravitating towards their natural skill bracket, the ranked distribution as season 17 goes on completely shattered the studio’s expectations, with the number of Masters players eclipsing all of the previous ranks by a wide margin.
The overall reception to season 17’s ranked experience has been largely negative, as players from the casual and competitive communities have all rallied around the call for improvements, changes, or even fully reverting the changes to the playlist. One reddit thread earned enough attention for a Respawn dev to directly respond, confirming changes for the upcoming season.
Opportunistic players have one more month to reach their desired rank, as Arsenal ends on Aug. 8. Respawn usually releases the patch notes for the new season a week before launch, and fans can expect the same for season 18.
About the author
Freelance Writer for Dot Esports covering Apex Legends, League of Legends, and VALORANT. Justin has played video games throughout all of his life, starting his esports writing career in 2022 at The Game Haus. When he’s not spectating matches, he can easily be found grinding the ranked ladder.