Why Does Apex Legends Have So Few Support Characters?
Since it’s release in 2019, Apex Legends has built a roster of diverse legends with unique abilities and backstories. There are four broad categories the 22 legends currently in the game are divided into; offensive, defensive, recon and support. While other categories have an average of six legends each, there are currently only two support characters in the game. While legend leaks earlier this year indicated that more support characters were on the way, we look at why does Apex Legends have so few support characters to begin with.
Apex developers talk about why there are so few support characters
As of Season 14 Apex Legends only has two support characters; Lifeline and Loba. Lifeline was one of the six original legends released with the game’s debut, while Loba came out back in Season 5. Since then both Lifeline and Loba’s abilities have received multiple nerfs and newer legends like Newcastle have begun to overshadow Lifeline’s presence in pro play. Respawn’s Lead Game Designer, Devan McGuire shed some light on the situation during a Apex Legends AMA on Reddit. Responding to a question about support legends and if there were, “plans for more support legends in the future”, McGuire said, “You’ll have to wait to see what each new season holds I’m afraid, but Support Legends are one of the more difficult roles to bring to Apex”.
Apex Legends has a high TTK (time to kill) leading to quick fights and limited opportunities to reset. Respawn doesn’t want to disturb the game’s current TTK so any support legend in the pipeline needs to be balanced carefully so as to not make healing and resets too powerful.
Lifeline is currently the only legend in the game whose tactical heals players. The D.O.C. Heal Drone tactical had to be tweaked several times to keep the legend from becoming too overpowered. Lifeline was almost indispensable during the early seasons of Apex when her passive deployed a shield while reviving legends. Over the seasons, she was nerfed significantly. First her drone was made immobile and then her passive’s shield was removed.
Traditionally support characters provide utility in terms of supplies like weapons, heals, shields, ammo and backpacks, it is hard to balance them without killing core aspects of the game. Loba’s ultimate essentially negates the RNG aspects of Apex, allowing players to pick up two items in a certain radius. RNG is arguably a fundamental characteristic of battle royales. Making the most of what you randomly get with supplies and zone position is one of the main challenges. So since her release in Season 5, the radius of Black Market Boutique has been reduced overall and her cooldown increased.
Respawn developers are still keen on bringing new support legends to the game saying, “That being said, we do want to bring a more balanced roster of class roles to the table in the future at some point.” It will be interesting to see what kind of unique abilities future support characters bring to the game.