‘Apex Legends’ Season 2 Changes Will Include a Necessary Pathfinder Nerf
Apex Legends Season 2 is primed to nerf one of the game’s most charming characters, the cheery robot with a grappling hook called Pathfinder. He deserves it.
Since an explosive debut in February, Apex Legends stagnated following the release of its first season in March, thanks to a lackluster loot table and a number of ongoing bugs in the game. But developer Respawn Entertainment hopes to fix all that and much more with Season 2, taking aim at Pathfinder’s hitbox as one of the many glitches scheduled to be addressed when the Season 2 update drops on July 2.
On friday night, Respawn Entertainment community manager Jay Frechette offered an update on Reddit outlining many of the issues the developer is looking at in recent and upcoming patches.
“We’ve been investigating Pathfinder’s hitbox and looking at player feedback,” he wrote. “At Season 2 launch we’ll be making adjustments to the hitbox that we’ll talk more about closer to Season 2.”
A character’s “hitbox” refers to the portion of its body that can be damaged by effects in the game. For a game like Apex Legends, that translates to the portions of Pathfinder’s body that can be damaged by gunfire or explosions. Every other character in the game is a humanoid of varying size with a predictable hitbox based on the surface area their body takes up; Gibraltar, for instance, is a larger character with more surface area that can take damage, leading many players to avoid picking him as a character.
Pathfinder’s overall size is in the middle of the game’s characters, but depending on the skin that players put on him, there can be an extreme discrepancy when comparing what enemies see of the robot and how much of that can be damaged. This gives anyone who plays as Pathfinder a distinct advantage: If enemy players shoot Pathfinder in the wrong part of his head, the bullet might not register at all.
How does this happen?
Skins are all technically cosmetic items, so the hit boxes of characters have to be standardized — otherwise they aren’t even cosmetics at all. Most character skins don’t add much in terms of visual surface area, swapping out fabrics and color patterns to make the character look different.
Because Pathfinder is a robot with different anatomy from the human competitors, however, the variation in his different skins becomes more extreme, creating a visual discrepancy between what his enemies can see and what they can shoot. Consider this: the standard Pathfinder skin has skinny legs, but slapping a skin like Angel City Pacer on makes his thighs twice as thick, but it doesn’t do anything to his hitbox.
Any metal piece that protrudes from Pathfinder’s body, like the fuel cells that jut out of his shoulders, also can’t be damaged.
Players that use Pathfinder get this unintended advantage that increases their survivability, but even with that added perk, most Apex Legends tier lists still put Pathfinder somewhere in the second-lowest tier. His grappling hook ziplines give the character and his allies more mobility, but his lackluster passive ability just gives a preview of where the storm ring moves next. These moves just don’t stack up with other characters.
With Apex Legends Season 2 slated to introduce a new Legend named Wattson with mastery over electric fences, character balancing will be important for Apex Legends moving forward. Fixing Pathfinder’s hitbox will be a necessary step towards achieving that balance in Season 2 and beyond.