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Apex's newest character might finally help me not suck

vantage
(Image credit: Respawn Entertainment)
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Apex Legends' latest season, Hunted, is out tomorrow. With it comes your usual helping of map changes, character balancing, and a new legend that may finally help me not suck at the game.

Her name is Vantage, and she's Apex's first sniping-focused character. While we haven't gotten hands-on with her yet, Respawn has shared a brief teaser and description of her abilities, including one perk that should make long-range shots a lot easier to land.

  • Spotter's Lens (passive): Aim down sights to scout with your eyepiece (unarmed or with mid- to long-range scopes) and use a bullet drop indicator to see where your shots will land.
  • Echo Location (tactical): Position your winged companion Echo and then Launch towards him. Must have line of sight to Echo for Launch.
  • Sniper's Mark (ultimate): Use your custom sniper rifle to mark enemy targets which applies a damage bonus for you and your team.

The ability I have my eye on there is Spotter's Lens. As a lapsed casual Apex player, bullet drop is one aspect of the game I've never been able to wrap my head around. You'd think after 10 years of playing Battlefield games that I'd be able to land a sniper shot, but Apex's constant mobility makes consistent accuracy especially tough. A bullet drop indicator could be the assist I need to finally become a competent squadmate. I imagine experienced sharpshooters are more excited by her Sniper's Mark ultimate that can essentially mark players for death. This sounds a lot like a long-range, ultra-deadly version of Zenyatta's Discord Orb in Overwatch.

We also shouldn't forget that one of the most powerful abilities in the game, self-revive, is also getting completely removed (opens in new tab). Gold Knockdown Shields will now have the Guardian Angel perk, while Gold Backpacks get Deep Pockets, a new perk that lets users hold additional healing items per slot.

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Elsewhere in the Hunted patch notes are a heap of weapon and character balancing changes. Fresh on the chopping block is Valkyrie, who's getting a major nerf to the VTOL jets that make her so popular among high-ranked players. Her powerful repositioning ultimate, Skyward Dive, is now both slower and lower, making it easier than before to pick her squad out of the sky before landing. Meanwhile, Newcastle is getting big buffs to basically every part of his kit, which leads me to believe he was underperforming during his debut season.

Check out the full Apex Legends: Hunted patch notes (opens in new tab) below:

Laser Sights
New attachment to replace barrels for SMGs and Pistols
Reduced hipfire spread

Crate Rotation
G7 Scout returns to the floor.
Volt SMG returns to the floor.
Bocek Compound Bow enters the crate.
Rampage LMG enters the crate.

Crafting Rotation
Wingman returns to the floor.
CAR SMG returns to the floor.
Devotion LMG enters the crafter.
RE-45 + Hammerpoint combo enters the crafter.

Gold Weapon Rotation
Longbow DMR, G7 Scout, Mozambique, R-99, Hemlok

SMGs
Base hipfire spread increased.

Assault Rifles
Base hipfire spread increased.

EVA-8
Recoil improvements.
Now takes stocks.
Removed 1 pellet from blast pattern.
Fire rate increased to 2.3 from 2.0.
Pellet damage increased to 7 from 6.
Bolt rate of fire bonuses increased. 
White: 1.1 to 1.1.
Blue: 1.15 to 1.2.
Purple: 1.2 to 1.3.

Bocek Compound Bow
Damage at full draw increased to 70 from 60.
Tempo draw speed increased to 0.38 from 0.32.
Shattercaps pellet damage increased to 12 from 11.
Fired arrows can no longer be collected.
Arrows spawns have been removed from the floor.

Rampage LMG
Damage increased to 28 from 26.
Rampage comes with a Thermite Grenade.

Volt SMG
Damage reduced to 15 from 17.

CAR SMG
No longer takes barrel attachments.

G7 Scout
Damage reduced to 34 from 36.
Headshot multiplier reduced to 1.75 from 2.0.
Double Tap hop-up burst fire delay increased to 0.4 from 0.375.

LSTAR
Increased projectile speed. 
Increased number of shots before overheat at base to 24 from 20.
Removed bright red flash when hitting non-armored targets.

RE-45
Increased ironsight FOV to 70 to be consistent with other pistols.
Increased strafe speed by 5% to be consistent with other pistols.

Wingman
Wingman now uses sniper ammo and magazines.

Sniper Ammo
Sniper ammo inventory stack increased to 28 from 24.
Sniper ammo boxes now contain 14 rounds instead of 12.

Spitfire
Recoil adjustments to increase vertical barrel climb.
Spitfire now uses light ammo and magazines.

30-30 Repeater
Dual Loader has been worked into the base 30-30 Repeater.
Now takes Skullpiercer Rifling.

Mastiff
Projectile growth reduced.
Base fire rate reduced to 1.1 from 1.2.
Dual Loader removed.

Sentinel
Deadeye’s Tempo has been worked into the base Sentinel.

Hop-Ups
Double Tap
Adds burst fire mode to EVA-8 and G7 Scout.
Skullpiercer
35% headshot damage increase on Longbow, Wingman and 30-30 Repeater.
Removed Deadeye’s Tempo & Shatter Caps from floor loot.
Boosted Loader has been reduced to Epic quality from Legendary.

Backpack Gold Perk
New Perk: Deep Pockets.
Deep Pockets: Large medical supplies stacks higher in your inventory.
Batteries and Medkits now stack to 3 in inventory.
Phoenix Kits now stack to 2 in inventory.

Knockdown Shield Gold Perk
New Perk: Guardian Angel (Previous Backpack Perk).
Self Revive removed from the game.

Arc Star
Reduced stick damage on armor to 10 from 40.
Remove aim slow on stick, remains on detonation.
Detonation damage increased to 75 from 70.

Explosive Holds
Added Blue attachments to possible spawns.
Added Laser Sights to the pool.
Reduced spawn rate of gold magazines.

LEGENDS

Valk
VTOL Jets
Acceleration on activation decreased by about 8%.
Fuel consumption on activation increased by 33%.
Aerial boosting & strafing take a 20% debuff when hit by slowing effects.
Added a third orange state to the fuel meter UI between green (>60%) and red (<30%).l
Missile Swarm
Aim/turn slow removed.
Move slow duration decreased from 2.5s -> 2.0s.
Reducing the explosion radius from 175 -> 125.
Skyward Dive
Height reduction of 25%.
Launch time reduced from 5.5s -> 5.0s. Coupled with the height reduction, players in Valk ult now travel upward at a slightly slower speed.

Horizon
Black Hole: Adjustments to N.E.W.T’s hitbox to make destroying it more reliable.
Black Hole: N.E.W.T. takes 50% more damage from explosives.

Wattson
Improvements to Perimeter Security placement system.

Newcastle
Retrieve the Wounded:
Increased move speed during revive by 25%.
Reduced turn slow while reviving by 50%.
Increased White Knockdown shield health from 150 -> 200.
Increase Blue Knockdown shield health from 250 -> 300.
Mobile Shield:
Increased hp from 350 -> 500
Doubled max movement speed.
Castle Wall:
Added turn slow to electrical barrier effects and increased the severity of the slow effect to movement.

Mad Maggie
Riot Drill:
Projectile Launch Speed doubled.
Wrecking Ball: 
Will travel twice as far while dropping the same amount of magnets.
Duration increased from 5 sec → 10 sec.
Magnet Spawn delay increased from 0.4 sec → 0.8 sec.
Wrecking Ball will deal damage to enemy placeable objects: Black Market, Castle Walls, Exhibit, Death Totem, Mobile Shield, Black Hole, Amped Cover, and Gas Barrels. It will also destroy Gibraltar's Dome of Protection
Fixed Wrecking Ball not blinding and slowing enemies.

Rampart
Now ignores friendly collision on Amped Cover placement (i.e. placing walls around teammates will feel more smooth).

Caustic
Fixed gas ramping bug where transitioning from friendly to enemy gas would initially damage for more than intended.

Mirage
Mirage Decoys will now be scanned by Valk when skydiving
Mirage Decoys will now be picked up by Seer’s Heart Seeker.
Fixed a bug where Mirage Decoys were picked up by Seer’s Exhibit as AI and not players.

Revenant
Death Totem will now show a placement preview when activated instead of placing immediately.

CRAFTING UPDATE
Team-Use Harvesters: When any player interacts with a Materials Harvester, all players in their team will be given the Materials.
Removed Shatter Rounds from crafting.
Removed Hammerpoints from base crafting and added to RE-45 Weapon Craft.
Heavy, Energy, and Sniper mags price increased from to 35 from 25.
Laser Sight added to crafting: 25 materials.
Stock and Barrel price reduced to 25 from 35.
Added Skullpiercer Rifling Hop-Up to crafting.
Added Double Tap Trigger Hop-Up to crafting.
Added Kinetic Feeder Hop-Up to crafting.
Increased Shotgun Bolt price from to 30 from 25.
Reduced 2-4x ACOG optic price to 30 from 35.

MAPS

The maps rotating for public matches during Hunted are; Kings Canyon, World’s Edge, and Storm Point.

ALL BATTLE ROYALE MAPS
Replicators and Crafting Materials have been rebalanced across the maps.
Ring Adjustments:
Ring 1 Damage increase from 2 to 3 hp/tick (equivalent to Ring 2)
Ring 1 Preshrink Time decreased from 180s to 60s.
Ring 1 Closing Time:
Kings Canyon - 4:10 -> 4:32
World’s Edge - 3:42 -> 4:32
Storm Point - 4:15 -> 4:35
Olympus - 4:10 -> 4:32

WORLD’S EDGE
Removed some frustrating final rings at Staging that were causing heal offs.
Fragment East Loot buffed from Low Tier to Medium.
Added OOB to west rocks at Lava Siphon.

QUALITY OF LIFE
New Mode/Map name UI element on load screen and start flow.
“Winning” and “Champion” tags added to the scoreboard.
Added ability to use “tap” interact prompts when they conflict with “hold” (e.g. reloading near downed teammates is now a lot more reliable on controller).
Added flourish to the crafting materials in the top right of the HUD when they increase.
Added a flourish to items if they become craftable while in the crafting station UI.
Added accessibility switch for turning on and off TTS (Text-to-speech), defaulting to what your console or system has it set to (where available)
When dropping from the dropship, the location of the POI player lands in is now displayed.

BUG FIXES
Hipfire reticles now change size based on the FoV
Fixed bug where canceling a Lifeline revive would cancel it for other teammates also being revived by Lifeline. 
Fixed bug where players could not deal melee damage to Caustic Gas Barrels or Octanes Jump Pads.
Fix for issue where the buy menu would close each time a teammate completes a purchase/and or closes the buy menu.
Crypto’s Ultimate now destroys Wattson’s Pylon.
Fix for issue where Crypto’s heirloom animation audio would play globally when using a survey beacon.
Fix for issue where players could sometimes get stuck while crouched between a Replicator and Black Market after crafting.
Fixed bug where players could not unlock the “Fully Kitted” badge.
Fix for issue for Legends losing functionality like meleeing, using an ability, etc, while mantling.
Fix for bug where players could not switch ammo types for the C.A.R. SMG.
Newcastle - fix for issue where Newcastle could get stuck in their Ultimate animation while riding a zipline.
Newcastle - fixed bug where throwables placed on a Mobile Shield would start floating after the Mobile Shield disappears.
Newcastle - fix for cases where players wouldn’t take damage from ordnance or activate Caustic’s barrels when positioned between a Tactical Shield and its drone.
Newcastle - fix for bug where throwable abilities placed on a Mobile Shield could float away after the Mobile Shield disappears. 
Wraith - fix for bug where Wraith would still take damage in the Ring while phasing.
Fix for a reload bug with the Mastiff and 30-30 Repeater where players could not ADS until reloading animation was finished.
Fixed bug where Crypto’s melee animations wouldn’t show his heirloom while in third person.
Vending Machines in Big Maude now have buyer protection.
Fixed an issue that could cause some stuttering and framerate spikes on consoles, especially PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S.
Fix for bug where the Dropship would sometimes spawn players outside the ship.
Fixed a bug where Heat Shields would disappear when placed under a respawn beacon, or mobile respawn beacon, and then the beacon was used.
Fixed a bug where Pathfinder’s zipline would be destroyed if placed on top of a respawn beacon and then the beacon was used.
Fix for cases when a Heat Shield could disappear when set under a Respawn Beacon that is activated.
Fix for a bug where Mirage decoys would not show up on scan for a few
Legends.

Morgan Park
Staff Writer

Morgan has been writing for PC Gamer since 2018, first as a freelancer and currently as a staff writer. He has also appeared on Polygon, Kotaku, Fanbyte, and PCGamesN. Before freelancing, he spent most of high school and all of college writing at small gaming sites that didn't pay him. He's very happy to have a real job now. Morgan is a beat writer following the latest and greatest shooters and the communities that play them. He also writes general news, reviews, features, the occasional guide, and bad jokes in Slack. Twist his arm, and he'll even write about a boring strategy game. Please don't, though.