Respawn is taking a hardline stance against Apex Legends players exploiting a Season 9 bug that lets you clip inside a rock and block all incoming damage. The 'ghost rock' in question can be found on the Phase Runner map, one of four launch maps in Apex Legends' new Arenas mode. A fix to the rock clipping bug was supposed to come in yesterday's patch that nerfed the new Bocek bow and Spitfire, but Respawn said in a followup tweet (opens in new tab) that it was delayed for "quality-control reasons."
Respawn then warned players that exploiting the ghost rock for personal gain isn't allowed. "Be aware that abusing this exploit while it's still around is bannable," the developer wrote.
By the looks of it, dealing with a player glitching into the troublesome rock is pretty annoying. You can clip into the rock by simply walking into it and you can't see through or shoot into it, resulting in an awkward shuffle in and out of the rock.
Respawn's warning may come as a surprise if you play other competitive shooters. Many games like Rainbow Six Siege, Valorant, and Call of Duty: Warzone technically outlaw the abuse of known bugs and exploits, but anecdotally, these rules don't appear to be strictly enforced (understandable when there are bigger fish to fry like hackers). Back when Warzone's infinite stim glitch (opens in new tab) would repeatedly pop up for months, Activision focused on fixing it and never really talked about bans.
That was a game-breaking exploit that could single-handedly ruin a 150-player match, so it's notable that Respawn is unsheathing its ban hammer for a single rock that players can sometimes use to cheat their way through a teamfight.
Still, I wonder how Respawn is detecting these rock criminals. You can report players in-game for cheating, but short of video evidence clearly showing an offender using the ghost rock, I'm curious to know how it can be confirmed. It seems like Respawn is following through (opens in new tab) on its warning, so that's encouraging.