HomeGamesCaustic Is Not Easy To Balance, Says The Dev

Caustic Is Not Easy To Balance, Says The Dev

Caustic is known for frustrating his enemies with toxic gas, and he’s either in a good position or a bad position. Balancing Caustic is not easy for the Apex Legends devs, it seems. Both his ultimate and tactical abilities are making it hard to play against him. Especially, the indoor fights are always his strong side. As well as breaking visions of enemies, he also damages them with the gas. So, the players want him in a balanced state, and devs answered that situation.

First of all, let’s start with how and when devs shared opinions about Caustic. It all started with a post of a Reddit user. A user named AadrianN_ shared a gameplay video, and it shows that the strong suit of the character.

The play is excellent in every way. Caustic’s holding the higher ground, the ring is closing to the smallest from before the end ring. It’s obvious that we’ll see the champions of the game. Only three squads are left. But Caustic’s position is so good that you can see it’s his win. When the ring starts closing, he releases the gas bomb from a window to the center of the ring. The only thing for Caustic to do after that is to wait for the “You are the champion” screen. It might be a clever play, but accept it, it makes you hate him more than ever.

“The problem is what do we give him in return?”

After that, Reddit users started to discuss the video and the Caustic’s overall state. A user named Banuner asked “Real talk. What is the counter to that?”, and the head of the designer team of the Apex Legends, Daniel Klein, answered that.

Once you get to this exact situation, there isn’t one, and that f****** sucks. It’s something we’re talking about, but we don’t exactly have a solution yet. Creating a shootable central thing for the ult, like Horizon, would work, but it’s such a heavy-handed fix (and would probably require us making barrels destructible post-trigger because otherwise, they’re just better than the ult).

The problem with all that is what do we give him in return? Because we can’t just make him an unpickable character either. You may not like them, but Caustic mains exist and deserve to have fun too.

Daniel Klein

After Klein’s comment, people started to tell their opinions about the clip, and how to counter that. Then, instead of answering every comment, Klein gave answers to frequently said opinions.

“This happens very rarely, and therefore it’s okay.”

Yeah, it rarely happens and while that may make it okay in the aggregate when looking at charts and stats and all that, it does NOT make it okay in that situation. It’s little consolation to the enemy players in this clip that this happens very rarely. The experience at that moment is unfair, and it sucks. We gotta fix it.

Daniel Klein

“Just use XYZ character as a counter.”

Nope. Apex is not a game with a reactive pick meta where you could say things like “Oh I’m against a Caustic, better pick Horizon, so I can sit in my tactical over his gas cloud.” There’s always the chance for a Caustic. Counter picks are meaningless in Apex. And even in League, we had a rule that an individual CHARACTER countering another character didn’t make a mechanic okay. Specific character mechanics must be BROADLY counterable. That means there has to be an action anyone in the game can perform that counters them.

Daniel Klein

“Just disable all abilities in the final ring.”

Ring 5 now exists for a combined 3 minutes (1:30 wait time + 1:40 slow close time). Turning off all abilities (or even just all ults) is a very heavy-handed fix that throws out a lot of good gameplay with the bad. Shouldn’t Bloodhound be able to ult in the final ring? Shouldn’t Wattson be able to place down an ult? Also, shouldn’t Loba be able to throw down her black market when her team runs out of ammo in the final fight?

We don’t really care about ALL abilities in the final ring; we care about abilities like Fuse/Horizon/Gibby ult, Caustic tactical and ult, etc. And we *COULD* go through and mark individual abilities as “disabled in the final ring”, but now we’re talking exceptions on top of exceptions. Again, if nothing else works we COULD do this, but it’s really ugly and unintuitive and I’d much rather we try other fixes first.

Daniel Klein
caustic

Suggestions To Balance Caustic

When players saw that the devs are don’t know what to do with Caustic, they shared their suggestions. Some of them were quite good that even Klein loved those suggestions.

“Let him release the gas from his body.”

A Reddit user, History_of_Robots, suggested a new ultimate ability for Caustic. He said that instead of throwing a bomb, he could release the gas from his body. So, he’d have to get closer to the enemies. Klein liked that idea and shared his thoughts about it.

That’s a cool idea! I’ll have to think about that a little more. Right now his barrel-gas only does damage to people that are in the direct sight line of the barrel; I’d have to check how the ult handles this and how that would translate to having the gas emanating from his person. I’ll dig into the code and think about it.

Daniel Klein

Soccer-ball-shaped gas bomb

Another Reddit user, JSjackal, came up with a different and more detailed suggestion. In a nutshell, the user wants the gas bomb with the shape of a soccer ball.

Make his ult a soccer ball. An icosahedron that releases gas out of every face the same way his Gas Grenade does. Same radius and same damage. He rolls it/throws it ahead of him, and it continually releases gas as it goes, but the gas only persists for 2-3 seconds if the ball rolls on. So if you roll it past an enemy, they take only 1 or 2 ticks of health damage. If you can pin it up against an obstacle or throw it in a room, it lingers and lasts the same amount of time as his grenade.

The big difference is, anybody can move it. Melee it and it goes pretty far, shoot it continually, and it moves a bit. This would completely alleviate the situation shown in this clip since the team could have gotten it out of the circle, but it would still do some damage and take their focus for a moment.

Caustic could still trap people in rooms with his ult. He could still run experiments from much further than with his tactical. But he can’t leave a team without a Caustic or Horizon completely defenseless in the final ring. Also, the ball could be a different color for friendlies, so people can finally tell whose gas is safe to enter if they can get a look at it.

u/JSjackal

In my opinion, this idea is way better than the previous idea. Klein, too, liked it a lot and shared his comments.

That’s also pretty cool! We’d need to make sure this doesn’t look too derpy because Caustic is sort of a serious character. We don’t want people to play beach ball with evil gas daddy’s murder ult. That might not quite be on the brand.

I do like that your pitch is better than just making it destructible because Caustic would also get to move it around. I like this one, and I like the pitch where the gas comes from his body.

Daniel Klein

Klein also answered the opinions about the clip, but these comments can really change the future of Caustic. The good thing is, when players understood that devs couldn’t balance a character, they gave opinions about how to do it, and senior officials are taking notes of them or sharing their opinions. Like it or not, the bond between the devs and players of Apex Legends is something different from any other games. The community is giving feedback all the time and devs are responding to it. I think it’s the ultimate reason why this game has the best community among other games.

Umut Arı
Umut Arı
gaming / hiphop enthusiast

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