Is Ranked Really Better In Apex Legends Season 20?

Just because you’re climbing faster, doesn’t mean ranked is better

Is Ranked Really Better In Apex Legends Season 20?

I’m doing better in ranked in Apex Legends Season 20, but I’m playing worse. The big fifth anniversary reset was like a Thanos snap for all ranked grinders, pitting everyone against one another as all RP was put back to zero. No matter how good your previous performances, we all started from a level playing field.

I assume the reasons for this were enforced by the change to matchmaking. Instead of matching players by a hidden MMR stat like in previous seasons, Apex Legends has switched to matching players by rank. It’s a move that makes a lot of sense, and players are very happy about the switch, but I can imagine that correlating the two was nigh impossible. Hence the reset.

At the start of the season, brand new players were facing off against seasoned Apex Predators. It wasn’t fair, it wasn’t fun. Who wants to be one-clipped by a professional with a Volt off drop? But the ranked structure quickly formed, and matches evened out. However, I wonder if it’s happening quickly enough.

I’ve already reached my peak rank from last season in a fraction of the matches. Compared to last season, I think I’m having more fun, but how much of that is due to match quality, and how much is thanks to seeing the little numbers go up and getting a little boost of serotonin? I think it might be the latter.

While my rank has increased far quicker than last season, my stats are far worse. Let’s take a look at the data. It took me 315 matches to get to Silver 3 last season, and just 56 this season. In the five matches since these stats were taken, I’ve reached Gold. This is the first time in a long while I’ve jumped into ranked, so I was starting from Rookie in both, and made it to Silver over five times faster this time around. However, every other one of my stats has decreased dramatically.

My win rate last season was roughly six percent. This season, it’s about seven percent. That’s about the same, interestingly enough. However, my highest damage last season was 2,796, and this time around, it’s just 799. My average damage has decreased from 455.27 to 231.7. My kill to death ratio is just 0.36 this season, compared to a more respectable 0.91 in Season 19. Why am I playing worse?

My editor’s response to this paragraph was to write “skill issue”. Twice. I’m not ruling it out.

There are a few reasons for this. Firstly, it’s a smaller sample size. An average from 300 matches is a much better portrayal of a player than an average taken from 50. Secondly, I’m trying new Legends this time around. I said I was changing my main to Wattson, but I’ve been trying Bangalore too, and I still mean to play a few rounds with Mirage.

However, the biggest change has been the variable quality of my lobbies. Some matches &- most, I would wager &- I’m partnered with random teammates who drop hot and immediately die with zero damage. In one session, I was paired with the same teammate three matches in a row, during which his damage went 0, 0, 68. When he was downed in the last match, he sent me a message saying, “68 damage this time!” I didn’t ask him why he kept dropping into Gardens, one of the most popular and dangerous spots on the map.

On the other hand, all of my wins have come from great teammates. Players who work together, understand each other’s skills and abilities, and vastly outdamage me. I’m happy to define myself as a mediocre player, but last season, my success wasn’t defined by whether my teammates carried me or not. The early season matchmaking hasn’t left. If I have a Platinum-level player next to me, putting out 3,000+ damage in a Bronze lobby, of course I’m going to do well. If I have a genuine new player on my side and we’re going up against a Masters opponent who’s had a slow start to the season, well, you can imagine.

For me, the low ranks of Season 20 are still a crapshoot, a gamble on teammates. As someone not good enough to carry a squad on my own, it’s a roll of the dice every time I queue. I’m still climbing, so I definitely haven’t reached my level &- I suspect that might be Gold or, with enough grinding, low Plat &- but it seems everyone else is still finding their level too. A lot of people are praising the changes to Apex Legends’ new ranked mode, but I’m withholding judgement for the time being. Maybe people will be sitting at their true ranks by the season’s second split and soft reset. Maybe it’ll take until Season 21. Whatever the case, I’m going to keep shooting, keep climbing, and keep crossing my fingers for a lapsed Predator to lead me to victory.

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