Hey everyone! Our dev blog on the Iron Sight changes for the Heat Sink skin went out earlier today.
Below you'll find more context on the decisions behind that change. It’s a delicate case, and we’d love to offer even more of a peek behind the curtain!
Changes to Heat Sink Iron Sights
Upon analyzing our options and finally making the decision to adjust the Heat Sink reactive skin for the Flatline, we knew this would be a contentious change. We hope to provide a little more insight to that thought process. This decision was actually more difficult compared to the seemingly obvious "make em all better" one.
If you haven’t already, please read this dev blog first. A key line we want to highlight here is: "our default iron sights are designed to push players to loot for better optics... skins shouldn't be a factor in the sights functionality as well." There are two things at play here: (1) the loot game and (2) functionality.
(1) We shortcut an important element of the loot game in cases where the iron sight is preferred from the get go. But if you want Apex to have competitive integrity you should be removing loot RNG, right? Well, no, that's sort of tangentially related. Apex is a BR and RNG is an integral part of the secret sauce. Over the years we have made changes to mitigate RNG but there is a ton of deliberation behind each one. And as evidenced by this Flatline example, once we remove something that mitigates RNG it becomes very hard to walk back on that. There are a lot more considerations and issues with the cascading effects of how RNG changes may affect Apex’s feel overall, but that’s a topic we won’t touch on today.
(2) Iron sights shouldn't be obtrusive to the point where they're too frustrating to even use. Taking stock and analyzing all our other current iron sights, the regular Flatline skin currently doesn’t fall into that category. However, it has been outclassed by Heat Sink for a long time. While in terms of usability it may not be one that is preferable to most, it is still far from being "unusable." The Heat Sink skin also cannibalizes functionality from other cosmetically awesome Flatline skins—which, while not the main point here, is a bummer.
And so when faced with “do we make the standard Flatline better or the Heat Sink worse?”, we ultimately went with the latter for the reasons above. We know that players will need a period of adjustment and that for those who primarily have been using Heat Sink—it does suck for now. But we did need to make a decision that displays a classic example of a designer's job: to diagnose and separate what the player and the game needs from what is wanted.
The team is constantly learning and working to improve on the game experience, and sometimes it means changing things that both we and our community have become accustomed to. Thanks for taking the time to go on this journey with us and we hope we can find more chances to continue to fold our community into the behind the scenes of difficult decisions made as we continue to propel Apex forward!
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