In the run-up to season 13 of Apex Legends, trailers and graphics teased “Ranked Reloaded,” presumably referencing changes coming to the game’s ranked mode. Now, Respawn has revealed the official changes to ranked and they stand to significantly alter the ranked experience for all players in season 13.
The changes are extensive and include tweaks to kill points players receive in ranked, the introduction of tier demotions, a change to the entry cost for each match in ranked, and the creation of an entirely new tier in the ranked system.
The thing that will most commonly affect all players in ranked is the changes to how kill points work. Respawn places its emphasis on teamwork when talking about ranked changes and rightly so: Players will now be awarded points for any kills their team secures and not just kills that they directly participate in. These kill points will not be created equally, however. Players will still record points as normal for kills or assists they receive. If a team member secures a kill that another player does not receive an official assist for, however, the players that do not receive assists will still get half the points for the kill that they would receive if they got a kill or assist themselves.
In addition to team kill points, season 13 will remove the cap on kill points a player can receive. Instead, the base value of each kill point a player achieves will be worth increasingly less with each kill point added, down to a minimum base value for kill points. With kill points now easier to obtain through team kill points and a buff to the assist timer for damaging enemies (you will get an assist if a teammate downs an enemy within 15 seconds of you damaging them, up from 10 seconds), trying to hoard kill points the further a player gets into a game becomes a less effective strategy for gaining ranked points.
Respawn seems to be aiming all of these changes at making ranked a more team-based experience, with high placements being the ultimate goal. Players earn points as a team, and as they gain more kills, the less important kills become for ranked points and the more important high placement becomes.
Further incentivizing high placements will be the new tier demotion system and changes to entry costs for a ranked match. Previously, once players achieved promotion to a new ranked tier, the tier protection system would prevent them from falling back down to the tier below, meaning that while it was possible for a player to be demoted from Silver II to Silver III, for example, they could not be demoted from Gold IV back into Silver. In season 13, tier demotion protection still exists, but only for three games where the player loses RP after being promoted to a new ranked tier.
The tier demotion system also includes a few more tweaks. To prevent players from yo-yoing between tiers and give them a fighting chance when they’ve been promoted to a new tier, promotion to a tier comes with a bonus of 100 ranked points. But to balance out the presence of the tier protection system, players that are demoted from their ranked tier will be reset to the 50-percent value of the tier just below. This means that if a player runs through their three-game buffer provided by the tier demotion protection and loses more ranked points in a game at Platinum IV, they will be reset in Gold I to halfway between the Gold II and Platinum IV thresholds.
With the tier demotion comes adjustments to entry costs for each tier. Each tier will have its entry cost increased for every level promotion within a tier, and all tiers see a general increase in the number of ranked points it costs to enter a game.
These changes will make ranked grinders think twice about hot-dropping game after game since the loss of permanent tier demotion protection and increased costs to enter a match can send a player plummeting down the ranks if they simply hot drop and die game after game.
The changes to ranked also include changes to how much kills are worth based on the differences in rank between two players, as well as adjustments to how ranked points for kills work in correlation with ranked points for placements and changing ranked point thresholds across the board.
The final major changes of the new ranked system include the introduction of a completely new ranked tier, Rookie. The Rookie tier now exists as an introduction to ranked. Once a player climbs out of Rookie and into Bronze, they cannot be demoted back to Rookie. This gives new players a chance to learn the game without having to run into experienced players with decayed accounts stomping through their lobbies.
Finally, players will no longer receive kills for finishing enemies that have already been knocked down by another team that is already dead. These “third-party kills” were in the game unintentionally to begin with. As Respawn says, “kills are earned, not given.”
The extensive changes should please the top of the player pool, who have complained about how bloated the Masters rank became and how little skill it took to succeed in ranked for quite some time. At the same time, casual players get more kill rewards to help them progress through lower ranks, while more teamwork and strategy will be required to progress higher on the ranked ladder and prevent players from demoting back down to a lower rank.
Season 13 and the renovations to Apex’s ranked mode launch on May 10.