Season 6 is about halfway done at this point, and a lot of development, balance changes, and meta shifts have already occurred. With the passage of time, I want to revisit the first impressions I had and discuss what I had right and what I had wrong. With many hours of competitive gameplay under my belt, and viewing top pros running PUBs and tournament matches, I think it is fair to say that there is a reasonable grasp on what is going on with Season 6.
The first prediction I had was that Rampart was going to make a splash in the meta. I feel at this point it’s safe to say that this is unfortunately not looking like it’s going to happen. PUB lobbies have stayed pretty aggressive, with Bloodhound/Wraith compositions being the most common. The third slot might be a more defensive character, but even then it is more likely teams would pick up a Gibraltar or a Wattson rather than a Rampart. The utility that Rampart offers is unfortunately just not filling a niche that was needed in the meta. Her walls are easy to disrupt, and the ability to use them to block doors is almost strictly worse than Caustic, and the minigun is good for pressuring areas, but with most people just vying for good spots of cover and Wraith being such a prevalent part of the game, it is hard to make full use of her kit. I do think that with some minor buffs that we could see Rampart more in the future; for now she will just be relegated to a more niche pick for teams.
Next up we had the crafting system, and I feel safe in saying that I was correct in this prediction. While crafting has not made a huge splash in the metas, and the way that replicators expose your location does create a weakness, they have been important to pay attention to. Certain guns bring with them attachments that are highly desirable, such as the EVA-8 having the Digital Threat, the Wingman having Level 3 Heavy Mags, or the Devotion having the Turbocharger. Level 3 Backpacks sometimes only being in crafting makes it more worth taking that trek. The fact that while these items are in rotation means they do not spawn on the ground makes it much more important to pay attention to crafting rotations. Teams have also made use of the EVO Shield charging feature to help one teammate catch up with their shields if they have been having a hard time finding those pot shots to charge up their armor. Overall the crafting system has been a welcome, albeit not overwhelming, change to the game.
The Energy meta has come and gone unfortunately, but I think I can still claim a little bit of a victory on this one. A short time after the season dropped, Respawn announced that they were reducing the drop rate of Devotions and Turbochargers, and also made some small adjustments to the Devo. The Volt is still having a pretty dominating performance, with Volt and Shotgun being one of the more popular loadouts to use during the final few rings. Since the nerfs, the gun meta has balanced out fairly well, with the R-301, Flatline, G7 Scout, and Hemlok all seeing a little bit of love in addition to the shotguns and energy weapons.
The new map additions to World’s Edge have been amazing, and while there are definitely still super sweaty drops in Fragment and newly added Countdown, most of the time you will only find yourself contested by one or two other teams. The defensible positions have not proven to be very important, but have created interesting areas for fights, as they create interesting degrees of high and low ground, with lots of cover in these particular areas. Staging is hands down my favorite new area, with some high ground on the train tracks to play on, and more than enough loot to supply your team. Harvester is probably the most underrated drop zone right now, and while it can not facilitate a lot of teams dropping on it loot wise, the rotations that you can make out of it are fantastic. Easy access to other parts of the map have become important if you want to find yourselves out and fight quickly, and you are less likely to be contested than you would be in say Fragment.
The first thing I need to note about the armor system is that it was changed a few weeks into the season. I would recommend reading the article from Respawn about why the changes were made, but suffice to say, I am glad to see that they reverted the changes to EVO Shields. Players might underrate what a difference 25 extra shield health can mean, and this was clear given the choice to revert the change of EVOs maxing out at 100 health. The main thing I was wrong about was the change to early game camping. Now, you will take your engagement to clear out the other team you landed with, and then you will usually rotate to a more populated area, arm up one or two teammates with Sniper guns or a G7 Scout, and try to take potshots at opposing teams to charge up your armor. Alternatively, you can also charge armor in crafting stations, as mentioned earlier. So while camping is still a relevant part of the early game, you will see people putting themselves at risk more often if they were not fortunate enough to find higher levels of EVO Shields off of the drop. I still think that this was a fantastic change however, as more often than not the teams that make it to the final ring will be on more equal footing health wise; this is dependent on how well they played earlier in the game, but those teams deserve to have a leg up for their play.
Season 6 still brought some fantastic changes to the meta, and while there are definitely still things that need to be adjusted, Legends that need to be buffed, and a few bugs that can cause unfortunate incidents, Respawn is definitely taking the game in a meaningful and healthy direction. I look forward to the mid season break, and how Respawn will continue to shape the game moving forward.