As Season 14 approaches, we finally know what new addition to Apex Legends, Vantage, will actually do when she joins the games. She’s a traditional sniper, but focuses on reconnaissance instead of pure firepower. Her Ultimate Ability grants her a third weapon – aforementioned sniper rifle – but that might not be the most overpowered piece of her kit.
Before we go any further, here are Vantage’s abilities in full:
Passive – Spotter’s Lens
Using her Spotter’s Lens to read tactical information on enemy squads at a distance, Vantage always has the upper hand with critical intel like Legend name, shield rarity, team size and range.
Tactical – Echo Relocation
Vantage’s companion Echo is at the ready to help her reposition herself in a fight. Using her modified jetpack and targeting system, Vantage can launch herself towards Echo’s position and take the high ground.
Ultimate – Sniper’s Mark
There’s nowhere to hide from Vantage’s custom sniper rifle, which reveals enemies with its scope and with its ammunition: a successful hit highlights opposing squads for 10 seconds accompanied by a diamond marker, and damage scales up with each hit.
She seems like a combination of popular Apex Legends characters Seer and Loba, with a long-ranged rifle added into the mix. To properly assess whether these abilities are broken or useless, we need to take a closer look at them all first.
Vantage’s Passive ability looks great on paper. While TheGamer wasn’t afforded an interview with the Legend designers like we were with the map and weapons teams earlier this week, we can infer some information from the ability’s wording. Knowing a Legend’s name isn’t that important – they all have distinct silhouettes and most players can work out who they’re facing quickly without abilities. The shield rarity is a big one, but it seems less useful than Seer’s Passive and Ultimate because it doesn’t look like she can see how much damage her opponents’ shields have taken. Without that crucial information, the ability is considerably worse.
The best aspect of Spotter’s Lens is knowing how many players are on the team. If you spot a player running across open ground and instantly know they’re in a duo instead of a trio, that’s an instant push if your squad is at full strength. It’s also worth noting that she can use this ability when aiming down sights, even if she isn’t holding a weapon. Overall, Vantage’s Passive seems just fine at a glance, but I’ll take this moment to remind you that this could all change after we’ve had a chance to play her.
Echo Relocation looks like it could be handy, if it works consistently. Jumping through the air to higher ground will be key to maximise Vantage’s Ultimate, but we all know how many problems Loba has with her bracelet’s similar ability. It’s worth noting that Vantage doesn’t teleport, she soars through the air like Newcastle, so can be shot mid-jump, and Echo looks like he flies pretty slowly, so you need to have your moves planned out well in advance of when you actually want to reposition. This Passive will take no small amount of skill to master, but could be handy in a pinch.
Finally, the big gun. Vantage’s sniper rifle does 50 damage, but it started out very differently. Chris Winder, Legend designer and Vantage’s engineer, talked us through some early iterations of her kit in a roundtable presentation. Respawn started with plans for “instant knock damage,” on her Ultimate and made versions where the rifle debuffed enemies, but the former was too strong and the latter didn’t fit the weapon’s look and feel very well.
The rifle has five rounds, and subsequent hits on a target after the first will do 100 damage rather than 50. The target will also be highlighted for Vantage and her team for 10 seconds, although this will be more like Valk’s scan than Bloodhounds, and will only remain active while the enemy is in line of sight. This opponent will also take more damage from teammates’ weapons, but Winder did not elaborate further than that in our roundtable session.
Vantage’s Ultimate has one unique factor though: “You don’t need to wait for the full charge to use it,” explains Winder. “The rounds build up in the Ultimate, and you can pull it out any time that you want to, as long as you have some ammo in it. If you’ve only got one shot left, or if you’ve got four or all five, you can pull it out, take a couple of shots, and then put it away and it continues charging.”
The scan and damage combo seems quite powerful, but there might be better options in Season 14. The 30-30 Repeater already does 91 damage for a headshot, which will only increase with the addition of Skullpiercer Rifling next season, and that doesn’t need to cool down every five rounds.
Vantage will be an interesting addition to the Apex Legends roster, but her kit seems a little underwhelming. There will obviously be the initial clamour to try her out at the start of Season 14, but after that I predict she’ll fall to the lower bracket of Legends. There’s only one way to find out for sure, though, and we’ll all get to form our own opinions on August 9.
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