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Apex Legends Ping System Makes Online Gaming Enjoyable Again

Apex Legends has set the gaming world on fire with its smooth gunplay, level design, and heroic abilities of its legend list. It has remained in the top 5 on Twitch since its inception and even dethroned the mighty Fortnite as the most watched game for several days. However, one could argue that the greatest innovation of this battle royale shooter lays not in its “back of the box” features, but instead with a simple, yet brilliant UI tool.

If you have ever played shooter with people, words like this may be familiar to you:  

Flanking left. Bangalore on ping. Hit, hit! Blue armor coming to you. Lifeline behind! In the house to the right. Push in push in! Team down.

If you have ever played any shooter with people, you may also have heard this:

He’s such a [insert whatever derogatory term you would like here].

The innovation of internet gaming has been the ability to bridge gaps to achieve not only the goal within the game itself but also evolving the way in which we as individuals communicate with one another. Unfortunately, with the invisible internet walls between gamers, so to comes the fictional power derived from the anonymity, allowing trolls to spew forth ugliness with little to no consequences for words and actions that are hurtful to others. Yet as gaming evolves in its openness, it follows that more avenues of communication would be available. We have seen many systems of text boxes and audio cues come to fruition, but Apex Legends revolutionary ping system is amazing in its simplicity.

For console gamers, a simple click of the right button (R1) allows the player to “ping” anything on the screen. For example, if the user sees a gun on the ground, a press of the ping button highlights the gun on the ground, sets a way point marker on the screen, and also causes the user to audibly say what the item is, such as “R-99 here”. The teammate can also acknowledge the ping by simply hovering over the item and pressing their own right button, also highlighting the item and hearing an audible “Ok” from the other player. Buildings, enemies, waypoints, and anything else that is present on the user’s screen is able to be pinged at any time by use of the same button. More complicated messages can be sent by holding the same button and selecting those options quickly and easily with the joystick. This allows for quick gameplay adjustments by teammates, and seamless communication cues in the midst of battle.

The amazing (and possibly) unintended result is that a team can be successful in any given match without the need for voice or text communication. Gone are the days of having to deal with toxic players in the match just because you were randomly paired with that group. The ping system is usually used instead of those methods, as short simple commands are often better in moment to moment play than speaking or writing about it. I will say from personal experience that this had made my online gaming experience a lot more fun and rewarding. I have less instances of derogatory or insensitive comments that take away from my gaming experience. Unfortunately, this is not a permanent fix as Apex Legends and other online games should have a more comprehensive system for dealing with those who would impede the gaming experience for others, but more innovative solutions like the ping system go a long way to making the online gaming space better for everyone.

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Ryan Files is an avid comic book and video game consumer, reviewer, and critic hailing from the boondocks of Illinois. He has taken his ethnographic cultural studies background and applied it to his love of geekdom. He is a huge Star Wars nerd, Castlevania fanatic, and his power level is definitely over 9000. When he isn’t online writing about how he misses old school beat em’ ups like Final FightStreets of Rage, or TMNT IV Turtles in Time, he raises his 3 Dora Milaje warrior girls with the most awesome wife a blerd could ask for. You can reach the mumbly one @moblipeg on Twitter or email him at moblipeg@gmail.com.

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