After launching in February of 2019, Respawn’s Apex Legends has become a massive success both commercially and critically, earning itself a spot among other popular battle royale titles like Fortnite and PUBG. Now in its fifth season, the game has grown into quite a different beast than it was early last year, offering plenty of new weapons, a second map, new game modes, and an ever-growing collection of lovable and fun new characters.
As the roster grows, however, Respawn is being forced to look back at some of the game’s initial launch legends to reconsider whether they’re remaining equally viable alongside arena newcomers. One such character is Lifeline, arguably the most adored from Apex Legends‘ original lineup, who’s seen very little in the way of updates to her kit since launch.
Though Lifeline is still one of the game’s most-played legends, updates over the past few seasons have seen her kit feel somewhat less valuable to aggressive teams now that other defensive characters have abilities that are equally beneficial. Her 25% faster healing is fantastic but self-serving, and her quicker revive can be replicated (if not exceeded) by Gibraltar’s bubble shield, as it also grants the same boon alongside cover and increased healing for anyone within it. Meanwhile, her drop pod used to be one of the game’s most useful abilities, but now newcomer Loba can use her ultimate to gain immediate access to any items (including epics) within a radius and make them available to the entire team.
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Lifeline remains a solid pick for most any team, but there’s no denying that the character roster is expanding in a way that is presenting players with picks that simply offer more. Respawn seems aware of this, too, as lead game designer, Carlos Pineda, took to Twitter on May 14th to indicate that he sees the potential for what he calls a “sidegrade.”
What we're really looking for is a Sidegrade. We want her to be different from other Legends without necessarily adding power. That kind of design is much harder than just cranking numbers or even just adding a new thing she can do.
— Carlos Pineda (@pinedsman) May 15, 2020
So, it seems Lifeline won’t see changes in line with the recent Mirage rework, which made him considerably more powerful and tricky for teams to deal with, but she may see some minor upgrades to her kit that will keep her viable in a time when so many other characters in Apex Legends are shining so brightly. Time will tell what a Lifeline “sidegrade” will ultimately look like, but stay tuned here for more when we find out.