Apex Legends is getting rid of tap-strafing, a bit of movement tech that allows players to do speedy mid-air turns without losing any momentum. It was never an intended game mechanic, but something high-level players have discovered that makes it incredibly tough to shoot at them. But last night, Respawn announced that they’re doing away with tap-strafing in the battle royale’s next patch.
The devs say they’re removing the tech because “it’s inaccessible, lacks readability/counterplay, and is exacerbated by movement abilities.” It’s going away in patch 10.1, and they’ll have more details explaining why in its patch notes.
To do a tap-strafe, players basically need to spam W (or whatever key you use to move forward) after doing a slide jump while trying to move to the left or right. This lets them keep the momentum from the slide and very quickly throw themselves 180 degrees, allowing them to leap unnaturally around corners, speedily close the gap on unsuspecting enemies, or essentially dodge bullets.
The issue is that, on PC, players are able to rebind “move forward” to a mouse scroll wheel, which lets them easily trigger the exploit. Worse yet, if you do it with characters like Octane (who has speed-boosting abilities) or Horizon (whose passive lets her slide for days), they can tap-strafe even faster.
It might be deemed “inaccessible” for a number of reasons. The first is that tap-strafing can’t be done easily on a controller, and now Apex has cross-platform play, it’s not particularly fair on Xbox and PlayStation players who can’t replicate it. Even on PC, it’s a pretty advanced thing to learn for lower-level players, with YouTubers like Fingle explaining that you should try learning other tech first.
While this isn’t the sort of movement tech you’d see your average Apex player use, when it’s removed in the next patch you’ll probably notice it. High-level players will suddenly be a little easier to hit, which I’m sure they aren’t best pleased about.
It’s not clear yet when the patch will arrive. Respawn only recently did an update to nerf the new character Seer (though I don’t reckon it’s made all that much difference to the powerful tracker).