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Apex Legends' netcode has big issues with lag, server tickrate - report

The netcode in Apex Legends is seemingly nowhere near as polished as the rest of the game.

Netcode in battle royale games is always a sticky subject. For one, it's challenging to get satisfying results when player counts are high, and maps are big - two key elements in any battle royale game.

YouTuber Battle(non)sense, whom you may remember from his excellent netcode analysis videos for popular shooters including Black Ops 4, Fortnite and many others, has given Apex Legends the same treatment.

As is common in these tests, Battle(non)sense starts out by testing the client and server send and receive rates. In this case, Apex Legends' client sends updates at 58Hz, but the first problem can be seen in the receive rate, which is unstable. Bizarrely, the receive rate starts out high and drops during the match, before increasing slightly towards the end.

This is in stark contrast to other battle royale games, which start out with a worse rate the more players are alive before stabilising as their numbers dwindle. Regardless, the receive rate averages around 31Hz.

These numbers can be a bit misleading, however, as the YouTuber explains. Apex Legends' servers run at a 20Hz tickrate, but the send and receive rates suggest a value higher than that. According to their findings, that is because the game's servers send so much data that it has to be split into multiple packets, creating a bloated tickrate value.

Of course, the actual delay players feel in-game when moving, shooting etc. is what ultimately matters. Battle(non)sense noted an average delay of 94.2ms for damage, 165.2ms for gunfire, and 136ms for movement. These figures are quite high, especially considering the roughly 20Hz tickrate of Apex's servers.

For comparison, this is much high than PUBG, Fortnite, and Blackout. In simpler terms, having such high network delay means you'll be shot behind cover, not to mention have less fair firefights in Apex compared to these other games.

This is a problem that can't simply be solved by upping the tickrate, as the analysis explains. Instead, Respawn will need to make the netcode more efficient and work on its lag compensation tech, which currently favours the shooter no matter how high their ping is.

You can check out the full analysis in the video above.

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