Respawn Entertainment will be removing tap-strafing from Apex Legends in patch 10.1, the studio has confirmed.
The announcement was made via a tweet from the studio's official Twitter account, where it explained the reason for the removal in a frank and clear statement.
If you're unsure what tap-strafing is, it's essentially a high-level in-game technique that allows a player to perform fast movement changes without impacting speed and momentum. To put it simply, it's a trick that can be used to make you harder to shoot (especially in the air), whilst providing all the advantages of being mobile. Think of it as a dodge-roll, albeit one Respawn never intended you to use.
It was initially used as a speedrunning tech in Titanfall 2, and was adopted by Apex Legends players fairly quickly after the game's launch.
According to the developer, tap-strafing is “inaccessible, lacks readability/counterplay, and is exacerbated by movement abilities”. More details on the removal will follow in the next patch notes for the game.
It's been something of a controversial change for many in the Apex Legends community. Some see it as a fair update that will level the playing field, whilst others think it should still be possible – albeit with mouse wheel binding turned off, so as to require more skill and not have it as open for abuse.
It's highly likely that a large part of the decision-making process for Respawn here is because of cross-play: whilst tap-strafing is tecnhnically possible on console with pads, it's far harder to perform. Console players routinely getting bodied (moreso than usual) by PC players isn't a good look for a game trying to show off the tenets of cross-play, and it stands to reason EA and Respawn want to keep the average skill level somewhat in-line.
There have been a number of major updates to Apex Legends lately. Another one Respawn had to rush out the door was a significant Seer nerf, since players were complaining that the new character was a touch too overpowered.