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Apex Legends' New Penalties Are Backfiring

When Season 9 of "Apex Legends" launched in early May, it delivered a new 3v3 game mode, Arena, that was supposed to take the game beyond battle royale. However, Arena has struggled due to rampant dropouts leaving battles unbalanced — and Respawn Entertainment's attempted fix, a penalty for gamers who quit early, has ended up punishing some people who are playing by the rules.

As explained in Respawn's official introduction to Arenas, the Season 9 addition is a new permanent game mode, as opposed to the seasonal and temporary modes "Apex Legends" have regularly rotated in the past. Arena offers a more focused combat experience for squads who compete directly against another crew over multiple rounds to determine a winner.

However, the multiple rounds aspect of the setup has become a problem, with players on Reddit reporting that one bad round often results in players on the losing side jumping ship, leaving teams massively imbalanced. This led to fans heading back to Reddit to request that a 10-minute timeout penalty be imposed on players who leave a game early, just as is seen in regular ranked battle royale matches.

Respawn happily obliged that request, quietly including a new penalty in the May 24 update that was supposed to attach a ten-minute rejoin suspension on the first person to leave an Arena game. However, fans soon began reporting that the sanction affected players who were winning games. Here's how the new penalties in "Apex Legends" have been backfiring.

Time out for the wrong players

As described in the patch notes posted by Respawn on Twitter, the new system is only meant to penalize the first person who leaves a game early, which would theoretically be the person creating an almost unfixable imbalance for the rest of the match. Considering that it shouldn't take much longer than ten minutes to finish an Arena match already in progress, the penalty should incentivize players to complete the games they start, even if there's a chance they might lose.

However, many "Apex Legends" fans on Reddit have reported being penalized after winning games in which players on the opposing team have left early. This means that after players go through the motions (on both sides) to finish matches that have become unbalanced by players quitting mid-match, they find themselves unable join their next game until the ten-minute suspension timer runs out.

The problem has been compounded by continued reports of unbalanced matchmaking, which was the most common complaint lodged by Twitter users responding to the new patch notes.