Besides its ingenious remix of genres, perhaps the most extraordinary thing about Respawn’s new hero royale is that it even works. This is a game that was announced and launched simultaneously, and – astoundingly – its servers dropped some one million players into Kings Canyon the same night. That number has since clocked 25 million and counting, with its fast matchmaking, reliable connectivity, and zero-munnies pricetag making the game an instant mega-contender in the online scene.
So, a petition to get local servers for the game is not exactly unexpected. But it’s also a very bad idea.
Over on Change.org, the petition for African Apex Legends servers is already at almost 6000 signatures, with creator Ruan van Vliet asking Respawn and publisher EA that we get to “experience it the way it was meant to be experienced”. The problem is, with local server support, that’s the opposite of reality. Ruan should’ve first asked Battlefield 4 players, or Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 players, or Rocket League players, or players of almost every other game that has local server support. Because those servers are empty.
It’s not that South Africans aren’t playing games, but instead that we represent such an insignificant percentage of the market that there aren’t enough players to consistently populate servers. The result is queuing for 20 minutes to get into a game with maybe five other players, three of them are Russian hackers, and the other two are probably dialling in at 256kbps from Vokofsfontein in the Karoo between AWB meetups. Excuse my presumption, but I don’t think that’s the intended “experience”.
If you actually want to keep playing Apex Legends, the prospects of local server support are much worse than a 150ms ping – it’s game over, forever, for South African players. Don’t be Eskom, bru. Be kiff.