Respawn announced on Tuesday that they are removing the popular movement tech known as tap-strafing from Apex Legends in patch 10.1.
They cited several reasons for the removal of tap-strafing in their tweet, including:
- It is inaccessible
- It lacks "readability/counterplay"
- It is "exacerbated by other movement abilities"
Tap strafing is one of the most challenging but rewarding movement techniques available to Apex Legends players. The tech is accomplished by quickly tapping the forward button following a diagonal jump-slide, while at the same time turning your character with your mouse. When properly executed, tap strafing can allow skilled players to accomplish otherwise impossible hairpin turns while in the air.
While this tech is extremely useful and highly unique to Apex Legends, not to mention popular among many Apex Legends players, there is a problem. It only works on Mouse and Keyboard, which means controller players are at a general movement disadvantage against a tap-strafer. Presumably, this is the "inaccessibility" that the developers referred to in their reasoning for removing the movement tech from the game.
The movement ability is also extremely powerful when combined with Octane's speed boost, which is presumably what Respawn's third point about tap-strafing being "exasperated by other movement abilities" seems to be referring to.
However, even with these balance challenges, this is a key tool in the toolkit of most pro Mouse and Keyboard players, so its removal is a very big deal.
Apex pros and streamers livid at removal of tap-strafing
The decision to remove a staple movement ability from the game was highly controversial. While there were some players who praised the decision or weren't sure how to feel about it, many pro players and casual players alike reacted with anger and confusion that they were removing the tech from the game. Notably, Aceu, Faide, Timmy, and others criticized the decision to place controller balance in priority over keeping a fun mechanic.
The removal of such a major part of many players' movement is a significant change to the game, especially in high skilled lobbies. It will be interesting to see how this situation plays out, and if Respawn ends up reversing their choice down the line, given the backlash coming from many of their biggest Apex content creators and players.
Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.