Interview With Gen.G Apex Legends' Dummy: Of Balance & Wingmans

TJ Denzer,

March 27, 2019 8:00 AM

Gen.G is ready to roll into competitive Apex Legends with a fresh new team and we spoke to Tim "dummy" Olsen about where the competitive scene is and what it needs. Grab your Wingman and settle in.

On March 1, 2019, Gen.G announced their all-new Apex Legends team, consisting of some familiar faces in the Overwatch scene. With Chris "GrimReality" Schaefer on Bangalore, Ted "silkthread" Wang on Wraith, and Tim "dummy" Olson on Lifeline, the squad is locked in and ready to carry the Gen.G banner into the competitive Apex Legends scene and whatever it may bring. With such a fresh scene starting up and so many questions to be answered, we took the opportunity to reach out to Gen.G and talk to its Apex Legends team. dummy took the time to talk to us in a lengthy interview that includes his thoughts on the current game, what Competitive Apex Legends needs, and the balance between weapons, teams, and solo players.

Twin Galaxies: Apex Legends had a huge jumpstart to the year and is still going strong. Do you think Respawn and EA have the drive to make it as big or bigger than Fortnite? Can it keep the momentum?

dummy: As far just gaming population, it will be less because Fortnite has a mobile release and there’s a really big player base from that alone. I’m not so sure Apex can run on mobile, but who knows. Other than that, Apex Legends has a chance to continue to grow. They could end up with a huge player base in China or Korea which Fortnite doesn’t currently have. Either way, I’m certain that Apex Legends has a bright future in the competitive scene.

With tournaments like Code Red putting down some experimental foundation for how Apex Legends events should be handled, will Respawn and EA follow the road laid out for them?
With tournaments like Code Red putting down some experimental foundation for how Apex Legends events should be handled, will Respawn and EA follow the road laid out for them?

Twin Galaxies: What do you want to see out of competitive Apex Legends in 2019?

dummy: I’m not expecting a whole lot in the first year of the game, but I’m hopeful we’ll have some really big EA-supported majors, like the way Epic does events with E3, Twitchcon, or PAX. For now, I think they’re going to be focused on the core game to keep the hype going and keep the player base going and maybe go all-in on esports next year. Of course, it’s all just speculation on my part, but from my experience in other games, nobody really goes all that hard in esports right away.

TG: As Gen.G’s Lifeline main, there's a lot riding on your character between good healing, possible quick revives, and pivotal equipment from your ult. Do you feel like the workload on the team is balanced? Do the characteristics of the characters make for interesing challenges for each player filling their role?

dummy: I feel like it’s pretty balanced. While Lifeline does have a lot of responsibility, so do Bangalore and Wraith, who are the two other Legends played a lot in competitive, and used by my team mates. Bangalore has a lot of utility with smoke grenades that you can use to rotate, take buildings, and such. Wraith’s mobility, ultimate, and escape options are also great for rotations, being the first one in, or scouting out an engagement you’re about to take. I think it’s about even in terms of contributions by the Legends we play.

TG: On that matter, we just saw Octane released as a new Legend for the game. Do you feel like new characters will be momentum shifters in Apex Legends the way they have been in Overwatch and League of Legends?

dummy: I’d be really surprised if they made as big of an impact as they do in Overwatch. With Overwatch, the game is entirely different patch to patch. You might be a DPS main or a sniper playing Widowmaker one patch and then you move to playing Brigette the next patch because the landscape of abilities and stats shifts so much. You’re playing a completely different game. With Apex Legends, I don’t think it will be that drastic, but I definitely think future characters will make a big impact. I don’t think Octane is that character so far. He’s a really good hero for casual play, but in competitive, I’m not so sure because the utility of the other heroes like Lifeline, Bangalore, and Wraith is just too high and Octane doesn’t disrupt that. That said, in the future, I’m certain we’ll see other Legends that will shake up the meta a bit. Just not as drastically as the Overwatch meta does between patches.

TG: What was the transition from pro player in games like Overwatch to Apex Legends like? Easy? Difficult? What was the toughest part of making that jump? dummy: I think it would have been really tough if I had switched from Overwatch to Apex Legends right on release, but six or seven months ago, I got into Fortnite. Although mechanically it’s a very different experience from Fortnite, the experience of playing a battle royale and creating the mindset to succeed in it helped. The strategies like rotations and such are very similar, so that definitely helped me a lot. That said, games like Apex and Overwatch don’t have a lot in common. I think it would extremely tough to switch from Overwatch directly to Apex Legends. Someone from the Counter-Strike or Call of Duty scenes might have an easier time transferring their skills, but yeah, if I hadn’t been playing Fortnite for a while, it might have felt more difficult.

TG: What kind of format do you think the esports scene for Apex Legends should utilize in events? Should it stay trios or does the game maybe need duos or solos for future competitive ventures?

dummy: I can definitely see them changing it up. We already see Fortnite messing around regularly with duos, trios, and solos. If EA or Respawn doesn’t like the direction it’s going in or it becomes too unwieldy to balance around trios, I’m sure they’ll change it up or just add other modes to mix it up. It’s a bit early to say for certain what’s coming, but I do like where it’s at right now with trios so far.

TG: Getting back to your gameplay specifically, what's your dream loadout in the game? If RNG is in your favor, what's your best set-up?

dummy: Definitely Wingman/Peacekeeper. Even with the nerfs, that combo is still extremely good. The burst is really high, the time-to-kill is good, and it’s really awesome in terms of inventory management because you don’t need to fill a lot of ammo slots to keep those weapons stocked unlike a light weapon or pretty much any of the “spray” weapons. So Wingman/Peacekeeper is just really good all-around. For attachments, at least one Digital Threat is a gamechanger in any fight since every team often has a Bangalore, and then obviously an Extended Magazine for the Wingman to alleviate the low ammo count.

The Wingman has been a constant fixture of conversations about the best gun in Apex Legends. It doesn't seem like that's about to change anytime soon.
The Wingman has been a constant fixture of conversations about the best gun in Apex Legends. It doesn't seem like that's about to change anytime soon.

TG: It brings up an interesting point. Although Respawn nerfed the Wingman slightly, they’ve been incredibly cautious about drastic changes to weapon balance. Do you feel that’s the right approach? Should they be more aggressive in their changes or is it on a good track to keep the game balanced.

dummy: I think they’re doing a good job. I definitely feel that the Wingman is, above and beyond, the best weapon, but at the same time I’d be a little bit… worried if they were quick to just shut it down and make it irrelevant because it overperformed. I’m not into drastic changes like that and I feel like carefully tuning it like they have until it’s more aligned with the game’s arsenal is definitely the way to go. We’ll see if they need to do more tuning, but for now I think it was the right move.

TG: On the flipside, what about the other weapons that aren’t as strong? For instance, the Longbow is the game’s big sniper rifle, but in terms of firerate and damage itself, the Wingman outperforms it at almost all distances. Does that speak to the fact that weapons that aren’t the Wingman or Peacekeeper need better tuning and adjustment?

dummy: Yes, definitely. I would agree that the Longbow needs a buff because it’s pretty much just a worse Wingman. I can see why Respawn is reluctant to do it. There’s some difficulty in making sure you can’t just get one-shot kills. It could also be that they just don’t want this to be a sniper-focused game. At the same time, you have Respawn Beacons and down-but-not-out states that alleviate a hard-hitting sniper. I think they could allow snipers to be powerful and it won’t have the impact on everything that they think it will. I also think it would add a lot of diversity if snipers are more viable. Right now, if you turn on a stream of nearly any good player, they’re going to be trying to get a Wingman and Peacekeeper, or at the very least a Wingman/R99 combo. Let snipers be snipers and you add something, not just from a balance standpoint, but also in terms of gameplay and style diversity. That ups the enjoyment in my opinion because you get to see more variety out there, and it gets to be more fun when you play. If you or someone is playing and it feels like you lost because you couldn’t get a Wingman, I’m not sure that’s a great dynamic. I think Wingman needs to continue to be viable. I just wish there were more competitive options that could be just as viable.

TG: Having had a chance to see what the community is doing since the beginning, who would you say is the most talented Apex Legends player currently? Most Underrated? Most Overrated?

dummy: Definitely going to shout out to my teammates, Grimreality and silkthread, but other than my teammates, I have to give a shout-out to Mendokusaii of Houston Outlaws and OpTic Gaming. I’ve known him since Overwatch and I’ve seen his talents across multiple games. He’s probably one of the most talented FPS players I’ve seen. Any FPS game that comes out, Mendo will be at the top if he’s interested. I also have to give it to dizzy of NRG Esports. He’s popping off big time and is really, really good. I also want to point out zombs, xretzi, and Payne of the new Sentinels Apex Legends team. They were a team that was unsigned, but have been awesome and, like Mendo, just continue to excel at whatever they get into. Just some super talented FPS players. 

TG: That makes for an interesting conversation because of the way Apex Legends is set up. You have players like Mendo who can move mountains on his own, but you have also have squads like zombs, xretzi, and Payne who do really well together. Do you think this game has room to continue to cultivate both star synergy squads and amazing solo carry players?

dummy: It’s for sure going to be the case because the game has a great balance to allow it. In Overwatch, the individual’s skill and talent is important, but it definitely gets blurred by the amount of teamwork the game requires for a victory to happen. I think Apex Legends is definitely a place where you might have teams where you can’t really point to one star talent who carries everyone. They just all do well together. Meanwhile, you can still find a team where you might have a Mendo or dizzy that just has such a high impact on the game individually. The two being simultaneously possible in this game is part of what makes it so interesting. Teamwork can be rewarded, but they don’t force it down your throat either. You don’t have to be a superstar player if you can find great teammates you work well with, but the game allows for those amazing solo carry players as well.

Want to follow the latest on dummy and his squad? You can follow dummy, silkthread, and GrimReality on Twitter, as well as Gen.G. Be sure to watch them for the latest as they carry the Gen.G gold, black, and white banner into battle in the Ring!


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