In a recent community update, Apex Legends developer Respawn Entertainment revealed a number of fixes coming to the game. This Apex Legends patch will fix the Fortified perk bug, some issues with hit registration, some issues with audio, and the reported PS4 crashing associated with a Lifeline banner. In this post, community manager Jay Frechette also revealed that the team will be banning players for a technique called Piggybacking.
To be more specific, the experience earned for the Apex Legends Battle Pass comes from time survived, and because of this, several players have been coasting off of others in order to level it up. As described by Frechette, Piggybacking is when "a player drafts off other players in the squad to carry them to a good position and level up faster but doesn't actually participate in the match [meaning they never collect a weapon, fire a shot, don’t deal any damage, etc]." There are various methods players could use to do this, some of which include being AFK for the majority of the match.
This wouldn't include those who break off from the squad to try to solo a game, unless that player is breaking off to specifically hide for the rest of the Apex Legends match, but it would likely include anyone who just skirts the circle the whole match without doing any of the aforementioned requirements. Frechette also states that these bans are not going to be immediate, but that his statement should serve as a warning to adjust Piggybacking behavior.
As far as the severity of the ban is concerned, it seems that it'll start with temporary bans for simple piggybacking behavior, but he does state that "extreme cases could lead to a permanent ban." This warning is clearly nothing something to be taken lightly, as Respawn Entertainment has been no stranger to the ban hammer, having banned 700,000+ cheaters to date in Apex Legends.
With cheater numbers going down, player numbers will hopefully rise since season 2 is just a month away. If season 2 isn't enough to get some new blood in the player base, it's also worth mentioning that Electronic Arts is working on an Apex Legends mobile release, so perhaps something will come of that.
Apex Legends is out now for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.