Respawn Entertainment recently gave the Apex Legends world a good hearty shakeup by introducing small scale Arena fights, offering players a significantly different game experience than the regular battle royale modes. Unfortunately, these arenas also came with their fair share of bugs.
Quickly skyrocketing to the top of the list of outstanding issues in the Arenas portion of the Season 9 update is the so-called 'ghost rock' exploit. You might have heard it referred to differently, but this is the nickname that took off the most. We're talking about that one specific stone on the Phase Runner map that has no collision detection for players.
After it was discovered, players quickly started exploiting the rock to hide inside. When you clip into the rock, you can see and shoot players outside said rock, but they do not see you, nor will their shots harm you - since the rock does have bullet collision. This gives the resident of the stone a clear unfair advantage over the competition.
The exploit got quite a bit of publicity lately as players have begun to document cases where they were killed by players using this exploit or just caught themselves inside the rock. The advantage granted by the ghost rock is costing legitimate players matches and turning games on the Phase Runner map into predictable camp fests.
Respawn Entertainment has known about the ghost rock practically since its discovery, and a fix for the exploit was supposed to be rolled out in yesterday's hotfix - you know, the one that nerfed that overpowered new bow, the Bocek - but was ultimately delayed due to 'quality assurance reasons', whatever that may mean.
In order to do something in the meantime, Respawn has stated that players caught using the ghost rock exploit will receive bans. This arguably extreme move attracted quite a bit of attention - usually the rule of thumb is that game developers mete out bans for using external or third party cheats and hacks. If a player is benefiting from a bug or exploit that originates from the developers, then such punishments won't be used.
As annoying as the ghost rock exploit is, this raises some questions - mainly about detection. How will Respawn catch people using the exploit? Aside of actual video evidence, there really isn't any way to detect this. What happens with people who accidentally wander into the rock? It's not in a particularly hidden location, and when you are frantically zipping to and fro during a shootout, the lack of object collision means you might find yourself strafing into it.
On the flip side, deliberately exploiting a known bug to your advantage does count as cheating, even if there is no external meddling involved, which makes the bans a valid response, even if unusual. Where many other high profile shooter games mostly concern themselves with hackers, that isn't as widespread an issue in Apex Legends. You still get some cheaters, as you do in any game, but they're the exception rather than the rule like in Call of Duty: Warzone. This means that a broader issue doesn't dwarf an in-game exploit, making it more apparent an issue.
We don't know when Respawn will roll out the eventual fix for this exploit. The fact that what on the surface seems like a mundane collision issue could have "quality assurance issues" at all means that something more complex is wrong here than meets the eye. Hopefully a proper fix will arrive soon to close this uncomfortable chapter in the history of the nascent Arenas.