Pathfinder mains have had a bit of a rough year so far: ever since the patch in May increased his grapple ability cooldown from 15 to 35 seconds, the days of flying through Apex Legends battles with ease have become rather distant. So when the recent Aftermarket update patch notes mentioned a change to how the cooldown worked, many Pathfinder players thought their luck was in - until they saw the reality in practice.
The recent change altered Pathfinder's grapple cooldown so it would be measured based on distance travelled, with a longer grapple resulting in a longer cooldown. With the game measuring the grapple "from the moment you leave the ground to when you're on the ground again and not sliding at crazy high speeds", this means you're now less likely to be punished for accidentally shooting your grapple too early (which happens to us all). But should you want to use your grapple to slingshot and slide out of trouble, the seconds can really stack up.
Just take a look at the evidence below, in which a player effectively racks up a 42 second cooldown just for sliding on his bum after a grapple. This is because the cooldown timer only begins when Pathfinder has reached "sprint speed", and anything above that speed will not trigger the cooldown. For many players, this feels a little different to the 35 second "maximum cooldown" for long distances they were expecting from the recent patch notes, even if that's technically still true.
"You're absolutely right, this isn't purely a buff," Respawn game designer Daniel "Zenon" Klein explained in the replies to mnkymnk's post. "If we gave you that impression, that's on us and I apologise. There wasn't room to give PF a change that would be a buff in all contexts. He's just too powerful.
"Because Pathfinder is so very powerful I wanted to be extremely conservative in my first swing at this and see how it affects his power on live [servers]," Klein added, noting that Respawn was observing data to see whether the change would impact Pathfinder win-rates (after the team has fixed a current grapple glitch that causes Pathfinder's arm to cover half the screen).
"All that said, I will still observe that the Pathfinder community very strongly values long distance grapples as the be-all end-all of powerful grapples. I really hope that players will experiment a little bit with short distance grapples that actually help in combat. I understand that's not the exciting thing you wanna do when you play Pathfinder though."
While there's a fair amount of reasoning to explain the grapple cooldown change, some in the Apex community feel Respawn has gone overboard, with mnkymnk arguing it's too easy to go above the 35 second cooldown with a slingshot. Personally, it does seem a shame that the change discourages sliding, as the slide mechanic is one of the most fun in Apex - and doubly so at speed.
The good news is Klein said some follow-up changes are currently in playtesting for Pathfinder's grapple, so there may be further alterations on the way. Given Pathfinder is one of Apex's most popular characters, hopefully Respawn will be able to walk the zipline between nerfing and buffing the character in future patches.