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Yesterday at EA Play 2019, Respawn unveiled the next addition to the Apex Legends roster: Wattson. Their goal with the adorkable and brilliant electrical engineer legend is to challenge the third party meta which currently dominates the arena. It seems she might be able to do just that, according to some firsthand reports from players who got to play as Wattson at EA Play.
Thanks to reports from players, we know almost everything about the Static Defender’s tactical ability, Perimeter Security. With each cast of the ability, she can deploy up to four nodes – the electric fence posts seen in the gameplay footage. In total she can have up to 12 nodes on the map. She can also manually collapse them, like Caustic with his Nox barrels.
Passing through the fences Wattson creates deals 10 damage and momentarily slows the enemy player down. It’s likely it also scrambles their visuals, since the effect is similar to an arc star blast. Passing through deactivates the fence “for about a second,” according to Twitter user @Tharbot. He is one of the lucky players who got to play as Wattson. “When a friendly passes they still trigger and deactivate [the fence] but no damage or stun is done.”
“This is really great for doorways since the enemy can’t deactivate it in some doors without going through or using a grenade,” @Tharbot also wrote. According to him, ordnance can destroy the nodes. That is, of course, unless Wattson has deployed her ultimate ability. The Interception Pylon protects her electric fence while also letting her deploy more nodes faster.
Knowledge is power
“Game changer. She definitely is going to change the meta,” wrote Reddit user SolidSnackCQC, who also got to try out Wattson. “She is anti-third party, she really discourages you from passing into her field because it reveals where your entire squad is.”
This additional feature of the Perimeter Security fences is really crucial. Much like enemies damaging Mirage’s clones, players breaching Wattson’s fences are momentarily revealed to your team. The big difference is that the rest of their squad is also revealed.
“The electric fence traps are really versatile and are going to definitely shape individual encounters,” wrote @Tharbot. “After all it’s “only ten damage,” but the utility of knowing where the enemy is is a bigger part of it than the raw damage.”
Apex Legends’ counter-rusher extraordinaire
We reached out to @Tharbot to get his verdict on Wattson’s play style and strength. According to him, she is definitely not unbeatable.
“Wattson seemed to excel in any engagement that was not a surprise,” he said. “Rounding a corner and facing another player suddenly puts her at a slight disadvantage whereas Wraith can ‘reset’. Pathfinder, Wraith, and Octane all have parts of their kits that allow themselves and their teammates to navigate Wattson fences without triggering them so they were the biggest threat.”
Given how much of playing Wattson revolves around the strategic management of her abilities, not much has been observed about her gunplay. There is one thing we have seen repeated a lot, and it should help relax the majority of the Apex Legends community. Wattson’s hitbox appears to be pretty small.
“I felt like she had a good hitbox because I was dancing and avoiding a lot of shots,” SolidSnackCQC wrote. This is corroborated by this picture taken of her on the home screen. Indeed, Wattson appears to be three apples tall, tops.
“And her finisher is hilarious,” SolidSnackCQC adds. “She trips and accidentally drops two Tesla traps on both sides of you and you get zapped.” It’s almost like she doesn’t really want to hurt anyone.
From her powerful defensive kit to her what-am-I-doing vibe, Wattson’s addition to Apex Legends is a big cup of different. The game’s primary mechanics make it extremely fun to play, but they also very much encourage a narrow play style. The Static Defender seems dead set to change that.