A gray area in ALGS rules causes a ruckus.
Competitive esports are often decided by the thinnest of margins and barest hints of a competitive edge that some teams can gain over others. Its clear in the competitive Apex Legends community, however, that no one is really sure whats fair and whats not when seeking out that edge.
The Apex community roared to life on social media last night following an on-stream conversation by Apex Legends Global Series players, NRGs Chris sweetdreams Sexton and Spacestations Mark DROPPED Thees. The pair talked about how some analysts and coaches within the scene access game files to determine invalid ending zones, or where its impossible for any given match of Apex played in ALGS matches to end on a map.
To some, that sounded like an unfair advantage based on data mining instead of just playing the game. To others, its simply using publicly available information through a process thats been known for a while to get a better understanding of how maps and rings work. Very few people seem to agree on it and the argument instantly spawned incendiary reactions, hot takes, and the inevitable memes about the situation.
There are two separate arguments at work here, for fans trying to keep up with the different threads and conversations: whether or not accessing the files in this manner is allowed within the ALGS ruleset, and whether or not getting this zone information is actually helpful.
As most pros have pointed out, any professional player regularly playing and scrimming under the ALGS build of the game, where many possible ending zones are eliminated from contention to create more fair and interesting action for players and viewers, should be able to know where games typically do not end. If youve played hundreds of matches over the course of a couple of months and have never seen an ending zone in a certain area of a map, thats probably because its impossible for games to end there. All pro players carry this knowledge naturally, to some degree.
On the other hand, if changes are made to those invalid rings every so often, teams that can access that information quickly through the games files certainly seem like they would gain a brief advantage over teams that didnt know how to access those files. The usefulness of the maps created of invalid zones wanes over time, but they almost certainly are more helpful than not doing it at all. Otherwise, teams wouldnt bother creating them.
Then, theres that matter of whether teams accessing and using this information is allowed by ALGS in the first place. The process for finding invalid zones doesnt seem particularly tricky but definitely involves a little bit of technical know-how.
Creators have made maps like these for a while now. Most notably, Shrugtal created one nearly a year ago for Storm Point. It seems that these files are easily available and arent encrypted or really guarded in any way, which leads many teams to believe that this is a legal and viable strategy for gaining information on zones and implementing it in their game plans.
The ALGS ruleset has rules against accessing and manipulating the game, which are clearly meant to discourage all forms of cheating. Its simply unclear if finding out where zones cannot go in publicly accessible files constitutes some sort of violation of these rules or if its fine.
At any rate, players expect an ALGS ruling on the matter to happen shortly.
Until then, sit back and enjoy the memes.