Apex Legends Global Series North American Finals – Will Battle Royale Ever Be A Successful eSport? It Doesn’t Look Like It

Apex Legends Global Series North American Finals – Will Battle Royale Ever Be A Successful eSport? It Doesn’t Look Like It
Credit: Respawn via Youtube

The Apex Legends Global Series was meant to be a headline eSports event for Respawn Entertainment’s and EA’s Battle Royale in 2020, yet global circumstance has lead to the transformation of the LAN event into a series of online tournaments.

Both the European and American finals have now taken place, and it’s clear there are some problems in the competitive scene.

TSM, who have won 5 tournaments over the past year, was not in the NA ALGS final as they didn’t make it through the semi-finals. This did leave a gap to be filled by talented players, but, despite the potential for an exciting 5-round series, the coverage of the games and the state of the competitive meta itself is as lackluster as ever.

It all starts with the coverage of the games. There’s a team of four shoutcasters, who’s knowledge of the game obviously varies from fairly knowledgeable to total novice. Much of the intense action is glossed over as the commentators discuss ammunition and, in one case, bangers and mash.

There is one memorable moment from the ALGS NA Final where ImMadnessCLG takes control of a fight, almost one-on-three, with a purple-bolt EVA-8. From team SKRT, Madness is a crucial player throughout the 5-game series, yet this fight is caught in glimpses as the screen flicks from the action to a team sat in a house several hundred metres away teabagging a Wattson ultimate.

Apex Legends Global Series – The Player Comms Are The Best Part

Time and time again, fights are taking place on the screen and the commentators clearly have no idea what’s going on, or in some cases, who is even fighting. The perspective flicks between downed players and Peacekeepers as whoever is trying to decide who to spectate can’t make up their mind. The best moments of the competitive games are listening to the comms of the players themselves.

Apex Legends may have had the most potential for eSports out of its genre. Of course, RNG plays a huge factor – the shields you drop on, whether there’s enough light ammo, a lack of shield cells. However, the leveller of skill is navigating the map, utilizing the legend’s abilities to control strategic positions and knowing when and when not to fight. TSM would not have been champs 5 times in a row if it was a random mess.

Which raises the question of the competitive meta. There was one team not running a Wattson, Pathfinder, Gibraltar or Wraith, and they had a Caustic. Here’s a spoiler: the team with a Caustic did not do well, despite a valiant effort. The meta is stale. Much of the gameplay revolves around finding buildings to camp in, and for minutes of each game, there is no action on the screen.

Will Apex Legends ever be a successful eSport? Despite EA’s dedication to the competitive scene with these online tournaments, the viewer numbers and inane YouTube Livestream chat does not suggest a bountiful future for Apex. Improvements need to be made to the coverage and some meta changes need to be made to keep the scene alive, especially with Valorant around the corner.