One of the largest Apex Legends tournaments since the game’s launch has been marred by controversy.
The Australian Apex Open tournament that features a $35,000 AUD prize pool is under fire from one of its players. Jackson “HeyKatie” Taylor blasted the tournament in a post on Twitter, alleging cheating by opponents and general indifference on the issue from tournament organizers.
“When we’d finally finished the last hour of playing what was easily close to if not 100 hours of pure qualifiers, the last thing I wanted to do was think about it again,” HeyKatie said. “But upon waking up this morning and finding out that multiple teams in the playoffs for the finals had failed to follow the rules…the admin team has decided to go against their own rules and issue a simple reminder for teams to follow the fucking rules and next time it will actually matter whether you do or don’t.”
HeyKatie states that multiple individuals competing in the tournament illegally removed shadows and muzzle flashes, and reduced the draw distance of the game. These settings were all expressly forbidden in the tournament’s official rules. He did not specifically accuse any opponents of doing so in the post.
In addition to taking umbrage with the alleged cheating, the former Overwatch World Cup player vented frustration over the tournament format. The event featured qualifiers built around public match grinding which called on teams to submit their best five games per day over a certain period of time.
This system rewarded teams for repeated extended sessions and tasked them with hunting for inflated scores. HeyKatie stated he and his squad spent around 100 hours playing Apex Legends during the days heading into the qualifiers but fell short of reaching the main event by just two kills.
Playing Apex Legends on PC features the same types of hackers found in shooters like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive or Call of Duty, with players using wall hacks, trigger bots, and aimbots to dominate the field. While that’s always troublesome, there are a number of other ways to cheat in Apex Legends that don’t require third-party software.
By manipulating the game settings and config files of Apex Legends, players are able to artificially increase the visibility of enemies in a variety of different ways.
Decreasing the draw distance in Apex Legends has the effect of removing props like bushes and grass, which makes enemy heroes much easier to spot at a longer range. Players were also able to remove muzzle flashes from their guns, ensuring they had full vision on their screen even while firing. Finally, various lighting elements could be changed which removed potentially obstructive shadows.
These methods were all banned by the tournament organizer, but with no comprehensive way to monitor the players there was no way to effectively enforce the rules.
Whether Respawn Entertainment saw the complaints of HeyKatie and other players is unknown, but the most recent Apex Legends patch dealt with some of those issues. Unfortunately that does little to recoup the loss of time and energy spent qualifying for the event for the players that played by the rules.