There are many ways to play Apex Legends, from jumping into a public lobby with your friends to competing at the highest level of the ALGS Championship. In between are limited-time modes like control, alternate modes like arenas, and a gradual increase in stakes with ranked play and small tournaments.
But if you’re tired of the leaderboard – and we’ve all been there, especially in the current kill-focused, seer-filled season – or just want to try an even more competitive matchup, where is- what next? If you can find a team of friends, there’s always the Challenger Circuit, which gives any player the chance to qualify for the ALGS Pro League if they’re good enough. But during the offseason, there aren’t many options.
Before going any further: the off-season is great. I think everyone needs a break, and ALGS forcing their stars to rest after a hectic last few months at the end of Year 2 is important so they can recuperate before the action. another year. However, there aren’t enough third-party tournaments over the summer for top pros to participate and earn some cash, or for those who want to break into the scene and test their competitive chops.
Last year, BLAST hosted a unique weekend tournament that incorporated Arenas play alongside the battle royale portions, providing a healthy prize pool for pros who signed up. G-Loot hosts monthly tournaments with modest prize pools, primarily for teams in the NA region. Streamer couple HisAndHersLive also hold regular competitions in NA, and Nerd Street Gamers is hosting a summer championship later this month with the region’s biggest summer prize pool at $10,000. Esports Arena holds weekly competitions, but again, there’s only $1,500 at stake, split among the top teams. Winning one of these tournaments nets a player just $400 before taxes, so even if a team were to win every week – a near impossibility in an esports battle royale – it’s not enough to earn a living.
APAC North is also well served for tournaments, many of which are held in Japan with five-figure prizes on the table. But outside of NA and APAC North, the esports scene is barren.
GMT Esports, the top-ranked EMEA team in the ALGS Championship, have played just one tournament since claiming fourth place in the big tournament in early July. Teams like Scarz have traveled to Japan for a LAN tournament, probably for promotional requirements imposed by the Japanese organization, but it shows how few tournaments are held in Europe that a team is willing to invest to bring their entire team in Japan instead of attending local tournaments. events.
Current ALGS Championship holders DarkZero hail from Australia in the APAC South region. He too has only played one tournament since the Championship. South America and Africa are even less well served, although the latter forms the ‘A’ in the EMEA acronym.
It’s not that the top pros are enjoying a break either. Fan-favorite team Nessy earned just $50 each for winning a European tournament in late July. The competitions just aren’t there, and that’s stifling an esports scene that’s been growing every year.
It’s not just professional players. It’s about finding and helping the next generation of Apex Legends champions. Most of the Apex pros you’ll see in the Pro League and ALGS Championship have secondary income from streaming, which is supplemented by tournament earnings. Some still have regular jobs for which they compete. But if you need to be a successful streamer or have the time off to train around a full-time gig, the players you’ll recruit will come from a limited pool.
Grassroots is also about building the long-term future of esports. According to WePlay Esports, the average retirement age for esports professionals is 25. Where is the next generation coming from?
Korea has a disproportionate number of esports stars compared to other countries, helped in part by fast internet speeds at common gaming cafes and the government-funded Korea Esports Association established in turn of the millennium. But it’s not just about the community spirit forged in the LAN settings; having this funding can help young children get to the professional level as they can in regular sports. With local clubs comes naturally intra-club local tournaments, and from there, C-Tier and B-Tier competitions can increase.
The government can’t always lend a hand, but local esports clubs – not just teams from established organizations – would go some way to leveling the playing field and giving kids from disadvantaged backgrounds a better opportunity to go to the ALGS. Gaming is an expensive hobby, and the lack of clubs and places to play on pre-built setups limits players to those who can afford an optimized rig.
The ALGS is already well funded, so it’s hard to expect EA to shell out more money; it already hosts the Challenger Circuit as an entry route to the Pro League, and the competitive team also offers support for third parties wishing to host tournaments.
We also cannot rely on governments, so what is the answer? We need more local clubs and more people playing Apex at a lower competitive level. This will bring third-party investors into the ecosystem, more people and small businesses running tiny tournaments with all the money they can spare. It’s an investment for them and an investment in the future of Apex Legends esports. After all, if the best professional players can’t make ends meet on tournament winnings alone, what chance do the rest have?
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