ALGS Commissioner on balancing competitive Apex Legends, co-streaming & more
The ALGS Split 2 Playoffs have finally come to a close with DarkZero Esports taking home the trophy after coming up clutch in the match point finals.
Now the exciting event has concluded, it's easy to forget all the planning and work that goes on behind the scenes to make it all possible. So, it's always interesting to get a glimpse into the minds of the key personnel behind the ALGS and their opinions on everything Apex Legends esports.
We were lucky enough to sit down with ALGS Commissioner, John Nelson to discuss why ALGS LANs are being held in the UK, balancing for competitive play, and the rise of co-streaming.
John Nelson on ALGS being hosted in the UK this year
With the news that the 2023 ALGS Championship will be held in Birmingham this September and both Playoffs having taken place in London, we asked Nelson why the ALGS had chosen to host all of its major events in the UK this year.
"I think that we’ve built a really strong fanbase here in the UK," he explained.
"Seeing a lot of fans from the Split 1 Playoffs and then some returning here to the Copper Box for the Split 2 Playoffs, I’m really proud of the audience we’ve grown here."
"The UK has quickly become a hub of esports, and so we're really happy to lean into that, but also look for opportunities in the future to take the ALGS around the world."
While the ALGS's chosen venues this year have been brilliant for UK fans, the wider competitive Apex Legends community will be happy to hear there's a potential for the ALGS to come to their hometown in the future.
That said, some supporters are always willing to go the extra mile just to watch the ALGS, with superfan Wenjie Shi completing a 20-day car journey from Shanghai to London just to watch the Split 2 Playoffs.
The rise of co-streaming alongside the ALGS
When it comes to co-streaming, the ALGS has embraced a community-first approach by allowing fans to watch the action in the best way for them. Whether this is through the stream of their favourite Apex personality or the perspective of a pro, it's all about giving the viewer freedom to choose.
With that in mind, we asked Nelson if the popularity of co-streaming had affected the value of casters with so many viewers choosing to watch alternative streams.
"Giving fans the opportunity to consume the ALGS in the way they want to is really important to us," Nelson said, pointing to EA's approach to streaming.
"When we have the online pro league, we not only have the watch parties that influencers are driving, but we also have players who choose to stream their point of view, again all in addition to our main broadcasted streams.
"Here at the Split 2 Playoffs, we not only have our streams on EA channels but watch parties around the world and in the room. It’s been great to have Nicewigg, Greek, Restya, pOkiz, and Wisethug, in the room.
"We recognise that fans around the world want to watch their favourite players and their favourite teams and so it’s really important to provide them with the option to watch every single minute of action of their team throughout the course of the event.
"All of that said, the casters are still extremely important to our esport, and we have an incredibly diverse team of talent that’s delivering this event."
Balancing Apex Legends for pro play
While pro players only make up a minuscule percentage of the Apex Legends community, balance changes and adjustments for the ALGS are still extremely important. We asked Nelson how much of a voice he and the team have on the balance of the game, and whether they speak to the Respawn team on a regular basis.
"The Apex Legends esports team is in constant partnership with the development team across all aspects of the game, be they the game itself or the events like the Split 2 Playoffs here," Nelson reveals.
"I think one of the really interesting things to have watched over time is the evolution of the meta. In a lot of ways, what might seem overpowered today, won’t tomorrow when players come up with a way in which to counter that specific weapon or Legend.
"So, watching the evolution of the meta from the early days of Apex Legends esports, where every single team played with a 'Wattson Pathfinder Wraith', to where we are today, where we’re seeing people at the Split 2 Playoffs pull out Legends that have been underutilised in the past."
Leading on from that, we questioned Nelson on pro players' opinion on the meta, and whether the ALGS get feedback from them to relay it to Respawn.
"Absolutely, we are again, similarly to the development team, in constant communication with the players and they provide us, but also have direct channels to the development team, to share their opinions on the meta, on legends, and maps.
"The development team obviously doesn’t have the easiest job, they're making this game for all competitive players around the world so the pro player point of view is an important one, and casual players and Ranked players who don’t quite reach Predator or Master, they have an important point of view as well."
Now Split 2 Playoffs is done, all eyes will be firmly fixed on the Championship which is guaranteed to bring more incredible Apex action in September, but can DarkZero go back-to-back? We'll just have to wait and see.