Players broke rules, Admins allowed it (Mogul Australian Apex Open)
After the previous month of playing in the Australian Apex Open ran by Mogul.gg, 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. I was just grateful Australia even got something to play for.
But upon waking up this morning and finding out that multiple teams in the playoffs for the finals had failed to follow the rules regarding acceptable configs and as a result were at a significant advantage, 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. It was at this point that I decided fuck it, people have to know the extent of how poorly this tournament was run, how they asked for community feedback then didn't take any of it on board, and made an entire set of (admittedly) stupid rules that we were forced to follow until we found out later we didn't actually have to follow them and were just putting ourselves at a disadvantage by following the rules.
First of all the tournament format, which takes place during the qualifiers and knockout stages. There were 4 or 5 weeks in which teams could qualify. Teams played 7 days a week and recorded their 5 highest kill games over the individual 24 hour periods of the 7 days, and the 4 best days would be taken and scored.
Let's talk about the concept of a "best 5 games" format. So long as there are no custom servers for Apex, the rules for a competition are going to be sketchy at best and it's going to be scored on killing pub players in some way because there's no other reliable way to score a team. This is fine as tournaments like the Twitch Streamers Challenge ran a "most kills in x hours" format which while still involving luck, allows for the most consistent teams to have the best chance at grinding it out efficiently.
What Mogul decided to go with (after community feedback was highly negative) was the best 5 games format. The rules of this are fairly simple, your 5 highest kill games each day and your 4 best days make up your total score. Playing this format over a 24 hour period for 7 days was the most soul sucking experience I've ever experienced and everyone who also competed that I spoke to felt the same way, and it's entirely due to circumstances outside of your control:
-What if the dropship is going over an unpopular area of the map
-What if players leave before they drop
-What if the server wipes itself out too quickly
-What if you don't run into anyone
-What if there's a cheater halfway through
-What if players leave the moment they die, so their teammates can't revive them and allow themselves to be kill farmed (where you kill 2, let the last guy grab their banners and revive them, then kill them again allowing for 5 kills as opposed to 3. It's an incredibly lame tactic but all teams were forced to use it as it's the only way you can get high kill games)
-What if the last player on the squad doesn't revive his teammates and instead chases you across the map
I'm sure there are heaps of other factors that I've missed, but the moment one of the above points do not go your way that game is almost certainly going to be void, which created the situation every team was forced to deal with: quitting out of 90% of games early because luck didn't go your way. And one or more of the above happened nearly every. single. game.
Had the time window been smaller the emphasis would have been on playing well and getting decent games rather than optimising the perfect run and waiting for the stars to align and give you an awesome game. Mogul's argument for a 24 hour time window was to give everyone a chance to compete, so if you had work at night or during the day there would still be a time for you to play your games. This is a fair decision on paper but in reality all it does is alienate players without excessive amounts of time to play each day as the level of optimisation forced by the "best x games in 24 hours" format meant that if you didn't spend at least 8 hours a day quitting out of most games to get the perfect set of games, you had zero chance. AND even if you did exactly that, the sheer amount of inherent RNG in the format meant that there was no guarantee you'd get good scores anyway. 40+ kill games, which were integral in maintaining a high position on the leaderboard for the day, were purely accidental that nobody could reasonably achieve on any amount of regularity.
Now normally, when it's apparent that there's just way too much randomness in the design of a competitive format, one would think that it would be determined to be insufficient to run in a competition. The above points were made multiple times to different members of the team by multiple people, and aside from the usual "we'll take it into consideration" here and there, we were forced to play an inherently broken system.
It was incredibly frustrating and all around disheartening that the competition was seemingly being ran by organisers who had no idea how to run a competitive Apex tournament without custom servers and it felt like they didn't give a shit about our feedback (which they asked for), but it's their competition and their rule set, and Australia gets jack shit when it comes to actual prize pools so what do we have to complain about right?
And if it were just that, the format being shit, I wouldn't have bothered with this post as that's not important enough to write a big complaint about. What is important enough is the admin's decisions to change the rules at their behest and choose which rules to actually follow up on and punish for.
The main cause for concern was a rule that was called into question when a player was banned during the qualifier stages for a 3rd party config. People were confused as to what that even meant as autoexecs/configs have been used in PC games since the dawn of time. They later decided the player was using a no recoil script (debatable but possible) and released a clarification on a new config rule, seen here: https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/186495532993085440/579497232403922945/aao.PNG
The important parts being that they were now clarifying that changing settings through a config that could not be modified within the in game graphics settings was now not allowed. This was changed on the 24th of April and the knockouts were this week, so teams had plenty of time to be aware of the rule clarification. Upon seeing this we were surprised, due to as previously stated configs were normally fine in games and reducing shadows/muzzle flash helped immensely with visibility, but we begrudgingly removed them as that was the rule they had made and specifically clarified to avoid any future misunderstandings.
Cut to yesterday, where after nearly 100 hours of playing the kill farming format we failed to qualify by 2 kills difference. I wasn't bothered at all, I was just glad for it to finally be over so I could enjoy myself playing Apex again. We thought nothing of it until just as I was about log off it had been brought to our attention that a few teams, including one of the teams that made it through our knockout bracket had not followed the rules and continued to use configs to reduce shadows, draw distance, fog and muzzle flash.
I was pretty furious as we had been forced to remove these ourselves when we'd always used them in the past as most people have with no issue, but it was clarified that it was now against the rules to use them so we removed them. Plus, surely teams that failed to follow a rule that was SPECIFICALLY CLARIFIED would be punished accordingly right?
Wrong. I refuse to believe that teams who had spent 100+ hours on the playoffs and knockout stages of this tournament would happen to "miss" the clarification on configs posted on their site AND in discord. Regarding the team in our knockout group that was using no recoil/no shadows, their team was the ORIGINAL team that had the player banned for the config in the first place that started this entire rule enforcing so they sure as shit knew about it and still didn't bother changing it.
Teams were disobeying a rule put in place to prevent people from gaining advantages in seeing players more effectively that can't be accessed from the in game menu. Not only this, but the very same admins who made the rule have allowed them to do so and just said "look at it again and don't do it in the finals". What the fuck. No team should be at a disadvantage for following the rules. We and all the other teams who followed the rules were disadvantaging ourselves by removing our configs like we were supposed to. (and before someone says "you're clutching at straws, its not that significant", try it yourself, it makes a massive difference. We would've used it without a second thought if we knew it didn't matter.)
It's embarrassingly incompetent for an admin team's response to be "there have been a few players who have raised eyebrows in recent reviews but nothing conclusive enough to action on yet". It is NIGHT AND DAY when determining whether someone has reduced muzzle flash/shadows. I fully believe they are hoping for people not to care and for it to just blow over. We spent a long time playing this competition following your rules, and when the first team that got banned forced a rule clarification, we changed them instantly. We do not deserve to be screwed over by the admins for not following the rules THEY put in place.
To be clear I am not attacking Mogul as a whole, just the tournament organisers/admins put in charge of this event.