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How Will Storm Point Impact The ALGS?

If you think of Apex Legends esports, you think of World’s Edge. TSM dropping Fragment East, SoloQgoats dropping Trials, Riddle dropping Lava City; you know the drill. World’s Edge is where the majority of Apex Legends esports has taken place since the game’s inception, and has been the only map in rotation (if you can call it that) for most of the ALGS' lifespan to date.

However, Storm Point has been announced as a map for Split 2 of the ALGS Pro League. We’ve seen other maps before: early show matches and the X Games were played on Kings Canyon, and BLAST Titans took us to Olympus in the off-season, but Storm Point only landed in Apex Legends last season, so its entrance into esports already comes as a little surprise.

On the other hand, it’s not surprising at all. The map was designed by Rodney Reece, the man who designed World’s Edge. Of course, it wasn’t a solo effort, but the man behind the sole competitive map designing another is a sign of intent. But Storm Point has its teething issues. The overly aggressive Prowlers are getting nerfed per the latest patch notes, but the sheer size of the map comes with problems: some POIs can’t be reached from certain dropship trajectories, and some rotations are difficult to impossible. I suggested adding two dropships to counteract the size of the map, but in comp teams pick their drop spot ahead of time, so what if you’re on the wrong ship? It adds RNG to the game – never a good thing in battle royale esports, which already have a healthier dose of luck than most. It feels like it needed one map update to fix a couple of issues before being added to the biggest competition of all.

The size of the map also creates other problems. Valkyrie soared to popularity when she was added – having three passive abilities and a free redeploy every couple of minutes can do that to a Legend – but becomes practically mandatory due to the size of Storm Point. Forcing teams to adapt and change their strategies can be a good thing in esports, but forcing them into the meta choices is a little boring. If you have Valkyrie, Gibby is even more necessary than usual, which leaves only one spot on the team for an interesting or off-meta pick. The Fuse experiments seem to have failed, but maybe Mad Maggie will take his place. Crypto and Caustic will be likely choices.

However, there is some good news. Many fans (as well as the players themselves) are bored of competing on World’s Edge, and Storm Point will mix things up nicely. The announcement also comes just a couple of weeks before Split 2 kicks off, meaning that the first few rounds of competition are likely to be hectic. Teams are already calling out their drop spots on Twitter and Discord, daring others to challenge them. This seems like an arbitrary way of deciding who lands where, but contesting a POI is usually a death sentence for both teams. So although the best (read: most popular and therefore influential) teams can simply bagsy their preferred area, teams won’t know exactly where they want to drop yet.

Obvious popular spots are The Mill (Sentinels), Storm Catcher (currently dibsed by XSET, AGG, Lazarus, and CLT in NA and Alliance in EMEA), and Command Center (Cloud9 and CLG in NA, Na’Vi in EMEA, and FAV in APAC North), but the topography may come into play as well. My personal favourite spot – although I’m far from a professional player – is Lightning Rod, and being at the top of the map’s biggest hill makes Valkyrie rotations more effective from here. As you can see, however, a lot of teams have decisions to make regarding their currently-contested drops.

This will make for a chaotic start to Split 2. Whether it’s good for competitive integrity or not is already being hotly debated, as having just two weeks to practise a new map in scrims (which many regions don’t take seriously) is less than ideal. The map is not in rotation for ranked or public matches at all in Season 12 either, which makes it harder for teams to practise.

Adding more maps to the competitive circuit is definitely a good thing, but Storm Point seems to have been rushed into the competition with a lack of forethought. A couple of updates to its layout and more notice for players would make it the perfect addition to Apex Legends esports, but at the moment it seems to have been added too quickly, despite the fact that it was probably designed with the ALGS in mind. Whether it works or not, it opens the door to more diverse competitive matches, and makes you wonder if Season 12’s new look Olympus could be added to the competitive circuit in Year 3? Only time will tell, but at least let us play on it first.

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