The Apex Legends community is divided after NA stalwarts TSM were accused of “data mining” maps to get better zone knowledge. The mined files showcased where zones could not end on specific maps, and have been made publicly available in the past.
While data mining has been a core part of the Apex Legends community, revealing new content before it launches, it’s technically against the rules.
EA’s User Agreement prohibits users from “[using] any robot, spider or other automated device or process to access EA Services for any purpose such as scraping data,” as well as “engaging or assisting in cheating or other anticompetitive behavior.”
If players are found to have broken EA’s Terms of Service, they cannot compete in Apex Legends esports.
Usually, it only involves a skin here or there, as massive Legend leaks are typically outside of what can be accessed from the public game. But it can also have some data which can be used competitively, such as zone positioning.
Now a revelation on November 28 has thrown the Apex Legends pro community into disrepute. SSG pro Mark ‘Dropped’ Thees spread the word on Twitter: “Data mining for zones is supposedly a thing in apex and I think it should be talked about and more common knowledge for everyone.
“The way it was explained is, you can basically find through the code of the game in each update which certain zones can happen and which can’t. [It’s] too big of an advantage for teams that have access to it without other teams even realizing this is a thing.”
Initially, there was one team at the center of accusations: TSM. The multi-time champions admitted to using data-mined zone information after coach ‘Raven’ went onto NRG star Chris ‘Sweet’ Sexton‘s stream.
“I don’t see how it’s a lack of competitive integrity,” Raven said.
Raven’s commentary caught the ire of the stream, as well as many in the community. He brushed off concerns about it being against the rules, saying he was just doing his job as an analyst.
Philip ‘ImperialHal’ Dosen alluded to multiple other squads using it on Twitter, despite others denying as much: “They will have to ban Alliance, Furia, FaZe, and maybe even Liquid. Good luck!”
It’s not the first time zone endings have been data mined. ‘Shrugtal’ circulated maps for Storm Point and World’s Edge back in February 2022, showcasing where zones would never end. Typically it blocked out any major buildings, as well as some POIs.
Actual evidence of teams using data mined zone information for competitive benefit hasn’t actually been shown publicly beyond hearsay. Whether it’s data mining is another question entirely as teams could be using entirely public information for their zone readings.
EA is yet to take action and ban teams from ALGS, which is currently halfway through its Year 3 Split 1 season.