Apex Legends is looking to be a bit of a banger, and that’s at least in part a result of developer Respawn’s pretty amazing attention to detail.
We’ve been getting to grips with it over the first few days since its surprise launch and, as it turns out, there’s an absolute goldmine of Apex Legends tips, tricks and little known features in there that can make a huge difference to your chances of success. Here’s a runthrough of what we’ve found so far, from basic tips for battle royale newcomers to the advanced and elaborate stuff there’s a good chance you’ll have missed so far.
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Apex Legends tips for beginners and getting started
Apex Legends is a battle royale game, and that means it’s about surviving beyond all competitors to be the last player – or in Apex Legends’ case, the last squad – standing at the end.
The principles, if you’re already familiar with other battle royales, are the same: a large number of players (in this case 60 total) drop into a set map and loot themselves equipment and weapons from the environment around them in a free-for-all, with a play area contracting over several intervals as the game progresses.
There are areas where this differs from the norm, however, and similarly areas of Apex Legends where little UI elements and quality-of-life choices make your life easier, too, so here’s a rundown of the essentials to get your head around, before you dive into the more advanced stuff below:
Apex Legends beginners’ tips and things to know:
1. You’re always in a squad of 3 players – if there are fewer than 3 of you playing, you’ll be matchmade with strangers.
2. Apex Legends has a fantastic Ping system – so if you’re not a fan of voice chat, you can communicate entirely by pings instead.
3. You can mute squadmates, too – head to the second tab of your inventory in-game, and go to that player’s name where there’s an option to mute (you’re welcome).
4. There’s also both a text-to-speech and speech-to-text function – the text-to-speech is PC only as far as we can tell. They’re found in the main menu’s settings page at the bottom of Game Settings under Accessibility Options.
5. Each game has 60 players – that’s 20 squads in total, each round. The in-game counter in the top right of your HUD keeps track of squads, rather than players for the most part, because the high amount of survivability you have in the Apex Legends means eliminating squads is much more important than focusing on individuals.
6. Rounds tend to last for between 14 and 25 minutes – much shorter than most battle royales, thanks to the smaller player count and high mobility, combined with a seemingly smaller map than usual.
7. The indicator on the middle-left of your HUD shows when the next ‘phase’ is coming – in other words, when the circle is going to close in next and force you to the next safe area (marked in faded white on your mini-map and map).
8. There are no vehicles – and of course no Titans. Movement is, instead, a case using your squad’s character abilies and the environment efficiently.
9. Loot is generally spread out evenly, with the Hot Zone, Supply Ship and supply drops the main points of focus instead of specific, high-loot areas – you’ll still generally find more loot in places with lots of buildings, however.
10. You drop from the ship at the start in a fixed formation, following the ‘Jumpmaster’, but you can suggest and veto other suggestions with the Ping system as you go – you can also break off and go your own way by holding the button as prompted on your UI, if you like, but we recommend sticking with your squad!
11. Generally speaking, Apex Legends is about one specific playstyle: fast, constantly-moving gunplay with your squad. It’s not a game for lone rangers, contemplative moments of solitude, or camping – although you’re welcome to try!
Apex Legends movement and environment tips
Movement in Apex Legends is extremely important – so much so that, if we had to offer just one tip, it would be to keep moving. It’s much closer to a large multiplayer map from Call of Duty or Titanfall than a classic, more considered battle royale experience – there are so many ways to out-manoeuvre someone that it’s just never worth it, no matter how good a sniping spot you think you’ve found.
With that in mind, here’s our advice and collecting of good-to-know things for getting around the map itself.
Apex Legends tips for movement and the environment:
12. There is, actually a kind of wall-climbing in the game – no proper wallrunning or triple-jumps like Titanfall of course, but you can ‘wall-climb’ up to about 3 or 4 times your height by sprinting at a wall and holding the Jump button whilst looking upwards. Often your character will get surprisingly far up a wall and onto ledges you wouldn’t think were accessible, without any help. Worth practising and mastering!
13. Use doors to climb even higher – old-school PUBG players will recognise this one. Open a door and wall-climb onto the top of that, and then from there wall-climb further up the wall to reach otherwise inaccessible ledges and roofs of those mid-height buildings. Great way to surprise people.
14. Use the big red baloons to get around the entire map fast – each floating red baloon has a zipline taking you up to it (yes, ziplines work in both directions), and from the top you can then ‘redeploy’ by jumping off and jetpacking far across the map, as if you’ve jumped back out the dropship. Mastering this is essential for high-level repositioning plays.
15. Footsteps, ziplines, flying and landing are all very quiet – you can land behind people (after, say, using a redeploy baloon…) regularly and almost always surprise them in doing so. It seems it’s so possible because audio cues are far, far quieter in Apex Legends than other battle royales, at least in our early time with it so far. Surprise-redeploys are an amazing way to ambush campers!
16. All characters move at the same speed – as confired by Apex Legends designer Carlos Pineda on Twitter.
#ApexLegends Fun Fact: All characters move at the same speed. It only feels like some characters move slower because they have a higher camera height and slower arm animations!
— Carlos Pineda (@pinedsman) February 4, 2019
17. There’s no fall damage – this is another key design decision, that lets you move around incredibly quickly when combined with hopping on and off ziplines, buildings and more.
18. You can go out of bounds by going too high – you can land on top of anything you see in Apex Legends, from the first drop or a redeploy baloon, but beware that over a certain height, you’ll get a ‘return to play area’ message and a timer ticking down. You have a few seconds though, so you can use high places to reposition stealthily – just not to camp there for a whole game!
19. You should slide-jump everywhere you go – this is similar to the always-jumping advice of top players in PUBG, Blackout and Fortnite, but the added layer of sliding, which moves you faster than sprinting, makes you really hard to hit. Jump at the end of a slide to continue on at that same sliding speed a little longer through the air, then sprint, slide, repeat!
20. You can slide indefinitely downhill – you should have picked this up from the tutorial but it’s worth remembering. Always be on the lookout for hills, however big or small, for a movement speed advantage!
21. Put your weapons away when repositioning – if you need to move any kind of distance, put away your weapons (3 on PC, hold Y/X on Xbox/PS4), which makes you move considerably faster, and get greater distance on those jumps and slides as a result!
22. There’s no prone – so you can’t lie down, only crouch. That should serve as a reminder to you wannabe campers, too…
23. Perfect the battle royale wiggle – another classic from the old-school PUBG era: learn to ‘wiggle’ when looting or staying still for any period of any length. Wiggle the analog stick / A and D keys left and right rapidly to always keep moving slightly, even (and especially) while looting other players’ death boxes or supply drops. It makes you harder to hit and reinforces the idea that you always need to be on the move. It’s likely a deliberate design decision that you can’t do this whilst returning a player’s beacon to a respawn point.
Apex Legends combat, gear and equipment tips
Combat in Apex Legends is fast, complex, and frankly a little intimidating if you’ve been merrily pootling along in other slower battle royales luck us recently – but that razor-sharp speed absolutely fantastic once you get into it. Here’s our advice.
Apex Legends Combat tips
24. Combat in Apex Legends is all about teamwork – stay close to each other communicate clearly and with good pings (hold the ping button to access a dial with a choice of them for specific circumstances) and generally think about how three of you can tackle a situation, rather than one!
25. Remember to use your Tactical ability (L1/LB/Q) regularly – it’s a simple one but still easy to forget. Even Bangalore’s smoke grenade can be an absolute game-changer when used well – try firing it at specific enemies when you’re outnumbered, for instance, to let you focus on another one first then get to them. A little more on these in our Apex Legends characters, abilites and classes guide!
26. Another neat character-specific one we had to mention: Pathfinder can use his grappling hook ability to pull enemies to him, Roadhog-style. Neat!
27. Slide-jumping is great for combat; just hopping up and down is not – you’re not in Fortniteland any more, so hopping like a bunny is going to make you a sitting duck in Apex’s rapid-fire battles. Use the slide-jump, however, gets you moving around quickly and eratically, making you genuinely harder to hit.
28. You can execute, but it does make you a sitting duck – fancy finishing moves are unlockable in the in-game store or from loot boxes earned along the way, but beware that once you start one (follow the button prompt on a downed enemy if you have one equipped), you’re locked into it and still visible and targetable by enemies.
29. On the other hand, in very specific cases they work to your benefit – you get a free, full shield recharge, but only if you’re equipped with a Legendary-tier Shield. Thanks to Gwarh on reddit for that great tip.
30. The fast movement in general in Apex Legends makes headshotting specifically pretty hard – it’s better to aim for the chest and upper body, with a good chance of hitting the head, than enemies’ heads themselves. (This is even backed up by professional-level players like Shroud, who recommend doing the same in Apex).
31. Damage is colour-coded: damage numbers headshots are golden yellow, and then damage to bodies is either the colour of the enemy’s shield (purple, blue, or white) or red if their shields are down. You can also toggle how those numbers appear (like having individual ones for each hit, or ‘adaptive’ total numbers, which is the default, in the menu).
32. Enemy shields make a shattering sound when broken – be sure to communicate that to allies if you can’t finish them off, with “shield down” or similar calls!
33. Like in most battle royales, players are first ‘downed’, or ‘knocked’, where they’re on all fours, and then they can either be individually killed or are all killed when the last squadmember goes down – there’s another distinct sound cue when you down players, and a voice line when a squad is wiped.
34. Normally, you can use downed players to know that a squadmate of theirs is still around and a threat – but occasionally that’s not the case, because there’s a rare item that lets you self-revive or ‘self-res’ when downed. Beware that throwing you off!
35. As is always true in battle royales, ignore downed players while their squad’s still alive! Countless times you’ll see beginners get picked off by the last enemy standing because they decided to shoot at immobilised downed enemies that can’t hurt them – don’t be them!
36. There’s rarely time for ults – maybe the one main downside to Apex Legends’ hero-shooter style is that the combat-based ultimate abilities actually aren’t too worthwhile when you’re actually in combat. The gunplay is so good, and fast, that taking time to deploy an orbital strike and wait for it to drop down, when it’s clearly telegraphed to the enemy, is often a worse option than just shooting them while you have the element of surprise! Only use them on a case-by-case basis, really.
37. Beware that grenades need to be equipped with one button press, and thrown with another – they’re a little clunky, at least for now, so try to plan using them in advance rather than using them as a panic option, as you’ll often be left fumbling!
38. There is indeed bullet drop and bullet travel, rather than COD-style instant hits – so you have to allow a ‘lead’ for players who are running, and a bit of headroom for sniping over long distances.
39. Many scopes allow you to toggle how zoomed-in you are while aiming down sights – Left Shift on PC, TBC on controller!
Apex Legends gear and equipment tips
40. When you pick up a gun, it always has one full magazine of ammo in it – so even if your pals has snaffled all the ammo nearby, for instance, you can still pick the gun up and use it -briefly – in a pinch.
41. Guns are colour-coded by ammo type on your HUD – look at them in the bottom right and it’ll quickly show you what ammo you use, so you can pick it up faster!
42. Loot at the speed of light – everything you do in this game needs to be fast, and the faster you get, through practising, the better you’ll fare. With that in mind, it’s easy to be painfully slow-moving when looting. Try to get it instinctual, and train yourself to recognise what the little pop-up window looks like when something is equipabble versus only swappable/storable, for isntance, so you can snaffle it fast!
43. Armour (otherwise known as Shields) and Helmets are always picked up at full shield, at least from our experience so far – so if you killed an enemy their death box will contain their armour at full health. It saves you worrying about which damaged helmet is less damaged than the other, like in PUBG.
44. Death boxes are colour-coded to the highest-quality loot inside – so if you kill an enemy with a top-tier, golden yellow backpack, their death box will be glowing yellow until you loot it out of there. Keep an eye out for purple and gold ones in particular then when you’ve finished a firefight, for some great loot!
45. Give your ultimate accelarants to Lifeline, so she can call in supply pods regularly – she should be doing it as soon as it’s available, until the late game where it’s a bit of a positional giveaway, in order to keep your squad maxed out with great gear. Ultimate accelerants help her do this faster!
46. Equipment auto-attaches to weapons if it can – if it can attach to both, then it defaults to the one with a free slot or, if they both have a free slot, the one you have out at the time. You can swap attachments between them in the inventory screen.
47. Gear and ammo that can’t be used with anything you have equipped will have a red crossout line over it in your inventory – unless it’s amazing, drop it, as inventory space is limited!
48. Loot is generally spread quite evenly between buildings, so places with more buildings tend to have more (and a higher chance of better) loot – the best loot, however is from drop pods, hot zones and supply ships.
49. Gold loot has the same stats as purple loot, the tier below it, only it comes with special bonus, like the gold body armour which fully regenerates your shield on using a finisher on an enemy.
Other good-to-know Apex Legends tips, tricks and features
Finally, because Respawn have put in just so many little quality of life features and neat touches, here’s a collection of other things worth knowing that don’t really fit into a specific category. Enjoy!
50. You can smash doors with melee attacks – this is great if you get pinned behind one by things like enemies and death boxes, which can leave you in a tricky spot. Also it looks cool because you kick it.
51. The Hot Zone (a blue waypoint on your map) and Supply Ship (a white ship on the minimap, or an actual one like the dropship on the main map) are the most frantic places to drop at the start – you also get bonus XP for kills earned in the Hot Zone, and these places have the best loot in general. Up to you if you fancy a PUBG School / Fortnite Tilted Towers-style ‘hot drop’ experience, or a more peaceful time off at the edges!
52. The streamers’ gun of choice seems to be the R99 SMG for now, couple with a Devotion LMG or Longbow DMR for longer range encounters, unless there’s a special sniper like the Kraber available. We’ll be looking into Apex Legends’ guns in much more depth soon, though, so keep checking back!
53. Generally speaking, long-range gunfights are much harder – Apex Legends is built by specialists in short and medium-range FPS games like the classic Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and the Titanfall games. Broadly speaking, it feels amazing up close, but fighting it out over longer distances is just not worth it half the time, because movement is so fast and erratic that it takes some serious skill to pick players off through all their armour.
54. You can ping all kinds of stuff in-game – even a type of ammo in your inventory, to tell your allies that you’re in need of that specific ammo, just as you can ping ammo or gear on the ground to tell your allies it’s available.
55. Experience seems to come from surviving for longer, more than it does from damage dealt or enemies killed – thanks to iConker on reddit for that tip!
That’s our lot, at least for now! Hopefully this gets you off to a running, sliding-and-jumping start, at the very least – good luck getting those whatever-they-call-chicken-dinners on this weird, vaguely Titanfall-universe planet!