Apex Legends burst onto the scene at the start of this week, bringing a breath of fresh squad-based air to the Battle Royale genre. There’s so many little tweaks that Respawn have made to the formula set out in PUBG that you could feel a little bit lost, even if you’re a Battle Royale veteran!
Whether you’re a newcomer or a dab hand at surviving to the final circle, here’s a whopping 22 tips, tricks and observations to help you survive in Apex Legends.
Stick with the Jumpmaster
There’s nothing worse than ending up half a map away from the rest of your squad, so make sure to stick with the Jumpmaster if you’re not in control and maybe ping the map to suggest where to go. You can splinter off if you want to, but sticking together is much better for this game, which is all about playing as a squad and a team.
Watch the Jump Trails
Sometimes you want to drop into the thick of the action, sometimes you just want some peace and quiet to decide whether you want to trade a shotgun for a sniper rifle. Your Jumpmaster gets to decide which kind of game you’re going to get, thanks to all the squads leaving jump trails behind them as they skydive down to the ground.
Spot the rare loot areas
As you head into a new location, its name pops up in the top left corner of the screen, and it comes alongside a description of the kind of loot rarity you can expect to find. Though the loot is always randomised, some areas are better than others. The Thunderdome, for example, is a good place for finding high end loot.
The rarer the loot…
Loot comes in a familiar feeling four rarities. There’s standard first tier white gear, second tier blue gear, and third tier loot is purple. All weapons start off equal, but the attachments, from stocks to sights, come in different rarities, meanwhile armour starts by adding 50 points of health with standard white, 75 points with blue, and 100 with purple.
Rarest of all is there gold tier, which is just as effective as purple loot, but has bonus effects, such as a gold gunsight featuring thermal vision.
Even if you’ve got a headset on and are chatting with your mates? Use the smart comms at every possible opportunity. This is hands down one of the best innovations in Apex Legends, letting you ping a location, an enemy, a bit of gear, and having that beamed to the HUDs of your squad. It means that you can effectively communicate with players when you don’t have a headset, but it seriously enhances what you can relay to your buddies, both when scavenging and when in the thick of battle
Don’t forget to ping back in thanks when they’re helpful!
Get to know Kings Canyon
A bit like Black Ops 4’s Blackout mode, Kings Canyon is a small map, coming it at just about 1.8km2. That’s pretty small by Battle Royale standards, but it means that all the named locations are nice and close together, and that the map as a whole is really quite easy to learn. Respawn have designed it around the principles of a classic FPS multiplayer map, with choke points, plenty of scenery that breaks up sight-lines, and locations that have a great feel for the small scale team battles. Knowing the terrain could help you pick favourable battlegrounds for when you need to fight, setting up ambushes, knowing when it’s good to push hard, and how you can escape.
Race to the Hot Zone & Supply Ship
When looking at the map before you drop, you’ll spot a highlighted blue circle, a moving ship and its destination marker. These are markers for the best loot you can find at the start of the game: the Hot Zone and Supply Ship. It’s pretty likely that other squads will be heading there, so prepare for a fight, but a skilful Jumpmaster can get to the Supply Ship on its path or reach the Hot Zone first. Just remember, you can always abort at the last moment if the Hot Zone is a bit too hot for your liking!
Slide to the middle of the bowl
One of the unique aspects of Apex legends’ moveset is being able to slide down hill, getting up a little bit more speed than you would when running and sliding for dozens of seconds at a time. A fun fact about the map’s design is that it’s actually a bit of a bowl – though not completely bowl-shaped – meaning that you can almost always slide toward the middle and pick up a bit more speed if you’re trying to close in on an enemy squad or outrun the closing circles.
Ziplines and wall climbs
Sliding downhill is fun, but sometimes you want to get higher. There’s plenty of ropes around that you can zipline up and down with a press of a button (Square or X), but less obvious is that you can easily clamber up most walls in the game. A short tap of the jump button (Cross or A) will let you hurdle some things, but if you hold the button, you’ll wall climb a little further, letting you get up onto higher platforms and vantage points.
Dotted around the map are a number of balloons that you can use to quickly redeploy. Simply run up to the base, zipline up the rope to the top and you’re back to flying across the map. You don’t gain a huge amount of height from this, so can’t get from one side of the map to the other, but it helps move you quickly toward your chosen destination and can help you rapidly close the distance on far off enemies.
Inventory management made breezy
Inventory management in Apex Legends is nice and slick. Tapping the menu button brings up a clear and easy to navigate inventory with your two weapons front and centre, the gear in your backpack clearly displayed and the ability to easily move or drop items with single button presses.
When you’re scavenging in the open world and from fallen enemies, it’s easy to just try and grab everything, but you’re given a ton of info. Got better armour or helmets? It will let you know. Not sure if a certain ammo type or attachment is useful? It will tell you if you’ve got a gun that can use it. Looking at a different gun? It will show which attachments will be automatically transferred. When you do look in your inventory, anything you cannot use has a little hazard symbol so you know you can ditch it.
Best of all, if your inventory is full and you try to pick something up, up pops your backpack showing all the gear you have on you and letting you trade. It’s the inventory management equivalent of wall-running!
Tap or hold?
Different Battle Royale games have different conventions when it comes to reloading and interacting with the world. By default Apex Legends has you tapping Square or X to reload and interact with loot and doors, but that can lead to some instance where you’re trying to reload in a doorway and end up with a face full of steel.
If that’s doing your head in, just pop into the controls settings and you’ll find an option to let you switch this to set either interact or reload to hold, while the other remains a tap.
Hot swap items and grenades
When on the move, holding the button that uses an item (up on the D-pad) or pulls out a throwable (right on the D-Pad) will bring up a radial wheel to select between the different options. It shows all the different items and throwables that are available, whether you have all, some or none of them. It means that the various items are always in the same place, ideal for quick selections when you know what you want.
Know your ammo types
Guns, many of which you’ll likely recognise from Titanfall 2, are split up into a variety of different categories, with SMGs, snipers, LMGs and more, but they then also have distinct ammo types that determine some more of their handling properties. Thankfully Respawn have kept this to Light (brown), Heavy (teal), Energy (green) and Shotgun (red).
Compared to Light ammo weapons, Heavy ammo weapons have a slower bullet travel but higher damage, while energy ammo is rarer but has less bullet drop. Depending on your style of play, leaning to one ammo type could be beneficial for playing close range, while you have another preference for sniping. Of course, it all depends on what you’re lucky enough to find out in Kings Canyon. Beggars can’t always be choosers.
Alternate your fire
Some guns have got alternate fire modes, letting you swap from full auto or burst fire to single shot. You’ll know by looking at the gun’s info panel in the bottom right corner of the screen, where you’ll spot a D-pad symbol. Just hit left to switch modes (and try to remember that you did it!)
Respawn your buddies
If one or both of your teammates are downed, and you can’t get to them before they fully expire, you can still get them back into the game. All you need to do is get back to their gear crate, retrieve their character card and then head toward the nearest spawn marker to call them back in. It’s a bit risky, because they’ll return with no gear and your spot is given away by the drop ship that comes to drop them off, but it restores your three-man team to full strength and gives you a much better chance at the end of the game.
On the other side of things, you can use the respawn beacons to your advantage. If you’ve heard a distant gunfight, it’s quite possible that someone will be heading to a beacon soon after to get their squad back up to full strength, and you’ll hear that drop ship coming in.
Top up your armour
Rare armour is good for nothing if you’ve been through a tough firefight and it’s down to just one bar of shields. You don’t need to scavenge for armour again at this point – though if you do pick up armour off a fallen enemy it will be back up to full strength – and can instead repair it with shield restoring items. The ultimate is the Phoenix Point, which brings both your health and shields up to 100 points each.
Spot the enemy shield colour
Armour and helmets come in several different strengths, ranging form basic white, through blue, purple and up to yellow/gold. Each step up adds another bar of shield strength to you, increasing your survivability in a firefight, lengthening the Time to Kill even further.
Helping to keep things nice and clear, if you’re facing an armoured enemy and land a hit, you’ll see the bursts of light and coloured that are associated with their armour, giving you a clear indication of what you’re going up against, and how much damage they can soak up.
Yellow means you’re getting a headshot, red means you’re landing body blows, but white is chipping away at level one armour, blue at level two and purple at level three armour.
I get knockdown shield (and I get up again!)
Grabbing a knockdown shield can sometimes be well worth the effort. These are simple devices that come into play when you’re knocked down and enemies are swarming near you. Holding the trigger lets you form a directional shield that can soak up a fair chunk of damage, preventing them killing you outright and hopefully giving your teammates time to get to you.
The first time I had a gold tier knockdown shield, I didn’t realise it until it was too late that this lets you revive yourself! My two squadmates were also downed and we were a tad confused as to why we hadn’t been knocked out yet, giving us the slim chance of making a comeback (we didn’t). Make sure you’re paying attention to the type of knockdown shield you’ve picked up, because if an enemy is too distracted to finish you off and you manage to crawl to safety, you can get yourself back up and back into the fight. Or you can run away. Running away is OK too.
Need to mop up a kill and don’t want to waste any of your precious ammo? Or see that they’ve got an aforementioned knockdown shield? Sure, you can batter them with melee attacks, or you can do it in style. Run up to the downed enemies and you’ll be able to pull a finisher move that’s specific to your character. Just beware that it’s not a good idea to do this in the thick of the action – it takes a bit too long and it can be interrupted by incoming fire!
Holster your gun if you wanna go faster
This one does what it says on the tin. If you’re trying to outrun the shrinking circle, trying to escape enemy squads, or simply feel like going a bit faster, you can holster your weapon by holding the weapon switch button (triangle or Y). Now you’re faster!
Characters with a touch of class
The eight characters in the game each have unique tactical and ultimate abilities, and though some of them might feel familiar from Titanfall 2, using them in the context of a Battle Royale makes them quite different. Wraith can step into the void to escape incoming fire or try to sneak up on enemies, but her ultimate takes effort to use well, creating two linked portals to run through. Mirage is a bit of a trickster, able to send out holograms, Lifeline is great for getting the team back up to full health, Bloodhound for tracking enemies, and Caustic for leaving poisonous gas traps in awkward places.
The difficulty is making the best use of their various abilities, knowing how to use them when in attack and in defence, and learning how they can be combined with the other characters in your squad.
That ought to be more than enough to get you started in learning some of Apex Legends’s uniquely refined brand of Battle Royale. Good luck out there in the tournaments!