Apex Legends How To Become Better
My background: I played Apex Legends since release. I went into it with no real FPS skills.
I was very bad. The game didn’t track stats then but I remember sometimes getting 1 kill over 5 games. This was at game launch. You remember how bad players were back then.
I, in scientific terms, was a “shitter”. A bot, powered by a Commodore 64 operating system and cooled by a single wheezing fan coated in dust.
I had many factors working against me: my computer sucked and had 50-60fps; I have responsibilies and can sometimes play for only a couple hours a week; I have no friends and must brave the fires of hell known as the Apex solo queue. I am thirty years old. On the bell curve of reaction time you’ll find me on the left-hand side, rapidly tumbling down the slope as my aging, withered hands clutch the mouse.
Nonetheless, I tried to learn the game, with some success. Here are my stats at the start of S5:
I’m still not exactly good. My highest damage is 3.1K. I will never drop a 20 bomb unless they make Gibraltar count for 5 kills, which they absolutely should. But I am literally 10 times better at this game than when I started, and this is the process I went through.
1) I died a billion times
Season 0 was rough. I died so many times and in so many ways that soon I was literally able to predict my death before the fight even started.
“Here’s the point where three people jump on me. Yippee.”
“Here’s the part where I get sniped in the open. Sick. A scout. Couldn’t find a longbow, huh?”
Eventually I had a realisation: “If I know I’m about to die…why don’t I stop what I’m doing and DO SOMETHING ELSE?”
It sounds moronic, but this was an absolute lightbulb moment. I wasn’t dying for no reason. I was making specific bad decisions, and my mind was subconsciously recognising this.
If I’m get a “I’ll get sniped here” feeling, it’s because I need to hug cover more, or get inside a building. If I sense that a 1v3 is imminent, then I’m probably too split from my team. My subconscious often realises I’m making mistakes before my active brain does.
Sadly, a new player probably needs to get kicked around a bit before they develop a “I’m making a bad decision” Spidey-sense. You can accelerate the process by analysing your own deaths. At the end of each game, before readying up ask yourself “how did I die? And how could I have lived?” Sometimes, the answer’s *nothing*. In Apex, you’ll get into scenarios where there’s no way to win. But often there’s a specific mistake you can correct for your next game.
I think my k/d was under 0.5 when S2 launched.
2) I watched good players to improve my game sense
There’s hundreds of god-tier Apex Legends players who stream the game. I recommend that you watch some of them.
Make sure your brain is switched on: pretend you’re actually sitting in their chair, possessing their huge, scraggly neckbeard, wearing their XXXL-sized gamer diaper, and playing their game.
Can you predict their next action?
If you think “he should get on the rooftop” and the TTV does exactly that…congrats, your game sense is probably good. But if he does something different to your prediction…reflect on it. Why? Did he see or hear something that you didn’t? These guys have insanely good game sense, and don’t ignore it if their intuition leads them down a different path to yours.
Even great players make mistakes, of course. Often I’ll watch a pro do something, think “that was a mistake” and seconds later TTV_McPissbottle is back at the lobby. Nobody plays perfectly.
It’s best to watch a streamer who mains your legend. If you play Crypto, you’ll only learn so much from watching a Wraith player. Wraith has an escape. Every decision a Wraith main makes is built around her having an escape. Crypto doesn’t have an escape and thus requires a different playstyle, so watch Crypto streamers instead.
3) I did aim training
Midway through Season 2, I began analyzing my own fights.
I noticed that I was getting a LOT of kills with shotguns (less need to aim) and melee attacks (which auto-lock on to the target).
Did this suggest that my aim was bad?
I bought Kovaaks, which is an aim training tool. A lot of people just shoot at stuff in the firing range, but it didn’t feel like it was enough. Aim has two basic elements, “reading” (noticing that there are enemies on your screen), and the mechanical action of moving your mouse/controller to the enemy. The Apex Legend firing range trains the second skill, but not the first. You know where everything is. There’s no surprises. Shoot a target, and it’ll reappear in the exact same spot. In a visually cluttered fight with explosions, thermite, Bang smoke, etc, you need to be able to identify targets. Kovaaks allows you to work on your reading skills as well.
I greatly reduced my sens from 3.5 @ 800 DPI to 3.5 @ 400 DPI, switching from wrist aiming to arm aiming. This felt comfortable after a few hours, and within a day I was matching my old Kovaaks scores. For weeks I played half an hours of Kovaaks before Apex Legends, which may have been excessive – don’t over-focus on your aim, to the point where you neglect practicing movement and positioning and overall awareness.
Regarding movement: watch Aceu’s guide and spend a few minutes each day practicing bhopping, walljumping, airstrafing etc in the firing range. Note that it contains some wrong information – walljumping doesn’t require you to jumpslide, for example. It works best that way, but with practice you can do it with 0 horizontal motion.
Also, did you know you can kinda do Titanfall-style wallrunning in Apex?
I ended up getting some pretty decent Kovaaks scores (110 on Tile Frenzy before I stopped playing it)…but my k/d in Apex was still about 0.8. Eventually, I decided that my aim was not holding me back. Something else was.
4) I upgraded my computer
This was the final piece of the puzzle. I noticed that I was winning way more 1v1s inside buildings than I was out in the open. It didn’t take a genius to figure out why: in large areas, my FPS cratered, making it difficult to aim and react fluidly. I needed better hardware.
I got a new CPU and GPU, a cordless mouse, and a 144hz monitor. Instantly, my k/d exploded. I wish I’d done it sooner.
Higher framerates make Apex Legends gunfights massively easier. For those who can’t afford to upgrade, check out FPS optimization guides such as Panjno’s. Make sure you implement changes one at a time, testing each time in the firing range to see if there’s an improvement. That way if anything goes wrong, you can roll back that one change.
Having a 144hz monitor alone made an amazing difference. It’s hard to explain how 144hz is better, but it’s like…time moves slower, if that makes sense. That’s obviously not how it works, but it’s how it feels when you’re playing. Sadly, frames win games.
This takes me up to the current day. I’m still learning and trying to get better, and my k/d has actually declined to about 2.1 k/d (mostly from playing on 150 ping US servers when the Australian ones die).
Other random tips
– Value your life. Don’t chase some guy around because “he’s one, bro!!!” when you only have 50 HP yourself. Fall back, heal, and then fight. Don’t worry about letting the enemy slip away. Focus on living. If you survive, you’ll get more opportunities to kill. If you’re dead, it’s over.
– When entering a new area, have an escape route planned out. Suppose you get Krabered out of nowhere: where are you going to run and heal? Having stuff like this pre-planned reduces makes life easier when it happens, and avoids “panic mistakes”.
– Only push fights if you know you have an advantage of some kind. A better position, better armor, better guns, a 3v2, a longer penis, anything. Otherwise it’s a complete crapshoot whether you’ll win. Stop running into fights blind.
– The fastest way to heal is to swap armor. Don’t ignore whites – each one represents 50 free HP. Sometimes I’ll try to bait the enemy into fighting me in a place that has lots of whites, so I can keep swapping them as I take damage.
– If you have bad gear, third party someone else’s fight. Focus on the team that appears to be winning: you don’t want to kill a solo player who was nearly dead only to face 3 full health players.
– If you’re getting tilted and frustrated, change your mindset. If SBMM is kicking your ass, think “I’m playing against good players, and accelerating my learning”. If you have level 10 teammates, think “now I can practice my 1v3’ing!”
– Gunshots in this game are loud. When you fire a gun, you have pasted a big “I’m over here!” target on your head. After I shoot, I try and change my position, so that enemies have a harder time tracking me down.
– Loot less. Grab basic gear, then start chasing gunshots. The fastest way to get high-tier gear is to kill other players. Dropping Swamps and looting all game is an excellent way to go into final zone with 3 white armor.
– Doors are the game’s best shields. They block any bullet, and will stop enemies from getting to you. You can flip one open, shoot, and then close it again when the enemy returns fire. Always stay near to one. Almost every 1v3 I pull off involves a door of some kind.
– If you have no armor, try not to get shot – not even by one P2020 bullet. Players will chase like the hounds of hell if they know you’re flesh.
– More generally, try to deny your enemy information. You don’t want them to know where you are, what legend you are, what guns you have, or what your armor level is. Only reveal your hand if there’s a good reason to do so.
– Don’t die for your randoms. If they yolo pushed into three R99s and are dead, too bad. That’s on them. If you charge into that same bad situation to save them, you’ll die too.
– Be attentive to your surroundings. Have you found a looted care package with an abandoned weapon beside it? Be careful: there’s a Kraber, Devotion, or PK in play. Is there a white armor just lying out in the open in Sorting? An enemy team just got high-tier armor from a cargo bot. Is there an area with doors opened but supply bins unopened? This means an extremely kitted team passed through (they obviously didn’t need loot). In a fight, remember which enemies have burned their abilities. Putting down a Wattson gen is kind of a waste if the enemy Gibraltar already used his ult.
– If you get killed by a streamer, watch your death on their stream. Often you’ll see a mistake that you weren’t aware of from your perspective. One time I was hiding behind a corner in Sorting, thinking I was invisible…only to have a TTV player slide past and one-mag R99 me. I was convinced she was wallhacking. There was no way she could have seen my body.
…So I watched her stream, and was like “oh, damn.” My body was behind cover, but the tip of my G7 was sticking out into plain view! That’s how she knew I was there. Lesson learned: your gun is visible, so get a bit deeper behind cover.
Hopefully this helps someone.