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Apex Legends Beginner’s Guide in 2019

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Art By: Monori Rogue

Hey y’all!

So, to start off with, I’m just some guy. A guy who is actually terrible at FPS games. However I’m a guy that does research and with about 800 total games under my belt at this point (not nearly as much as some, but more than most), I feel like I have a grasp for how the game works. I’ve been grouping with a lot of newbies in discord who are more skilled at shooting than me, but lack the basic foundational knowledge in the game simply because they haven’t been playing long enough and haven’t had anyone to tell them.

Hence, this guide. Let’s get right into it.

Warning: It’s long. I’m a wordy guy and always have been! 🙂

Tabor Hill has narrated the guide while adding his own flair on his YT channel, see the video here. Give him a follow, his stuff is pretty cool!

Legend Selection and Dropping on the Map

This section will cover a few tips regarding before the fighting actually begins:

  • First off – you can succeed with every legend. 90% of the game is skill-related. Even with Gibraltar’s insanely large hitbox (you’ve likely seen the memes), most people complaining about this are doing it to find an excuse as to why they’re doing horribly. Aim/Tracking > Weapons > Defensive Gear > Attachments > Legend selection.
    • I’ve played Wraith since launch (before the hitboxes were really even considered), and still do terribly with her. Picking Wraith won’t magically fix your aim.
    • This does matter in the competitive scene, and it’s why you’ve seen many streamers gravitate towards Wraith. She’s tiny. Devs have said they’re looking at the hitbox discrepancy to see what they can do at this point.
  • How to Drop Effectively – This post does a better job of explaining the general idea than I can. There are a few magical numbers to be aware of, though:
    • 700-750m (depending on the elevation of your drop target) or less from your targeted drop area – You can drop directly there at ~147-148 m/s. I always laugh when I see people trying to wave drop to Artillery when it’s like 450m from the dropship. I will beat you there every time. It’s only a split-second, but that’s often enough for my “E” to beat yours to the peacekeeper.
    • If the dropship is flying directly over where you want to drop, it’s faster to stay in the drop ship until it is in that 700-750m range, because the dropship moves horizontally faster than you can, so therefore the fastest way to drop is to wait until you can direct-drop from the furthest distance possible, which, again, is 700-750m.
    • 800-900m or so – Follow the advice of the guide above. Glide to 135m/s before dipping again, or sometimes even a quick glide to 140m/s is enough.
    • >1000m – you’ll need to widen your arcs by leveling out until 125-130m/s, this gives you more distance. I find anything slower than 125m/s ends up giving you less distance and drops you slower as well, and you’ll also rarely need to go lower than 130m/s anyway.
  • A basic overview of the expected tiers of loot at each location – these are not 100%, sometimes the high-tier areas seen in the map can spawn as medium/low. See the stickied mod post in that thread for the source as well as rough %’s (user-recorded, so they’re not accurate).
    • The four most popular drop locations are probably Artillery, Airbase, Bunker and Skull Town. If you’re looking to avoid a really heated battle off the drop, avoid these locations if they’re close to the start of the drop ship’s path. However if you’re looking to improve your game play quickly (we’ll go over this in more detail later), I recommend Artillery, Airbase and Skull Town as drop locations – drop away from other teams, loot quick, and join the fray once you have basic gear (a not-F-tier gun (mozzi/p2020), body armor, and ammo). Each of these three locations will teach you different aspects of the map as well as FPS in general:
    • Skull Town – Building play (not Fortnite building, but actually using buildings on the map ;)). Using doors to your advantage. Run-sliding. Roof play. 3rd partying and handling being 3rd partied.
    • Airbase – Cross-canyon/river play. Elevation differences. Relatively open-area play.
    • Artillery – Elevation and large-building play. Indoor elevation. Hiding spots. Retreating/resetting a fight. Zipline play. You’ll also frequently get 3rd partied here after the fights end as well. I have tons of squads balloon drop in roughly 30s-1m after the fight ended and we get absolutely cremated by a 2000+ kill player or something. Good experience dueling with them as well, because you can see what they do to avoid your shots and solo your team. Pay attention.
    • Bunker is its own beast and will teach you close-quarters, narrow-hallway styles of play, but those are rare on the map as a whole. It’s a fun time if you’re up for it (and you can do some cheeky plays in there as well), but it’s pretty sectioned-off from most of the map, ‘theme’ wise.
  • Splitting off from your team is the best strategy as long as you aren’t dropping super hot. This means each of you will ping a different building relatively close to each other, then split off from the jumpmaster and quickly loot that building. This way you aren’t competing for early guns/armor/ammo/attachments/etc. Depending on how hot your drop is, you’ll want to ensure you don’t take two guns if your teammates can’t find any. Communication is key, here. Let your teammates know you haven’t found a gun, or if they’ve said this, ping guns in your building and/or bring them a gun with some ammo once you meet up.
    • If you see a team dropping right next to you and one or both of the teammates have split from the jumpmaster, a really cheeky strategy is dropping as three and melee’ing them to death immediately. It takes one punch from each of you plus another punch to down them, it’s basically instant and it’s honestly hilarious. Now you only have to deal with 2 other squad mates and you can safely loot the guns in your immediate area.
    • If you notice this happening to you in turn, don’t try to fight it, even if you’ve pulled a peacekeeper or another top-tier gun. Against three cheeky bastards you might even drop two of them, but you’ll die in turn and they’ll just rez relatively safely (the fight won’t last long enough for your team to respond, particularly if they’re frantically searching for a gun). Just run (and slide/slide-jump) as fast you can, they can’t keep up with you if they’re trying to melee you. When you notice them falling away you can turn and light them up if you choose to.

Drop Strategies

Along with the above, I think it’s important to go over drop strategies – where you’ll be dropping will set the tone for the rest of your match, and there are three basic strategies:

  • Drop Hot – This means dropping directly on a high-tier loot area (often the supply ship or the hot zone (the blue circle that is randomized for each map)) that is close to the beginning of the drop ship’s path.
  • Drop Cold – Dropping either very far from the dropship’s path, or dropping at the end of the dropship’s path. There are two basics here:
    • Dropping cold and playing walk-and-loot simulator. This means dropping in an uncontested high-tier loot area, looting it dry, then moving on to another high-tier loot area that is likewise likely uncontested/unlooted and looting it dry. Continue until you’re in the final 3 and hope you found enough loot to compete with the last 2-3 squads.
    • Dropping cold, looting quick, and then seeking kills. You’ll see streamers do this frequently. They’ll drop in Cascades and loot it quick, maybe take out the other squad that landed there, then balloon quickly to another area searching for bullet fire, 3rd party/straight up murder the squad(s) there, rinse, repeat. Valid strategy for casual play as well.
  • Drop Warm – My own term, but kind of intuitive, others probably have come up with it separate from me. It means dropping in an uncontested area just outside a hotter area, looting some guns/body armor/etc. and quickly moving into the hot zone to 3rd party and clean up the teams. This is a much safer way of getting loot and getting geared well in the beginning, however it still has the RNG element of finding guns, and it requires you to move fast, because the fights in the hot zone only last a few minutes at most, and if you get there after it’s died down, you’re now facing a much-better-geared and now-healed enemy squad.

As far as the strategy “for you”? It depends. You can really do any of them, however I don’t recommend the walk-and-loot simulator past a game or two a night. For one it doesn’t teach you anything at all if you’re actively avoiding fights. For two, you can finish in the top 3 easily, but getting Champion will more than likely be out of your reach simply because you’ll be outgeared and likely outskilled to boot. Keep in mind that the enemy that’s been looting along the way has likely killed several versions of your squad, meaning that now-dead squad basically shopped for loot for the winning squad from a different location. Multiply this by 2 or 3 and you see how you’ll get out-looted.

The drop cold and chase kills strategy is a good one. It’s a different version of ‘drop warm’, honestly.

Dropping hot will teach you a lot about dropping hot (duh) and even handling 1-2 squads dropping with you in what you thought was a colder drop. It’s an integral part of the game and you should force yourself to do it several times per play-period. It does lend itself to somewhat of a ‘loading-screen simulator’, for sure, but it gives you the highest activity-per-minute of all strategies as well.

Dropping warm is my recommended happy-medium that should be taking most of your game time while you’re trying to improve. It gives you the safety of avoiding gun RNG against another squad, while still getting you in the action relatively quickly.

I would highly recommend chasing kills, always. Once you’ve looted a couple of areas you will want to simply glance in windows as you pass them, rather than spending time in each zone looting it dry. Search for bullet fire instead. Only stop when you see purple shinies or hear a loot tick (the mechanical chirping things, you can punch/shoot them for loot that matches their glowing color).

Not only is this the best method for winning, it also teaches the most. A big part of the game is catching people and not getting caught, by chasing kills you actively teach yourself both of these things that playing loot simulator just doesn’t teach you. You’ll get collapsed on frequently while looting, but that’s because you weren’t paying attention to where other squads could likely be, and got collapsed on yourself, it didn’t teach you anything, it just killed you.

How Different Items Work

This is a brief overview of the different items in the game, you can find this information in a lot of places, but the information here is accurate (a lot of sites have the wrong numbers for things) and both complete and succinct:

  • Barrels reduce recoil, shotgun bolts increase fire rate, stocks reduce aim-drift and the time it takes to swap the gun in or out (doesn’t affect the other gun unless it also has a stock), magazines increase bullet capacity and reduce reload times.
    • “Handling” means (and only means) the swap speed. See video. 🙂
    • In order of importance: Magazine > Barrel (on continuous-fire or burst-fire guns) & Shotgun Bolt > Stock > Sight > Barrel (on single-fire guns). Magazine isn’t as important if you’re running sniper, but almost no one does.
    • Magazines increase bullet capacity in the mag by 25%/50%/100% at each tier. Purple mag is the highest blue-to-purple upgrade in the game, as far as I know (numbers are still unknown (at least by me) for stocks and barrels, but they also aren’t as important anyway), other than knockdown shield (250 -> 750).
    • There are two types of legendary (yellow/orange) barrel – one further reduces recoil, while the other has the same reduction as purple-quality, but reduces the flash of your gun.
    • You can also find a “legendary” version of several guns. This just means it’s fully kitted. Most of the stuff is actually purple quality, it’s just ‘displayed’ as gold quality. You also can’t remove any of the attachments, even the sight. This is sometimes seen as a minor negative.
  • Hop-Ups:
    • Skullpiercer – Wingman (Heavy Pistol) and Longbow (Heavy Sniper) – increases headshot damage by 25%.
    • Precision Choke – Peacekeeper (Shotgun) and Triple Take (Sniper) – reduces/tightens the spread of the shells, essentially increasing effective range and making headshots more reliable. You’ll sometimes hear the characters call it “Barrel Choke”, this is the same thing.
    • Selectfire Receiver – Prowler (Heavy SMG) and Havoc (Energy AR) – enables a different fire mode for the gun (“B” to switch fire modes for PC, not sure for console). Enables continuous fire for prowler (default mode is 5-round burst), and a more powerful single-fire for Havoc (default is continuous, but the shots do much less damage in this mode, with SFR it becomes more of a sniper). Note that the Havoc can only have ONE attachment at a time.
    • Turbocharger – Devotion (Energy LMG) and Havoc (Energy AR) – reduces ‘wind-up’/’spin-up’ time for these weapons. For the Devotion it slowly winds up to faster and faster speeds, this will reduce the time it takes to get to max fire rate. For the Havoc there is a small delay before it starts firing, this reduces that delay. Note that the Havoc can only have ONE attachment at a time.
  • A quick note on guns – ALL guns are viable as late-game options (with appropriate hop-ups and upgrades) except for the Mozambique and the P2020. Tier lists exist, but no gun will really vastly outperform others. If you feel comfortable using a scout + devotion, use that, even if it isn’t “high” on the tier lists. The guns are more about comfort than performance.
  • A quick note on sights – A common mistake that new players make with sights is that higher tier = better. The community largely considers the 1x HCOG gray scope to be the best all-purpose scope in the game (though YMMV). Just because a scope is blue doesn’t mean you necessarily want it more, it’s just a higher zoom for that type of gun.
    • The Legendary 1x sight (“Digital Threat”) allows you to see a red outline of the player when viewing through the sight – even through smoke or dust. If you’ve used Bloodhound’s ult, it’s the same thing. You can only use this scope on Pistols, Shotguns, and SMGs. The legendary 6-10x sniper scope does the same thing, but most sniper players don’t like the crazy zoom. ARs and LMGs cannot currently equip either of these scopes.
  • Arc Stars are sticky grenades – they attach to whatever surface (walls, people, etc.) they land on and explode. They also slow anyone they affect for a brief period. They start their timer as soon as they land on a surface/player. Largely considered the best grenade due to the slow and that it sticks to players (the trajectory system honestly makes them pretty easy to aim).
  • Frag Grenades are your basic grenade. They start timing down once thrown. It deals 100 damage at close range and the damage falls off further from the blast.
  • Thermite Grenades create a line/wall of fire that deals DoT (damage over time) when inside the fire. They explode on contact. I do not believe you can jump over the affected area, someone please correct me if I’m wrong.
  • Helmets reduce total damage when head shot by 10/20/25%, based on the tier. Note again that this is the totaldamage, not the bonus damage. Helmets are permanent reduction, they don’t “break” or wear down like body armor does.
  • Body Armor gives you +50/+75/+100 extra HP. You have a base of 100 HP. Replenished by using shield cells, shield batteries, and phoenix kits (or by looting a fresh armor).
    • Sometimes it’s worthwhile to loot a white armor even if you have blue quality already (if your armor is depleted) during a fire fight. It’s a quick 50 shields for little to no time investment. You can always pick it up later (and you can use it as bait for an enemy as well, they’ll loot the shields and have 0 armor).
  • Backpacks increase the amount of items you can carry by 2 slots per tier.
  • Knockdown shields have 100/250/750 HP at each tier. Don’t waste time trying to eat through a purple shield.
    • You can melee people through their shields. It’s faster/safer to melee through a purple shield if you must down a knocked target, unless you can reliably aim around their shield, at least.
  • Each of the four above items has a gold-tier. It gives the same stats as purple, but adds a perk – Helmet reduces tactical/ult cooldown times. Body Armor replenishes shields when you use a finishing move (this is as useless as it sounds). Backpacks cut the time it takes to heal from items in half (best gold-tier item), and a knockdown shield gives you a 1-time self-revive (it transforms into a purple-quality shield after using it).

Quick-and-Dirty Gameplay Tips – Basic

This is the last section and should be significantly less wordy than the above sections. Advanced tips like bunny-hop healing, etc. will not be included, this is the basics for new players (exploits will also not be included in any way, exploits are technically cheating and can technically get you banned, I don’t want to be responsible for that):

  • Sliding every 2-3 seconds while running increases overall movement speed. Slide-jumping on a max-speed slide increases this further (and gives you extra jump distance than just run-jumping).
  • When you are in a melee fight with someone else after dropping or running out of ammo, make sure you incorporate sliding and jumping. This makes you both harder to hit and extends your range. Practice it often and you’ll soon just do it naturally.
  • You can pop a healing item while sliding and maintain the sliding movement speed. You can keep sliding if you’re knocked down while sliding, and a number of other actions.
  • You can jump off of a zipline with the jump button/key, and re-attach with the ‘use’ button/key to make yourself harder to hit. You can also go back the way you came by jumping off the zipline, turning around and reattaching. You can also jump on top of a zipline from above and attach. Learning zipline plays will save you in many matches.
  • You can open doors while knocked down.
  • You can break doors by double melee’ing them or throwing a grenade at them.
    • People still often don’t know the above, so you can ‘body-block’ a door to safely heal or revive a fallen comrade. Even if they do know, it still takes time to break it down, this is sometimes all the time you need to reload/heal/whatever.
  • “Holing Up” in a defensive area sometimes seems like a good idea, but it usually isn’t. The enemy knows exactly where you are, and you often cannot keep tabs on them as easily. Try to stay on the move and have a tactical retreat option if possible. Resetting fights is important.
  • Keep to walls and reduce wide-range line of sight on you while on the move. Don’t move out in the open, leave one or two lines of sight open maximum if possible, and watch those areas while moving to ensure you aren’t getting collapsed on or cheesed.
  • This one seems obvious but I see so many people do it and am guilty of it myself – DO NOT just stare at your enemy while you’re reloading. Slide-jump away from them behind cover, then reappear outside it (or bonus points if you climb on top unexpectedly) once the animation is done. Standing in front of your enemy while reloading (or worse, moving closer to them) is a recipe for disaster.
  • You can melee an enemy even with your gun out. The default on PC is “V”, console is likely more obvious due to limited number of buttons. This is usually a bad idea unless you know for sure that the enemy has less than 31 HP. Do not melee while reloading just to get 30 extra damage in, it extends the reload time by a ridiculous amount.
  • You don’t need to check every single loot crate and building you pass by. Particularly as your gear becomes more and more kitted, the odds of you not wasting your time are very low. Seek kills if you have an ‘average’ of blue quality, and avoid crates and houses altogether if you’re pushing average purple quality (unless you can blatantly see an upgrade in plain view) and have plenty of ammo and healing items.
    • This is probably the number one mistake I see most players make, and I’m very guilty of it myself. Blue quality is honestly great. Looting death boxes is much more efficient.
    • Said simply – Chase kills, not loot.
  • Don’t be an asshole – loot death boxes after the fight is over and your comrades are revived. NEVER loot a squad mate’s death box if there is a safe (ring isn’t closing in, fighting is done) revive station nearby, let them loot their own corpse so they aren’t playing at a disadvantage. A quick loot for syringes/cells (even on a squad mate’s box) is okay, or if the fighting isn’t done but you desperately need ammo/weapons, but don’t go shopping at 5 different boxes on your way to the station, please.
  • Use your grenades. So many times I loot a couple arc stars/frags and at the end of the match realize had I used them behind cover we may have won the fight. They do AOE damage from safety. This is OP. Use it. You (or a good teammate) can even use them as a zoning tool while you heal up.
    • Grenades take time to ‘pull out’ of your inventory because you have to stow your weapon and pull out the grenade, then re-equip your weapon. This makes us lazy, especially considering old school games like Halo just had a “throw grenade” button. Don’t be lazy! Grenades are really strong.
  • “Sweeping the map” by staying on the outside of the second or third ring and moving in a clockwise or counter-clockwise direction around it is a very safe, very effective strategy. While the ring is not necessarily perfectly safe, it is a major deterrent for players. Unless there is a real danger outside the ring (which will usually be obvious), you will have a 180-degree net of safety in one direction, and by sweeping around the ring in one direction you know the areas you’ve been through are likewise safe, so it’s only “forward” that has potential dangers/action (or “very far behind you”, which usually isn’t a concern unless someone is trying to balloon on top of you or something).
    • This is a large subject and I may post something else in the future covering how to effectively establish map control. There are so many more things that go into this that are easy to do but most people just don’t think of it.
  • Communicate. Pings are great but voice is still better, if possible. It’s hard to convey “doing a wide flank, play safe” or “enemy Bloodhound has no shields and is 1-2 hits max” with pings. 😉
  • Don’t sweat the trolls. Leavers, ragers, trolls – they’re dealt with in 5-10 minutes anyway. Matches are short, your temper shouldn’t be. 😉


I know there are more things we can discuss but holy shit is this long! Discuss anything you’d like in the comments. I hope you enjoyed reading it, especially if you made it all the way through. I’ll make a follow-up post if there is enough need for it.

Please let me know if I missed something really important, or if something isn’t correct!

I tried to make it engaging and easy to read through formatting and entertaining language. Apologies if it missed the mark! Thanks everyone, and good luck out there. 😀

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