Apex Legends: 13 Key Tips for Starting Out

Apex Legends is gaming’s latest battle royale craze, and with 10 million players who have already jumped in since launch, you’ll probably want to check it out.

Respawn’s new free-to-play shooter for PS4, Xbox One and PC puts an exciting spin on the formula popularized by games like Fortnite and PUBG, but it can also be incredibly daunting for both newcomers and genre vets alike thanks to its unique focus on team play and class-based character powers.

Whether you’re jumping into Apex Legends for the first time or are just tired of getting shredded in the beginning of every match, here are some handy tips for getting started.

Stick with your squad

This is key for any team-based shooter, but staying near your teammates is especially crucial in Apex Legends. You’ll fare much better in a firefight as a unit, and will have an easier time reviving your friends -- or grabbing their respawn tag after they die -- if you stay close. Also, don’t be a renegade and break away from your team during the initial jump onto the map.

Communicate constantly

Communication is the absolute most important part of Apex Legends, and the game makes it incredibly easy to do so without even saying a word. Using the game’s Ping system, you can mark spots on the map and call out enemy and gun locations by simply aiming and tapping a button (R1 on PS4, RB on Xbox One, middle mouse on PC).

See an enemy in the distance? Tag them. See a weapon you don’t need but your teammates might? Mark it. Need your squadmates to get to the inside of the circle before the storm swallows you whole? Ping a location and get them moving.

Get to know your Legends

Apex Legends is unique from other battle royale games in that it has eight unique character that each boast distinct abilities, such as the vanishing ninja Wraith or the walking shield Gibraltar. Try them all out to get a feel for their abilities and see who fits your style best.

Getting comfortable with the whole roster is important for two reasons: you’ll want a backup plan when someone else picks your favorite Legend, and you’ll have an easier time dealing with enemy squads when you know what each character can do.

Choose your team wisely

Because Apex Legends’ characters are all so distinct, you and your teammates should think carefully about choosing a three-person squad whose abilities complement one another. For example, choosing a well balanced team with an attacker like Bangalore, a healer like Lifeline and a defender like Gibraltar will give you many more options than if all three of you rush in with attack characters. Keep experimenting and find a team that feels right.

Get to know the map and land carefully

Like with any battle royale game, mastering Apex Legends’ map and choosing the right landing spot is key to success. Dense areas filled with buildings and supply crates are likely to yield more loot, but they’re also more likely to be packed with other players. You should always aim to get good loot, but if you see a ton of players dropping toward a particular spot, you might want to go somewhere slightly less populated to start.

Also, when scanning the in-game map both before and after you land, be mindful of a few key icons. Those big green things are Respawn Beacons where you can bring back fallen teammates, so you’ll want to be near one whenever you think things will get hairy. The in-game map will also call out hot zones (big blue circles), supply drops (small blue circles) and supply ships (ship icon), which will all yield high-tier loot but will also likely be packed with enemies.

Slide like a pro

Like many modern shooters, Apex Legends lets you slide by tapping the crouch button while running. However, Respawn takes the slide mechanic further by factoring in both your momentum and terrain, meaning that you’ll slide longer if you’re moving faster and are going downhill. Take advantage of this feature to quickly get down slopes, stairs and hills -- it could save you from a heated firefight or the closing walls of the arena, and will get you to that precious loot-filled building even faster.

Move faster by holstering

You’ll run faster in Apex Legends when your gun is holstered, and you can put it away by simply holding the Triangle or Y button. This speed boost is especially key for escaping a closing circle or getting away from a firefight gone south.

Don’t worry about fall damage

There’s no fall damage in Apex Legends, so don’t be afraid to jump off of a building or steep cliff if things are going sour or if you need to get to your next destination quickly.

Drop items for teammates

If you want to drop a weapon, stock, medkit or any other item for a teammate to grab (or just want to clear inventory space), simply press the Options (PS4) or Menu (Xbox One) button, hover over that item and select drop.

Know your colors

Like in many loot-based games, knowing what colors mean what is an essential part of Apex Legends. The game has four tiers of items ranging from worst to best: white, blue, purple and gold. So if you see a purple or gold weapon, attachment or piece of armor, snatch it up immediately.

This system also comes into play during a firefight, as the color of the damage numbers that pop out of an enemy while you shoot them will indicate what level of armor they have. Red means they have no armor, white means they have level 1, blue means they have level 2, purple means they have level 3 and gold means they have level 4. If you notice that your foe has high-level armor, you might want to wait before rushing in at them.

Respawn your teammates

When your teammate gets eliminated, you’ll have a 90-second window to grab their tag (marked in green on the game’s HUD) and bring them back into the fight at a Respawn Beacon (marked in green on the game’s map). Note that your teammate will be redeployed into the battle with no gear, so you might want to have some ready to drop for them when they come back. Using a Respawn Beacon also leaves you vulnerable for a few seconds, so make sure the area is clear or that you have someone watching your back when initiating a respawn.

Use your alternate fire modes

Some weapons in the game have alternate fire modes, which will be indicated by a left d-pad icon next to the weapon in the bottom right of your HUD. Naturally, if you want to switch modes, simply tap left on your d-pad.

You can kick open doors

If you want to really make an entrance, you can kick open any door by pressing the melee button (right stick on console, V on PC). Doing so will allow you to knock back any unsuspecting enemies waiting by the door. Plus, it’ll just make you feel badass.

Credit: EA

Michael Andronico

Mike Andronico is Senior Writer at CNNUnderscored. He was formerly Managing Editor at Tom's Guide, where he wrote extensively on gaming, as well as running the show on the news front. When not at work, you can usually catch him playing Street Fighter, devouring Twitch streams and trying to convince people that Hawkeye is the best Avenger.