Apex Legends guide: Tips for mastering the battle royale

Shoot the bad guys. Stay in the circle. Revive your teammates. What more do you need to know to succeed in a battle royale game? Okay—a lot, as it turns out. We've been playing match after match of Apex Legends, and pulled together these tips for staying alive and grabbing first place in Respawn's battle royale. 

This beginner's guide covers looting, mobility, figuring out how much armor an opponent has, and more. Check out our Apex Legends character guide for details on their special abilities, and our map guide to learn your way around.

Damage numbers also show your enemy's armor level 

As you're popping rounds into an enemy, you'll see the typical damage numbers appear, but the color of the numbers can give you additional information about the level of armor your opponent is wearing, which will give you some idea of how durable they are. Here are the damage number colors and the armor values they indicate:

  • Red: No armor
  • White: Level 1 armor
  • Blue: Level 2 armor
  • Purple: Level 3 armor

Master the ping system 

This is a squad-based game, and you're not going to win if you don't work together with your team. Apex Legends' ping system gives you the tools to work together even if you don't want to get on the mic, and using it wisely is vital. 

By default, middle mouse click is your basic ping, while double tapping is an "enemy" ping that shows up in red. Pings are surprisingly context sensitive and trigger tons of unique voice lines—point to any object and ping it to notify your teammates that you've found armor or ammo or a new gun. Hold down middle mouse to pull up a ping wheel with options like "looting this area" or "watching here" to tell your teammates what you're doing.

Now here's the really pro move: Open up your inventory with Tab or I, and hover the mouse over one of your weapons or their attachment slots. Then hit ping to tell your squad that you need light ammo, or optics, or a barrel mod, etc. This also works on your armor, helmet, knockdown shield and backpack slots. Tell your team what you need and they can help you gear up.

Don't load yourself down with unnecessary loot 

That red strikethrough on the ammo means you can't use it right now.

Like in most battle royale games, you're going to be sifting through a lot of loot in Apex Legends. And there's a lot of stuff you definitely want to pick up: Shield charges and medpacks to heal up, blue- and purple-tier armor to improve your defense. Apex Legends also does a pretty good job of making weapon upgrades intuitive: If a barrel stabilizer, stock, extended mag, or scope fits on your gun, it'll show you what slot it will automatically go into. 

What's more confusing is when an add-on doesn't apply to the gun you currently have in your hands. Should you pick up a sniper stock, in case you get a sniper rifle later? What about a special purple-tier add-on that makes headshots do more damage on a specific gun? Unless you know you're hunting for the exact weapon an upgrade is for, you should probably just leave it behind. "This might come in handy" is a surefire way to clutter up your inventory and run out of space when you need it.

To ditch items, pull up your inventory with Tab or I and right-click on items to drop them. If an item has an X in the corner, that means it's not currently usable with either of your equipped guns. Unless you're rocking an especially spacious backpack, dump it.

Run faster by holstering your weapon 

In the heat of the moment, it's easy to start running with your weapon out. And if you're in the middle of a fight, you should keep that gun drawn—you could need it at a moment's notice. But if you're hightailing it from the encroaching kill circle or running away from a battle, remember to press 3 to holster your weapon. You'll actually run faster that way, and that extra speed could separate life from death. 

Always be sliding 

It's hard to overuse Apex Legends' slide. On any slight incline, running and then pressing Ctrl or C to crouch will put you into a powerslide that gives you more speed and makes you a much harder target to hit. On big hills, this gives you a massive speed boost. But it's also a powerful tool for simply sliding into cover or bumping up your base movement speed as you traverse the map. You can also use it to propel yourself off a ledge if you slide off it rather than run and jump. Never stop sliding.

It'll take practice to shoot accurately while you're sliding, but you'll feel very cool when you come sliding into battle guns blazing and actually hit somebody.

Hold spacebar to climb 

Even without Titanfall's wall running, you're pretty mobile in Apex Legends. Hold space when you're running towards a wall and you can easily mantle up surfaces considerably taller than you. Crucially, this isn't just limited to buildings. Look for climbable rock formations. There are areas all over the map that may look inaccessible at first, but are actually reachable with a well-positioned jump. Make sure to hold space to climb all the way up. This is a great way to get a drop on people, especially in some of the narrow canyons that connect parts of the map. 

The supply ship is a major combat zone 

As you're crossing the map before dropping, you'll also see a supply ship circling. You can see it on your map, too, and where it will land—the ship appears as a white icon and its landing spot is marked with a blue icon. This ship carries a lot of gear and weapons, and often it's high-level stuff, so it's a common hotspot for squad landings. If you land there, expect an immediate fight, or quickly grab what you can before leaping off. 

Don't worry about fall damage 

There's no need to be bashful about leaping off buildings, cliffs, or the supply ship that hovers over the map. You can plummet as far as you like and not take any fall damage. It's a great incentive to throw caution to the wind and make some desperate escapes or crazy mid-air kills since you don't need to worry about hurting yourself when you hit bottom. 

With three squads left, you can't see the playercount 

Like all battle royale games you can see how many squads and players are left in the match. When only the final three squads are left, however, the player tally becomes a question mark. So unless you were paying close attention you won't know how many total players are left, only that there's at least one on each squad. When kills are made, the counter will flash red, so you can still keep a mental count of how many total players are remaining—if you can remember how many were left when match dropped from four squads to three. Remember that this includes your squad, too. 

Use Survey Beacons with Pathfinder to see where the next circle will be 

If Pathfinder is on your team, take note of the survey beacon locations on the map overview. They’re marked by what looks like a small antenna at the center of a few concentric circles. Pathfinder can grapple up to these devices and interface with them to display where the next circle will be for the entire team. Whether you’re playing cautiously or aggressively, knowing the best place to hole up is vital in any battle royale game. “Have a plan: Scan.” - James “ScanBoy” Davenport 

Bind the map toggle to left alt 

Reaching over to hit M is unnatural, and since staying on the move is key in Apex, you’ll need to check your position often and easily. Find a convenient keybind that works for you and use it to check the map often.

Drop pods can contain exclusive Legendary weapons

Two of the most powerful guns in the game, the Mastiff shotgun and the Kraber sniper, aren't available as normal map pickups like everything else. They're Legendary weapons, and they'll sometimes appear in the drop pods that appear around the map. Go for those supply drops for some high level items. Just keep in mind other players are probably gunning for them, too.

Legendary knockdown shields let you self-revive

You could play for a long time without spotting one, but keep your eyes peeled for a legendary knockdown shield. Typical knockdown shields will give you some protection from damage while you're incapacitated and crawling away so a teammate can revive you, but with a legendary knockdown shield you'll see a prompt telling you to revive with the E key. No need for a teammate, you can get back on your feet by yourself.