Want to play Apex Legends? Here are the best tips on how to get started

Why you should play Apex Legends

Launched and announced on the same day, Apex Legends is a new battle royale first-person shooter from the team behind the critically-acclaimed Titanfall games and the genre-defining Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.

Though it’s still early days for the game, Apex Legends has already attracted a sizeable following. According to EA, the game has already attracted over 25 million players. Apex is free to download, fun to play with friends and offers up a smarter take on the battle royale formula that’s made games like Fortnite so successful.

But what are the differences between Apex Legends and Fortnite? Why does the game have three different in-game currencies? Which characters are the best one to start playing with? What does it mean to be selected as the Jumpmaster and how can you get the most out of the game’s ping system?

[Related: Apex Legends hands on preview: Swinging at the king]

We’ll help guide you through each of these questions and teach you what you need to know about Apex Legends so that you can jump into King’s Canyon without being overwhelmed and become the champion you were destined to become.

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Where do I download Apex Legends?

Downloading Apex Legends is fairly straightforward but the process does vary depending on what platform you’re looking to play on.

Since Respawn Entertainment, the developer behind the game, is owned by EA, Apex Legends is only available through EA’s Origin Store. You won’t be able to find it on Steam, Humble or any other digital distribution platforms.

Credit: Electronic Arts

If you’re playing on PC, you’ll first have to download and install EA’s Origin software. You’ll also need to create an Origin account.

Once you’ve done this, simply find Apex Legends in the Origin Store and add the game to your library. Lastly, go to your Origin Game Library and hit the download button.

The Origin Store page for Apex Legends can be found here.

Credit: Sony

If you’re playing on Playstation 4, downloading Apex Legends is as simple as launching the Playstation Store, finding Apex Legends using the search tool, adding it to your game library and then hitting the download button.

The Playstation Store page for Apex Legends can be found here.

Credit: Microsoft

If you’re playing on an Xbox One (or Xbox One S or Xbox One X), you can download Apex Legends by opening up the Microsoft Store, finding it via the home-page or search tool and downloading it to your console.

[Related: Five alternatives to Steam and why we need them]

Unlike the Playstation version of the game, which is entirely free-to-play, Apex Legends does require an active Xbox Live Gold subscription to play online using Microsoft’s console.

The Microsoft Store page for Apex Legends can be found here.

At the time of writing, Apex Legends is not available on the Nintendo Switch nor any mobile platforms like Android and iOS.

Next Page: What are the differences between Apex Legends and Fortnite?

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What are the differences between Apex Legends and Fortnite?

There are several differences between Apex Legends and Fortnite.

Fortnite

Credit: Epic Games
  • Has a more colorful art style and comedic tone

  • All players have access to the same abilities

  • No gore/blood

  • Building and crafting mechanics

  • Destructible environments

  • There’s no way to get back in a match once you’ve been eliminated

  • You can play solo, duo or as a squad of four

  • Weapons cannot be modified with attachments

  • Supports cross-play progression

  • Available on PC through Epic Games Launcher

  • Playable on Android/iOS

Apex Legends

  • Has a more serious science fiction art style and tone

  • Has named playable characters with unique abilities

  • Small amounts of blood/gore

  • No crafting or building system

  • Ping system

  • Aside from doors, the environments in Apex are not destructible

  • Surviving teammates can bring you back into a match after you’ve been eliminated

  • You can only play as a squad of three

  • Weapons can be modified with attachments

  • Available on PC through Origin

  • No cross-play

  • No mobile version yet

Next Page: Which Apex Legends character should you start with?

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Which Apex Legends character should you start with?

While each of the game’s Legends are all pretty approachable, we’d highlight Gibraltar and Lifeline as the best characters for new players looking to pick up the basics. Each Legend in Apex Legends is differentiated by a passive ability, an active ability with a short cooldown and an ultimate ability with a longer cooldown.

Gibraltar - The Shielded Fortress

Credit: Electronic Arts

Gibraltar’s suite of defensive abilities make him a great choice for newer or more inexperienced Apex Players.

His passive “Gun Shield” ability allows you to soak a limited amount of incoming damage when you’re aiming down the sights on your gun.

Then, Gibraltar’s active ability - Dome of Protection - allows him to erect a large energy barrier that protects himself and allies from harm. Try to remember that the Dome of Protection will stop bullets and grenades but won’t be able to prevent hostile players from physically pushing through the forcefield to engage you in close quarters combat.

Gibraltar’s ultimate ability, Orbital Bombardment, lets you call in a concentrated mortar strike on a marked position. This can be extremely powerful ability that you can use to lock down an enemy position, force combatants in an open area to seek cover or just cause chaos in the midst of a fight. As the map shrinks in size, this ability actually becomes more and more powerful - since there’s less and less room for enemy players to escape or find cover from it.

More fundamentally, Gibraltar is a good choice for new players because his active abilities allow him to easily contribute in team fights while his passive gives him a little more survivability.

Lifeline - The Combat Medic

Credit: Electronic Arts

Lifeline’s array of support skills make her a great pick for newbies. Even if you’re struggling with the shooter part of the Apex Legends experience, her kit makes it easy to be the backline that holds your team together.

Lifeline’s passive “Combat Medic” ability lets her assist teammates that have been knocked down faster than other Legends can and deploys a protective barrier that gives her cover from incoming fire while when she does so.

Lifeline’s active ability - the “D.O.C. Heal Drone” - allows her to deploy a drone that’ll automatically heal nearby players. If you’re smart about how you use this ability, you can cut down on relying on healing items like syringes and medkits and ensure that your squad is always in top fighting condition.

Finally “Care Package”, Lifeline’s ultimate ability, lets her summon a drop-pod full of high-level items straight to the battlefield. The only downside here is that the arrival of this pod might attract the wrong kind of attention by telegraphing your position to nearby enemies.

Lifeline is a good pick for new players because her passive and active abilities add a significant amount of survivability to herself and teammates, tilting the odds in their favor.

Next Page: How do I unlock new characters in Apex Legends?

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How do I unlock new characters in Apex Legends?

There are two ways to unlock new characters in Apex Legends. The first is through Legend tokens. You’ll earn Legend tokens as you complete matches and level up your player profile.

The only other way to unlock new characters in Apex Legends is through Apex Coins, which are bought using real-world money.

Credit: Electronic Arts

Out of the gate, all new players have access to six Legends: Bangalore, Gibraltar, Wraith, Lifeline, Pathfinder and Bloodhound. Unlocking additional legends beyond these six requires either 12,000 Legend Tokens or approximately 750 Apex Coins.

To coincide with the launch of the game's first battle pass (called Wild Frontier), Respawn have also added a seventh Legend to the game: Octane.

Next Page: What does it mean when you are selected as The Jumpmaster?

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What does it mean when you are selected as the Jumpmaster?

At the start of each game of Apex Legends, one player in each squad will be selected as the Jumpmaster. If this is you, it means you’ll be tasked with guiding your squad from the dropship to the island of King’s Canyon. You’ll have direct control over when and how that happens. You lead the way and the rest of your squad will follow.

Credit: Electronic Arts

If you aren’t selected as the Jumpmaster, don’t fret. You can always split off from the rest of your squad by following the on-screen prompts. That said, if you’re new to the game, we don’t recommend it.

Every squad in Apex Legends is significantly more effective when they’re able to work together. If you land too far away from your teammates they might not be able to help you if you get into trouble.

Next Page: How do microtransactions work in Apex Legends?

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How do microtransactions work in Apex Legends?

There are currently three different currencies in Apex Legends.

Crafting Materials

Credit: Electronic Arts

Crafting materials are earned through loot boxes, which are unlocked when you level up or bought outright for Apex Coins. They can only be used to unlock cosmetic enhancements for characters and weapons in Apex Legends.

Legend Tokens

Credit: Electronic Arts

Legend Tokens earned through leveling up your player profile in Apex Legends. They can be redeemed to unlock new Legends as well as cosmetic enhancements.

Apex Coins

Credit: Electronic Arts

Apex Coins are purchased using real world money and can be redeemed for either new Legends or loot boxes. Loot boxes are priced at 100 Apex Coins apiece. Additional Legends are priced at 750 Apex Coins. Pricing for Apex Coins starts at AU$12 for 1000 coins. 

Apex Coins are also used to purchase battle passes. Apex's first battle pass (Wild Frontiers) is priced at 750 Apex Coins. 

Next Page: How is Apex Legends connected to Titanfall?

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How is Apex Legends connected to Titanfall?

Apex Legends is set in the same fictional, science-fiction universe as the Titanfall games. More specifically, Apex Legends is set about thirty years after the events of Titanfall 2.

The name of the game is a nod to both the Apex Predators, a mercenary group that appeared in both the first and second Titanfall games, and the Apex Games, the fictional bloodsport later founded by the head of the aforementioned mercenary group.

Credit: Electronic Arts

Thus far, there are no returning characters or places from the Titanfall games that appear in Apex Legends.

Next Page: How do armor and shield work in Apex Legends?

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How do armor and shields work in Apex Legends?

As you’re playing Apex Legends, you’ll come across armor and helmets. Both of these can be used to increase your characters health and overall survivability.

Depending on the quality of the armor, you’ll get several extra blocks’ of health. When that extra health is depleted, you’ll need to use shield rechargers to refill it.

  • A white (aka Common) armor kit will grant you two extra blocks of health.

  • A blue (aka Rare) armor kit will grant you three extra blocks of health.

  • A purple (aka Epic) armor kit will grant you four extra blocks of health.

  • A yellow (or Legendary) armor kit will grant you four extra blocks of health and will automatically refill your shields after you successfully pull off a finisher kill.

Helmets grant you additional durability in a different way. In Apex Legends, shots to the head usually grant bonus damage.

Credit: Electronic Arts

Depending on their quality, helmets will reduce that bonus damage by a specific percentage.

  • White (or Common) helmets will reduce incoming headshot damage by 30%

  • Blue (or Rare) helmets will reduce incoming headshot damage by 40%

  • Purple (Epic) or Yellow (Legendary) helmets will reduce incoming headshot damage by 30%

Next Page: How does respawning work in Apex Legends?

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How does respawning work in Apex Legends

Unlike other battle royale games, death isn’t always the end in Apex Legends.

If your health bar hits zero, your character will be knocked down. When you’re in this state, you’re still able to (slowly) move but you can’t climb or sprint. You also won’t be able to defend yourself (unless you’ve picked up a Knockdown Shield) or fight back using your guns or abilities if a hostile player tries to finish you off.

Still, if you can survive once you’ve been knocked down, nearby teammates can help you to your feet. This will restore both a small amount of health and your regular mobility.

If you’re knocked down and then finished off by hostile enemies (either via regular gunfire, bleedout or one of the game’s flamboyant finisher moves), you’re eliminated from the game.

Credit: Electronic Arts

When this happens, teammates have 90 seconds to reach your body and grab your banner. If they’re able to do this, they can then take that item to one of the map’s respawn beacon and bring you back into the game (minus any weapons or armor you had when you died).

There is no limit to how many times a player can be revived but once a respawn beacon has been used, it’ll be removed from the map permanently.

It’s not uncommon for enemy players to use the bodies of downed or defeated foes as bait to draw out their teammates, so beware.

Next Page: How to be useful to your team as a new player in Apex Legends?

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How to be useful to your team as a new player in Apex Legends

Make the most of the ping system

Apex Legends’ ping system is one of the biggest tools at your disposal. You can use it to indicate to your team where you think the team should go, mark items for teammates and highlight enemies as soon as you see them.

Spread out and look for clues

While playing defensively is a natural instinct for new Apex Legends players, there are several reasons why that’s not always the best approach.

Credit: Electronic Arts

Staying too close together usually means you’re moving across the map slower, which means you won’t cover as much ground. You might miss a hostile squad sneaking up on your crew and you might not find as much loot - which can put you at a disadvantage.

Embrace the warrior within

If you opt for a more stealthy playstyle and try to sneak your way through to the end of the game, you’re going to have some success. However, actually winning a game of Apex Legends is inevitably going to involve some gunplay. Playing things safe will only get you so far.

You have to become comfortable with the feel, pacing and strategy of Apex Legends’ gunfights if you want to stand a chance at winning them. The more experience you get, the better you’ll become with each weapon, the more kills you’ll get and the more fights you’ll be able to win.

Experiment

There’s not really any right or wrong way to use each ability in Apex Legends. Part of the fun of the game comes in finding fun ways to combine both your abilities and those of your teammates.

You can use Wraith’s Dimensional Rift to give your team an escape route, set up elaborate traps or flank foes. You can use Bangalore’s Smoke Launcher to blind your foes and then use Bloodhound’s skillset to see through the smog. There are dozens of different applications for each ability in the game and inventive players can often take the day.

Credit: Electronic Arts

Next Page: Where can I watch Apex Legends esports?

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Where can I watch Apex Legends esports?

It’s early days but, as with most competitively-orientated multiplayer games, EA and Respawn Entertainment are already looking to foster an esports community around Apex Legends.

As with most esports, there are two ways to watch Apex Legends esports online: live or via VODs (video-on-demand).

[Related: Everything you need to know about esports]

Watching live lets you see the action as it unfolds and be a part of the live social media experience around the game via social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram.

The best way to watch esports live is usually Twitch.TV.

Watching VODs allows you to take your time and consumer the content at your own pace.

The best way to watch VOD content is usually YouTube.

Apex Legends does not currently have a formal esports league like the Overwatch League nor regular tournaments like the Intel Extreme Masters and League of Legends World Championship.

Credit: Electronic Arts

Next Page: How does the Season 1 battle pass work in Apex Legends?

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How does the Season 1 battle pass work in Apex Legends?

Like rival battle royale games, Apex Legends now includes a battle pass progression system.

Here's how it works: for the duration of the Wild Frontiers (about twelve weeks total), every level you gain in Apex Legends will level up your Battle Pass. Leveling up your battle pass unlocks exclusive rewards including Apex Coins and new cosmetic items that can't be earned any other way. 

There are three tiers of battle pass in the game. The first is the basic battle pass, which is free. Everyone who plays Apex Legends over the course of this season has access to this. However, the rewards for completing it are much more stingy and infrequent than the other passes.

Players on the free battle pass can only earn the following through play:

  • 1 Wild Frontier Legend skin
  • 5 Apex Packs
  • 18 Wild Frontier stat trackers

Then, there's the paid battle pass. Priced at 750 Apex Coins, this pass grants access to the full 100 levels of battle pass rewards. It'll also grant you the Revolutionary skin for Lifeline, Survivor skin for Wraith skin and Mirage's Outlaw skin.

Credit: Electronic Arts

If you've already made progress on the Season 1 battle pass progress on the free tier, that'll carry over up for to twenty levels.

Finally, there's the Battle Pass Bundle. Priced at 2800 Apex Coins, this includes everything found in the regular battle pass and also comes bundled 25 free levels of progress (including their associated rewards).

If you've already made progress on the Season 1 battle pass progress on the free tier, that'll carry over up for to twenty-five levels if you buy the Battle Pass Bundle.

Battle pass rewards not unlocked at the conclusion of the current season will no longer be able to be earned through play.

Credit: Electronic Arts