It’s been a little hard to miss that Respawn Entertainment has a new game out. In what’s probably the quickest turn around from “we didn’t make the game you wanted” to it becoming the title everyone‘s playing, Apex Legends has been smashing record after record.

At this point it can be considered somewhat inherent to the battle royale genre that each year should bring a new top dog. Scant a year ago PUBG still sat on its throne made of the bones of H1Z1 and DayZ, before the usurper Fortnite rose to fame. And now a new challenger has arrived.

The cynic in me comments on this with something about generations and attention spans, which I used to put forth about the genre as a whole with its short, random games as well, but damned if Apex isn’t fun. It doesn’t really matter whether it’s the “Fortnite killer” or not, in fact I find that rather lazy writing. Fact is that Respawn have, without fanfare, released a polished product that speaks for itself, while its competitors are still lounging in early access throwing ideas at a wall to see what sticks.

The game’s well thought out communication system is one of its main draws. Picture credit: Kotaku

As for the game itself, I’ve seen it described as the Hunger Games meets Overwatch, but where the latter’s matchmaking is a constant downward spiral of rage, Apex Legends makes teamwork very smooth with a well thought out communication system. The result is an accessible, low-toxicity, squad-based shooter, played on a gorgeous map and whose developers have a clear vision for its future.

It’s a shame I’m not better at it really. Coming from an RTS and MOBA background, Overwatch was the first FPS I played for any extended period of time. The skill does not translate, let me tell you. On the upside, I’ve become pretty good at dunking my squad in the ocean, so I’m set if Respawn ever does an Aqua Legends spin-off.

I kid, sorta. Still, below are some tips that helped make the transition a little less bad for me.

Respawn released the game with a clear vision for its future.

Get familiar with the characters and map

There’s plenty of “legend tier list” and “best drop spots” articles out there already, but you really just need to play a lot to get familiar with it all.

Use the ping system

At its core, Apex is team game, even if you’re never forced to talk to anyone. Communication will win (or lose) you games. This includes pinging your inventory.

Learn how to glide

You can’t win the game if you don’t stick the landing. There’s some trickery to it though.

Don’t revive teammates in the middle of a firefight

Seriously, don’t. Probably don’t waste time with finishers until the whole unit is down either.

Learn to loot

I’ve noticed that the majority of the good players unlucky enough to get paired with me go through the available loot in an area very quickly, never content with one weapon set or location. I guess this is one of them battle royale things I’ve yet to pick up, but it makes sense. The less time you spend on inventory management, the more you can spend on not getting dead.

Learn the loot

Related to the previous, some gear is just way superior to others. (Hint: It’s not the Mozambique.) Figure out which is which and switch it up if the situation requires it.

Learn to aim

Yeah.. still working on this one, but the best way appears to be to just get into a lot of firefights. I do wish the game came with better training options in this regard, but I suppose getting shot in the face could be considered a teaching moment too.

I’ll probably have more for you later. I’d also like to note that the game’s first for-money tournament will be played in two parts, one of which takes place today. Sixteen squads will compete for $200,000 USD in this Twitch Rivals Apex Legends Challenge, which will be an interesting prelude to what feels like an inevitable move onto the esports scene.

For now, I bid you adieu, because I have a dropship to catch.