Apex Legends, the brand new free to play battle royal shooter from Respawn entertainment, is conquering the gaming scene at an unseen rate with more than 25 million active players in its first 2 weeks. So high time to take a closer look and help you all to improve your aim at Apex Legends.
As one of the founders of 3D Aim Trainer and an e-sports veteran, going all the way back to Unreal Tournament ’99, I’ve spend numerous hours on the highest level of FPS gaming.
In part one of this two-folded blog post I will tackle some basic pitfalls regarding aiming and gear setup. Even if you are an experienced FPS gamer you might want to stick around because some of these tips & tricks are probably new for you as well. In part two (coming soon), I will share my most valuable aiming & training tips to become an Apex Legends master!
Part I: The Basic Setup & Pitfalls to avoid!
A good gaming mouse is essential for consistent performance and building up muscle memory. Every identical mouse slide you make has to result in the same crosshair movement. Having a decent gaming mouse, preferably with an optical sensor (since laser sensors intend to have “mouse acceleration”) is a must and makes a world of difference when trying to improve your aim in Apex Legends. Great performing sensors are the Logitech HERO sensor or the PixArt PWM 3360. Both are known for consistent results and can be found on numerous mid and high budget gaming mice.
When searching for a new mouse, consider buying a wireless model. Today’s top tier wireless mice aren’t suffering from input lag anymore and have no cable drag, which benefits your aim, especially when preforming big mouse slides. If you are looking for a new mouse and have some money to spend, the Logitech G900 series are the benchmark when it comes to wireless gaming mice.
Make sure you use a mouse sensitivity that feels comfortable to you. As a guideline: everything between 8 and 24 inches to perform a 360°-character turn will do. A side note to consider: the lower your sensitivity, the higher your fault margin will be when preforming a flick shot towards your target. Most veteran FPS players use around 13 – 17 inches.
Make sure you have enough room to perform quick and large maneuvers with your mouse, so you can at least perform a 200° mouse slide measured from the center of your mousepad without lifting it from your desk. Having a large enough mousepad is essential for consistent gaming and aim. If you cannot perform a 200° mouse slide without lifting consider buying a bigger mousepad or increase your mouse sensitivity, because having to lift your mouse in the middle of turn is something you want to avoid at all time.
Make sure that you have a consistent mouse sensitivity across different games. Having the same feel in every game allows you to benefit from your previously gained muscle memory when playing new games. If you want to synchronize your mouse sensitivity across different games, align the 360 spin you find in the advanced section of our Aim Trainer.
Stance & positioning
Make sure the elbow of your aiming arm is comfortably resting on your desk and always at the same position compared to your keyboard and monitor. This will provide optimal stability and increases the precision of your aim. Additionally, it will help you in building up muscle memory.
Position your monitor so that you look straight into your crosshair. Don’t place it too close to you since this increases the circle of your peripheral vision and can result in missing important information while gaming.
Make sure that you always have the maximum frame rate your monitor can provide. It’s essential for your aim that the framerate is as stable as possible. If you don’t have consistent frames in Apex Legends, lower your graphics settings. If you want to have the best configuration for spotting enemies and minimal image clutter, set up your graphics settings like this:
Field of View: Mine is set to 88°, but know that the game engine used in Apex Legends is using a field of view based on a 4:3 display ratio. This results in an actual horizontal field of view of 103° since I’m using a 16:9 display ratio.
Vsync: Vertical synchronization can be a pain in the ass because it causes unnecessary input lag. As your video card keeps spitting out frames the Vsync option is literally waiting for the next frame in order to synchronize them with your monitor’s refresh rate so you don’t have any tearing, but it comes with input lag. Nice to have for a single player game but unwanted for a competitive multiplayer like Apex Legends so turn it off! This doesn’t apply for G-sync or free-sync as both techniques are syncing frames with your video card instead of the monitor.
Anti-aliasing: Technique that reduces the jagged effect on texture edges, but it comes at a GPU cost. Mine is set to TSAA since I’m using a high-end GPU. But you can turn it off for maximum frame rate performance.
Texture streaming budget: Determines how many GPU-VRAM memory can be preserved for pre-caching textures. It reduces texture pop-ups since it pre-loads them up front. Make sure you set it equal or less to the amount of VRAM memory your GPU has to its disposal. Otherwise, your frame rate will crash if you run out of VRAM. Turning texture streaming budget off gives a slight performance boost at the cost of occasional texture popping.
Texture filtering: In short, it determines which color every pixel in a texture should have in order to get the most beautiful result. Set it to the minimum as it increases GPU load quite a lot.
Ambient Occlusion, (Dynamic) Shadow Detail & Volumetric Lighting Quality: In short, it determines how realistic shadows and light looks in the game. Turn it off as it makes enemies harder to spot. Additionally, your GPU takes a big hit for rendering all this eye candy.
Impact Marks: Option that determines in which detail bullet marks on surfaces should be rendered. Again, turn it off for maximum performance but know the frame gain is only minimal.
Model detail: Determines the texture quality of character models in the game. Set it to high as you want to see your enemy and his movement as clear as possible.
Effect detail: Set it on low since you want to reduce the frame clutter as much as possible so you can focus on your target better. Besides that, it gives you a slightly better vision when running through smoke.
Ragdolls: It controls the animation accuracy of dead body physics. It stresses the CPU, not the GPU. So, if you have an older PC with a poor processor, set it to “low”.
Having a 144Hz monitor is also a great investment and will give your game and aiming performance a boost. These extra framerates really make the game feel a lot more fluent, which will reflect on your aim.
Hearing your enemy and being able to pinpoint his location based on footsteps and other sounds is a massive part of Apex Legends gameplay. It allows you to move yourself to a superior position before you even see the enemy. That’s why investing in a gaming headset is key!
Having a stable internet connection is key. If possible, go for a wired one, since wireless connections have a lot more packet loss and are only half duplex. This means your PC cannot send and receive data packages simultaneously neither sense collisions, resulting in more lag and in less reliable aim, especially when encountering multiple enemies.