Season Two Approaches
Given that Outplayd is all about relentless improvement, I decided that, as Season Two approaches, maybe I would write a bit about where I stand in my journey towards Apex Predator status. (Let's be honest, Apex Predator is a serious stretch goal that likely beyond my skill level, but I would be really happy with getting to Diamond-tier. More on that later.)
The First Few Weeks
When I started playing Apex I was still very new to the battle royale genre, having only played Blackout. I learned a lot about how to play the Circle from Lursen, but I still had to adjust the way I played, as mistakes in a battle royale are obviously punished much more harshly than mistakes in a typical competitive FPS.
I only played a couple of matches in Titanfall 2, but I played a tonne of Titanfall, so I was familiar with most of the weapons in Apex, which really helped me get comfortable in terms of gunplay. The fast time-to-kill never bothered me because I played SWAT in Halo and Hardcore in Call of Duty, so a fast TTK was part of my shooter experience. Early on, though, I was still getting caught up looting for too long, relying on teammates to finish people off for me, or to get me out of jams. I can remember the week it turned around for me.
I finally finished getting the achievement for getting 20,000 damage on each hero, and decided it was time to pick someone to play. I chose Mirage. The dude is funny, and I like bamboozling people. I started putting up some high damage games with him because I got comfortable playing with his abilities and with knowing when he can push and when he can't.
I hadn't played for a week or so with Flave and Lursen, and when I finally did, I put up a couple of 1000+ damage games, and I remember Flave saying that he thought I had improved significantly that week. I think a lot of it had to do with getting a little more confident in my own play because I spent a lot of time that week playing solo. When I was playing with the boys before, I was deferring and letting them do all of the heavy lifting, and that meant I wasn't improving.
Gradually I got tired of Mirage. His ultimate ability hadn't been improved yet, so it wasn't worth a whole lot, and he was a decidedly average hero. For a team, he was probably less-than-average. I got a few hundred kills with him and was rocking a positive K/D with a reasonable amount of damage, but I wasn't doing as well as I wanted to be doing. I wanted to win more fights and more games.
Season One Arrives
When Season One began, I decided to change it up. I decided to play Wraith. I gravitated to Wraith because of her strong ability to disengage from battles. One of the mistakes I had been making with Mirage was standing and fighting for too long. In an FPS this is punished by death and a respawn, but in a battle royale it is punished by leaving your team hanging or starting over again.
When I began playing Wraith regularly, I started winning fights more often; I even had a few squad wipes. What changed for me (other than the hero)? Movement. The guys have talked about it on the show a lot, and it is paramount to success in this game. Stand still and you die. Move and you win (just kidding -- you'll probably still die a lot, but at least you'll have a better chance to win).
As Season One wore on, I decided to play around a little bit, and I found that I was starting to love Bloodhound. Bloodhound's ultimate ability to track people in the chaos of close quarters combat is phenomenal. I started getting quite a few squad wipes. And, guess what? Playing Bloodhound actually made me a better Wraith. I started using some of the things I was doing in CQC with Bloodhound with Wraith, and I started winning more often.
The Legendary Hunt
Please excuse this short interruption... I still don't have my rewards from the Legendary Hunt, Respawn. I completed all the challenges; kindly complete your end of the bargain. (Apparently this is a bug that has affected people all over; I'm not sure if I will ever see those skins. I couldn't care less about that ugly Triple Take skin [please stop using it!], but that Bloodhound skin needs to get in my collection.) Okay, let's get back to our regularly scheduled program...
Other than the above and the intermittent issues with servers, the Legendary Hunt went really well for me. I felt myself getting better with movement, disengagement, gunplay and all the other things that you need to improve upon to git gud.
The Interseason Period
The past couple of weeks have been great for me and my teams. I am playing Wraith a lot again, and I am really focusing on using her ability to get out of fights and her passive ability feels like a solid addition to the team. I am consistently putting up 800 - 1000 damage games. For great players, that isn't much, but if I am doing that regularly then I am pleased. It is not uncommon to have three or four wins a night now, and we've had plenty of games where our team killed 20+ players. That feels like relentless improvement to me.
I have even started to branch out in weapons. I now feel like I can get consistent kills with the 301, 99, 45, Havoc, Longbow, Prowler and Wingman, with significant improvement coming with the Spitfire, G7, Hemlock and Peacekeeper (although the Peacekeeper still feels so inconsistent). I am particularly loving a Longbow/99, Longbow/Havoc combination right now.
What's Left to Do?
Well, ranked play is coming. I am excited for it, as it will give me a better sense of where I stand (along with my teammates) in the Apex pecking order. As I said earlier, Diamond-tier would make me very, very pleased. Of course we all want to shoot for Apex Predator, but when I get killed by a top-tier player (or when I play with one), I realize the skill gap is immense at that level. So... How do I get there?
Well, let's see. If only I had an Errik to tell me how to plan this out. Wait! I do! And so do you. Since we don't know exactly what the ranking system looks like at this point (save for levels), though, I think I will save my actual goal setting for next week, but it never hurts to start thinking about it.
I do know this, for all my improvement, I still have to get better at several things:
Disengage from losing positions.
Rely on teammates to do their jobs; you do yours.
Communicate - with pings or, preferably, on mic.
Try to isolate enemies rather than pushing into a team of three. Essentially, be aware of the situation you're in, and don't be stupid.
Don't get mad when you get knocked; give information to your team instead. You can talk about it later. Focus on the game right now.
Take a couple days off here and there; I always feel like I play better after a short break.
I would encourage you all to think about your journey so far in Apex and to start thinking about how you are going to set those goals for the coming season. Season Two looks like it is going to offer a lot of great improvements to the game (and King's Canyon). That leaked trailer has me pumped for next week!
Now (please) just give me those missing rewards, Respawn!