New Player Paralysis
Overcoming In-Game Anxieties
As you may or may not know, I’ve recently decided to dedicate a decent portion of my time to help those that are struggling, or are simply new to Apex Legends. In this endeavour, I’ve started to notice a common issue shared amongst some of these individuals… A sense of defeat at the beginning or during all engagements in Apex Legends.
In this write-up I hope to share my thoughts on how the latter, may lead to a development of some kind of “Coping Strategy”, which I believe can further harm one's approach to becoming a better player overall. This could involve one involuntarily linking “aggression”, with strength and confidence when facing the enemy. This is what makes the enemy squad choosing to close the distance, seem incredibly intimidating to the inexperienced. This probably leads to the intimidated “internally debating”, whether one should attempt to flee or charge in guns-a-blazin’, especially when fleeing is clearly not an option.
Though I’ve found simple fixes to this issue, I do believe it may prove useful to share my opinion regarding the matter, with the rest of you.
In this write up I’ll attempt to address something I’d like to call “New Player Paralysis (NPP)”. I’ll attempt to address how it may develop, how it could cripple progression, the possible short term and long term effects and of course a possible way to treat it.
~ I’d also like to thank those that have come to me for help, as without you many of these write-ups, new findings and friends would not exist. ~
Common Issue: Paralysis
Here I’ll briefly address the different symptoms of NPP that I'm very aware of. Forgive me as I’ll be using the term “Paralysis” very loosely, however it does somewhat fit the context, as I’m referring to the inability to react with one’s full potential or simply become overly hesitant in all situations.
This is when a player hears gunshots in the distance. Due to their past results they opt to run away from it, just wait, or simply ignore it. Not out of being tactical, but out of fear. This shows in subtle ways even when in battle, preferring not to look for opportunities due to the fear of losing the fight. It’s ok to lose a fight, you’ll have to fight to learn. If you’re new and trying to rank up you’re almost making your situation even worse. Being RP focused too early will certainly lead to learning the wrong skills needed to grow as a player.
RP Paralysis = Those scared to engage in a fight due to risk of losing RP. Ask yourself, do you want to become a better player or just have more RP?
Lack of confidence
Another very common issue is when one is fired upon, or understands an enemy team is pressing forward, the mind immediately thinks to retreat and adopts a “do your best to get away” from any confrontation mentality. Retreating is fine, but it’s not to simply just run away. We retreat to get a better position and create openings. Assuming where you were was a disadvantage. Not all teams that push you have the skill to defeat you.
Lastly the less common but still very noticeable symptom of NPP is being overly hesitant. This often shows when 2 teams are fighting in the distance, or 1 team is simply spotted moving towards your location. You find yourself waiting until the enemy strikes you, possibly due to another case of past experiences.
The How and The Cause: Negative Affirmations
Traumas: Possible Past Experience
So what does this look like for the brand new. Apex gets booted up, you land, loot for 3 mins… you see an enemy and you shoot! The enemy turns around, shoots back and frags you. This happens over and over until you realise something… “If I don’t shoot first, the enemy won’t turn around and kill me.”
Then the game becomes about surviving to the end, thus ranking up by gaining RP. Which always feels good.. I know. But you end up learning nothing about combat and engagement, learning skills of survival when you should be learning skills of combat.
This is only strengthened when you see an enemy with his back turned to you. You empty a clip before they even notice you, they turn around just as you’ve reloaded, you empty another clip, then another and yet you still end up defeated.
The New Player’s mind already knows the story, and it want’s to avoid it. When this happens you almost ultimately cripple your progress. This is what your mind may be doing if you’re falling into the categories previously stated.
Fighting Game Confidence
Before we get to a possible treatment I’d like to share a quick analogy of the situation.
In fighting games, when a new player sits down to play. They almost already know that the person they’re playing against is going to defeat them. However in this game you cannot retreat, the closest thing you can do is “Block” attacks the whole round and hope for a draw.
But they fight! They fight so hard the common term “Button Mashing” is born. (Button Mashing is another bad habit, but that will not be addressed here.)
Why does this happen? I believe it’s because the “New Player” simply has an “Idea” on how to win, and it’s as basic as “Hit Button = Attack + Hit Enemy = Possible Win”. Retreat is not an option here. Simply having an idea on how to fight actually cures “NPP”.
If you agree with the “Fighting Game” Analogy, then the question should now be…
“So what is the equivalent to “having an idea” or even better “knowing the buttons” in Apex Legends?”
The equivalent to me is learning the “Fundamentals”. Learn them one at a time, rinse and repeat them as practice. “Button Mash the Fundamentals” if you will… Until you learn something from it.
The New Mentality: The Experienced Player
What should start to happen is you’ll begin to build an internal library of “how to approach” situations. Since you’re now focused on trying to fight, instead of trying to flee. You may not be good at it, you will lose a lot and it may get frustrating, but if you choose to practice one thing at a time. At the very least you’ll get better at it slowly, and you’ll start to form better ideas as time goes on.
Below is a possible treatment/idea, I have seen to help one having similar issues.
Treatment: Peek Shooting & Recognition.
With this plan you will be practicing not only the importance of locating cover and how to use it, but also the importance of enemy sight recognition.
Upon seeing the enemy immediately execute this plan in this order:
Find cover between you and the enemy.
Freely shoot the enemy if they aren’t looking at you.
Peek Shoot when they have sight of you.
Change / adjust cover whenever needed, such as if the enemy starts to change angles on you.
Do this until you either win or lose the fight. Don’t think I need to “run from this fight”, instead think “I need to reposition for this fight”. It’s not about whether you’re hitting your shots or not, it’s about you understanding a basic way to defend yourself. If you want to improve your aim, getting shot in the back or running from all confrontation is no way to do it.
Below is footage of me helping a friend of mine understand these concepts, along with him using them within a fight.
Example - I <3 U Nugget~ !
Setting a task that doesn’t require you to win a whole engagement to gauge your own sense of progress, should surely help with dealing with the in-game anxieties which proceed to dampen your experience and opportunities to learn faster overall. To successfully and consistently be able to defeat opponents in Apex Legend, takes an amalgamation of skills which “can be practiced individually”. I always recommend players of all skill levels to understand and take the contents of “Avoiding Unnecessary Damage” seriously. In my opinion making this your focus when starting out, will help with solving the problem of dealing damage and surviving engagements.
If you would like to practice your “Peek Shooting”, I recommend grabbing a friend and doing the “Understanding Cover Test” with them.
If you just related to all of the above, please realise that this is not uncommon and a very understandable thought process of the mind. There is clearly hope and a way to move forward. Continue to share and appreciate your own small moments of success. They are important, especially to me.