Changing Your Mindset
For the majority of the playerbase, improving as a Team Player is often overshadowed when seeking to improve as a player overall. What I’m talking about is how a player will seek to improve skills that involve holding one’s own. Specifically speaking, skills that are very direct and easily detectable to the naked eye such as Aim, Movement and in-game Legend Abilities. The subtleties of a player’s mentality which involve inclusivity of their team aren’t so easily detectable and even less shown in the limelight.
If you’re working on these concepts solo or as a team, understand that it’s going to take awhile to combine your philosophies and achieve consistent positive results, such as continuous victorious moments in a vast array of scenarios. What I’m referring to is the possibility that success may be experienced the moment you place effort in consciously working around your team members. However, in doing so you may also understand that to achieve a higher level of consistency, you will also need your team members to also work with you. Imagining the experience of a team working together isn’t the issue, understanding how to realistically achieve this goal is.
Hopefully this article will shed some light on the anatomy of what a team with strong foundations may look like. Providing some structure around working as a team, which can reliably be referred to when issues arise down the line.
My advice is to try not to be too focused on your results in the beginning. Be more focused on the micro of your actions, as it is these actions that need to be born from a desire to cooperate with your team to succeed throughout an engagement and not just the beginning.
With the focus being “Teamwork”. First I will be sharing the common issues we run into when playing Apex Legends. Hopefully providing the solutions, ideas and concepts centered around team oriented play and the general fundamentals of it. What I hope to achieve is to help players understand and evaluate their own mentality, whilst restructuring it to be more adaptable and team focused whenever and wherever needed.
The Common Experience
When we decide to play Apex Legends, before the match begins we all understand we are going to end up in combative situations. However once we are in these situations, we often do our best to handle ourselves as an individual and not so much as a team. If this is true, this often leads to each member of a squad, playing individually and hoping everything works out. When/if it does work out, we often opt to “party up”. Then if all your individuality doesn’t magically match up again, we’ll experience a very rocky ride ahead. This brings us to our first problem and possible solution.
Envisioning & Breaking Individualism
Common Issue 01 - Self Reliance
I believe that players often have built their philosophy around a very Self Reliant playstyle. This may be due to how we often criticize ourselves when starting out. Often focusing on our mechanical flaws, we’ll seek to improve these traits in order to make up for our shortcomings in previous games. For example, whiffing 5 wingman shots in a row will often leave us to believe it is only our mechanical skill that needs improvement to get better. While we neglect to question why we need to hit 5 Wingman shots in a row to experience success in the first place, thus neglecting our decision making which may have neglected the fact that no one is an aimbot and even the best aimers have moments where they miss 5 shots in a row. However, they don’t always die when they do.
Allow me to describe a scenario...
You and a teammate are separated on the lower floor of a building. One enemy is on the upper floor and another is outside. You have the Mastiff shotgun and are already considering pushing the enemy above, taking the stairs which link these two floors together.
How do you envision that scenario playing out? As an individual, the best possible envisioning you could probably have is…
You go up the stairs, hit all your shots and down the enemy as intended.
However if things go terribly wrong, you’ll end up getting yourself knocked and screaming “HE’S ONE SHOT!” to your teammate below.
Envisioning you and your teammate pushing together would paint a very different picture. Whenever and wherever you can, start building your ideas around what successful team plays look like. Then constantly fish for these situations. The power in this is you simply being ready to act as a mini duo at any given moment. Alternatively if you see a team member acting as an individual, you’ll often be able to turn this into team play, by simply being aware of the situation about to unfold and joining them in the inevitable engagement.
Being able to deliberately join your team members' engagements will be an invaluable skill which many high mechanical players do not possess. I like to call this element “syncing”.
Communication : Inclusivity
This is now going to be more focused on pre-made groups. People who are trying to build some chemistry within their squad.
Once you’re starting to become more team-minded or focused, it’s time to understand what type of communication you’ll want to receive and deliver. However, this type of communication can still work with matchmade individuals, you will just have to be more mindful of how they naturally react to your comm. Before I begin, I’d like to separate the difference between “Basic Communication” and “Team Oriented Communication”. Both are important types of Communication (Comms), and the difference between the two needs to be understood.
Basic Communication (Comms)
Basic Communication is simply supplying your squad with information you have, this helps the team understand the entirety of the current situation. This type of communication is not to be mistaken for “Having good teamwork”, even though it is an essential component to having good teamwork. Here are some examples of Basic Comms below:
Oneshot - Enemy being incredibly low on health.
Cracked - Your enemy just lost their shields/armor.
Knocked - Enemy down.
Along with relaying the damage numbers you deal, and colour of shield the enemy uses. For example, saying “70 Gold” would imply you dealt 70 damage to a Gold Evo Shield user. There are many types of basic communications out there, yet this brings us to our second common issue.
Basic Communication Ceiling
With this form of communication being the ONLY form of communication, you will be forced or forcing your teammates to move based on “their” assumptions of the situation. In hopes that you all have the same idea and act accordingly. This actually advocates very predictable behavior, and will also foster further bad habits in your gameplay. For example hearing “Gibby One Shot!” What does that really mean? Push? Pressure? Look for or ignore Gibby? You’re left to take that information as an individual and make the most of it.
The solution here is to start to use communication which actually creates some form of teamwork, by getting you all on the same page. This brings us to “Team Oriented Communication”
Team Oriented Communication - Working together
Quickly going back to our first common issue “Self Reliance”, and understanding the solution presented. The question is how to get your teammates on the same page as you. The simple answer is to.. Describe, Question and Confirm.
Using the same example before, here’s how this may sound:
Teammate 01: “There’s one upstairs! (Description). You with me?! (Question)
Teammate 02: “I’m Ready!” (Confirmation)
This would imply you’re both ready to interact with the enemy upstairs in whatever fashion. The key here is to be descriptive, clear and attentive. The answer you receive may not be the one you’re looking for, but it will be something you can use to determine how you both decide your next moves.
When watching these examples, please keep this in mind. Myself and the teammates I'm in comms with, have built a general foundation of how we will react when in certain situations beforehand. This makes our communication and understanding on how to act much smoother and consistent.
Fundamental Flow Chart
Battle Tactics - Building A Foundation
So a great place to start would be to agree upon a “generic understanding”, on how your squad should react in any given moment. Here are a few examples:
Initiating Engagement: You all decide on safely working your way towards your targets. Agreeing to Avoid Unnecessary Damage (AUD) before any decisions are made. Once in comfortable range, you all deal damage safely until something of significance happens.
Significant Damage Received: You all focus on defensive maneuvers, again AUD & attacking until each member recovers. This could be holding a position or simply taking cover whilst you reassess the situation as a squad. Understanding The 4 Major Phases here will help you to know what situations you’re in.
Team Engagement: Often in fights you’ll end up taking some significant damage, which then entices your enemy to apply more pressure to secure the kill. If you’re all in a decent position, this will often result in your opponents having to change their initial position. In these situations, it’ll be your job to figure out which of your opponents will be:
1. Within team-shooting range first.
2. Out of position for your team to quickly team shoot.
3. Closest to your team, for your team to counter push.
This will involve your TOC skills. It’s actually very easy to do and can often require only one attentive player on your team. However it is most effective if you are all paying attention, as this simply means more awareness as a collective and more information.
Other Forms of Communication
Pings - Visual Communication
The ping system in Apex legends can actually be quite informative when used in certain ways.
Light spamming the “Enemy Sighted” Ping in anticipation of where you think an enemy is going to appear, can be very handy in delivering accurate information ahead of time. Use Sparingly though as it is quite invasive in multiple ways.
Using both your “Basic Ping” and “Going Here” simultaneously, can often gain the attention of your team in a heated situation. It also strongly sells the idea that you wish to move with a sense of urgency. Whereas the basic ping alone, can often come across as more of a suggestion rather than an urgent plea.
Using the “Watching Here” Ping during an engagement can often let your team understand that you have a specific area covered. Allowing them to cover another possible point of entry in intense situations.
Playing with and for your team is the strongest strategy we have. It is important to realise that in many situations, even if you play perfectly there is no guarantee victory can be achieved. There are many negative scenarios in Apex Legends that are inescapable. However, understanding how to operate to your team's fullest potential will significantly increase our consistency in experiencing victorious moments.