The Dad Gaming Bootcamp: Apex Legends

In partnership with Planters

This post was written by The Dad writer Matt Fisher.

Gaming Dads walk that fine line between accepting the mantle of adulthood and goofing around on the internet with their friends. This is why so many of us are drawn to the world’s second-favorite battle royale shooter, Apex Legends. It’s the fancy French mustard of free-to-play mayhem- where Fortnite has cabin building and people running around in horse costumes; Apex Legends has an impenetrable system of guns and attachments and playable characters who are mostly evil scientists or psychotic robots. Where Fortnite has weird Day-Glo environments and surprise Travis Scott concerts, Apex Legends has, well, weird Day-Glo environments and ten-story-tall dinosaur dogs. What can I say? Weird Day-Glo environments are fun.

The Dad Gaming League is hosting an Apex Tournament on December 11th, which I highly recommend to Apex Legends Dads everywhere. (Editor’s Note: While Apex is cross-platform, this event is for PC players only, and you can sign up here.) Now, the first rule of The Dad Gaming League is that you do not need to be very good at video games to take part in The Dad Gaming League, and Apex Legends is an especially fun game to be mediocre at. So grab a fresh case of Planters Pop n’ Pour because this one’s gonna be sweaty!  

The learning curve is a little tougher than most free-to-play games, so we’ve laid out a quick course in the basics below to get you over the hump and shooting your way to the top of the pack. Our advice is laid out from most general to most specific, but remember- Apex Legends is at its heart, a twitchy FPS shooter, so there’s no substitute for getting into the arena and getting a feel for the mechanics. So soak up a few tips here and fire up the old entertainment center, and we’ll meet you in the robot-corpse-strewn fields of King’s Canyon.

This Is How We Do It – The Basics

The year is apparently 2733, and since this is a battle royale shooter, you are jumping out of an airplane onto a giant island with sixty other souls to pick up armor and guns and use them to become the Apex Champion – the last player left alive. There are three island maps currently in the game’s rotation, each filled with mountains, valleys, and derelict buildings. In the standard game mode, you drop in a team of three, and working together with your teammates will mean the difference between instant death and death that’s like five or ten minutes away. As the combatants scramble around and fight, a shrinking concentric circle forces everyone to fight in closer and closer quarters until only one team remains.

Apex Legends has a very complex system of skins, emotes, and assorted doo-dads that, along with the completely nonsensical lore and character backstories, we will ignore here. If you’re the hoarding type, there are Legend Tokens, Apex Coins, gun charms, holo-sprays, personalized tomahawks, badges, stat trackers, kill quips, finishing moves, and much, much more. None of which actually affect gameplay, so we’re setting them aside. If you become a true Apex-head, there’s a universe of ludicrous sci-fi backstory and obsessive collecting for you to explore, but in the meantime, we’ve got heads to click on.

Me, Myself, and I – Picking Your Legend

One of the best aspects of Apex Legends is the character system. It incorporates elements of team-based FPS games where you play as a character with a unique set of special powers. In Apex Legends, the system is subtle; your powers will definitely affect the way you play and contribute to the team, but no matter which Legend you choose, 75% of what you’ll do, especially early as a player, is running and gunning. This makes it easy and fun to experiment with different Legends to see whose powers best accentuate your play-style. One character can set up shields; one can toss around poison traps, etc. 

For new players, the best options are the ones whose powers can create a lot of value for the squad without the development of new, specialized skills. Take a spin with Lifeline, who can heal her teammates, or Bloodhound, who can emit radar pings to locate nearby enemies. A little further up the skill tree are Pathfinder, the robot who can sling around with a grappling hook, and Crypto, who has a remote camera drone that he can send around the map. 

Jump Around – Dropping In

This being a battle royale shooter, a round of Apex Legends begins with you and your squad jumping out of a plane onto the island map. Choosing how and where you land will color your whole play experience. Very generally, there are two schools of thought here. A good philosophy for beginners is to try to drop somewhere out of the way, where few other people are headed, and you’ll have a minute or two to get your bearings and gear up before you’re face-to-face with other players. Whatever you do, land near your teammates and be ready to back them up as soon as you all hit the ground. 

Here’s a pro-tip, though: glide to the ground right next to your teammates, but break off just before you land so that you’re within easy reach of the squad, but not directly shoulder to shoulder. The first thing you and the team will do is to begin rooting around for guns and armor, and by creating a little bit of separation, you ensure that you and your squad won’t all be rooting around in the exact same containers and loot piles. There’s such a thing as etiquette, even in 2377.

The other philosophy, favored by thrill-seekers everywhere, is to “hot-drop,” or to intentionally drop into a loot-rich area that will be crowded with fighters right from the get-go. Look for light beacons shining into the sky or just follow the smoke trails of other players as they drop to the map. 

This creates an entirely different style of play: a frantic scramble of running around, looting, punching, and shooting that will either leave you well-equipped and with a kill or two under your belt, or more likely dead and gone a minute into your game. For dads on a time crunch, the hot drop is often a fun option- ensuring that you’ll see some action even in a very short game. Otherwise, you may find yourself creeping around the map, trying to find a shootout for ten minutes while your family waits in the driveway, only to get sniped out of the blue after a long and excitement-free round.

If I Had No Loot – The Gear Of Apex Legends

The only way to hold your own in Apex Legends is to gear up, and the game distinguishes itself on the breadth and complexity of the stuff you need to acquire to stay alive. Initially, you’ll pick up everything you need right off the ground or from conspicuous containers strewn all around the map. As the game progresses, though, the only way to acquire higher-level gear is to take down other players and loot the gear that they leave behind.

First are the wearable elements: armor, helmets, and backpacks. Armor and helmets will increase the amount of damage you can take in a gunfight, and backpacks increase the number of shield batteries, first-aid kits, and grenades you can carry. These items (along with gun attachments) are color-coded by quality: you’ll want to move from white to blue to purple to gold as you play through the round. 

Then, of course, there are guns. Apex Legends Season 7 features 24 weapons, each with unique damage, stats, and attachments. Players can carry two guns at a time. You’ll gain expertise with the weapon system over time, but everything is color-coded to keep things comprehensible, even for new players. Thus, when you pick up a shotgun, the onscreen icon is red, and shotgun ammo boxes in the world are red as well. Same for pistols and SMGs (brown), energy weapons (green), etc.

A good baseline strategy is to prepare yourself for ranged firefights as well as close-up scraps. I like to grab a shotgun for up-close work and keep something with a better scope for finding enemies further away. 

Speaking of scopes, there is a whole ecosystem of gun attachments (barrel stabilizers, extended magazines, etc.) that can mean the difference between life and death in a hectic firefight. As with so much in Apex Legends, there’s a lot here that will reward players who want to pore over the stats, but there are pretty clear onscreen guideposts to help non-experts make smart decisions. One thing to look for- when you put your crosshairs over any kind of gear, a big explanatory text box appears. For gun attachments, another box below this one will appear if the attachment works with one of the guns you’re holding, making it easy to see if you need the attachment or already have a better one equipped. Get used to looking for this bottom box to make it easier to scan over gear for what you want to snag. And remember, just as with armor, gold beats purple which beats blue which beats white.

Let Me Clear My Throat – Comms

Teamwork will give you the edge in Apex Legends, which makes communication paramount. The most fun way to play is with friends on headsets, but even if you’re solo queuing, take the time to get on mic. Especially as you start out, more experienced players will be happy that they’re paired with someone who’s paying attention, and hashing out strategy while it happens is a great way to gain expertise. 

That said, Apex Legends also has a best-in-class ping system for communicating with teammates without speaking. The right shoulder button (or center mouse button) pings whatever your crosshair is pointing at, highlighting it for all your teammates. You can use this system to suggest gear that your teammates might want to grab, point out open doors and containers that indicate nearby enemies, suggest locations to move towards, and of course to shout when you see the bad guys. Ping early and often, because the best way to win firefights is to have your whole squad shooting in the same direction.

Mama Said Knock You Out – Dying In Apex Legends

When the bullets start to fly, you will inevitably catch more than a few of them. The mechanics around dying and resurrecting teammates are unique to Apex Legends and worth understanding right from the get-go. 

If an enemy manages to bring down all of your shields and all of your health, you’ll be “knocked down,” leaving you technically alive but unable to shoot at anyone. You will be able to crawl around, hide behind your knockdown shield (another color-coded bit of gear to pick up in your travels), and frantically ping at the enemy standing over you while your teammates come to save the day. If they can get to you, you can be revived on the spot, with minimal health but all your gear intact. Because a knocked-down enemy is harmless, it’s often smart strategy to leave a knocked-down player alive to draw their teammates in on a doomed rescue mission.

If you lay a bit more damage onto a knocked-down player (or carry out one of your fancy finishing moves), they become really, very nearly dead. All of their gear becomes lootable, and their teammates must pick up their “beacon” and carry it to a respawn location where they can call for another ship to drop the teammate out of the sky, now stripped of gear and guns. This is a long, labor-intensive process visible for a half-mile in every direction that will generally get the whole team ambushed and killed, so it’s pretty common for even good-hearted teammates to let you rest in peace.

Don’t Sweat The Technique – Use A Little Strategy

As described above, Apex Legends gameplay can be incredibly deep if you put in the time, but Respawn has built-in plenty of guide rails to keep even newer players in the hunt. The way to distinguish yourself and reach a Top Ten finish is to use your head. 

The baseline proposition of battle in Apex Legends is that you’ll win firefights where you have a numerical and strategic advantage. In all other cases, you’re leaving yourself in the hands of fate. Until you become very skilled with the controls and weapons, for instance, one-on-one fights will be a mess of jumping around in a circle and panic firing where your survival odds are very low. You should always be looking for situations where your squad is synced up and get the drop on enemies, arranging 2v1 and 3v1 fights. 

The best way to do this is by placing some value on simply staying alive. Call Of Duty-style shooters with infinite respawns have led a generation of gamers to place more value on bravery than smarts. But remember- in Apex Legends, you’ve only got one precious life per round. Keep your head on a swivel and use that one life well. While other players are rushing around killing each other, you’re moving up the leaderboard just by standing there. 

It’s easy to get keyed up in a battle royale game and let adrenaline carry you forward blindly to your doom. Think carefully about what you’re trying to accomplish in any given moment and move deliberately from place to place. Have a specific strategic goal in mind and an eye out for nearby enemies.

For instance, at the outset, it’s well worth your time and attention to search around for good gear. Once you’re in the blues and purples, though, and you’ve found the best gear that’s just lying around, staring into dumpsters leaves you at a tactical disadvantage, so it’s time to switch your attention from shopping to fighting. I can’t count the number of times that my squad has fully looted our landing zone and moved to an adjacent area in search of a firefight. When no one immediately presents themselves, we blindly start opening containers again just in time to get jumped.

Move deliberately, keep a low profile, and stay on the hunt for stray enemies and squads who aren’t keeping a lookout. To me, this is the real value that differentiates Apex Legends from Fortnite and the rest- even for new players, it’s very good at creating situations where you can use your noodle a bit and act as an operator. It activates that same dorky Dad gene that makes you raise a silent fist like a Marine on recon when you need the family to stop at the cereal display in the supermarket. And there’s no better crew for dorky video game heroics than the Dad Gaming squad. Make sure to register for the December 11th event, lay in get your Pop ‘n Pour in-reach, and we’ll see you on the dropship.

Waffle House Staff Helps Reluctant Coworker Attend His Graduation and Get Scholarship

Not a lot of people like their bosses (unless they work at The Dad, then, of course, they are very competent and kind people!), but this Waffle House boss is a very different story. His employee asked for time off to attend his high school graduation, then showed up to work his shift instead. His boss would not have it, and in something out of a Disney+ movie, the entire staff rallied to get him ready in hours and get him across town to get his diploma.

The Birmingham senior, Timothy Harrison, changed his mind about going because he didn’t have a ride, his cap, and gown, or tickets to the event. His boss, Cedric Hampton, had other plans. Hampton shared the incredibly touching story on Facebook, but basically, the entire staff stopped what they were doing to go overdrive to get this kid to his graduation.

They ran out to buy him some dress clothes, reached out to the school to see how they could get his cap and gown, and just turned the entire restaurant into his very own graduation prep. He thought he was going to work his shift, but his boss and co-workers had bigger plans for him. Harrison was emotional when he was fully dressed and ready to go.

“When I put on clothes, that was a different feeling. I don’t even know the words,” he said. “A million dollars? It was the best feeling.”

His boss and coworkers felt proud to help him see it through, but Harrison’s story didn’t end there. His boss shared the pics on social media, and they went crazy-viral, and now Harrison got a full college scholarship from a nearby university.

“Now he can go to college and figure out what to do in his life and we’re gonna help guide him,” Hampton said. One gesture from his boss just completely changed Harrison’s life and the directions it can take.

“To know I have a path to go somewhere? That’s something new,” said the recent graduate.

So the kid gets his scholarship, but if Waffle House HQ doesn’t do something for that boss, they are sorely missing a golden opportunity. Really, that entire staff deserves a huge bonus, because you cannot ask for better press for Waffle House. It’s hard to imagine working for a place with bosses and co-workers like that in 2021.

Because these people rule and did an incredible thing for the kid, it’s also a good time to remind everyone what U.S. poet laureate (of food) Anthony Bourdain once said about the diner chain and its place in Americana.

Dad Surprises His Adoptive Step Daughter With His Last Name in Emotional Video

Families come in all shapes and sizes, and each one is a celebration of what it means to truly love each other. Family doesn’t necessarily mean the people who share your DNA – sometimes, it’s the family you choose that shows you what unconditional love really looks like.

Mike Rousell, the dad behind dadandboujie, couldn’t be happier to be a dad. He takes great pride in being a present, supportive, loving dad to his kids, and speaks openly about his blended family.

Recently, Rousell shared a touching video on Instagram that invited his followers to watch a life-changing moment. “If y’all looked into that baby’s eyes you would be ugly crying too… so don’t judge me,” Rousell captioned the moving clip. And yeah, uh – someone’s chopping onions in here.

The video opens with Rousell standing outside of his daughter’s school, holding a bouquet of flowers and a sign. The sign reads, “I gave you my heart five years ago and now, I give you my last name.”

The on-screen text explains why Rousell looks so dang excited. After several years of being a father to his adoptive daughter, she will finally share his last name. Rousell’s wife runs on-screen with a sign of her own, one that beautifully displays the young girl’s new last name.

Rousell and his wife turn to face the door as their daughter Camryn walks down her school hallway towards them, unaware of the surprise that awaits her. As she approaches and reads her parents’ signs, her mouth drops. Her eyes widen with both shock and joy, and she picks up her pace as she walks directly into her dad’s open arms.

Rousell lifts his daughter up in a heartwarming embrace as he begins to cry. The pair’s bond is immediately evident, and when Rousell’s daughter faces the camera, it’s apparent that she too was moved to tears.

“To have that baby, who isn’t biologically mine choose me to be her Dad, choose to have my last name, and to have my wife trust me enough with such a huge role in her life. It’s overwhelming,” he said.

The Outer Worlds 2 Gets a Hilarious Announce Trailer

This is probably the greatest trailer in the history of video game trailers.

The Outer Worlds 2 will be an Xbox exclusive and comes from developer Obsidian Entertainment (Star Wars: The Old Republic 2 and Fallout: New Vegas).  Outer Worlds had a great sense of humor so it makes sense that the second one has been announced in a particularly hilarious fashion.  Check it out for yourself down below.

While no gameplay or plot details are revealed, they gave us a hilarious trailer and for that, we can be thankful.  If the voiceover wasn’t there, it would just be like any other trailer, but having the voiceover explain everything like the way the “slow-motion shots make everything seem cool and should bolster pre-sale numbers” makes it perfect.

The first Outer Worlds took place in an alternate future after 1901 where U.S President William McKinley was never assassinated.  Because of this, large business trusts were never broke up and corporations took over Earth, which ended up becoming a wasteland.  Now, corporations look to the stars to colonize new planets.  That’s where you come in.

There is loads of humor layered on top of the first-person action-RPG gameplay.  It plays like Fallout, with branching narrative choices, outlandish weapons, and ridiculous characters.  The first Outer Worlds is currently available on Xbox Game Pass, so you can give it a go while you wait for an official release date for the second one.

Dad’s Reaction To Holding His Newborn Baby Is Giving Us Heartwarming Flashbacks

You can read books, take classes, and talk to dozens of other parents, but nothing can prepare you for the feelings that emerge when you hold your newborn baby for the very first time. It’s something that sticks with you forever, keeping you going when things feel impossible. After months of imagining that very moment, it feels almost dream-like. That fragile little human in your arms, those enormous eyes looking into yours, it changes something inside of you forever.

In a TikTok posted by Addy Shiloh, viewers are invited to share a touching moment with a dad named Matt Foster. Immediately following the birth of his son, Matt anxiously waits for a nurse to finish swaddling the infant. He stares down at his tiny baby boy, his eyes filled with a mix of intense love and joy.

@addyshiloh“You just changed my whole life.”😭💗 ##foryoupage ##foryou ##dad ##baby

♬ You Are My Sunshine – Music Travel Love

The nurse finishes wrapping the baby and places him into his dad’s arms, the arms that will hold and protect him for decades to come. Matt begins to tear up, overwhelmed and overjoyed. He looks around briefly, both laughing and crying as if he can’t quite believe it’s really happening.

Matt looks down at his son with his tear-filled eyes, taking in the incredible moment. He rocks gently back and forth, putting his infant son completely at peace.

“You just changed my whole life,” Matt utters almost inaudibly.

The video in its entirety is under a minute long, but it’s overflowing with emotion that touched parents and non-parents around the world. “I cried when my little one was born too,” commented one viewer. “We all did bro… we all felt like this. I hadn’t cried in over 10 years before my daughter was born. Cried like a baby that day,” recalled another.

Kids change us. They change who we are, what we value, how we live. We spend less time watching football and more time watching Bluey, we happily do things that would’ve made our prior selves roll our eyes. And honestly, we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Chris Hemsworth Trolls Chris Evans Amid Many 40th Birthday Messages

It’s been over two years since Chris Evans appeared in a Marvel movie. While his Captain America did not die at the end of Endgame, he was definitely done being Captain America, given that he’d gone back to live a normal life with the love of his life, and when Endgame ended, he was finally a senior citizen in body as well as age.

In real life, of course, Chris Evans is hardly a senior citizen. But he’s no spring chicken either! Especially not after last weekend, when the Massachusetts native and MCU legend turned 40. That’s nowhere near Steve Roger’s impressive 103 years of age, but it’s one year closer!

The internet wasn’t about to let Evans’s birthday go unnoticed. Birthday wishes abounded all over social media.

From Marvel itself:

To famous friends:

To adoring fans:

To co-stars:

One famous friend decided to have some fun with his co-star and mix him up with another MCU Chris. Chris Hemsworth, aka Thor, shared happy birthday wishes for Chris Evans, only he posted a photo of Chris Pratt, aka Star-Lord.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Chris Hemsworth (@chrishemsworth)

It was all in good fun, of course. I’m sure none of the Chrises involved took offense. Except maybe Chris Pine. But he’s in DC so who cares.

Father Figures: Different World

“My husband became a father when our sons were 5 and 7. He was stationed in Afghanistan when we first started talking and from the first time he Skyped my boys, I knew I was going to marry him.

It was a completely different world for him. Going from a bachelor living the Army life to father figure for two little boys was a challenge but one he never gave up on.

Almost overnight he went from all-nighters with his friends, no responsibilities, and fully accepting death was always around the corner as he dodged bullets in the dessert to coaching t-ball games, telling bedtime stories and fixing boo boos.

It was a massive adjustment and it wasn’t always easy, but he chose to grow up and pick this life.

He is a man of many hats including police officer, National Guard Sergeant, and wood worker, but he found his true calling when he became a father to two little boys who desperately needed him. He and his family never once treated them like anything other than his own.

We got married in 2014 and, without hesitation, he adopted our boys only a year and a half after meeting them. We’ve been married 7 years now and welcomed our third son three years ago.

Our family is his driving force daily and making sure our boys have the support and guidance they need to become great men is his purpose in this life. I am forever grateful for the man our boys get to call Dad.”

– Kim Copeland

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email [email protected]

Big-Hearted 8-Year-Old Donates Over 300 Stuffed Animals for His Birthday

Birthdays as a kid are like your own personal Christmas. A party themed to your specifications, a day of activities tailored to you, and of course, the highly-anticipated presents. But for two years in a row, 8-year-old Hunter from Kenosha made an unusual request on his birthday wish list. He wanted stuffed animals, loads of them – but none of the stuffies were for him.

Last year on his birthday, Hunter wanted to do something to help kids in need. He settled on donating stuffed animals to the Kenosha Police Department, toys that would be given away to kids coping with frightening and distressing situations. Last year, Hunter impressively collected 111 of them – each one making an impact on kids who needed comfort.

This year, Hunter aimed higher. With the help of his mom, Melissa Peterson, Hunter held a drive-by parade where donors could drop off stuffed animals for the 8-year-old’s birthday project. Hunter’s giving spirit and humble selflessness roused his community, gaining enough attention to almost triple his last donation.

Hunter’s mom proudly shared photos of the 8-year-old with his massive pile of stuffed toys before donating them. Hunter smiles adorably, clearly satisfied with his handiwork. Hunter blew his previous donation out of the water, collecting a whopping 308 stuffies.

“It is just something he came up with last year on his own a week before his birthday and I just ran with it,” Hunter’s mom told CBS 58. “He loves [to] give back and helping others and he loves the police department and wants to be a police officer when he is older.”

A Conversation About Fatherhood With President Barack Obama – June 17th at 8pm EST

On June 17th at 8pm EST, The Dad is partnering with Fatherly to co-host a conversation about fatherhood with President Barack Obama and five other dads on Twitch, Facebook, Twitter, or TikTok. The Panel discussion will be moderated by comedian (and dad) Roy Wood Jr., with a special appearance from Kevin Hart.

This event is a celebration of modern fatherhood. President Obama will join five dads from all walks of life to dig into the shared experience of striving to raise good children.

“Fatherhood is the great unifier. Whether you’re President, a comedian in LA, or a photographer in North Carolina… we’re all part of the same club. I’m excited to see the former president bond with other dads,” says Editor-in-Chief of The Dad, Joel Willis.

In his recent memoir, A Promised Land,  the former president showcases how committed fatherhood has been a guiding principle throughout his meteoric career as a lawyer, activist, and politician. 

“As fathers, we need to be involved in our children’s lives not just when it’s convenient or easy, and not just when they’re doing well — but when it’s difficult and thankless, and they’re struggling. That is when they need us most.” – President Obama

“President Obama saw America through a devastating recession, ongoing war, unfolding climate crisis, and growing partisan rancor, and still he was a present, engaged, and by all accounts great dad,” adds Fatherly’s Editor-in-Chief, Tyghe Trimble.

Join us for a look at the humor, humility, and wisdom that goes into modern fatherhood with a group of average dads… one of whom happens to be a former president.

Tune in LIVE at 8pm EST on the following channels:

Twitch – twitch.tv/thedadgaming
Facebook – facebook.com/thedadonline
Twitter – twitter.com/thedad
TikTok – tiktok.com/@thedad

Nintendo Reveals New Breath of the Wild 2 Gameplay Trailer

Nintendo keeps drip feeding us Legend of Zelda:Breath of the Wild 2 details, but it’s better than nothing I suppose.

Originally announced back in 2019, Zelda fans have been waiting for any sort of update regarding the sequel to one of the greatest games of all-time.  It seems like we’re still going to have to wait a while to play it, but Nintendo was kind enough to show off some new gameplay footage for Breath of the Wild 2 during their E3 2021 Nintendo Direct.

The new trailer depicts Link gliding (skydiving?) through the skies of Hyrule.  There are some familiar exploration elements on ground level, with Rune abilities factoring into attacks and puzzles just like the original.  What’s really interesting about this new footage though is there appear to be floating islands that Link can visit as well.  Will the entire game take place in the sky?  That’s anyone’s guess, but you have to admit it does look great.  This trailer definitely feels tonally different from the first one we saw in 2019.  That one was creepy and filled with doom and gloom.  The adventure aspect of the series is much more on display here.

Unfortunately, we still don’t have an official release date and plot details remain scarce.  We just know that it will be releasing sometime in 2022.  In the meantime, I will patiently wait for the sequel and start a fresh Breath of the Wild save file to relive it all over again.