How many times have we you stared at this map at the start of the game trying to figure out where to land? Is being the Jumpmaster giving you a headache? What area will give me the best loot, put me in the best chance for the win, or give me the most kills? To many players, this Hot Zone Ring has a lot to do with where they drop. Hopefully, this article will give you some better chances at surviving these Hot Drops!
Wait, How Do I Drop Before Others?
You know when you go for the Hot Zone, or any other zone and the other squads are always faster? The most important thing is that you need to keep an eye on your fall speed, make sure you are diving between 150 and 140 speed, once you are in it wait a couple of seconds and ‘Look up’ and watch your speed decreasing below 130, then wait a couple of seconds and start diving again while ‘Looking down’ and make sure you are pressing your ‘W’ key to move forward. If you keep that dolphin kicking, you will realize you are going much faster than you usually do.
The Hot Zone
For those of you who don’t know, the blue circle that appears on the Apex Legends’ map is the Hot Zone, this particular one indicated is for the South Watchtower. Typically without the indicated hot zone, this is not a very common initial drop. The area finds most of its crowds during late-game high ground situations, or as people rotate from dropping Repulsor a few minutes into the game. This is because the Watchtower’s loot is rarely ever sufficient to kit your team of 3. It may even struggle to prepare 1 or 2 of your team members for battle.
The “magical” hot zone ring is not going to change that. With the little floor/supply bin loot you will find there will be a chance of receiving a premade gold weapon. While these could be deadly, they are still rare and are not guaranteed by these zones. What is guaranteed is a ton of squads ill-prepared for a fight, and very little ammo to work with after the last of the dropping squads remains.
Where do I drop then?
For the needs of this guide, we’ll use the hot zone near the Repulsor, but after you figure how we do it, you’ll easily adapt yourself to other hot zones. Just like indicated in red and blue are the drops where our Apex Legends Boosting squad would drop at.
Water Treatment is marked in blue to indicate the balloon located just to the south which can be taken over to the Hot Zone after looting. Water Treatment yields a ton of loot and can easily put your team in a very good position, ready to fight a squad with decent loot in the Hot Zone. The buildings just outside of the Hot Zone can also be very optimal. In this scenario, I’m instructing my teammates to pick up a few guns, get a shield and Third Party the looters in the hot zone.
Third Partying is a term used in Battle Royale games to describe a team swooping in to pick up the kills when two other teams are fighting. It is very helpful in getting easy kills, and taking two full squads’ loot without much risk. Even if you arrive late to the party and don’t catch the squad still in battle, the chances are the opposing squad will be low on the necessities to take on another squad. This includes health, shields, ammo, guns, teammates, etc. Taking advantage of this vulnerability will give your team a chance at some easy kills and winning a game.
Repulsor is another good drop in this scenario as there is more loot located there compared to the Hot Zone. Landing here could be another optimal area to quickly third party the enemy squads.
Dropping at the Hot Zone
Sometimes, Hot Zones may even be relatively safe on their own. Take this drop for example.
This is an example of a Hot Zone to try to go to as it is far from the path of the dropship and it has plenty of space for floor loot. When planning to drop in zones like this be sure to:
Have the non-jumpmaster teammates free look to see how many squads are coming in your direction/what their positioning is. This can be helpful when dropping anywhere as your squadmates can call out the exact positioning of other enemy squads in the area.
Try to land for an area with loot and high ground if possible. High ground is always important, particularly in Thunderdome because there are so many different areas which yield high ground with loot. This will give you an instant positional advantage in gunfights.
Have a backup plan if the area is indeed too hot. Thunderdome, in particular, has small villages on the outskirts to the north and south, as well as Skulltown right next door. Do not be afraid to break off and follow some of the previous steps if you do see a ton of enemy squads incoming!
Be mindful of the supply ship! After looting be sure to move quickly. The final destination for the supply ship is just to the northeast of Thunderdome. It may be wise to loot fast and go south or north-west to avoid the hectic area that would be caused by the arrival of the supply ship. It’s also worth noting that if a squad dropped on the ship they may be riding it out to see if they could loot Thunderdome as well because it was a hot drop.
Screw You I Got This!
So now I know there is still a good population thinking. “I’m not scared, I want some action!” “I’m going in hot YOLO!” Well, that could work too, I mean someone has to come out of this cluster alive. Here’s the best way to do that.
Work as a team and stay close. In the first Hot Zone provided by the South Watchtower, the actual tower will probably be the main drop that everyone has in mind. If you’re thinking of dropping in the same spot make sure your teammates are around. Even if you end up running into someone and you don’t have a gun, start punching! Chances are the Mozambique that was picked up is not killing all 3 of you before you punch the opponent to death. Each punch does 30 damage, Meaning you would deal 90 damage if everyone hits the opponent once, and if everyone hits him twice he is down with blue armour or worse. This can be very effective and is also highly underutilized. Characters like Wraith and Bangalore especially excel in this instance with their abilities which make them quite shifty.
Another strategy to be used is to avoid the “Super Hot Zone” (if you will) altogether and focus on picking off a supply bin or two for yourself. Hoping you get a gun, you should at least be in a better position. In this particular strategy, it might be better for your team to coordinate a tactical split up. This means that all 3 of you are not dropping for the one supply bin, and can overall cover more area for loot. The danger of this is that you might not be able to get over to endangered teammates. If a teammate gets downed across the zone, sometimes your best play is to wait much of the full 90 seconds they have to get picked up and then go back to pick them up (or their tag if they were finished.) Bangalore’s smoke ability can be very useful for this!
So let’s say everything worked out well and your team has safely looted or killed the looters of the Hot Zone and now have all the loot of the area, what happens next?
If your team is geared up you should try to get out immediately. This is for a few reasons. The first is pretty simple, you may not have been the only team attempting to third party! There could very well be teammates behind you waiting to do the exact thing to you, as you did to the last team. Getting out of the area can help you avoid that scenario.
Knowing your surroundings is always very important in moving forward. You should now have an idea as to where the majority of enemies could be coming from at all times remembering where the initial drop ship path was, keeping an eye on the supply ships, care package spawns, etc. This will indicate enemies more often than not so approach these areas ready to fight, and if you are not ready, avoiding them would be smart!
It’s also worth noting that if you are not in the circle, it would be wise for you to get in the circle as quickly as possible. With the Hot Zone on your side, and 4 major looting areas on your side of the map (Repulsor, Hydro Dam, Swamps, [off to the right] and Bridges [to the north]) There will certainly be several teams running for the circle with seconds to spare. You never want to be caught with the storm right at your back (or inside the storm) with loads of squads surrounding you, death is almost eminent at that point. To avoid this you want to get to the circle immediately or enter in an area that is not a common connector. This includes small pathways or caves which can easily lead to your squad being cornered by other squads doing the exact same thing.
Most of these ideas seem like common sense, however, it is very easy to lose sight of the tendencies opponents would have while looking for that barrel stabilizer or your favourite scope. It is important to realize that while those attachments will certainly help out, there is nothing much that they will do if you’re being surrounded by squads as the ring closes! These decisions made are very often the difference between winning or choking a very easily winnable game with a near kitted inventory. Those losses sting the most. Keep these tips in mind and you’ll get wins utilizing the Hot Zones in no time!