How To Overcome An Apex Legends Addiction
Apex Legends is a first-person battle royale where players fight in teams of three to be the last ones standing. Since the game’s release in 2019, the battle royale golden era, they have been competing against the fellow titans of their genre PUBG and Fortnite. Despite this Apex Legends has seen consistent growth over the years with Steam Charts showing a respectable 200,000 monthly players. Amongst the millions of gamers that play this game each year many are at risk of developing an addiction to it. Hence we have put together a guide on the most effective treatments to help you overcome your Apex Legends addiction.
What Makes Apex So Addictive?
The Apex Legends community compared to other battle royale games are much more loyal and satisfied with their game of choice explaining that it is one of the more polished games in this genre. For starters, users complain about the hacker problem in PUBG which is much less prevalent in Apex due to better anti-cheat software and punishment of hackers. Furthermore, Apex is free-to-play whilst PUBG is not. It is surprising that a free-to-play game has fewer hackers than one that isn’t.
As for Fortnite people complain about the learning curve of it being too steep in comparison to Apex which is a happy medium. But what is it about Apex in particular that keeps players glued to their screens?
Well, like we mentioned the game is challenging but does a great job of finding the sweet spot between difficult yet achievable. The game has quite a successful ranked system in which players set their eyes on climbing to the top called Apex Predator. With battle royals, the only measurement of your skill would typically be how many games you win but it’s not always black and white, especially in a team-based battle royal. Instead, the game records and judges various metrics in order to award the player points towards their next rank; damage dealt, kills acquired and time survived are all taken into consideration with each ranked game played.
This system gives players a sense of measurable growth and incentive to improve their now measurable skills. Players can begin to see if their average damage and kills are increasing typically representing how much better they have gotten. Thus encouraging players to spend hours grinding ranked and practising.
Apex Legends also has quite a high skill cap. In the higher ranks of the game, only the most skilled players will be able to hang tough against the other 19 teams of three. There are various detailed aspects of the game you have to master if you want to be one of the best such as; movement, aiming, looting and ring rotations to name a few. These areas of the game have been developed in such a way that they act as a minute to learn and a lifetime to master, skill. Picking it up is not hard at all but getting good is the tricky yet fun part that players get addicted to.
Although loot boxes have been vilified countless times throughout the years, Apex Legends comes with its own less financially draining version called “Apex Packs”. What we mean by this is that the loot box system isn’t as detrimental to the players as other games have been like CSGO and Genshin Impact. However, it does incentivise users to play more.
Loot boxes are earned through playing the game or can be bought with in-game currency that costs real money. Loot boxes only award players cosmetic items that do not have any impact on the gameplay itself. However, those who acquire the rarest items called “heirlooms” love to flex their luck on others. Heirlooms are a 1/500 chance and are guaranteed to appear within your first 500 loot boxes. As you can probably see players who invest a lot into the game want something to show for it and heirlooms provide exactly that. Not to mention that those who invest copious amounts of their hard-earned cash for the chance to unpack an heirloom can’t simply give up on the game as it would be a waste of money.
Instead many gamers fall victim to the sunken cost fallacy where they believe in order to maintain the value of the time and money they invested into the game that they must keep on playing. This has a significant role in many gamers’ addiction and often makes it difficult for them to give up the game they love most.
Gaming can often serve as a means of high intensity and adrenaline-fueled action right from the seat of your chair. Gaming is quite unique activity as it immerses you in a series of high-risk actions and decisions to make within such a short timeframe that it stimulates the players to the point of an adrenaline rush. Of course, to the casual gamer, this can just be a little bit of stress and frustration but for the gaming addict, there’s a lot more at stake.
Someone addicted to video games places more value on performing well and succeeding within the game hence they can be very prone to experiencing an adrenaline rush as if they were actually in danger or raging if something goes awry. Video games are often linked to poor sleep quality due to the adrenaline production that they stimulate and various other factors.
But what is so stimulating about Apex? The game is designed in such a way that the player feels immersed in the action-packed gameplay. Movement mechanics where characters can vault, slide, mantle, zipline and fly across the giant interactive map is enough to put your heart in your mouth at times. But this is accompanied by a variety of abilities that can be used in creative ways so that no two gunfights are the same.
This level of stimulation that games such as Apex Legends provide can be very attractive to those who love thrills, especially ones that do not actually put themselves in danger. Other times they serve as a means of escape for gamers struggling with personal problems. When we engage in stimulating activities we do not think about anything else and enter a deep state of focus. Sadly, those addicted to video games usually deal with their problems this way as opposed to finding a healthier outlet exacerbating their addiction.
Signs & Symptoms of Apex Legends Addiction
If we wish to treat an addiction to Apex Legends we need to be more familiar with the symptoms that people experience. The general symptoms of video game addiction usually manifest in similar ways and have been classified by the World Health Organisation. Using their criteria for video game addiction there have been significant enough findings and statistical data that have led to the addiction being incorporated into the DSM-5, the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
With this in mind let’s take a look at some of the symptoms of video game addiction that Apex players might be experiencing:
- Obsessive thinking about Apex Legends
- Decreased sleep quality and insomnia
- Repetitive strain injuries like tennis elbow and carpal tunnel
- Lying in order to conceal gaming habits
- Poor performance at work/school
- Decline in mental health and general mood
- Damage to personal and professional relationships
- Neglecting important responsibilities to play Apex Legends
- Lack of energy and motivation
- Loss of interest in other activities except for Apex Legends
- Restless and anxious without gaming
It’s important to bear in mind that some of these symptoms can also be displayed with other conditions such as depression, anxiety, ADHD and OCD. Hence we recommend that those showing signs of video game addiction consult a local medical professional to rule out any comorbid conditions that may be contributing to their addiction.
Many forms of treatment such as gaming addiction self-help programs are fit to work alongside any other in-person treatment you may be receiving in the short or long term.
Apex Legends Addiction Treatments
Those addicted to video games often want to overcome their problem and reclaim the life they deserve. However, many aren’t sure how and despite their best efforts relapse back into the same old routine of gaming. In order to give yourself the best start. Here are some of the most effective techniques and treatments to treat your addiction to Apex Legends.
CBT For Gaming Addiction
CBT stands for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, one of the most effective treatments for gaming addiction. The main goal of CBT is to identify and change the negative thoughts that lead to our addiction. The way we think, act and feel are all intimately linked. Therefore when we change our negative thoughts into healthier thinking patterns our behaviour and emotions will follow the trend.
Due to how effective and pragmatic CBT is, it has been incorporated into many different forms of treatment such as in-person therapy, support groups and self-help programs. We practice CBT through a series of thought exercises and meditations that have specific goals of overcoming the negative thoughts at the root of our addiction. The best part about some of these is that they can be done anywhere at any time.
Video Game Detox
A video game detox means taking an extended break from video games and any other forms of video game related content. The reason we recommend this to all of our members is that our brains have undergone a biochemical change due to long hours of gaming. Playing video games for extended periods of time affects the reward centre of our brain. It ultimately results in gamers needing to play more video games for longer in order to feel the same satisfaction they got when they first started. This is also the mechanism by which gaming addicts experience withdrawal symptoms and cravings hence this is something that needs to be addressed.
By taking an extended break from gaming we allow the changes within our brain to revert back to a normal healthy state. Those who complete a detox from video games explain that they feel a massive improvement in their addictive symptoms. Thus we encourage our members to take a 90-day detox from video games and all gaming content.
Of course, going cold turkey is very difficult and unsustainable if we don’t take the right precautions. The first thing we’re going to need to do is increase the barrier for entry that’s required to play Apex Legends. Considering that this is a free to play game available on all major gaming platforms it is very easily accessible so we need to make it less so.
- Unplug your gaming console or put it out of reach when not using it
- Delete or hide the shortcut from your PC
- Lend your gaming console to a friend or family member
- Put controllers out of reach
- Uninstall the game altogether
As strange as some of these steps might sound putting these precautions in place helps to disrupt the routine playing of Apex. When we follow a routine it is deeply ingrained in our minds to the point where we are not very cognitively aware of what we are doing. By disrupting this behaviour we are giving ourselves the chance to think rationally and make the best decision not to play.
Alternative Activities To Gaming
After cutting out gaming, addicts will be left with large amounts of free time. The mistake that most people make on their own when taking a detox is they attempt to kill all of the free time they have. This mainly leads to boredom and frustration which is a one-way ticket back to relapse.
Instead of killing our time we need to make a shift to investing our free time into more productive and healthier alternative activities to gaming. Gaming is a diverse activity that satisfies many diverse areas of functioning. Individuals use video games for mental stimulation and challenge, they use them for socialising with friends and also use them to relax at the end of a stressful day.
The best solution is to find a new activity for each of these areas of functioning that gaming used to occupy. A mentally stimulating activity like learning a new language or martial arts. A social activity such as dance classes, acting and improv or team sports. Finally, a low energy activity that we can do when we want to relax like reading, drawing or cooking. Investing our time into more productive activities will not only help us to overcome our addiction but improve various skills that excessive gaming might have been hindering.
If you want to find out more about video game addiction or simply want to cut down on the amount of video games you have been playing, The Mindful Gamer is always here to help.