What is Apex Legends server tick rate?

Let's get technical.

Screengrab via Respawn Entertainment

Apex Legends and its technical performance is an almost-perpetual discussion among its players. Server issues and frame rate drops seem to occur nearly every season of the game, a frustrating experience for a game that bills itself as a competitive and tactical battle royale.

One area related to performance that players frequently bring up about Apex is tick rate and the tick rate of the servers the game runs on. You might see a discussion on how increasing the tick rate that the Apex servers run on would help improve the game experience for players. But what, exactly, does that mean?

Here’s everything you should know about server tick rate in Apex.

What is Apex Legends server tick rate?

Apex servers run at 20Hz. Essentially, that means that the server for the game creates a “snapshot” of the game 20 times every second and sends that information to the players playing the game, just as the inputs the players are giving the server by moving around or shooting their weapon is sending information back to the server. Is an enemy Lifeline using her D.O.C. drone halfway across the map to heal? The server is taking a snapshot of that and sending it to your game, making sure everyone’s games are being simulated the same way. This way, players can see what’s going on in the game’s world, and the server helps accurately reflect that on the screen for players to see.

Sometimes, however, what you see on the screen doesn’t match up with what actually happens. You may have run into a situation where it seemed like you had snuck away from an enemy and got around a corner, only for the enemy’s bullets to magically still connect with your character and knock you down.

In these cases, players will sometimes blame the tick rate the servers run on compared to other games. Apex runs at a “slow” tick rate of 20Hz compared to a game like VALORANT, whose servers run at 128Hz. 

According to Respawn, increasing the tick rate of the Apex servers may indeed increase the accuracy of what players see on their screens by a few frames, but that increase in tick rate could ultimately make the game perform even worse due to far higher bandwidth costs. Respawn addressed this issue in a 2021 blog post.

According to Respawn, upping the server tick rate to 60Hz would yield less delay and more accuracy in the game, but only by about two frames, making the difference pretty much indecipherable. And doing so would come at the cost of increasing the bandwidth cost by triple, which Respawn says would lead to far more problems in the game than just keeping things running at 20z. Issues like dying around a corner are usually not even due to the tick rate of the server, anyway, but “plain old lag.”

So, there you go. A high tick rate creates a more accurate depiction of what is happening in the game, but it also comes at a greater CPU cost. And in a game that’s as big as Apex, with massive maps and 60 players loading into the same server at a time, increasing that tick rate is more likely to cause problems than it is to noticeably improve the game’s performance.