Saturday, November 29, 2008

Guide to Getting a High APM

Yeah I know it sounds ridiculous that I should write such a guide. Especially considering that I have an APM of less that 70, but I'll give it a try regardless. I have the hope that someone will read my guide and point out the obvious thing I am missing and thus enable me to improve both my guide and my APM.

I know there is a huge demand for this kind of tutorial, since 50% of all new visits to this site are people searching on Google for "How to improve APM in Starcraft" or something similar. They find my APM is Everything posting and probably find it less that satisfying.

So how do you improve your APM? The first step is to find our what your APM is and to do that you need a couple of important programs. The first is BWChart (direct link) and the second is Chaoslauncher.

While BWChart allows you to analyze the replay after the game is over, Chaoslauncher allows you to see your APM in the game as you play. Since I suck and have it as my ambition to have an APM above 70 I have set Chaoslauncher to warn me when I drop below that limit.

There are some UMS maps out there that will help you improve your APM. The one I know about is the same one Mike pointed out in a recent comment on this blog. In this map you play as Terran, have to rescue a ghost by dropship, while keeping a rabid zealot from killing your scv and invade a Zerg base. I succeeded in 4th attempt and realized that I had an APM well above 100 in the first 3, but only around 90 for the attempt where I did succeed. This is interesting as it reveals that APM and precision are each others opposites and you need to improve both in order to be a better player.


If you are a sucky player like me, I guess you too are spending way too much time looking at your base and not nearly enough time managing your units in the field. One simple way to figure that out is by looking at the above chart. If you are good the number in the micro column is higher than the number in the macro column. In other words: Are they close to each other you probably need to spend more time controlling your units in the field.

When you only rarely look at your base there are a few things to be aware of: 1) you need to be able to train new units without going to your base and you need to be able to get them to the front. This requires hotkeying all production buildings and setting waypoints from the buildings to somewhere meaningful. 2) you need to be able to handle drops in your base without having your attention in your base when the drop happens.

The second requirement can be met by carefully prepositioning a couple of dragoons or similar units where the drop most likely will happen.

Now everything boils down to effective micro management and use of hotkeys. This is the topic of another posting.


  1. Hello stranger,

    I play StarCraft at a pretty decent level, and I'd like to tell you how to raise your APM.

    Raising your APM has to do entirely with knowing what to do. The less you have to think about what you need to do, the more you can just do it. Learn a few solid build orders and practice them if you truly want to get 'better' at the game. When you know when you build stuff, when to get units, and have the whole early game figured out, you'll have more time to micro units and make other decisions that you would otherwise have been wasting on figuring out your build order.

    If you're not playing on iCCup or anything super competetive, however, I recommend you just have fun with your friends and don't worry about getting better quickly. It is a game after all."

    In either case, your APM will increase as you figure out the game more. For some people it helps just to spam APM for awhile before they really know what they're doing, so that later when they do, they have the speed immediately to get it done, but for most, they get distracted by the spamming and never give themselves the time to think about what they should be doing with their APM.

    Best of luck,

    200ish APM Random user.

  2. Well, that is obviously true, but spamming seem to help me. At least I am playing a lot better now and my APM has gone up from the above 55 to 110-120 recently.

  3. APM isnt everything, and a high APM has no correlation with a better player.
    When you are simply mining in the beginning, u can stoop down to as low as 50apm, usually when you have units up and are macro+microing, keep ur apm above 130 minimum.
    If you have a 130average apm, it is just as solid as a 500apm

  4. Wow, i must really suck then, my apm is only 99... so im gonna say 100 to make myself sound much better lol

  5. He's right. You don't need a high APM.
    Keep it about 130.
    I am at 400, and I still suck.

  6. Then you probibaly are just clicking too much for the sake of clicking. When you get into a rythem then it becomes far easier to do everything, trying to do too much at once often leads to failure in any game.

  7. My apm is 20. Help...

  8. IMO higher APMS get you higher rate of winning.
    Why is that so? because the more you do things quicly without going back and forth in ur base helps you to concentrate on other things and the main thing is that the higher apm the faster reaction time you will have :)

  9. APM means absolutely nothing in Starcraft. Eapm is what matters, which stands for Effective APM, adv loader, chaos launcher, BWchart, will show both eapm and apm. Apm is all actions included, even spam. Eapm weeds out all actions that are uneffective. Don't listen to these idiots they obviously have no idea what they are talking about, My avg apm is around 270 and my eapm is around 185 with Terran and Protoss and apm around 210 and 160 eapm with Zerg. You need to learn every hotkey in the game, learn how to use custom hotkeys, and most importantly learn how to multitask. If you can micro and use your custom hotkeys and hotkeys to keep your pump up while you're microing and building all at the same time you will see a dramatic rise in your apm. Stupid kids don't give advice if you don't know wtf you're talkinga bout.

  10. I don't think anyone interested in increasing their apm has an apm anywhere near 150. Honestly, the people who think apm is unimportant always seem to have a couple hundred of it. So it must count for something.

  11. White-Ra, the best Starcraft 2 player in the world according to averages about 108 APM. If you have 400 apm that doesn't mean you can beat White-ra. (Or DuckloadRa as he is now calling himself.

  12. quote from day9

    a high apm is not important remembering to do things is important

    with other words, try to make what you do normal to you, dont spam for the sake of a high apm, just concentrate and make your actions automated. dont think just do!

    the reason why most players apm is low is because they still have to think to much on what to do. if its all natural you will be effective with low apm.

    My average apm is only 55, im a gold level player and im not bad ad the game. granted im not platinum yet, i still sometimes have to think to much on what to do. But hey, im a random player so for me its a bit harder ;)

    i think when i reach the platinum leage i will have about 70 apm or so :)

    Like anotherone here said, apm does not count eapm counts. My apm is low but my Eapm is good

  13. Honestly guys apm doesn't matter that much. if anything I find it more important to see your apm changes rather than average apm. sometimes the game is over in like 9 minutes and all you really did in the first 4 minutes is build like 2 barracks a refinery a few scv's and maybe some marines. i honestly don't see how people can be hitting 400 apm doing all that. I use shift command a lot and beginning of the game my apm is like forty. i've never gone over 200 apm unless it involves casting spells. even then it last like 5-10 seconds max, regardless of what race I play. I'm a diamond player and i win against my friends who spam apm like mad all the time. i mean if you're not having like 3 units on que in 1 building you are looking at your army while u're attacking and you have ur scv still being qued and your minerals are staying low then i dont see what other apm you can possibly be thrown in. If you're playing well all game you should never have over 500~600 minerals if everything is on que, and when you hit that just expand. don't obess over your apm. learning diffrent strats and watching and analyzing your losses on replay is a lot better than practicing hitting keys like crazy lol.

  14. lol im platinum and my average is 40 apm. I cant get it much higher,

  15. Thanks for that nice article and especialy for comments full of infos.

  16. I agree that a high apm does not mean much... but you definitely need 80-100 minimum if you are moderately efficient. Here's one way to improve your apm by 20-30 average points which actually mean something. Hope you had hotkeyed your buildings. Say you have 4 to ur command cetners, 5 to your barracks, and 6 to factory and so on. Keep spamming them! And remember to spam them constantly whether you're fighting or poking around the minimap. Reason for it? You get to see whether those buildings are staying idle or not. If you get in the habit of mechanically tapping those keys... your macro will improve dramatically. Well, given you actually look at them and remember to hit extra keys to make units lol. It's especially important to tap those keys while your being attacked or attacking... Obviously most people forget to macro when their troops are in action... if you don't forget to macro, then more chance for you to win! Also for newbies, there are only two micro skills you should remeber... focus firing and running a unit that is being focus fired... Forget all the crazy micro... Just do those two and keep spamming those hotkeyed buildings and remeber to make units! Hope this helps :)

  17. Hmm, my Average APM is around 40-50 but at the start i can't get higher than 20 without spaming, seriously there is nothing to do at the start. I set my hotkeys up and my camera hotkeys and that takes 3-5 secs. Then it reaches an average of 30 and slowly rises. As long as my CAPM (current Actions per minute) never hits zero im happy.
    I'm silver league and looking like getting put in Gold sometime soon so most of you will say i know nothing, but spamming hotkeys senselessly gets you no-where. High APM means shit all as others have stated.
    Highest i've ever acchieved was 96 in a game that went for 1 hour and 10 mins. The longer the game goes for the higher my apm gets, because i have more to focus on.

  18. I have 5 APM... Why am I losing ?:P:P