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Actions per minute (shortened very often to APM) is a term used in PC gaming to denote how many button inputs that a player will activate per minute during a period of time during a game. This input includes the keyboard, the mouse buttons, macros, and gamepad input. While the phrase is most popularly associated with Starcraft and other top-down strategy games, it can be applied to almost every game that has player input involved.

It is a common misconception that APM is the sole indicator of a player's skill. This is not the case, despite what players with exceptionally high finger speed will tell you. A bad player with twitchy fingers and no idea what to do with them will fail to a skilled player with a lower APM yet higher game knowledge.

Rationale Edit

Although handling the controls is second-nature to gamers, the frequency of how often they use them is something that they generally won't notice. However, they will do so if they sit around clicking nothing for too long, or if the game suddenly dictates they need to start training their carpal muscles. It's because of this that APM has an impact on the ability to enjoy the game - too low and it'll seem boring, too high and it'll be overwhelming.

APM is also important for ergonomics. A low APM will be less likely to damage the player's fingers, while a high APM may cause repetitive strain injuries. Games relying on button-mashing and one hand to do most of the commands will often cause discomfort - especially in controllers with poor button layouts. Gamers should be wary of the dangers of too high of an APM.

It is rare for a games to exceed 3 stars on the rating scale, so make sure that you're not producing false-positives when measuring it. If you find a game that earns a 4 or a 5, you'll probably want to avoid typing for a while!

Measurement Edit

Actions per minute can be accurately measured using tools and in-game features on PC platforms; there are few such programs on dedicated consoles. Instead, an estimation can be gathered with the retroactive "actions per second" gauge. This involves looking at your game controller while you're playing (or having a partner to do it for you, if you're fortunate) and estimating how many inputs you are making per second. Then multiply your result by 60 to get your approximate APM.

To measure your actions per minute on a per-application basis, I suggest the free program Desktop APM. Windows only - please state alternatives on the talk page.

Star ratings Edit

1 star Edit

★✩✩✩✩(definition)

Average for this tier is 60 APM, or 1 input per second. Games that feature low activity or a lack of multiple keypresses are like this.

Use {{APM stars|1}} on game pages.

2 stars Edit

★★✩✩✩(definition)

Average for this tier is 120 APM, or 2 inputs per second. Generally occurs when a game only needs basic movement or actions.

Use {{APM stars|2}} on game pages.

3 stars Edit

★★★✩✩(definition)

Average for this tier is 180, or 3 inputs per second. Often occurs with games that require constant movement adjustment, or a lot of repetitive commands being executed.

Use {{APM stars|3}} on game pages.

4 stars Edit

★★★★✩(definition)

Average for this tier is 240, or 4 inputs per second. Occurs with games that feature constant micromanagement, or intense use of keyboard shortcuts.

Use {{APM stars|4}} on game pages.

5 stars Edit

★★★★★(definition)

Average for this tier is 300, or 5 inputs per second. Most often occurs with high-activity rhythm and real-time strategy games.

Use {{APM stars|5}} on game pages.

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