Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds Guide – How to survive

It’s the biggest game of 2017 and you want to be good at it, so we're here to help with an extensive Playerunknown's Battlegrounds Guide!

As with all multiplayer phenomena that rapidly generate dedicated communities, Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds can be an unwelcoming place when you’re just getting starting.

Why, for example, do you seem to keep getting shot by unsighted gunmen from several kilometers away? Why don’t you ever get good loot? This guide isn’t just for rookies. We’ll start with the basics, but every day is school day in Battlegrounds, and there’s plenty you can do as an intermediate player to improve. But we will start with the basics...

What is Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds?

You’re on an island with as many as 99 other people, and you’re all trying to kill each other. The winner isn’t the one who racks up the most kills, but the one who survives. In order to succeed you’ll need to acquire weapons, attachments, armour, and health while remaining undetected or successfully killing when detected.

Oh, and you also fight in an ever-diminishing play area, otherwise, you’ll take damage from being outside it. See that blue circle on the map? That’s the area where it’s currently safe to be. But when the timer above the minimap hits zero the blue circle decreases until it hits the white. The red zones on the map are where bombs drop. Don’t go there.

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That all sounds a bit much doesn’t it? Don’t worry. PUBG is played at a positively meditative pace compared with CS:GO or Overwatch, and you’ll generally have plenty of time to plan. The trick is making good decisions. On that note…

Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds – How to choose a start location

Everyone seems to know where they’re going when they jump out of the plane, don’t they? Well, here’s your first tip: there’s no certainty in picking a good place to land, and it will differ every round.

A few things to consider: the nearer you land to the plane’s flight path, the higher the probability of that area being densely populated. If you land in or near a city: same deal. Certain locations, such as the military base on the south island, the power station, south Georgopol and the bunkers to the west of Lipovka, have a high chance of spawning powerful military items, so they’re popular landing spots too.

The further from the centre of the main island you land, the more likely it is that you’ll have to cover a lot of ground to make it into the next play area.

So, at the start of any given round there are a few factors that inform your ‘ideal’ landing spot. It should be: far enough from the flight path that you’ll be alone when you land, but near enough that you can actually reach it with your parachute; not in a city, military base, or power station; fairly central; and have a reasonably high chance of containing loot. This map can help you to plan a spot on the fly, but there’s no substitute for map knowledge. And that, unavoidably, comes from playing lots of games.

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Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds – Controlling your jump

You can cover a max distance of about 1.5km in a jump (a box and a half on the map’s grid), but it isn’t obvious at first how to control this. Let’s take the sting out of that learning process so you don’t end up weaponless in a bush, being clobbered by a stranger with a frying pan, shall we?

First, set a marker for yourself on the map by right-clicking on a location while you’re still on the plane. The marker will then appear on your compass (top-centre of your HUD) so you can align yourself without having to refer back to the map. Setting your trajectory during your jump is 100% about mouse control until your parachute deploys, and you can control both your latitudinal direction and fall rate. Dropping quicker means getting on the ground sooner and getting to that loot before anyone else, but it also means covering less ground.

Pulling back on the mouse will increase the distance you cover, but lowers your speed to about 126 kph. Pushing forwards will send you into a nosedive, which boosts speed up to about 233 kph, but you’re obviously travelling straight downwards, so there’d better be something good immediately below you.

Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds Loot Guide

Loot generally spawns inside buildings or immediately outide them – don’t bother scouring the outdoors unless you’re in the shooting range south of Georgopol or the lumber yard 1.5 clicks west of Lipovka. Here’s what you’re looking for: a helmet, a vest, a backpack, a gun, and some ammo. Those are the absolute essentials.

Helmets, vests, and backpacks come in one of three levels. Level 3 vests and helmets soak more damage, and level 3 backpacks carry more stuff. Guns come in several varieties: sniper rifles, assault rifles, shotguns, SMGs, and handguns. The basic tenets of ballistics hold true: shotguns are pretty handy when you’re fending off some hoodlum at close quarters, but they’re also surprisingly effective at medium range. SMGs have a high fire rate but lack accuracy at long range, and sniper rifles… well, you know the deal. You look down the scope and shoot people’s heads off from a long way away.

The ‘best’ gun differs depending on the situation, but assault rifles are all-rounders. They can be fitted with scopes to increase their range and attachments that increase clip size or reduce recoil.

Then there are health pick-ups. Bandages heal a small amount of health. First Aid Kits heal much more, but neither can replenish the top 25% of your health bar. A Medi Kit will heal you completely, but boy do they take up inventory space. Energy drinks and painkillers can heal that hard-to-reach last 25% of your health bar, but they take time to work. Basically, pick up any of these whenever you see them.

Then there are grenades, melee weapons and clothing items. Ignore the latter two unless you’re in the very early game (in which case, a frying pan can kill a man in two hits). Exercise extreme caution with grenades, because it’s very easy to throw one at your own feet. When you start holding the fire button, you’ll pull the pin and an indicator will show where it’ll land. Make sure you’re not going to hit the doorway you’re aiming through or anything equally embarrassing, and release before you eviscerate yourself.

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Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds Guide – Doors

PUBG is a game about doors at its heart. A complex, 100-player mindgame in which you must use doors to psyche each other out, lure people in or warn them off.

All buildings start the game with all their doors shut. If you approach one and you see even one of its doors open, you know someone has already been in there. It’s a decent indicator that a place has been looted and that as a result there’s not much point in entering. If you’re planning to hole up in a building, then, it’s a good idea to shut the doors so that people don’t know anyone came inside.

OR IS IT? That was the rationale when PUBG first launched, but inevitably the strategy’s evolved a bit. For example, knowing that most players will swerve a building with open doors, some people decided that deliberately leaving the doors of the house they occupied open they’d deter any potential invaders.

However, there’s still another wrinkle to it: doors opened inwards indicate that someone opened them from inside, and vice versa. The mindgames!

Now that the word ‘doors’ has lost all meaning in its repetition, let’s sum up: they might indicate someone has been in a building, or that they’re still there, or that they left. What a valuable barometer they truly are.

Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds Shooting tips

There are three stages of aiming. One is firing from the hip, done by left-clicking in first or third-person view. You can improve accuracy by holding down the right mouse button in either view, upon which you’ll see your sights tighten. Then there’s aiming down your sights. Double right-click to do this – if you have a scope attached, this is how to actually aim down it.

Headshots do more damage, so aim for skulls when you’re near enough. Most of the time you’ll incapacitate someone before killing them, so when you see them crawling on the ground that means you still need to shoot them more. If you’re playing a duo or team match, it also means someone’s probably coming to revive them, so reload and prepare for that. However, if you down an entire team and there’s nobody left to revive them, they’ll all drop dead for good.

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Hitting ‘b’ cycles through your gun’s fire modes. Auto is generally best, because of more bullets, right? Use single or burst if you’re conserving ammo. If you’re about to open fire on a target through your scope who’s several hundred metres away, you can change the zeroing distance of your gun using the ‘page up’ and ‘page down’ keys to alter accuracy over long range. Finally, holding down shift will steady your aim for a finite period, so do it just before taking a long-range pop at some unsuspecting survivalist.

Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds Guide – Teamwork tips

Playing in a duo or a group makes PUBG a lot more fun. Cowering in the bathroom of a decrepit Eastern bloc townhouse is part of the core gameplay here, and having squadmates to chat with during these periods of inactivity is always welcome. But more than that, team play in PUBG makes for a richer, funnier, and more unpredictable game. For instance, when you spot a lone player making his way over a hill down your scope, you just know he has a team-mate in tow. Do you take the shot, and bank on your squad to kill his? Or do you let him go? Making the right call in situations like this is often the difference between ignominious death and victory.

Playing with other friendlies also accelerates the learning curve, because you’re all sharing the wisdom and experience you pick up along the way with your Discord chatter. Maybe one of your regular crew figured out a new tip while playing solo, and they’re prepared to impart it. Maybe the decisions you make by committee push you all out of your usual style of play. In any event, it’s making you all better players.

Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds Guide – How to win

The nitty-gritty: how to win a game. Firstly, winning a game does not mean killing 20 people. More often than not, a win means staying undetected for upwards of half an hour and taking your shots well in the last few phases, when it really counts. A victorious player might only have three or four kills to their name. Technically, you only need to get one kill.

While you’re still getting to grips with the game, play a cautious strategy. Land somewhere relatively remote, take your time getting loot, avoid open areas, and only attack if you’re feeling confident. If you’re in a good position within the zone and you have decent loot, wait it out for a while. There’s no shame in sneaking your way into the top ten.

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Then, when the zone shrinks right to just a few square metres and only a handful of players, position yourself so that you can see most of the area, and maybe find a bush to crawl into. Look around using ALT so that only your camera moves, not your avatar. And when you have a clear shot: take it. Winner, winner, chicken dinner.

Intermediate tips

You logged in some hours, and you’re not winning as much as you’d like. The following tips will help, but do remember that PUBG is a 100-player game; an average player should, therefore, win one in every hundred games they play. If you’re winning any more than that, you’re doing great, champ.

Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds Guide – Lose your fear by landing in busy areas

So much of your time in PUBG is spent actively avoiding action that you don’t often get much chance to practice with the game’s shooting mechanics and get a feel for combat. Well, if you’ll excuse the movie trailer platitude, sometimes in order to win, you have to lose first.

Set aside a few sessions in which you’re not trying to win at all, but instead focusing on getting a few kills. Land in busy areas like the power station, school, or military base, where you know there’ll be early firefights. Once you get a firearm play recklessly and put yourself in combat encounters.

Even if you’re not getting kills while playing this way, you’re getting accustomed to seeing enemies on your screen, and as strange as it sounds, that in itself can be a big boost. It happens so rarely and so suddenly during normal play that it can easily provoke a panicked response.

But if you’ve spent a few hours with scant regard for your own life, that panic fades away, and your hand gets steadier. This one will really, really help your overall game, however much those deaths might sting in the moment.

Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds Guide – Use items as bait

Here’s a fun one. Useful or valuable items laying on the ground are usually a good indicator that a building hasn’t had anyone inside it yet. Why not turn that to your advantage by dropping items inside a building you’re hunkered down in? Just drag them out of your inventory screen and onto the floor.

There’s an art to this, of course. Don’t drop an SKS surrounded by ammo at your own front door or anything else that would give an opponent an advantage over you. Instead, use a first aid kit (they probably won’t have a chance to use it) or a gun without any ammo. Not only will their guard be down, but you’ll know exactly where they’re about to stand. Adjust your sights accordingly.

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Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds Guide – Shoot around cover to disorient your targets

Every player has experienced the overwhelming horror of taking rounds from an unknown location and trying desperately to figure out their direction so they can find cover. It’s the worst. Here’s how to best inflict that on others.

If you’re lucky enough to be the one firing rounds and a player is trying to get behind cover, keep firing around cover to make it harder for them to keep them guessing. Seeing shots land at the ground around them, they’ll likely keep changing position until the shots stop. That, in turn, will put them back out into your sights.

Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds Guide – Stop going after more loot

Running around all game looking for new gear is pure loot greed, and loot greed kills. Really. If you have a level 2 helmet, vest, backpack, and a decent rifle with a scope, it’s probably not worth running across open fields to ransack houses. Stick with what you’ve got and focus on maintaining strong tactical positions and awareness of anyone around you.

Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds Guide – Horde attachments, use weapons to store them

At the start of the game, you don’t know which weapons you’ll end up with. It’s more likely that you’ll stumble across a lot of attachments before their accompanying gats, so assuming you have a decent backpack, pick them all up to be fitted later – especially if you’re playing in a team and can divvy them out in a moment of downtime.

You can also place attachments wherever they fit to save inventory space. It doesn’t make much sense from a combat standpoint to fit a UMP with an 8x scope, but if you’re running low on space there’s really no reason not to.

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Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds Guide – Split items and ammo using CTRL

Yeah, that’s how you do it. Bring up your inventory, hover over the item you want to split with a buddy, and CTRL-click it to bring up the sub-menu that chooses the quantity you’ll split.

Playeryunknown’s Battlegrounds Guide – Decide whether you want to get some kills, or win the round

These two are often diametrically opposed objectives until the very latter stages of the game. Entering combat with someone means giving away your position not only to the opponent but every other competitor. It’s a big risk, and if you already have a decent haul of loot there’s not much to be gained from killing someone aside from pride.

A more effective strategy for getting into the top ten is to keep positioning yourself at the centre of the next play zone as early as possible, stay hidden, and stay vigilant. Seeing someone on the horizon comes with no obligation to shoot at them.

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