PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) technically just exited beta, but don’t underestimate its popularity. The latest SteamSpy report places this PC game’s concurrent user base close to 3 million players and estimates nearly 28 million downloads at the time of publication.
PUBG deserves every bit of this credit. I applaud the game’s novel take on the FPS/survival genre and its technical ability to support millions of simultaneous players on its servers. On top of all that, its two maps are expansive and impressively detailed, and the game’s development team shows no signs of slowing down.
With all the hype surrounding PUBG, you might hesitate to take the dive into its gameplay mechanics, or you may be intimidated by the size of its user base. Fear not, the tips below should prove useful for your survival. That said, with a game as user-driven and variable as PUBG, the same strategy won’t work every time. Consider the following suggestions a baseline; you may need to change up tactics every once in a while for continued success.
For our impressions of the PC release, check out PCMag’s full review of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. Although PlayStation owners are left outside the circle, Xbox One users can join in on the fun; the game just launched for Microsoft’s console.
1Take the Scenic Route
It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with both of PUBG’s maps, Erangel and Miramar, since you have an equal chance of spawning into either. Both are massive and extremely detailed, but that’s where the similarities end. If you stake out a solid location in one match, it’s worth revisiting at least a couple of times in subsequent playthroughs. The only way to find great locations, however, is to play multiple matches on each map and take the time to mentally map out where you explore.
A large factor in determining the places you discover is where you parachute down from the initial plane flyover. During your first several games, make a conscious effort to drop yourself into different areas so you get to experience the full breadth of locations. Chances are that even if you land in a familiar area, you’ll eventually have to make your way to new areas.
When choosing a location, however, don’t immediately jump down onto the map once you see land. And don’t wait for the plane to fly its full course, either, as this will dump you near the outer edges of the map. These locations tend to be far away from the eventual playable areas and highly congested with other indecisive players.
If you want to map out a travel route, feel free to do so. The planes fly over the same route each time. If you are playing in a co-op mode, it is particularly important to plan out your drop-off location beforehand, so as not to waste valuable time trying to regroup after a botched landing attempt.
2Mind the Map
There’s definitely a right way and a wrong way to advance through each round. For example, sprinting for a full two minutes to try to beat the progress of the deadly blue dome is not a great idea. You’re better off planning a more systematic approach. For example, once the map populates with the playable zones, one strategy is to hide out in a building just over the boundary itself, to avoid being picked off by others scrambling to reach the same destination. There’s no need to get deeper into contested zones before it’s absolutely necessary.
Another strategy is to make a beeline for the center of the playable zone from the outset and wait out the match. This is not a particularly entertaining method, given that matches can take upwards of 20 minutes to complete. However, if your only goal is to make it far into the match, then this is a relatively sure-fire way to get to the top of the leaderboard.
3Do Not Engage
The best way to avoid dying in PUBG is simply to avoid anything that can kill you. The biggest threat, of course, is other players. For example, if you see someone run into a building or an open house door, it’s probably not the best idea to run in, guns blazing.
Instead, take a stroll over to the next closest structure (there are certainly enough of them) and proceed with your activities in safety. PUBG’s cities are generally packed with loot, but they also typically have the highest concentration of players, so definitely stay away for your own survival.
It’s safest to make your way from isolated building to building, keeping a close watch out for any movement along your path. Since everyone else is also gradually moving in the same direction, you may be running parallel to or just ahead of another player without being aware, so make sure to observe your surroundings in every direction. If you can avoid the open by making your way through trees or shrubbery, obviously that is the smartest move. However, if you are pressed for time or the forested route requires you to backtrack significantly, then you have no choice but to sprint through the field and hope no one sees you. I don’t recommend crawling for long distances, since this kills your field of vision.
4Commandeer a Vehicle
Vehicles are like mobile safe havens in PUBG. They can provide some protection in firefights, and on a simpler level, even just a barrier to hide behind. If the situation gets too dangerous, simply lay down some cover fire, hop into the driver’s seat, and speed away to safety. Further, if you find yourself well outside the safe zone or within a bombing zone, vehicles are a great way to get back quickly into a good position.
There are many different types of vehicles you can use in PUBG, including motorcycles, dune buggies, SUVs, boats, and old-school camper vans. If you can, find yourself a covered vehicle; you’re a much easier target on a motorcycle or open-roof buggy. Also, since waterways tend to be open to attack, it’s best to abandon boats quickly once you get to your destination. Keep in mind that fall damage exists in the PUBG universe, so make sure your vehicle comes to a complete stop before going on your way.
5Lock and Load
Although the stealthy (cowardly) method described above is a great way to advance far into a round, there are going to be times when you come into conflict with other players. For that, you will need a firearm. One of the first things you should do when you land on a map is to find a suitable weapon, preferably one with lots of ammo nearby. Make sure to actually reload your gun periodically throughout your travels, since PUBG does not do this automatically when you pick up ammo.
Once you possess a gun, you can use it to intimidate other people from engaging in combat, but this strategy obviously does not work in every situation. One other potential way to get around a gunfight is to fire your weapon away from your position. The sound design in PUBG is excellent, so the crisp pop of a gunshot cutting into the silence may be enough to dissuade other players from trying to take you out.
However, if you find yourself unable to avoid confrontation or are just feeling a bit reckless, there are some best practices for surviving the encounter. For example, though it may not be the most honorable tactic, go ahead and shoot people in the back. Most times that will give you enough of a head start to eliminate them, before they can return fire. Also, make sure to adjust your tactics based on the type of weapon you have. As tempting as it may be, don’t try to use a sniper rifle in close quarters.