The creator of the popular ARMA 2 & 3 mod, BattleRoyale, has returned with an extremely promising game with an extremely generic name, Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds. After spending close to 600 hours playing the game’s Early Access and dozens on the Test Servers for the final release, I thought it would be a good idea to update this guide.
Here are a few tips and tricks as well as words of wisdom which could be useful to everyone:
This is Battle Royale!
The Battle Royale mods and games were inspired by the popular Japanese manga and movie with the same name. Battlegrounds follows a similar recipe as the ARMA mods having 100 players with no equipment parachute from an airplane on a gigantic map to scavenge for resources and weapons to battle each other to the death until there is only one survivor. As a way to force the players into fighting, the map size is constantly diminished to randomized play zones by an energy shield which keeps coming every few minute dealing increasingly higher damage each time it starts moving. By the end of the match the play zone is usually extremely small housing the last survivors in an intense standoff as they wait for each other’s mistakes.
Become a paratrooper
Momentum is gained through a good start and Battlegrounds starts each time with the parachuting phase. Choosing the spot to land isn’t hard but getting there in an efficient way can be challenging. The jumping out of the airplane is followed by a hover phase in which the falling speed varies between 126 km/h and 234 km/h. The falling direction is set with the mouse while moving in that direction requires the pressing of the forward key. Adjusting speeds is also based on direction, pointing at the horizon will get you to the lowest speed which helps hovering for the longest period. Looking straight down in a perpendicular way with the ground will increase the speed considerably based on the distance between your altitude and the point where the parachute opens automatically.
An effective way to travel over long distances is to open up the parachute really high up in the air. This can be greatly enhanced by pressing the forward key (W by default) constantly and then letting it go. This back and forth parachute dance will further increase the distance you travel. However, keep in mind that this parachuting mode is a slow ride.
Exercise these techniques. Learning to control and alter the speed and direction will make for more efficient landings getting to loot areas before other players and even reaching some further away zones from the airplane.
Bring the RNG on your side
RNG is an unavoidable part of the Battle Royale games. Being the loot or unfortunate bombarding zones, fighting the random factor is part of the game. Bringing the RNG on your side is what increases the chances of doing better or even winning.
It all starts with paying attention to the number of players in the airplane and jumping in an area that has enough houses with potentially good loot and the least amount of parachuting enemies. Learn the buildings that hold the most loot and target those and while at it, pick up a gun (not the crossbow!) to make sure you won’t be punched to death. The decision making in the first few minutes of the match can dictate the round’s outcome and making sure you don’t get screwed on the loot should be a priority.
Use inventory key to loot
The standard way to loot in this game is by looking on the ground for items, aiming at them and pressing the use key to pick them up. But there is another way, one with which the ARMA players should be familiar. Opening up the inventory key (Tab by default) will show all the loot in a small radius around you which can then be dragged into your inventory or equipment slots. This way of looting is efficient because you skip on the action of thoroughly looking for items which you might not even spot all that well and the looting animations.
Advantages and disadvantages of 3rd person camera
The 3rd person camera is a controversial subject in gaming, one that gets diehard fans of the FPS genre quite riled up. Battlegrounds will feature a Hardcore Mode which is first person only, but from my experience with ARMA games, a ton of players prefer to see their characters and I won’t deny I enjoy that a little. But playing in 3rd person comes with its advantages and disadvantages. The aiming and shooting are worse requiring ADS while the awareness over the surroundings can be better allowing to see over obstacles and peeking from great hiding spots, but what one can use all can use. The defender’s advantage is a pretty big deal in 3rd person online games as the hiding player has the information making it dangerous to explore. As you move, always assess the situation to force the potential fights on a more equal ground. Don’t take unnecessary risks exploring buildings and zones that put you in a worse position than it should as the arriving player unless you are 100% sure nobody is there. And while at it, close the doors to trick other players!
Use the compass
Years of tactical shooters based on teamwork have thought me that incoherent description of objectives and enemy’s positions can have catastrophic outcomes. Left and right mean almost as much in team based shooters as they mean in space. Battlegrounds’ duo and squad modes are quite an intense teamplay experience and calling out positions makes all the difference. Use the game’s compass to call out bearings using numbers, this might take a bit of time to get used with it, but the result is a better coordination as a team.
Healing the damage
The list of healing items in Battlegrounds is formed of: Bandages, First Aid Kits, Painkillers, Energy Drinks, Med Kits and Adrenaline shots. Gathering a decent supply of these items isn’t all that simple, but even then things don’t get much easier. Healing up can be a slow process which can only be sped up through extremely rare items like Med Kits and Adrenaline shots which will take you to full health. Bandages are the cheapest and one of the slowest ways to heal while First Aid Kits are efficient, but both of these items won’t get you past 75% health. From this point regenerative items like Painkillers and Energy Drinks are required to slowly get back in full shape. Gathering and managing the healing supplies is a crucial factor in surviving longer so keep in mind that any lost regenerative item might cost you your life. And while on the subject, don’t forget to properly keybind your healing items!
You can freelook
It’s not really a common feature outside of the ARMA games so I thought it would be good to mention it on this list. Battlegrounds supports freelook using ALT as the default key. Freelook allows looking around you while moving in a set direction and it’s an extremely useful mechanic greatly improving the awareness.
Like with the ARMA games, camouflage is a real thing in Battlegrounds. The game’s camouflaging system is better than one might think, you can blend in the environment by using cloths with a darker color pallet, hide in a bush or lie down in the tall grass. Take advantage of the camouflage to move around or wait for enemies but keep in mind that at this point in the game’s development the graphics option foliage reduces the intensity of the grass.
While the camouflage system in this game can do wonders it’s unlikely not to be forced to travel on foot through some pretty open spaces. Another common phenomenon that gets players out in the open is the desire to loot their prey which doesn’t always die in the best spots. For this kind of situations knowing how to move is crucial. Whenever you run through open areas or loot bodies out of cover move in zig zag as it makes you a harder to hit target. Keep in mind that zig zaging won’t help when moving in parallel with your enemies.
Don’t be afraid of fall damage, but be careful!
While fall damage does exist and at full health it will require regeneration items to heal it out, it’s not really a threat. The fall damage is quite minimal even when falling from a two storey building. Take advantage of this to escape bad situations or surprise incoming players which aren’t aware of your position or your gameplay craziness!
Learn to shoot before camping
Anyone can easily get in the Top 10 using a simple strategy: avoiding combat. Moving quietly, taking cover in houses and running away from fights could easily earn a top position even for beginners. But before going full out on camping or taking an extremely tactical approach, I would suggest not running from combat, but embracing it. One of the requirements to be really good at this game is to know how to shoot and that won’t happen while cowering in a house. Embrace the combat to understand the shooting mechanics and learn each gun’s behavior. When you got the hold on these mechanics you’ll have a huge advantage both as a camper or as a tactical player.
Hold your breath for better aiming
Rule number one when aiming down sight is to hold your breath (Shift key by default). This will make the aim steadier getting rid of the bullet spread caused by the gun’s movement. Holding breath requires stamina so beware on its management if you are coming from a long run or you need to start running.
Focused hip fire
As a way to prevent players from performing the infamous no-scope kills, the developers have deliberately tempered the hip fire accuracy. While this means that shooting from hip fire isn’t as accurate as in a game like Counter-Strike or Battlefield, this doesn’t mean hip fire isn’t a useable mechanic. In frontal and general CQC encounters it is better to use hip fire as you will be able to shoot faster. While the accuracy isn’t exactly reliable there is still some control over it and it can be greatly improved by focusing the hip fire by holding the right mouse button pressed (default configuration). This will grant quite an edge in most CQC scenarios, but just make sure you don’t stand too close to a wall or the target isn’t obstructed by too much cover as many bullets might not get past these.
Vaulting and jumping
The big gameplay mechanic that everyone was expecting for months is finally here. The vaulting system has been implemented to the Test Servers and is coming to the Live Servers in a matter of weeks. Understanding and learning the power of vaulting will take some time and it will completely change how the game plays. Vaulting opens up new ways to access and exit buildings as well as new vantage positions, especially on the Miramar map which has been specifically designed with vaulting in mind. But know this, the awesomeness of vaulting doesn’t make jumping obsolete. Jumping is still the fastest way to get over small objects and it’s great for toying with your enemies in order to avoid getting hit in the head while running.
Before diving into the gameplay opportunities and changes brought by the vaulting system, make sure you keybind jumping and vaulting to two separate keys. This will prevent countless mishaps that can happen by using a multifunctional key.
Car wheels can be shot
Cars can take a lot of damage to the point of their explosive destruction but the wheels have their own damage model. Wheels can be shot slowing down and diminishing the car’s maneuverability and speed but this usually doesn’t happen with one bullet so always keep that in mind before risking on giving away your position.
Cars, saviors and death traps
Cars are a great way to move around at a high speed avoiding confrontations while going for better or safer looting spots. They can also serve as cover when in need of quick healing or shooting at other players. But the cars physics are a bit wacky and even when going over a small ground bump can turn the car flying. Even more important is that cars give away your position and while in the beginning of the match that’s not such a big deal, as the circle closes it becomes increasingly dangerous. Take it from my experience, in end game is better to park in a secluded spot and start running than driving with the car through the small play zone.
Need a ride?!
I said that cars can be double-edged sword, they are useful yet in certain situations they can lead to death. But in a game where you are constantly constrained by time and have to traverse such a vast map, cars can be a requirement. The randomized spawns don’t make the idea of fast transportation all that reliable, but that can be overcome to a degree with a bit of knowledge. On the Erangel map there are certain garage buildings which have a high chance of spawning a Dacia or a bike inside, assuming another player hasn’t already taken it. This building is present in every major city as well as different key areas around the map and the screenshot below this section will help you recognize it.
In the case of both maps, Erangel and Miramar, vehicles have a chance to spawn in fixed locations along the road. So, if you are in desperate need for a ride and you don’t know the actual spawn points, take a look at the close by roads, you might find a means of fast transportation.
Melee weapons, the great protectors
One would think that the melee weapon’s purpose is to kill, but in PUBG that’s true to a very little extent. Melee kills are extremely rare because firearms can be found quite easily, however, this doesn’t make melee weapons useless. The pan is pretty much mandatory at a higher level of play and if the pan can’t be found, the machete is next in line. Why? Because both these melee weapons can stop bullets and more often than you might image they will actually save your life.
A game for tactical ingenuity
Battlegrounds is designed to provide gameplay options which leads to a pretty big list of tactical approaches. While some of these options seem farfetched, the continuous change of situations can make everything viable. The Molotov cocktail is a good example of an item that some player might find useless due to its slow use animations, but it’s a great way to block paths giving opportunities to stop players from getting out of houses while throwing grenades at them. The list of unexpected tactical options is quite big so try to experiment with items and other variables which can provide alternatives in tricky situations.
Don’t be a loot whore!
This is as good advice for newer players as it is for my own group. Take it from me and Wolfe, scavenging for loot can be an exhilarating experience and hoarding might make you feel safe, but more often than you can imagine it leads to disappointment. The lack of attention caused by running for loot can make you miss the timer on the energy shield or run carelessly for some spotted goodies leading to swift deaths and a bitter taste of dying fully geared without using it. Loot hoarding isn’t all that beneficial in a hardcore game like Battlegrounds.
Don’t let paranoia sink in
Battlegrounds matches do inject more adrenaline into your body with each passing minute to the point where bushes become people and swapping weapons will sound like footsteps. Even with hours of experience paranoia will try to take over and you have to fight back as it will lead to bad decision making and the abrupt end of potentially good matches. Try to keep your calm and analytic perception over the situation as panic brings no good.
When playing duo or squads game modes dying doesn’t really end up the match. A dead player can be of great help for the team through spectating mode which can be put to great use analyzing what the teammates see as you might spot something they did not.
Erangel vs Miramar
At release, PUBG will have only two maps. Each of these maps is massive with a size of 8km2 featuring a different relief and design. The maps also have specific loot and vehicles that fit within their theme.
Erangel, the original map which was available through Early Access, is an ex-soviet island traversed by a river and covered in meadows with tall grass that can serve as cover. The map has three specific guns which can be found as a world spawn: the R1895 revolver using 7.62 ammo and the DP-28 light machine gun using 7.62 ammo. The map also has two specific vehicles: Dacia and UAZ.
Miramar is the game’s latest map featuring a Mexican desert thematic with an arid environment riddled with rocks and plenty of irregularly designed cities with clumped up buildings. This map has three specific guns which can be found as world spawns: the R45 revolved using .45 ACP ammo, the Winchester Model 1894 rifle using .45 ACP ammo and the Sawed-off shotgun using 12 Gauge ammo while using the sidearm inventory slot. This map also has two specific vehicles: Van and Pickup.
The two maps are extremely different in visual and level design which means that specific tactics used on one will not work on the other. While Erangel feels more like a standard large scale shooter map, Miranmar is much more difficult due to its visual designed condensed with details.
The price of crates resets weekly
Crates are the only progression system in the game at the current time. They can be bought with Battle Points (BP) which are earned by playing and reward only cosmetic items which have a limited use from the gameplay perspective as a potentially better way to camouflage within the environment. Crates become increasingly more expensive with each purchase, but you shouldn’t worry about not affording them because the prices reset every Monday. This restriction was put in place as a way to control Steam’s market economy. Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds has implemented Steam’s Community Market where everyone can sell the cosmetic items that don’t come by default with the game
No match of Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds is the same, this game is all about adapting to new situations. But you can always learn from mistakes, either yours or those of the other players, and apply that knowledge for better outcomes. This is what the list above is all about, some of the knowledge I gained by spending an extensive amount of time in this game during its closed beta weekends. Me and my gaming buddies have come up with a lot of new tactics and learned a ton of tricks, some of which can’t be put in such an article and have to be learned through a trial and error process. Give this game a bit of time as it can be overwhelmingly hard at the beginning.
This guide was based on my continuous findings during the game’s Closed Beta Tests, Early Access and pre-release Test Servers. As the game will continue to evolve post-release, I will continue to update this guide whenever I can.