'PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds': Tips And Tricks To Outlast Other 'PUBG' Players

  • Windows
  • Survival
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PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds Bluehole

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds continues to dominate on Steam. Bluehole has already sold more than two million copies of its popular shooter, which has been a constant presence on the Steam’s Current Players chart, and the developer even found time to squeeze in its first PUBG Charity Invitational earlier this month. And the popularity of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds doesn’t show signs of fading anytime soon.

I’ve spent 40 hours with the game in recent weeks. I’ve only claimed one chicken dinner, and it was with my usual squad. But I still managed to climb into the top two percent of the NA Solo queue rankings over the last few weeks. And I don’t even have a 1:1 kill/death ratio. Now I’m ready to share my coward tactics with you, dear reader. I want to show you how to venture out into PlayerUnknown’s strange and brutal world, ready to retreat from any possible signs of danger and slaughter those less patient than you.

With these tips, you should be able to find safe drop zones (and decent loot) with some consistency. You might even win a fight or two. But I’ll freely admit hiding has become my default strategy in PUBG. And if it’s not broken, why fix it?

Here’s how to improve your average performance in PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds:

Get Away From The Plane Line

The biggest favor you can do yourself at the match’s onset is choosing a landing site the plane hasn’t flown over and won’t pass the rest of the flight. If it’s a north-south route, choose a spot as far east or west as you can glide. If it’s an east-west route, you probably want to go north. The southern coast and the island that hosts the military base should be avoided unless you have a vehicle. Nine times out of ten, it’s a hotbed of ambushes, gunfights and snipers. And they’ll happily camp the two bridges that bottleneck all traffic on or off the island.

Avoid Big Cities And Hot Spots

Unless you’re looking for immediate action, avoid the big cities at all costs. Don’t land in them. Don’t try to creep in after the match starts. And the same goes for other notable map fixtures, like the firing range, the power plant or the flooded settlement near Rozhok. Just pretend those parts of the map don’t exist. The only exception to this rule should be when the circle forces you in. The loot may be good. But your chances of making it back out of the city aren’t.

Dive Into Your Starting Zone

Some people like to glide until the parachute automatically unfurls, but there’s a much faster way to reach the ground in PUBG . Once you’re above your preferred landing zone, aim the camera down and hold the “W” key to increase your diving speed. Continue to dive until the height indicator in the lower left corner is just above the white field -- which indicates the portion of the drop in which your chute will be deployed -- then release W and press F to deploy your parachute. If performed properly, you’ll maintain significantly more downward momentum and be able to reach the ground (or a nearby rooftop) much faster than anyone else who happens to be landing nearby. And you’ll still have a few seconds during the controlled descent to free look (Alt+RMB) for other players.

Cars > Loot

Sooooo you carefully scouted what should’ve been a safe drop zone. You remembered to avoid the plane line and popular starting areas. You even pulled off the dive. And yet, there’s still some asshole trying to parachute into the same group of houses you’d settled on. If you’re feeling brave, run up on them and start swinging your fists. You’d be surprised how many people try to grab and load a gun, only to be knocked out before they can fire a shot. But take a few seconds during your descent to look for a vehicle. If transportation is close, make a beeline for it. You can always find a new loot spot -- preferably one with multiple buildings -- once you’ve driven a safe distance from your current location.

Check Doors And Windows

Having a vehicle also makes it a bit easier to scope out potential loot spots before completely exposing yourself to danger. When you come across a group of buildings you’d like to loot, drive a quick lap or two around the perimeter (or run if you didn’t find a vehicle) and keep an eye on the doors and windows. Open doors (interior or exterior) are an obvious sign that a player is (or was) here. The same goes for windows that have been shot out. But if you see fresh loot on the floor, particularly high-value items like guns or first aid kits, it’s probably safe to head inside.

Choose The Right Gun For The Job

There are a variety of firearms in PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and each class of weapon is best for specific situations. Pistols are great for early kills, especially if you find a suppressor, and can be useful for finishing off an opponent while they retreat or reload. Shotguns are great for clearing houses and camping specific rooms or doorways. SMGs are best at short range, ideally in suppressed bursts. Assault rifles are great for mid-range kills and protracted gunfights. They also make decent weapons for snipers if you can find a decent scope and a flash hider. And last, but certainly not least, the MW2 and Kar98k rifles are great for making other PUBG players hate you.

Know When To Swap Firing Modes

Sometimes it pays to use weapons a bit differently than intended. A fully-kitted UMP can be pretty deadly at short range when firing single shots instead of the usual “spray and pray” approach. Conversely, the AKM you’ve been using to hit people 100 meters away is great at close range with automatic fire. But the M16’s burst fire is much better for mid-range engagements or to spray the windshield of an oncoming vehicle. Take a quick second to optimize weapon configurations before storming a house or ambushing an enemy. It could be the difference between life and death.

Find A Good Hiding Spot

Once you’ve got a bit of gear and a decent shot at surviving a close encounter with another player, it’s time to find a good hiding spot. But it’s important to remember that the title of this section isn’t “Find A Good Building.” In many cases, particularly late game, buildings can be the most obvious place to hide because there are only a handful left inside the sparks. Sometime it makes more sense to find a heavily forested hillside that’s well inside the circle and go prone inside a bush or behind a large rock. Foliage makes shockingly great cover, provided someone can’t see you from more than 100-150 meters -- because the game engine doesn’t spawn foliage for other players at that range. Some of my best performances have been games where I spent several minutes sweating bullets in a shrub while gunfire rang out in every direction. And the large shadows cast by certain trees might as well be cloaks of invisibility when it’s raining. If you do decide to hide in a building, try to find a two-story structure with closeable doors on all of its entrances.

Don’t Shoot Unless It’s An Easy Kill

In a game where the only goal is to outlast 99 other players, choosing not to fire at an opponent who’s unaware of your presence might sound like heresy. But it’s important to remember death comes quickly in PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. If you’ve got a line on a player camping another location then, by all means, let that headshot fly. But if you aren’t 90 percent certain you’ll record the kill, whether it takes one shot or a half dozen, then let the player go. You’re going to regret pulling the trigger if they turn around and headshot. Or if you get the kill, only to be sniped while trying to claim the spoils of war. There’s a good chance you aren’t the only person who can see your target. Let that mysterious third (or maybe even fourth) player in your general vicinity give away their location while those still alive remain blissfully unaware of your current hiding place.

Remember: Kills aren’t the goal. Survival is.

No Standing Still During Gunfights

This one is pretty obvious but everyone needs a reminder from time to time. Don’t get married to the view through your scope (or iron sights). If an opponent takes shelter for an extended period, you should also take a moment to relocate. There’s a good chance they’re trying to get a better angle on the last place they saw you and decent odds they’ll leave themselves exposed to an attack from your next hiding spot. Worst-case scenario, you meet somewhere in the middle and hash out your differences without the four-minute “Where the f**k are they?!?” panic attack that usually precedes a mid-fight death.

Boards, Doors And Fences Are Destructible

You’re probably going to end up in a gunfight at some point, no matter how careful you are, so it’s important to know what you (and your opponents) can/can’t effectively use for cover. And the general rule of thumb is: Don’t hide behind wood. The wooden barricades on windows can be destroyed. Doors can be destroyed by gunfire and fences are susceptible to a variety of attacks, from shotguns to vehicles. So try to find something more substantial, whether it be a rock or a concrete retaining wall, to hide behind. You’re much less likely to die while healing or reloading.

Use First-Person To Peek Fire

If you’re trying to thread the needle, it’s probably best to switch to first-person and take the shot using your scope or iron sights. It’s far too easy to get what seems like a lethal angle on an opponent only to come up short because you stayed in third-person and sprayed an entire clip into the wall or windowsill you’re hiding behind. If you had time to creep up on your target, you probably have an extra second to press V and click the right mouse button to make sure your shot is lined up.

Always Swim Underwater

While we’re talking about cover, swimming can be a surprisingly efficient way of avoiding damage, provided you aren’t staying at the water’s surface. Anytime you’re swimming, whether crossing a river or escaping a dangerous beach, dive below the surface as soon as possible. All incoming fire will have its trajectory altered by the liquid and anyone who happens to have you in their sights will have a drastically harder time earning the kill. Just don’t forget to keep an eye on the oxygen meter, a pair of lungs, in the bottom left corner of the screen.

Late Game Tips

  • Many players suggest ditching your backpack and spare guns if you make it to top 10 or 20 players. Backpacks nearly double your profile, making it much easier to spot (and kill) you from farther distances. Keep your best weapon and spare ammo. That’s it.

  • Camp the supply drops for easy kills. The red smoke should make them easy to locate, if you didn’t see the initial descent, and anyone trying to loot the box will have to stand still long enough for a relatively easy head shot. Just don’t get greedy and try to rush in after the first kill. You’re still probably not alone.

  • Don’t swap weapons while you’re prone, unless you’re in a bush or building that obscures the animation. It might not seem like much. But that little bit of movement, combined with the increased vertical profile, can make it much easier for nearby players to spot you.

  • Avoid vehicles (if possible) after the second or third circle. Even the quietest ones can still be heard pretty far away. Sound may not give away your exact location. But it does make it much harder to sneak up on the handful of players left alive.

  • Grenades are a great way to flush out opposing players in the final moments, when the last handful of players all tend to be prone in the same general area. Use a low arc and stick to smoke or stun grenades so you don’t accidentally kill yourself. But many players will try to quickly relocate as soon as they believe they’ve heard a grenade land nearby. Regardless of the type.

Be sure to check back with iDigitalTimes and follow Scott on Twitter for more PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds coverage in 2017 and however long Bluehole supports PUBG in the years ahead.

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