PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds has officially taken gamers by storm. The competitive multiplayer shooter blends elimination-based combat with light survival mechanics, and the combination has managed to be a simple but effective shakeup of the usual shooter formula.
The downside to the game’s sudden popularity and early-access status are that things can be pretty unclear at times, and a lot of details that could give players an advantage can be overlooked. So before you dive in, or even if you think you've mastered the game, take a look at our 16 tips for getting the upper hand in Battlegrounds.
Credit: Bluehole Studio
Since Battlegrounds doesn’t operate like a conventional shooter, it helps if someone who can watch out while you get used to the controls can show you the ropes during a match. The only way to test things out is during a match. Even if your friend is also new, playing Duo Mode is a great way to trade observations back and forth that you might have otherwise missed.
Battlegrounds shouldn’t be too unfamiliar to fans of other shooters, but it might throw you a few curveballs. Right click lets you aim over the shoulder in third person when you hold the button down, but when you click the button, you enter ADS (aim down sights). Shoulder fire is better at close range, because it keeps your view from being restricted. ADS is more useful for long-range shots and is the only way to use a scope attachment. Fighting up close with a scope mounted? Just use shoulder fire to aim accurately, bypassing your scope.
Shoulder aiming can be awkward around corners, however, since the camera can get caught up on objects and even your own character model. To avoid this, use the Peek Left/Peek Right commands (by default set to Q and E) to swap which shoulder the camera is over. These buttons also let you peek around corners when you're in ADS mode.
Each match starts in a plane, and you get to choose when to eject. You’ll want to aim for some buildings, but you might not want to land too close to the flight path of the plane. To get some serious distance while skydiving, hold forward while aiming the camera parallel to the ground. Use the map to guide you to your desired location, then begin angling the camera down to gain as much fall speed as you can before you automatically pull the parachute. Using markers to indicate where you want to land can also help, as these will show up on the compass on the top of your screen.
When your chute is open, the controls change a bit. You gain fall speed by pressing forward and gain distance by letting go of forward. The camera no longer affects your movement. Use this time to look around and see if anyone else has also chosen your landing spot. You might be in for an early fight!
There’s no substitute for hands-on experience, and the prematch lobby — where all 100 players load in before a match — can be a useful place to test key bindings, mouse sensitivities, change your voice chat settings ( for example, mute everyone) and try out every gun in the game … if you can run to it fast enough.
Off to the side on some picnic tables are several guns and ammo, and scattered elsewhere on the tiny prematch island are all of the game's 31 weapons. You only get about a minute before the match starts, so get used to things like recoil and aim sensitivity, because this is your only chance to do so outside of a real match.
Credit: FfC Upshall/YouTube
All doors begin closed, which is your first indicator that a set of buildings has been occupied. You can close doors behind you, so it’s not foolproof, but an open door can only indicate player activity in that area.
Leaving doors open in your area is a good way to signal to other players that a house has already been looted. However, if you think people aren’t looking for loot, then entering a building and closing the doors could be a good way of disguising your position.
Battlegrounds relies heavily on sound cues to tell players what’s happening around them, so you'll want to use a good pair of headphones or a gaming headset. With a huge map and dozens of players roaming around, threats will often be heard before they are seen. Doors opening, doors closing and indoor footsteps all make distinct sounds —footsteps on other floors even make a specific hollow sound to help you gain situational awareness.
Gunshots are loud, but incredibly hard to place accurately, especially when you’re taking fire and in a panic. Unlike other games, your screen won’t indicate where you’ve taken damage from. Your best indicator here is to look for missed shots on the ground, walls or trees around you, or to scan for muzzle flashes.
Most players start out like certified pack rats, picking up every little thing they find in a building. When starting out, you won’t yet know your preference for guns, but you can at least know you won’t need three extended pistol mag attachments! You can only hold two long guns, one sidearm (a pistol), one melee weapon and one throwable.
Don’t hoard ammo for weapons you don’t have, and as a general rule, don’t plan on swapping loadouts midmatch until you get more familiar with the game. Finding a backpack or a tactical vest helps increase the amount of items you can hold, but fiddling with a cluttered inventory can get you killed. Picking up items off the ground with the F key is very quick, but opening the inventory menu with Tab lists the items at your feet for easy sorting and is good for comparing gun stats.