You’ve got the gist of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds down. You know how to bide your time, avoid being seen, and ambush other players. You’ve can feel the rhythm of the game — you’re good at avoiding the blue circle, and making it to the endgame. With the basics down, you’re already approaching the next level of play in PUBG. The trouble is, for a game so simple — air-drop onto an island and shoot other players — PUBG is surprisingly complex. There are tons of little things to know and learn along the way to be the most effective player you can be. Luckily, we’ve spent some time on the island — enough to find some Battlegrounds advanced tactics, tips, tricks, and strategies to help you on your quest for a chicken dinner.
It’s worth noting that the game will release in it’s full state later this year, and some of these tips might change as the game does. Your best bet for improvement is always experience, and trying to learn how other players think.
In the meantime, here are our best strategies for taking your PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds game to the next level.
Try being aggressive to improve
Much of our beginner’s guide to PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds focused on careful play and tactics for surviving as long as you can. But by its very nature, PUBG is a game in which you’ll lose often and die a ton. Only one person out of nearly 100 can win, and you’re unlikely to come out on top until you’ve gained quite a bit of experience.
While many players will instinctively play carefully, avoiding conflicts and sneaking around (especially while still learning the ropes), if you want to get better at the game, you might be better off taking a more aggressive stance. When you air-drop in bigger cities and larger settlements, try to hunt down other players, and spend time driving around the island, you will get killed more often — but you’ll also learn a lot more.
A big part of PUBG is knowing things like when and where you’re vulnerable, what weapons are most formidable in which situation (you can compare their stats on the game’s Wiki), where you can expect to find vehicles or high-level weapons, and where players are likely to congregate. The only way to really get good at the game is to experience it. Hiding out in a few small, scattered buildings might let you get to the Top 10, but it won’t teach you how to win when you arrive. While you might be a more cautious player by nature, it’s worth getting yourself killed a few times to learn more about how other people play the game, rather than surviving through several uneventful matches without learning anything.
Consider death to be your teacher in PUBG. You’ll go through matches quicker, but you’ll get a better sense of how to handle yourself in a fight and what to look out for. In the end, you’ll waste less time. PUBG offers no post-death information like a kill cam (although according to PlayerUnknown at E3 2017, it’s coming to the game in a future update), so getting sniped from some unseen foe teaches you nothing that makes you better. Learn by doing instead. You’ll appreciate the skills you build for later matches when you’re better equipped to sneak around and outsmart players.
Be sneaky when it counts, but don’t waste your time
In line with our previous point, even if you aren’t hunting players through towns, you’re likely a little over-worried about stealth. Especially in the early game, sneaking around can actually be counterproductive, slowing you down when you need to loot and move on to get yourself outfitted as well as you can, as quickly as you can. Plus, with players spread out across the entire island, your chances of running into anyone are somewhat lower. You want to be aware of enemies and not give away too much information, of course, but getting good gear quickly is much more important in the early going than closing every door and running around at a crouch.
Make mental notes of where you find good gear
There are structures all over PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, but lots of them tend to yield garbage equipment, if they contain any at all. Certain locations — warehouses, industrial structures, military bases, stores — tend to have better gear, especially near towns. Better still, unique locations, such as blasted government buildings, tend to have good gear as well.
When you find particularly great stuff, check the map and note the nearby names and landmarks. The locations that tend to have good stuff often tend to see it spawn a little more often than random houses spread throughout the map. You’ll want to concentrate on starting in locations where you’re likely to get good equipment fast, and learning those locations is invaluable.
Do the same thing with cars. Note where you find freshly spawned cars every time you get in one. You’ll be glad for the knowledge in later games when you’re desperate to cover a lot of ground and don’t want to run across the whole island.
Turn down your foliage settings
Though PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds looks great at high settings — just check out our 4K screenshot gallery if you’re not convinced — better graphics don’t always mean you’re a better player. In fact, that lush greenery spread out around the island is actually a liability when your graphics are turned up. Fuller, more realistic trees, bushes and grass make it tougher to spot someone hiding inside them.
So ratchet down your foliage settings as low as they’ll go for a bit of an edge spotting players trying to hide in the undergrowth. They’ll still be afforded some cover, but anyone who thinks they can lie in a grassy field unseen will get a rude awakening when your Kar98 bullet pierces their helmet.
Learn to pick good jump destinations
In our Battlegrounds beginner’s guide, we discussed how you can use the W key and opening your parachute higher to get some fair distance from the cargo plane jump. Knowing where to jump is just as important as knowing how to jump — always make a plan for where you’re going to land and and have a backup plan to go with it, based on what you’ve learned about where good gear spawns. Check the map at the start of each match, find your preferred drop zone, and go for it (and have another spot in mind if your favored one has too many other parachutes dropping in). That little bit of preparation can help you start a match strong.
Your best results are often to pick good places as far from the line of the cargo plane’s path as you can manage. Jumping late in the plane’s flight also has the benefit of putting you away from more players, although you’ll have less time to loot than you would if you jumped early. Once you have a good feeling about locations you like for their loot, and where cars spawn, you can start picking jump zones that will have good loot and nearby vehicles right at the start of the game. That means you can quickly get across the island if the play area doesn’t favor your drop zone, and hopefully have good-enough gear to punish anyone who comes after you.
In any case, by planning your drops in better areas, you’ll almost always be better off than if you pick a small, random farmhouse settlement in the middle of nowhere.
Red Zones aren’t a death sentence
The red circles on your map indicate areas that are about to get firebombed. They’re very dangerous, forcing you to move quickly out of the way if you don’t want to blow up. That said, it’s more than possible to just run through a red zone and even survive (although the likelihood of getting a bomb to the face is pretty high), but a better strategy is just to get indoors and wait the bombing out. Any structure will shelter you from the explosions, and you can use red zones as temporary protection or to lose other players if you’re careful.
Use two-story buildings to outsmart other players
Falls can kill you, but most won’t. In fact, you can leap from the second story of a building and take zero damage, which is important information to have when making a getaway or trying to outsmart a player while fighting in an interior. (We’ve actually fallen off four-story buildings and survived, albeit with half health.) Use your ability to jump from high places to get behind other players, or bail on a fight by leaping off a balcony.
Open doors carefully
You don’t have to stand directly in front of a door to open it — stand to the side instead. This is just good practice. There’s no reason to stand in a doorway when you can just inch over to the side. Even houses you’re confident no one occupies might have a sneaky person inside waiting for you. Bounding straight through doors the second they open is just asking for a chest full of lead.
Additionally, use windows to check the insides of buildings when you find them. Closed interior doors usually mean a place hasn’t been checked by another player (although not always). The state of doors can give you a quick bit of information and help you avoid getting blasted as you enter a structure. In the reverse, closing the doors near windows can trick cautious players into wandering into an ambush.