Taking It To The Next Level
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds has become a major hit largely because it has such a high skill ceiling. It’s a game you can spend a lot of time learning, and with plenty of mechanics and weapons master, it’s possible to get very good at it.
As you’re advancing from beginner to experienced player in PUBG, there’s much to keep in mind when trying to maximize your in-game potential. Here are 12 expert-level tips that aren’t immediately obvious as you play, but can help you up your PUBG game even further.
PUBG launched in Early Access this year and has been extraordinarily successful. PUBG launched on Xbox One via the Game Preview program on December 12, while it launches fully on PC on December 20. If you’re new to the game, check out our PUBG beginner’s guide for Xbox controls, tips, and more to get you started.
Your Jump Destination Is Incredibly Important
The first thing you do in every PUBG game is decide where you want to start, and you shouldn’t sleep on this choice. The places you can reach out of the plane are determined by its trajectory as it crosses the island, but you can potentially reach destinations as far as two grid squares or more away from your starting point if you know what you’re doing.
Most players hop out of the plane and try to fall as fast as possible, which is useful when you know you’re jumping into a spot with a lot of other people. But a better decision might be to identify a good spot away from the beaten path, where you can get solid weapons without fear of being attacked. Mark your intended location during the flight and make your way there–if you tap the W key (on PC) or forward on the left stick (on Xbox One) as you fall from the plane, you can do a sort of “swim” motion that gives you a little more horizontal distance. The same is true when you release your chute–tapping forward rhythmically can give you more distance away from the plane, rather than sending you down quicker. Opening your chute higher can help you get more distance (at the expense of speed).
Try to pick spots you know well, where the loot is abundant and, ideally, where you know vehicles spawn. Towns and big buildings are usually a good bet, and if you can reach one where other players aren’t likely to be, all the better to let you get set up before you go hunting for opponents. You’ll also want to check around you for other players as you fall by holding the Alt key or RB and panning the camera. Mentally log where nearby players land so you know where to go (or avoid).
Spend Time Learning How To Kill
Eventually, if you intend to win at PUBG, you’ll need to kill someone. It’s easy to dedicate tons of your play time in the game to stealth and survival, which often can get you to the top 10 in a given match. But in those last few moments, combat experience becomes essential. You need some.
It’s a worthy investment to spend some PUBG matches just getting into fights, which is possible when you jump into dense areas where other players are likely to congregate (on the island map, Pochinki and the school are hot spots). Getting a gun fast and getting used to player tactics in a fight will make you much more effective when a chicken dinner is on the line. Some players try jumping, others will hit the dirt and go prone when threatened, and many get panicky. Experience will help you avoid flailing and missing shots, and will teach you what to expect from your guns. Spend some time seeking out fights and not necessarily trying to win to get important practice rounds in.
Use Space Effectively To Outmaneuver Players
Your best weapon in PUBG is the ability to anticipate what other people will do in a given situation. If you’re ambushing someone approaching your building, for instance, you don’t want to set up directly in their line of sight as they open the door — you’re risking your life if they get a lucky shot off, especially with a shotgun. When attacking players in the open, try to catch them in spots where they can’t easily run for cover. And if you lose track of someone in the middle of a fight, don’t stand still hoping they’ll lose you because you’re not generating sound; find a better vantage point or better cover to avoid them flanking your previous position.
Buildings with multiple stories offer you some opportunities to literally get the drop on people when you’re stuck fighting them, too. You can survive a pretty high fall at full health, even off three stories, and you’ll take no damage from falling from a second-story balcony or rooftop. Use that verticality to your advantage by leaping down to ground-level, then catching your enemy as they go looking for you or when they come back down. You run a good chance of confusing an opponent by jumping to a lower level.
Never Assume You’re Alone
In PUBG, death can come from many angles, even from places you’d never think to look. The good news is, you can learn from these situations to keep yourself alive that much longer, as long as you pay attention.
If you approach every situation, from running from the blue force field to approaching a new building, as if someone is waiting to kill you, you’ll start to see how you can stay alive. Avoiding lines of sight from windows, checking corners, and staying close to cover will help you avoid getting picked off no matter what situation you’re in. But just because a building or field looks empty doesn’t mean that it is. Your best bet is to assume there’s always someone potentially zeroing in on you, and to take only calculated risks, like running from cover to cover to minimize your exposure and identifying potential lines of sight where people might be hiding. It’s also important to pick up on key signs of presence, such as open doors and missing loot.
Use All Your Tools
There are a huge amount of items and capabilities in PUBG that you might forget you have open to you. For instance, there are frag grenades, but you also have flashbangs and smoke grenades. Flashbangs can potentially help you get the drop on a player, and smoke can hide your movements or distract opponents. In addition to throwing grenades overhand in the default style, you can also toss them underhand–perfect for slipping one into a room where a player is currently holed up. The right mouse button (or right on the D-pad on Xbox) lets you toggle between grenade throws.
You’ve got a lot of potential tools at your disposal, from different grenade throws to your ability to lean around corners to take shots, as well as inventory items and weapons that are good in different scenarios. Remember to use everything at your disposal to be an effective player, from items to special controls.
Use Your Compass To Keep Track Of Enemies
The compass at the top of your screen tells you the cardinal directions you’re facing, but it’s also covered with numbers. Use these to get a better idea of where enemies are, specifically at range, as you’re engaging them. If you take shots at an enemy at a distance, who then pops behind cover, you’ll probably want to move so that your opponent doesn’t catch on to your location. It can be easy to lose track of where they were hiding once you start moving around, though, especially if they’re taking cover behind one of several trees. The compass provides you with extra information to try to keep track of where people are in relationship to you. Learn to use it to give yourself maximum information about where enemies are.
Learn To Predict The Circle’s Movements
The playfield-restricting white circle is a constant concern for players, but it has features that you can learn and predict and use to your advantage. For instance, it’s important to know that the circle doesn’t continually shrink toward the center of the circle before it — meaning that just because you’re in the center of the circle now doesn’t mean you’re going to be in its center on the next restriction. Because of that, you don’t necessarily want to make a break for the middle of the circle every single time. You’re more likely to run into other players there, for one thing, and you aren’t guaranteeing your safety by doing so. Sometimes it’s better to wait at the edge of the circle where it’s safe and see where it goes before moving too far.
Use The Circle Against Other Players
Avoiding the circle is a huge part of PUBG, and you’re going to want to know how to contend with it in a variety of situations. Even after you’re experienced with the game, you’re going to encounter the circle and potentially die from it if you’re not careful. You can also use it to your advantage.
The play field will constrict a number of times during a given match, and each time it does, the blue force field that moves across the island will do more damage to players caught outside it. That means that being outside the first circle isn’t a death sentence–you can even counteract most of the damage you’ll receive with a boost item or two–but later in the game, the blue field can be devastating. Also note that when the blue circle catches up to the white circle on your map, the field’s damage is increased significantly. Use that information to gauge whether you can hold your ground or to inform you whether you should move, and whether you can use the circle to force other players to move so you can better take them out. While avoiding the blue field and staying inside the white circle are important parts of the game, high-level strategy often takes the circle into consideration for how it’ll affect the movements of other players.
Smart Use Of Vehicles Can Be A Game-Changer
Your first instinct might be to avoid cars because of how noisy they are, but a car early in the game can help you get into the best possible position for the entire match. Especially as the circle moves and changes, you can use a car to avoid having to spend much time in the open, and get to the best loot buildings early, ahead of other players.
Knowing where cars spawn and landing near one is a good idea just for safety’s sake, and in the early game, players are often spread out so much that driving isn’t especially dangerous. Grab a car and you can use it in several ways as well–it can get you quickly into the circle and to a good position to loot, for a start, and then you can either hide it or position it as a trap for other players, which can help you set up an ambush for anyone who follows you. If you can secure a car early, it’s worth it to do so (and you can often speed away with minimal damage if someone does hear you and starts shooting).
By the same token, you’ll likely want to abandon a car once you’ve gotten into a good position toward the middle to later parts of a match. The smaller the circle becomes, the more a car is a liability that gives away your position and makes you a major target. You can use a car effectively for the first few circle constrictions, but around the middle of the match, it’s probably best to ditch it–and maybe don’t leave it too close to the buildings you intend to loot around this time, so that you don’t broadcast your presence to other players.
Never Stand In Front Of Doors As You Open Them
Most of the time when you’re killed in PUBG, it won’t be in a straight fight — it’ll be when you didn’t realize someone was waiting for you and gets the drop on you. One easy way to give yourself at least a little reaction time is to be careful about how you open doors.
Doors in PUBG can be triggered even if you’re not dead on in front of them. You can open a door if you stand a little to its left or right, which means you can actually take a bit of cover while the door swings open. Walls can’t be penetrated by bullets in PUBG, but doors can. So if you’re approaching a door, stand to the side to open it. You might avoid getting a shotgun blast to the face as you walk into a building, you’ll be able to see more of the interior than you could before you opened the door (in third-person view), and you’ll have at least a little bit of extra protection. There’s no reason to make yourself vulnerable if you can avoid it.
Listen For What You’re Up Against
Sound in PUBG is more important than sight in many cases. It’ll give you lots of information, particularly when you’re using headphones, since the game is really good about directional audio. Not only can you often hear footsteps and vehicles at a large distance, you’ll also hear gunshots, both from people shooting at each other and people shooting at you.
Gun sounds in PUBG are pretty distinct from one another, and the information you can glean from listening can be very useful. Echoing single rifle shots, for example, can usually give you an idea of where snipers are located–and snipers are probably your biggest danger in the game for most of a given match. Knowing where sniper fire is coming from can help you avoid walking into a killzone. By the same token, identifying what another player might be trying to use against you can give you an idea of how to deal with it. If you’re taking shots from a quick-firing Uzi but from a decently long range, you probably have time to figure where it’s coming from and might even be able to return fire. As with everything in PUBG, knowledge is power and can keep you alive.
If You Can’t Win, Run
Retreat is an important tool in PUBG, and one you shouldn’t discount. If you’re losing a fight or feel like you’re on the back foot and having a hard time pinning down and finishing someone, sometimes cutting and running is the best option. You can often break line of sight, and the further away you get from someone, the tougher it is for them to see and hear you in order to pursue you–and PUBG is a game with a huge amount of space to cover and lots of potential places to run and hide, even if it’s just getting a little way away from your opponent and ducking behind a tree. Your goal generally isn’t to kill, but to survive, so make that your top priority. If you can get away when a fight isn’t going your way, it can be worth it to do so.
The same goes for places you think other players have been. You might pass a building that looks promising but has open doors. Your best-case scenario for those places are that they’ve been looted; worst case, there’s someone waiting for you inside, and it’s better to keep moving. The best way to win PUBG is not to put yourself in bad or sticky situations, even when playing aggressively. You want to have the upper hand as often as possible. That means playing smart and living to fight on later.