PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is a harsh, brutal experience for newbies. Whether you’re working with a squad or going solo, PUBG drops you into an unpredictable 1-vs-100 battlefield, where the best (and luckiest) survive. It doesn’t matter how good or bad you are, reaching the top 10 is a tough task, and learning the ropes is going to take a whole lot of time.
We’re not here to teach you how to actually play PUBG — instead, this guide is all about laying down the groundwork for smart, intelligent play. You don’t have to be a twitch-shooting king to survive in PUBG, you don’t even have to be very good at shooters. Here, we’ll break down the tips and tricks that we learned over dozens of in-game hours. Now that the game has officially released, and it’s available on Xbox One where you can play against people that have never touched a Battle Royale shooter, there’s never been a better time to dive into PUBG.
More PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds guides on Gameranx:
- PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds: How To Improve FPS on Xbox One & Xbox One X
- PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds: 8 Best Loot Hunting Locations | Erangel
10 Tips To Help You Survive | Beginner’s Guide
We’re not here to teach you how to play PUBG — these tips are intended to help beginners survive. Keep these basic principles in mind, and you might just survive a little bit longer. PUBG is not a traditional FPS. Kills aren’t important. Survival is all that matters.
#1: The Drop — A Vehicle Is Your Best Bet For Survival
At the start of every PUBG session, you and 99 other contestants ride a plane over the map. You have a choice — parachute to a remote corner of the map, or drop into a large town and get into the action fast. This is all about your preferred playstyle; remote edges of the map feature fewer players, but running on-foot leaves you dangerously exposed, and you may not find much in the way of loot. Dropping directly into high-concentration areas is dangerous, but the odds of finding awesome loot is greater, especially when cleaning up dead bodies.
NOTE: Get to the ground FIRST! Hold forward to propel yourself toward the ground faster. First to the ground is first to get weapons / vehicles. There’s no reward for second place.
Either way, it all comes down to this; a vehicle is your #1 best way to survive. Being able to travel fast to the shrinking blue circle is critical. The faster you can travel, the more time you can spend in gun-fights, stalking prey, or looting houses. It’s just that simple. Go for enclosed vehicles, and drive in erratic patterns when under fire. You can ditch, use the vehicle for cover, or just drive around until you’re in the top 10.
#2: Got A Vehicle? Loot Outside the Drop Zone
As stated above, a vehicle is far more important to your survival than a simple firearm. If you can get a car, you’re set. You’ll be able to reach the blue safe circle when it shrinks. Of course, you’re going to want guns. This tip is totally dependent on whether or not you can find a vehicle early, but if you get one right away after a drop, you should have time to safely drive outside the plane’s drop zone.
Why? Because nobody every wanders around the drop zone outskirts. Most players stay within the drop zone, then move toward the circle. Ignore that pattern of behavior, and use your wheels to search areas in relative safety outside the drop zone. Use those first 5 minutes to your advantage.
#3: Know Your Buildings — When To Loot
Guns, armor, and everything else; that’s loot. The best loot will keep you fighting longer and harder, and even a slight edge will help you win encounters. Getting the best gear is important, and deciding which buildings to search is an essential skill that you’ll slowly get a feel for as you dig into the game.
NOTE: Always check the doors! If the doors of a house are open, it’s likely the building has already been looted. If you need weapons / items fast, skip over open doors. Look for buildings with their doors closed.
- Apartment / Tall Buildings: Low loot per capita. Usually few entrances, but large sprawling locations. Difficult to search alone.
- Warehouses: Higher-tier loot. On the floor, but fewer spawn points. Easy to scan quickly.
- 2-Story Houses: Always worth checking. The most common loot locations with multiple spawns. Usually very open, so beware of flanking and ambushes.
Unique structures are usually not worth looting unless you’re hunkering down in an area. Unique structures such as the hospital, school, etc are too big to fully explore alone.
#4: Backpacks, Bandages & Body Armor
Weapons are important, but you’ll also need armor, backpacks, and medical supplies to stay alive for long. It’s important to grab as much loot as you can carry, so improved backpacks are a must. Medical supplies such as bandages are also incredibly important — energy drinks can save your life, too. Downing energy drinks will refill your stamina.
Here’s some quick info concerning all these miscellaneous items.
- Body Armor increases carrying capacity by 50.
- Helmets prevent insta-kill damage to your head.
- Only Tier 3 helmets will protect against instant death versus all weapons.
- Backpacks increase carrying capacity in 3 tiers; 150, 200, 250.
- Med Packs can fully heal your wounds, but are slow to apply. Only use outside of combat.
- Bandages can heal wounds up to 75% and are much faster than med packs.
- First Aid Kits are best. Heal up to 75% quickly.
Knowing the different healing items and which heal over time, which heal instantly, and how long each takes to apply can take some experimentation. Give each a try between fights, even if it’s wasteful. Better to learn.
#5: Plan Ahead for the Blue Circle
In PUBG, the circle of play shrinks every few minutes, and you’ll have less and less time to react. The leading cause of newbie deaths is getting caught outside the circle. On your map, a smaller circle will appear within the larger circle — that’s where you need to be when the area of play shrinks.
If you’re outside the circle, you’ll take continuous damage until you’re dead. You can heal to stay alive, use stamina items to refuel and sprint. Pay attention to the warnings, and try to calculate how much time it will take to reach the safe zone before time runs out.
Running to the safe zone is how newbies get killed. Being the first person to the center of the blue circle can give you time to hole-up in an interior or useful hill and watch as the late-comers come running into the safe zone.
#6: Third-Person Spatial Awareness & You
The third-person camera is your best weapon. Guns aren’t nearly as powerful as your eyes, and if you use the third-person camera well, you can spot opponents before they spot you. Hiding inside, using the tall windows in shacks, or crawling under hills or fences — you can use the environment to conceal yourself and spy on your enemies.
Periscope around corners before entering a house, wheel around to see through doorways, and poke your camera up stairwells. If you see an enemy, you know where they’re located. That sounds basic, but many players barge into rooms without checking first. Scouting is an incredibly powerful tool, and it’s always better to ambush than give yourself away. With that in mind…
#7: Don’t Shoot Everyone You See
If you’re an avid Call of Duty player, this might sound downright foreign, but the best advice to keep you alive is this — don’t shoot everyone you see. If you have a gun, don’t start slinging shots at targets hiding in houses, behind cover, through windows, or between houses. Instead of killing a potential enemy, you’ll just alert them.
Observe every enemy carefully. Sometimes you’ll need to act fast. If they’re close, you’ll almost always want to start shooting immediately to defend yourself. If they’re far away, if you’re behind cover, or if they’re acting particularly oblivious (running around in the open, looting or healing in full view) then it’s very likely they haven’t seen you yet. If that’s the case, simply wait for your chance to strike. Ambush them when they’re at a disadvantage. The less they know about you, the more likely you’re going to win when the bullets start flying.
#8: When the Shooting Starts, Be Aggressive
For a shooting game, this might seem painfully obvious. For most early PUBG players, the first action is retreat. Run away and hide in a room, then watch the door — against inexperienced players, that strategy might work. For most, it’s much better to fight aggressively. Chase down targets. Don’t lock yourself in a room! Reload and attack. If your opponent is hiding in a room, it’s very likely they’re waiting for you — or worse, healing.
Don’t be reactive. Be proactive. Instead of running away, try flanking around your enemy. If you’re upstairs, try jumping down from the balcony. Use grenades wildly. Instead of reloading, switch to a fully loaded weapon after a shooting exchange so you can continue the fight on your terms.
#9: Communication Is Key
If you’re playing with a team, communication is the most important part of your survival. Learn to call-out how many opponents you see. Say what direction the enemy is located — northwest, southeast, all the points of the compass will work if your team is facing a variety of directions. If your team is moving in a coordinated direction, try clock position — 12 o’clock is forward, 6 o’clock is behind, etc.
Always callout if a vehicle is racing your way. Kills don’t need to be called out, but sharing loot drops is an important and easy way to search areas for items, then get the appropriate items to the members of your team that need them most. Learn how to drop items from your inventory so your allies can pick them up. Even if you’re working with randoms, you’ll be surprised by common generosity when you’re willing to share your loot first.
#10: Underwater, Underhanded Tactics
Finally, the last trick to keep in mind concerns the speed boats that litter the outer shores of the island map. Boats are a good way to get around, but they have a diabolical feature underhanded players can use against drivers.
Mostly, you’ll never need to fight enemies on the high seas… unless there’s a supply crate in the water. When that happens, this trick becomes exponentially more useful.
Here’s the trick — you can board enemy boats and shoot the driver / occupants from your seat. If you’re ever stuck in the water while a boat full of jerks is shooting at you, just dive deep and resurface next to the boat. Hop into a seat, and start mowing down the surprised people inside.
And that’s basically everything you need to know (and a few things you don’t) to help you get started in PUBG. Goodluck out there!