Tips for staying alive in PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds

From looting to shooting, everything you need to know to jump confidently into the new battle royale game.

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds is steadily growing in popularity. While Battlegrounds doesn't have the raw complexity of Arma, there are still a few things you need to know before your boots hit the ground (and you swap them for different boots).

Here are some quick tips on getting started with the multiplayer shooter.

So, what is it?

Battlegrounds is a battle royale game: roughly 100 players parachute from a plane onto a 18x18km island, search for weapons and gear, and fight to the death. All the while, a shrinking circle closes around the island, a blue energy field that damages the health of players caught in it. Players must travel, by foot or vehicles, into the safe area, drawing closer and closer to the remaining players for a final showdown. 

The last player left alive, wins. Now, some tips.

Press Ctrl+T immediately

Ctrl+T mutes voice chat. You will want to do this the moment you enter the lobby, which places all the players on a tiny island together to run around, punch each other, pick up weapons, and blast each other in the face. Your time in the lobby, typically, is under a minute, but trust me: you'll want to mute voice chat right away. What do players choose to do when they know others are listening? Chant the N-word over and over because they're so damn edgy! They're not edgy, though, they're just dumb racist garbage and you should mute them before you go insane.

After a minute in the lobby, you'll appear on the plane with everyone else. The shrieking of racist slurs will continue, naturally, so don't unmute, ever, not even for a second.

Every keybinding needs to be assigned before you apply and save changes

Another thing you'll want to right away do is change your keybindings, because Battlegrounds defaults to 'C' to crouch and 'Ctrl' to walk. C to crouch? I don't think so.

After changing your crouch bindings to what a normal, well-adjusted person would use, make sure you click Apply. Is Apply grayed out? Possibly: it was for me. This means you have an unbound command, and unless every command is bound to a key you won't be able to apply your new settings.

You can fall quickly by pointing yourself straight down, but don't

You can switch between first and third person view at any time (default key is V), even when in the plane, and looking in third person while airborne is useful because you can see where other players are ejecting if you want to try to avoid the crowd. Most jump earlier rather than later (perhaps they haven't muted voice chat and simply can't stand it any longer).

Once you've ejected from the plane, you'll plummet to the island. You can angle yourself downward to fall faster. Thing is, you won't necessarily want to make a beeline to the ground, because that's what a lot of other players are doing. Typically, you don't want to land where everyone else does, because then it becomes a mad scramble to be the first person holding a gun. 

It's a better idea to freefall out of the path of the plane, and find a more distant and remote area to start looting: there will be less competition and more unlooted buildings to choose from. I know if feels strange to take your time in a game like this, but you do have some time before the circle of death begins closing. You don't always need to rush straight to the ground.

Use freelook

Battlegrounds is as much a game of Where's Waldo as anything else, and you've got to use your eyes well to win. Hold the Alt key to move your head, along with the camera, independently of your body. This is especially useful during the aerial decent, when you'll want to be scanning in all directions to spot parachutes.

You should also use freelook to scan for enemies while prone—turning your whole body is more likely to give away your position.

You can fall further from the plane by pressing W instead of holding it

While falling, you can hold W to increase the distance you fall away from the plane's path, but by pressing it intermittently, you'll actually push yourself even further, almost by swimming through the air.

Also, you'll be prompted to pull your chute as you fall, but the chute will deploy automatically when you get close to the ground so don't worry about pulling it yourself. With your chute open, you can again angle yourself down to descend more rapidly. Make sure you use free-look by holding Alt and moving your mouse: it lets you look around without changing your direction, so you can see if other players are landing nearby.

Loot with Tab, not by picking up individual items

Once on the ground, you'll need to gear up. Gear is mostly found in houses and buildings (occasionally outside as well), typically on the floors but sometimes also on tables. It can initially be hard to spot loot among the other random house clutter, but eventually it will get easier as you learn what everything looks like, and gear has a slight glow to it.

When you approach loot, you'll see a prompt on the screen to pick it up. You can obey the prompt to collect items one by one, but it's much easier to use Tab instead: it will present a column displaying everything in vicinity, right next to your own inventory. Right-clicking on the loot you want in vicinity view will quickly add it to your inventory. Picking up loot this way also spares you from the loot-grabbing animation that plays when you pick up items one at a time.

Found guns are empty

You've found a gun, and more than likely (but not always) the ammo for that gun will be sitting right next to it. When grabbing a gun and its ammo, remember that you still have to load the weapon—all weapons are unloaded by default.

While holding a gun, even in third person, right-clicking will bring you into scope/iron sights view. Currently, switching weapons with the mouse wheel is a bit sketchy—there's often a little hiccup as the weapons cycle—so you might want to stick to using number keys 1-5 for now.

Put attachments on guns with one right-click

In addition to guns, you'll find lots and lots of attachments. Red dot scopes, holographic sights, stocks, compensators, flash-hiders, extended mags, and so on. Once they're in your inventory, attaching them is a snap.

Each gun has slots for attachments, represented by empty gray boxes. Hover your mouse over an attachment, and the attachment slot for the gun it fits will show a white dotted line around the edge (see below). Right-click the attachment, and it'll be added to the gun. Have two attachments for the same slot, for the same gun? Right-clicking the second attachment in your inventory will automatically remove the first attachment and add the second.

You can drag-and-drop attachments onto guns, too, but right-clicking is faster and easier.

You can swap which shoulder the camera looks over

While in third-person, if you click and hold your right mouse button, then tap Q and E, you can swap shoulder views. This is useful if you're trying to peek different sides of cover or carefully work your way around corners.

Some gear is leveled

Got a backpack, vest, and helmet? Great! But if you come across another backpack, vest, or helmet, make sure you stop and examine it. Gear comes in three levels, so just because you have a backpack doesn't mean you can't find a bigger and better one.

When it comes to armor, it appears that levels aren't as necessarily as important as durability. Level 1 armor with a high durability is most likely still better than level 3 armor with a low durability. However, the higher the level armor you have, the more inventory slots it will provide.

Helmets can save your life, and level 3 helmets can save your face

Below, you'll see a gif of me running stupidly across a field. I'm shot, and you'll notice my helmet vanish a moment later. That's because I was shot in the head. I still take a ton of damage, but the headshot that would have killed me is prevented by the helmet, which gives me a second chance. Unfortunately, I used that second chance to die a few minutes later, but still. Helmets. Put them on your head.

Keep in mind, level 1 and 2 helmets won't do anything to protect you from a shot to the face. Only level 3 helmets will.

Turn up the volume

Seriously, put on headphones and crank the volume as high as you can without doing damage to your ears. Sound is incredibly important for everything from distant gunfire to really really distant gunfire, car and plane engines, and especially footsteps. While there is a walk button, most players run all the time, and running makes noise. Keep your ears peeled for telltale footsteps, and keep in mind that other players can hear yours as well.

Close doors—usually

Doors, by default, are closed. Upon entering a building, make sure you close the door behind you. Typically, you don't want to announce to other players that you're inside a building, and an open door signifies that pretty clearly. If someone doesn't know you're inside a building, they may just waltz in without a care in the world. In the gif below, I'd closed the door behind me and was looting when someone pulled up in a car (and naturally I heard the car before I saw it). 

Since the door was closed, the player had no reason to think anyone was inside, which let me easily kill him even though my aim was pretty shit.

The other benefit of closing doors is when you leave. An open door not only signified you're in a building, but that you have been in a building. Someone coming across a building with a closed door will probably assume the building hasn't been looted, so making them fruitlessly search the rooms and find nothing is a good way to waste someone's time.

Usually. There are times you may want to leave a door open as you leave, to let someone think you're in a building. They'll creep carefully around outside for a couple minutes long after you're gone. Again, wasting other players' time isn't ever a bad idea.

Watch out for red zones

There are two circles you need to keep an eye on: the one showing you the safe zone, and the one showing you the blue death-field. But don't forget red zones. Red zones show you an area that is about to be fire-bombed, and with your head down collecting loot or eyes out looking for enemies, it's easy to miss the on-screen text warning you about an impending bombing. You might suddenly realize you're standing in a red zone—it'll show on your minimap as well.

Being in a red zone doesn't mean you're definitely be killed—I've made it through several even as the bombs were dropping—but it's still not a place you want to be if you can avoid it.

Don't jump out of moving cars

It's tempting, I know, to leap out of a car while it's still moving. It's the kind of thing an action hero would do. But exiting a car while it's in motion will cause you damage, and if you're driving really fast you may actually run yourself over. I am my own source on this: I did it during the beta.

Believe it or not, the Dacia is actually the fastest car in the game. It's the little blue jalopy you can see below. If you're in a real hurry, choose it over the buggy.

Keep in mind, vehicles are incredibly loud—drive one and absolutely everyone will know where you are and where you're going. It's best to only use them if you're a good distance away from the safe zone and have no hope of reaching it by sprinting. If you're inside or near the safe circle, it's best to travel on foot.

Cycle through grenades by pressing 5, right-click while prepping to throw underhand

I guess the heading says it all, but if you've picked up more than one type of grenade, you can put it into your hand by pressing 5, then switch between the different types of 'nades by pressing 5 again. Also, if you want to lob or roll a grenade instead of throw it overhand, right-click while preparing to throw it.

Below: how not to throw a grenade.

A bunch of gun tips

Guns, guns, guns. There are lots to find, from assault rifles to pistols to shotguns, and even a crossbow. Here are some quick tips when it comes to guns:

The AKM is the deadliest assault rifle. However, it comes with greater recoil and less range than the other ARs.

The M16 is the best long-range assault rifle.

Shotguns aren't just for close range. They're surprisingly good at medium range, too—provided you've got a choke attached.

The Kar98 will deliver a fatal headshot, even through level 1 and 2 helmets. Players wearing a level 3 helmet can survive one, however.

Hold down shift while aiming through a scope or sights. It steadies your aim since you're holding your breath, and gives you a bit more zoom. This applies to all sights and scopes, even iron sights.

Don't underestimate the frying pan. Don't skip over it entirely in the early-round rush for guns. It can KO players in two hits.

Keep in mind, if you completely run out of breath, you won't be able to sprint until your lungs recover, just as if you were holding your breath underwater (you'll see a lung icon on the lower portion of your screen).

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