PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) for PC ultimate guide
This is the complete guide on how to git gud at PUBG on PC.
PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) has taken the gaming world by storm, climbing to the top of Steam's concurrent PC player list, beating out the juggernaut that is Dota 2. With PUBG now available on Xbox through Game Preview (and already passing one million players), it's continuing to grow.
Why is it so popular? That's a hard question to answer, but it likely has something to do with the generally accessible exterior that hides a deep set of content. PUBG is designed to foster many playstyles, and many gamers, whether first-person shooter fans, survivalist fans, or just fans of looting, can find something to like.
Regardless of your preferred playstyle, there are some concrete tips and tricks that can help you survive not only to a top-ten placement, but might get you a coveted chicken dinner. Let's take a look at those tips and tricks in this ultimate guide for the PC version of PUBG.
Your first moves outside of the plane
When the game starts, you'll find yourself in an airplane flying high over Erangel or Miramar. If you look at your map, you'll be able to see the exact direction of the plane, and you can get a pretty good idea of where people will be going to loot. Dense urban areas — towns, military bases, ports — are the most popular because they have great loot and often have vehicles, but they're also the deadliest because of the high concentration of players.
Once you have an idea of the flight path, you have three options. You can fall straight down and land as quickly as possible in the hopes that you'll grab a weapon first. Listen for other players landing near you and try to pick them off before they have a chance to gear up. If you need to move quietly, hold Ctrl. You'll go slower, but your footsteps won't be as loud.
If you're landing as quickly as possible, you might want to grab a vehicle rather than a weapon. Once in a vehicle, drive in a direction perpendicular to the flight path. There will be way fewer people around, and you'll be able to loot mostly in peace. Be sure to leave yourself enough time to get back into a good spot for dealing with the circle and blue wall of death.
A final option is to jump out of the plane, pull your parachute as soon as possible, and float far from the flight path. You'll often arrive before any players in vehicles, and you'll avoid any chance of missing out on jumping into a driver's seat.
Vehicles are best used strategically
Vehicles are a great way to get around the map at the start of the game. You'll often drop into an area that's quite far from the safe circle and will need one to escape the wall of death, or you'll take one off the beaten path for some safe looting. Most people are so preoccupied with gearing up at the start of a match that they won't pay any attention to the noise of a car driving by.
Later on, however, when the circle is smaller and there are only a few players left, a vehicle is basically an alarm telling everyone exactly where you are. In most cases, you'll want to ditch your vehicle after the first couple of circles and go the rest on foot. You're much less likely to be shot when you're silent. As always, there are exceptions, and we've seen some hilarious situations where a player takes a car into a top-five situation to wreak some vehicular mayhem.
While the playstyle at first seemed to favor stealthy actions, we're seeing more and more people use vehicles up until the final 10. It likely has to do with increased optimization making it easier to pop off accurate shots, or it might just be the metagame evolving. In any case, use a vehicle as more than just four wheels and you'll no doubt see wins become more common.
While using a vehicle — whether a car, SUV, or motorcycle — be careful! Vehicles act strangely at best, and you might find yourself shot into the air or exploding against a small outcropping of rocks. Stick to open areas unless being shot at, and use boost sparingly to preserve the gas in your tank. If you see smoke, stop, bail, and run as fast and far from the vehicle as you can before it explodes.
How to deal with a firefight
Jumping into a firefight? It's never a bad idea to take your energy drinks and painkillers, as long as time allows. This also applies to a top-10 situation. Not only will these items restore the last bit of health that first aid kits and bandages can't touch, they'll also provide a boost. The boost bar is located above your health bar. The first section lands you slow healing, the second second grants you increased healing, the third section provides even faster healing and a movement bonus, and the final section provides faster healing and faster movement bonus.
If you're fighting in an urban area, watch for open doors; there might be an enemy inside. If you have to open a door, be sure to quickly move to the left after opening so that you don't get blasted by an enemy camping behind it. With vaulting being added to the game, you now have to option to hop through a window and surprise an enemy camping inside a building.
In a team fight, any players you knock out can be ignored. They're no longer dangerous, and, although you'd be awarded with a kill if you finished them off, ignoring capable teammates is dangerous. Focus on killing the entire enemy team and you'll get the kills anyway. Just remember that downed teammates can still give callouts to their team, so play as though the enemy knows where you are.
While you're shooting at the enemy, be aware of where your shots are landing. If you need a better helmet, you might not want to aim for the head, as your bullets will cause it to degrade or break entirely. The same applies to a vest. Likewise, check your gear after a fight and replace where necessary. In the game's settings, you can change the HUD to display armor conditions and what weapons you have equipped.
You'll no doubt take some damage in a firefight. If you have the time, bandages can be used to get back a bit of quick health. They only take four seconds to be applied, and can mean the difference between absorbing another bullet and being eliminated completely. Bandages take four seconds to apply, first aid kits take six seconds, and med kits take eight seconds.
Be smart while looting
Looting the person you just killed is often necessary at the start of a round. They might have that ACOG scope you're looking for, or they might have a better vest or backpack. Looting at the outset is fine, but in an end-game scenario, it is almost always unnecessary. By the time 10 or fewer players are remaining, you should already have the gear needed to win. You generally want at least Tier 2 armor, a short-range weapon, a long-range weapon, and first-aid kits and stimulants.
If you shoot a player on a mountainside because they were silly enough to run down blindly, don't make the same mistake and loot their gear. Some other player might be watching, and in that case, you'll end up in the same position as the person you laughed at moments earlier. If you down someone who was hiding in a bathroom, though, you're probably safe to have a look through their stuff.
While looting, especially when out in the open, you should always keep moving. Tap the A and D keys to make micro movements, effectively making it harder for snipers to land a headshot. If you've been spotted while looting, it's better to move around rather than to go prone.
Be aware of your surroundings
By default, you can hold Alt on your keyboard and move your mouse around to get a view of your surroundings without changing the direction you're moving. In first-person perspective (FPP) games, your view is limited, but in third-person perspective (TPP) games, you can rotate the camera 360 degrees.
This is especially important when running through open areas. You don't want to waste time in getting to your destination, but you also don't want to ignore the hills on either side of you or the house behind you. Get used to holding Alt while running or even while stationary and you'll have a much better chance of spotting enemies before they spot you. While running across open areas, you can hit X to holster your weapon, allowing you to run faster. If you're sprinting for long distances, hitting the = key will let you automatically run without having to hold down W and Shift.
If you happen to see other players in the distance, do not fire unless you're sure you can land the shots. If you can't, you'll only alert other players to your location. This rule changes if you or a teammate has a silencer equipped. Let the silencer fire first (or only) to keep a low profile.
How to deal with the deadly circle
There are basically two main strategies when it comes to dealing with the deadly blue circle. You can stick to the outside and move in with the circle, as this mostly prevents anyone from shooting you in the back. Unfortunately, it can also lead to you getting caught outside the circle and watching your health drain away as you chase the safe boundary. At the start of the match, painkillers and energy drinks can be used to negate the effects of the circle, as it's quite harmless. As the match drags on, however, the circle will begin removing large chunks of health.
The other option is to stick near the center of the increasingly smaller circles. This strategy works better if you already have all the gear you need for an end-game scenario; you can pick a position inside a house or other fortified area and hold out against enemies, only moving when absolutely necessary. This is a popular strategy for squads, but you run the risk of seeing far more enemies than if you were on the edges of the circle.
What you don't want to do is choose one strategy and switch mid-game. Running in the open is the last thing you want to do. Decide on a strategy near the start depending on your initial jump position and play smart. As always, when the lead starts flying, all plans go out the window.
More awesome tips
- Fences, crates, and plenty of other items in the game can now be vaulted. Use this feature to get a height advantage, or jump out of a window (most can be vaulted through if they don't have bars) to make a quick getaway.
- In the settings menu, you can change whether aiming down the sights (ADS) is push or toggle on your mouse button.
- First aid kits and bandages will only take you up to 75 percent health. Beyond that, you'll need to use painkillers, energy drinks or a med kit.
- pubgmap.io is a great place to study key locations.
- Do not go prone when under fire unless it will take you completely out of view of the enemy player.
- You have map markers for a reason. Use them! Players are color coded so you can easily tell markers apart.
- Hit Insert to place a marker on your position; hit Delete to remove your marker.
- Ctrl + T will mute voice chat. This can be handy, but remember to re-enable it in-game to catch those who forget to switch voice to "team only".
- Hitting Q and E will allow you to lean around corners to see if any enemies are attempting to make a move.
- Submerge yourself in water by hitting C.
- Move to the driver seat in a car quickly by hitting Ctrl + 1. Use ascending number to get into other seats.
- Never focus on a location or enemies for too long. Keep track of any movement in other directions so you don't get jumped.
- Grass may look like it provides concealment. It does, but only for a certain distance. Those some way away will just see you prone as the foliage stops being rendered by your opponent's computers.
- Hitting B will alter the firing mode.
- Holding Shift while aiming will use breath to more accurately aim.
- Hitting V will switch between first- and third-person view when in a third-person perspective game.
- Don't be that guy who picks up a shotgun and hides in the toilet. You won't learn the game. Dying is OK. There are always more rounds.
Many other helpful hints will make it much easier to get into a top 10 situation. Have your own tips to share? Sound off in the comments!
Be sure to also check out these other articles for more information on PUBG, both on PC and Xbox One.
- PUBG Xbox One Ultimate Guide
- PUBG for Xbox One is unique and intense, but rough around the edges
- Take a look at Miramar, the next map coming to PUBG
- What's missing from PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds for Xbox One, compared to PC
Updated December 19, 2017: We've refreshed this guide to ensure it still holds up for the expected December 20 official release of version 1.0.
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Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.