PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) Xbox One ultimate beginner's guide

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) is undoubtedly the biggest hit of 2017, drawing in tens of millions of players through its PC release. Following this success, Microsoft has jumped onboard locking down a deal with its developer, publishing a version of the game built for Xbox One. And with an exclusivity period to market the game as an Xbox exclusive, Microsoft is pushing the game as a core part of its fall lineup.

While PUBG has seen over half a year on PC, its console debut will be the first step into its harsh, unforgiving warzones for many. With mechanics that punish those lacking skill and strategy, PUBG can be a brutal game to get started with – and even harder to master. Without any form of a tutorial, we've rounded up everything you should know before diving into the title as an Xbox One game.

Laying down the basics

PUBG is a "last-man-standing" multiplayer shooter game, pitting 100 players against one another in an expansive open world. Taking strong influence from "Battle Royale" and arena survival games, players must gather supplies, converge upon a single location and with the goal of finding off hostile players to be the last man remaining.

After being dropped in from a cargo plane via parachute, players land in Battlegrounds' world with no equipment. From there, it's key to quickly search for weapons, ammunition, attachments and more, while watching out for enemies in the vicinity. By collecting stronger equipment you'll be given an advantage, which can be used for a better chance at surviving in more situations.

Throughout the round, the map size will continually shrink, pushing players closer over time. If playing solo, the last man remaining is crowned the winner. Team-based variants are also available, which throw teams of two or four into the arena.

1. Prepare for the drop

At the start of every round of PUBG, you'll be soaring through the sky inside a C-130 cargo plane packed with 99 other players. The plane will follow a straight, linear trajectory, traveling from one side of the map to the other. To get a better idea of the plane's flight path, open your map and take note of which direction it's heading.

Before jumping from the plane, you'll want to find an ideal landing zone. Depending on where the plane flies, accessible landing zones may vary but you'll always have a range of locations to choose from. Higher-level gear can be more frequently found in large cities and landmarks but isolated areas see fewer enemies.

After deciding on a location, jump from the plane and aim yourself toward your chosen landing zone. For the quickest descent, don't pull your parachute and wait until the parachute automatically deploys close to the ground. However, you may wish to pull your parachute earlier for improved positioning and to ensure an ideal landing. If several enemies are dropping into a similar location to you, don't be hesitant to change course and find a new landing zone.

2. Grab your loot

When you're not aimlessly running throughout the map, a fair amount of your time in PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds will be spent in search of loot. All players start on even footing, meaning looting can often have a significant bearing on your success. While strategy and skills factor in, it's still rare a crowbar emerges victorious when facing a light machine gun.

Loot is scattered throughout the world of PUBG and should be the first priority after hitting the ground. While mostly randomized, loot rarity often increases in larger, riskier settlements. Searching through smaller settlements, melee weapons, pistols, and shotguns will be the most common, while rifles are often a harder to find. The same goes for equipable items, with high-level helmets, armor, and backpacks mostly located around landmarks.

Over time you'll come to find more powerful weapons and armor that suit your playstyle, climbing through the loot chain. Despite being some of the weakest weapons in the game, picking up common weapons in early minutes provides some type of defense from the outset. The ultimate goal is to equip a helmet, armor vest and backpack ranked at "Level 3," though this often requires some thorough scavenging to be achieved.

Choosing weapons comes down to personal weapon class preferences, though some of the most coveted weapons lie within occasional supply drops. For those willing to take a risk, items like the M249 light machine gun, AUG A3 assault rifle, and AWM sniper are all exclusive to these crates but you'll need to put up a fight to secure them.

3. Follow the circle

As a match progresses, the playable area will begin to shrink, forcing contestants to gather upon an increasingly shrinking area. This mechanic is what makes PUBG so intense, forcing players to focalize on and fight over a single location.

Five minutes after dropping in, the play space will start to shrink with a circular blue barrier. Throughout the match, this surrounding blue barrier will continue to shrink over randomized center point, until one player remains. Those who step outside the playable zone suffer health drain, meaning that playing near to the circle's edge can be a risky move.

Throughout the game, keep an eye on the map to see how the blue circle is closing in. Skilled players will find themselves planning to avoid the edge of the map, staying far from the edges. Playing near the edge is a valid strategy though, reducing the angle that enemies can approach from.

4. Getting into combat

After searching dirty houses and rolling around in bushes, you'll eventually need to enter combat to come out on top. While for a fair majority of the round it's possible to avoid combat entirely, you'll likely find players as the playable space gets smaller.

Apart from inside major towns, a majority of battles take place over longer ranges. Picking players off from hundreds of meters away isn't rare and is often the safest way to carry out attacks. If you're able to scout players from a distance, with steady aim, this has a high chance of delivering a kill. For this reason, it's best to keep scoped rifles on you at all times.

Unlike a traditional mainstream shooter, combat in PUBG should also be taken at a slower pace. Rarely will you charge into battle gun's blazing – utilizing cover and tight angles are all key to securing kills.

With less combat than an average shooter, it may take time to develop skills with weapons. Finding the same weapons regularly is challenging, meaning the time you'll spend with them is only a fraction of the experience. Keeping this in mind, don't be so aggressive with attacks initially.

5. The final stretch

The circle is now beginning to enclose upon the final few people – congratulations, you're a lot better than you thought. In the final minutes of a game, the circle will be at its smallest, with less room to maneuver without finding enemies.

With few players, you'll be fighting only high-skilled opponents, mostly decked out with heavy armor and weaponry. From here, keeping your cool and maintaining good positioning is crucial. If possible, keep your back against the circle, to prevent unexpected attacks from behind.

Wrapping up

If things go according to plan, you might just be the last man standing. If so, you're the 1 in 100 who overcame the odds. For those less fortunate, you'll need to start from scratch, working your way back from cargo plane drop. How has your experience been with PUBG so far? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Matt Brown

Matt Brown was formerly a Windows Central's Senior Editor, Xbox & PC, at Future. Following over seven years of professional consumer technology and gaming coverage, he’s focused on the world of Microsoft's gaming efforts. You can follow him on Twitter @mattjbrown.