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A Beginner’s Guide To The Basics Of ‘PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds’

This article originally appeared on video games magazine site The site is no longer online, but I’ve uploaded a few articles from my time as a staff writer there (2016-2017) here as portfolio samples of my writing. If you’re looking for the most up-to-date PUBG guide, this ain’t it.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds has become an almost overnight sensation in the gaming scene, earning a whopping $11 million dollars during its first weekend on Early Access and having already sold over one million copies.

The competitive multiplayer survival game pits up to 100 players onto a huge island containing various weapons and equipment which they must utilize in a brutal struggle for survival down to the last man standing. Now easily one of the most-watched games on Twitch, its meteoric rise is a testament to just how well it gets the delicate balance of gameplay needed to keep this style of game fresh and exciting.

If you haven’t jumped aboard the Battlegrounds bandwagon and need to get to know the basics before you take your first dive into the battle royale, this beginner’s guide has you covered.

These quick hints and tips for PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds will provide you with the basic knowledge of looting, exploration, weapons and combat to survive on the island without getting wasted right away.

1. PUBG Beginners Guide – Looting

[Credit: Bluehole, Inc.]

The best loot in Battlegrounds can be found in buildings but they’re also ideal spots for hostiles to set up an ambush, so you’ll need to take care while scavenging.

  • In third-person view, remember you can use the camera to peer around the corners of rooms to see if there is any good loot before going in.
  • Always keep an ear out while looting and when the zone is available, check it and make sure your inside before you spend too much time in danger.
  • When looking for loot in a small area, keep a shotgun or a full auto weapon ready so that you can defend yourself if you get jumped on by enemies.
  • Care packages are the riskiest things to approach. You should always take high ground near a carepackage and keep an eye on it for a while to make sure it is safe. Do not approach the package until you’ve made sure there is no one waiting in ambush for you, and when you get there, just grab as many items as you can and then get away from it as fast as possible.

2. ‘Battlegrounds’ Beginners Guide – Exploration

[Credit: Bluehole, Inc.]

You can check our guide on where to find vehicles in Battlegrounds or roam the map on foot the old fashioned way, but either way, you’ll want to keep your wits about you and keep these tips in mind.

  • Use Left Alt to freely look around you and scout for any pesky enemies trying to ambush you.
  • Have the right weapon ready. While outside, switch your weapons to semi to give you some control over distance. Don’t bother roaming outside with sniper weapons equipped, just switch to them when you spot an enemy at a distance. Otherwise you risk being caught at a disadvantage if someone ambushes you at close range.
  • Try to hide behind cover while roaming, and keep an eye out for nearby cover to duck behind if things get hairy. Low ground is good for cover, high ground for tactical advantage. It’s always better to move slowly and safely than to run around and expose yourself unnecessarily.
  • If you need to run really fast you can press ‘x’ to run faster at the risk of not being able to use your weapon while running.
  • In terms of vehicles the Dacia is the fastest with decent cover, whereas the UAV is slower with slightly better cover. The motorcycle and the buggy should always be traded out for the Dacia and UAV whenever possible.

3. PUBG Beginners Guide – Weapons

[Credit: Bluehole, Inc.]

There’s a range of weapons available in Battlegrounds and different guns are good for different kinds of situations. Here’s our guide on where to find the ones you want. You’re going to want to make sure you’re always packing the right piece for the task at hand.

  • Shotguns are great, especially in early game. S12Ks are the best shotgun due to a higher rate of fire, but you’ll usually want to drop that S12K for a Automatic Rifle (AR) or UMP9/Vector when the mid-game ramps up. Never use a double barrel, they’re not worth it.
  • Automatic Rifles such as the M416 and the SCAR-L are great because they have more attachments, allowing for greater customization. AKMs and M16A4s are also good choices, but AKMs are better for close range and M16s are better at mid ranges.
  • Avoid the Mini Uzi. It’s even worse than the double barrel.
  • Pick the SKS over the Kar98k, as they feature almost the same stats with just a fast fire rate.
  • The Vector is a great weapon for flanking in small spaces, but getting ammunition for it can prove challenging, so don’t waste any.
  • Pick the right sniper rifle for you. Check out our specialist guide to the best sniper weapons and how to find them.

4. PUBG Beginners Guide – Attachments

[Credit: Bluehole, Inc.]

Weapons in Battlegrounds can be customized using attachments, which will make your equipment more effective. But not all attachments are equally useful.

  • Always use a silencer over any other attachment because it reduces the sound of your weapon, and since the only way you can tell where you’re getting shot from in this game is sound, this makes the silencer by far and away the best barrel mod.
  • Always use a compensator over a flash hider because the compensator reduces recoil and increases accuracy, which is much more useful in a variety of situations.
  • Extended is better than quickdraw because why reload faster when you can fire more before you even need to reload? Naturally Extended Quickdraw is best of all.
  • Angled foregrip is better than the vertical foregrip as the vertical only reduces vertical recoil and the angled reduces all recoil.
  • Other useful attachments include the cheek pad, and chokes, which should be used whenever possible.

5. PUBG Beginners Guide – Combat

[Credit: Bluehole, Inc.]

So you’ve got your weapons and attachments, but when it comes to a firefight, you’re going to have to know how to use them. Combat in Battlegrounds can be unpredictable due to patches being applied to the Early Access game, but here’s what we can tell you so far.

  • You can adjust zeroing distance at range with certain weapons by using [page up] and [page down]
  • If you have a scope try to keep sights like red dots or holos on you as well, which will increase the effectiveness of your weapon at a wider range. With weak sights like the red dot or holo, you can press and hold Left Shift to zoom in for a short period of time.
  • Shotguns are better at closer ranges than other weapons, and you should also consider an MP9 in the early game.
  • Mid-to-late game switch to ARs as most fights will start at longer range.
  • In a cover based firefight, always try to flank or surprise the enemy to get the advantage, and never stay in one place. Use grenades if you get the chance.
  • Keep an eye on your exhaustion on the bottom left, you can’t run while it’s low and it won’t recharge while you walk.
  • DO NOT fire at someone you know you can’t kill. It gives away your position, risks your life and wastes ammo.
  • Pick your battles if an enemy is unaware of you, patiently get to the best range for your weapon before attacking. Look around to see if your enemy has anyone else nearby to back them up.

6. PUBG Beginners Guide – Teamwork

[Credit: Bluehole, Inc.]

It can often be a good tactic to team up with fellow survivors to get an advantage over the lone wolves in Battlegrounds. There are two main groups to organize in- Duos and Squads.

Teaming up provides some extra muscle, but remember that you earn fewer coins in Squads than you do in Duos, and less in Duos than you do in Solos.


  • ALWAYS loot buildings together. Never loot a building on your own, and never go to a town by yourself. If your idiot teammate takes off on their own, you’ve got to follow.
  • Use the compass on the top of your screen to let your friends know where to look for the enemy.
  • Never split up unless you are looting a large building with two entrances.


  • If you have three, NEVER SPLIT UP. That’s just asking for trouble.
  • If you have four and a sniper, leave your sniper away from the town to cover the rest of the team while you loot the buildings. The sniper should alert people if anyone is nearby, and you then all work together to eliminate them.
  • Remember trigger discipline the first member of the team to fire will alert enemies so try to coordinate an advantage before going all guns blazing.
  • Surround the enemy and never stay in a town or on the side of a hill or you risk taking fire from all directions.

7. PUBG Beginners Guide – Enemies

[Credit: Bluehole, Inc.]

Battlegrounds is a survival game for a reason. It’s not about running around spitting bullets at everything that moves, but more about careful tactics and scouting to set up a good position. All the while the enemy is looking to do the same to you. Here are some tips for spotting hostiles before they get the jump on you.

  • When approaching a town, always look for open doors. This means that hostiles have either been there, or are still there. Some closed doors and some open doors usually means that there definitely is a hostile present, still in the process of looting the town.
  • If you spot a car, check if it is facing East. If so, it has likely not been used yet.
  • Always treat towns with a high amount of suspicion. Towns are full of places for enemies to hide in. Always take cover from the side of a door whenever you open it, in case someone shoots from the other side.
  • If you think there might be a hostile in the building, check windows first and never sprint or stand upright. When you know someone has to be in or near a room, the safest way to deal with them is to toss a grenade in.
  • When out in the open, evaluate the situation. Are you at the most favorable range for your own weapons? What about the enemy’s? If you don’t think you can win, move in a linear path backwards, making sure to keep obstacles in your enemies line of sight as you fall back to cover. Even if you think you’re winning, this is good practice in a long firefight.
  • The longer a fight lasts, the more likely more hostiles will arrive, since your gun makes noise, remember?Protracted firefights are dangerous, always try to set them up so that you can win quickly. Make every shot count.

Get Ready For The Battle Royale

The sheer thrill of besting 99 other rivals in a deadly contest for survival as the arena closes in on you can’t quite be beat. We hope that our guide helps you find your feet in Battlegrounds and not go down like a chump. Good luck out there.

Any tips for Battlegrounds that you’d like to add? Let us know in the comments!

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