The creator of the popular ARMA 2 & 3 mode, BattleRoyale, has returned with an extremely promising game with an extremely generic name, Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds. After spending more than 75 hours playing during three weekends of closed beta tests and overcoming a good part of the game’s huge skill ceiling I thought it’s a good idea to share some of my findings.
Here are a few tips and tricks as well as words of wisdom which could be useful to everyone:
This is Battle Royale!
The Battle Royale mods and games were inspired by the popular Japanese manga and movie with the same name. Battlegrounds follows a similar recipe as the ARMA mods having 100 players with no equipment parachute from an airplane on a gigantic map to scavenge for resources and weapons to battle each other to the death until there is only one survivor. As a way to force the players into fighting, the map size is constantly diminished to randomized play zones by an energy shield which keeps coming every few minute dealing increasingly higher damage each time it starts moving. By the end of the match the play zone is usually extremely small housing the last survivors in an intense standoff as they wait for each other’s mistakes.
|This was part of the plan!|
Become a paratrooper
Momentum is gained through a good start and Battlegrounds starts each time with the parachuting phase. Choosing the spot to land isn’t hard but getting there in an efficient way can be challenging. The jumping out of the airplane is followed by a hover phase in which the falling speed varies between 126 km/h and 234 km/h (the highest I got during the 3rd CBT weekend). The falling direction is set with the mouse while moving in that direction requires the pressing of the forward key. Adjusting speeds is also based on direction, pointing at the horizon will get you to the lowest speed which helps hovering for the longest period while looking straight down in a perpendicular with the ground will increase the speed considerably based on the distance to where the parachute opens automatically. Learning to control and alter the speed and direction will make for more efficient landings getting to loot areas before other players and even reaching some further away zones from the airplane.
|I can do it!|
|Gravity is my friend!|
Bring the RNG on your side
RNG is an unavoidable part of the Battle Royale games. Being the loot or unfortunate bombarding zones, fighting the random factor is part of the game. Bringing the RNG on your side is what increases the chances of doing better or even winning.
It all starts with paying attention to the number of players in the airplane and jumping in an area that has enough houses with potentially good loot and the least amount of parachuting enemies. Learn the buildings that hold the most loot and target those and while at it, pick up a gun (not the crossbow!) to make sure you won’t be punched to death. The decision making in the first few minutes of the match can dictate the round’s outcome and making sure you don’t get screwed on the loot should be a priority.
Use inventory key to loot
The standard way to loot in this game is by looking on the ground for items, aiming at them and pressing the use key to pick them up. But there is another way, one with which the ARMA players should be familiar. Opening up the inventory key (Tab by default) will show all the loot in a small radius around you which can then be dragged into your inventory or equipment slots. This way of looting is efficient because you skip on the action of thoroughly looking for items which you might not even spot all that well and the looting animations.
Advantages and disadvantages of 3rd person camera
The 3rd person camera is a controversial subject in gaming, one that gets diehard fans of the FPS genre quite riled up. Battlegrounds will feature a Hardcore Mode which is first person only, but from my experience with ARMA games, a ton of players prefer to see their characters and I won’t deny I enjoy that a little. But playing in 3rd person comes with its advantages and disadvantages. The aiming and shooting are worse requiring ADS while the awareness over the surroundings can be better allowing to see over obstacles and peeking from great hiding spots, but what one can use all can use. The defender’s advantage is a pretty big deal in 3rd person online games as the hiding player has the information making it dangerous to explore. As you move, always assess the situation to force the potential fights on a more equal ground. Don’t take unnecessary risks exploring buildings and zones that put you in a worse position than it should as the arriving player unless you are 100% sure nobody is there. And while at it, close the doors to trick other players!
|Camping is part of the game.|
Use the compass
Years of tactical shooters based on teamwork have thought me that incoherent description of objectives and enemy’s positions can have catastrophic outcomes. Left and right mean almost as much in team based shooters as they mean in space. Battlegrounds’ duo and squad modes are quite an intense teamplay experience and calling out positions makes all the difference. Use the game’s compass to call out bearings using numbers, this might take a bit of time to get used with it, but the result is a better coordination as a team.
Healing the damage
The list of healing items in Battlegrounds is formed of: Bandages, First Aid Kits, Painkillers, Energy Drinks, Med Kits and Adrenaline shots. Gathering a decent supply of these items isn’t all that simple, but even then things don’t get much easier. Healing up can be a slow process which can only be sped up through extremely rare items like Med Kits and Adrenaline shots which will take you to full health. Bandages are the cheapest and one of the slowest ways to heal while First Aid Kits are efficient, but both of these items won’t get you past 75% health. From this point regenerative items like Painkillers and Energy Drinks are required to slowly get back in full shape. Gathering and managing the healing supplies is a crucial factor in surviving longer so keep in mind that any lost regenerative item might cost you your life. And while on the subject, don't forget to properly keybind your healing items!
You can freelook
It’s not really a common feature outside of the ARMA games so I thought it would be good to mention it on this list. Battlegrounds supports freelook using ALT as the default key. Freelook allows looking around you while moving in a set direction and it’s an extremely useful mechanic greatly improving the awareness.
Like with the ARMA games, camouflage is a real thing in Battlegrounds. The game’s camouflaging system is better than one might think, you can blend in the environment by using cloths with a darker color pallet, hide in a bush or lie down in the tall grass. Take advantage of the camouflage to move around or wait for enemies but keep in mind that at this point in the game’s development the graphics option foliage reduces the intensity of the grass.
|Hiding in plain sight.|
While the camouflage system in this game can do wonders it’s unlikely not to be forced to travel on foot through some pretty open spaces. Another common phenomenon that gets players out in the open is the desire to loot their prey which doesn’t always die in the best spots. For this kind of situations knowing how to move is crucial. Whenever you run through open areas or loot bodies out of cover move in zig zag as it makes you a harder to hit target. Keep in mind that zig zaging won’t help when moving in parallel with your enemies.
Don’t be afraid of fall damage
While fall damage does exist and at full health it will require regeneration items to heal it out, it’s not really a threat. The fall damage is quite minimal even when falling from a two storey building. Take advantage of this to escape bad situations or surprise incoming players which aren’t aware of your position or your gameplay craziness!
Car wheels can be shot
Cars can take a lot of damage to the point of their explosive destruction but the wheels have their own damage model. Wheels can be shot slowing down and diminishing the car’s maneuverability and speed but this usually doesn’t happen with one bullet so always keep that in mind before risking on giving away your position.
Cars, saviors and death traps
Cars are a great way to move around at a high speed avoiding confrontations while going for better or safer looting spots. They can also serve as cover when in need of quick healing or shooting at other players. But the cars physics are a bit wacky and even when going over a small ground bump can turn the car flying. Even more important is that cars give away your position and while in the beginning of the match that’s not such a big deal, as the circle closes it becomes increasingly dangerous. Take it from my experience, in end game is better to park in a secluded spot and start running than driving with the car through the small play zone.
|A car in the middle of the forest isn't suspicious at all!|
Need a ride?!
I said that cars can be double-edged sword, they are useful yet in certain situations they can lead to death. But in a game where you are constantly constrained by time and have to traverse such a vast map, cars can be a requirement. The randomized spawns doesn’t make the idea of fast transportation all that reliable, but that can be overcome to a degree with a bit of knowledge. There are certain garage buildings which spread throughout the map which always have a Dacia inside, assuming another player hasn’t already taken it. This building is present in every major city as well as different key areas around the map and the screenshot below will help you recognize it:
|The good old Romanian Dacia 1300!|
A game for tactical ingenuity
Battlegrounds is designed to provide gameplay options which leads to a pretty big list of tactical approaches. While some of these options seem farfetched, the continuous change of situations can make everything viable. The Molotov cocktail is a good example of an item that some player might find useless due to its slow use animations, but it’s a great way to block paths giving opportunities to stop players from getting out of houses while throwing grenades at them. The list of unexpected tactical options is quite big so try to experiment with items and other variables which can provide alternatives in tricky situations.
|See below that I'm a loot whore.|
Don’t be a loot whore!
This is as good advice for newer players as it is for my own group. Take it from me and Wolfe, scavenging for loot can be an exhilarating experience and hoarding might make you feel safe, but more often than you can imagine it leads to disappointment. The lack of attention caused by running for loot can make you miss the timer on the energy shield or run carelessly for some spotted goodies leading to swift deaths and a bitter taste of dying fully geared without using it. Loot hoarding isn’t all that beneficial in a hardcore game like Battlegrounds.
Don’t let paranoia sink in
Battlegrounds matches do inject more adrenaline into your body with each passing minute to the point where bushes become people and swapping weapons will sound like footsteps. Even with hours of experience paranoia will try to take over and you have to fight back as it will lead to bad decision making and the abrupt end of potentially good matches. Try to keep your calm and analytic perception over the situation as panic brings no good.
When playing duo or squads game modes dying doesn’t really end up the match. A dead player can be of great help for the team through spectating mode which can be put to great use analyzing what the teammates see as you might spot something they did not.
|Spoiler alert! He dies...|
Pioneer crate’s price resets weekly
Pioneer crates are the only progression in the game at the current time. They can be bought with points earned by playing and reward only cosmetic items which can be useful from a gameplay perspective as a potentially better way to camouflage within the environment. Pioneer crates become increasingly more expensive with each purchase, but you shouldn’t worry about not affording them because the prices resets every Monday. This restriction was put in place as a way to control the game’s economy because, like some of you already know, Battlegrounds has implemented the Steam’s Community Market where everyone can sell their cosmetics as long as they aren’t the default ones.
It’s Early Access
Early Access has started as a good way for indie developers to finance and test their games before release, but has degenerated tremendously because of the numerous scams and many games that got stuck in development hell. As someone who has been following Battlegrounds for a long period of time I know that Bluehole has put a lot of effort into this game and this belief was reinforced during the closed beta weekends when additional content was deployed each week together with a lot of support patches. In its current state Battlegrounds has some issues including server’s stability, optimization and physics bugs. But as with any other new game joining the Early Access program give Battlegrounds the benefit of the doubt. If things don’t turn I won’t be afraid to speak against it, but until then we have a promising game in need of testing and funding to become bigger and better.
No match of Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds is the same, this game is all about adapting to new situations. But you can always learn from mistakes, either yours or those of the other players, and apply that knowledge for better outcomes. This is what the list above is all about, some of the knowledge I gained by spending an extensive amount of time in this game during its closed beta weekends. Me and my gaming buddies have come up with a lot of new tactics and learned a ton of tricks, some of which can’t be put in such an article and have to be learned through a trial and error process. Give this game a bit of time as it can be overwhelmingly hard at the beginning.
This article was based on my findings during the Closed Beta Tests and it will be updated accordingly with the Early Access and possibly upcoming updates.