How To Stay Alive In PUBG

Survive longer into your PUBG rounds without resorting to hiding behind toilets!


We’ve all been in the early stages of a round in PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and then took a bullet to the head. It’s frustrating, especially if you managed to secure some decent equipment after you made landfall. While some of your early deaths will always be the result of bad luck, there are active steps you can take to postpone your eventual murder at the hands of rival PUBG’ers. With a little luck in your favor, adopting some of the tips and tricks in this guide can carry you into some chicken dinner.

How To Stay Alive In PUBG

Situational Awareness

First things first, the most important factor in determining whether you live or die in a given PUBG encounter is situational awareness. Taking survey of your surroundings and making mental notes about the environment, structures, and threats you observe is the first step in improving your PUBG situational awareness. Looking around and surveying the situation begins the moment you dive out of the back of the airplane.

As you fall towards the ground, always make use of the free look camera. On PC, the Left Alt key is the default bind for this function (RB+Left Stick for Xbox One). Hold the freelook key and your your mouse (or right stick on Xbox One) to look around your character. This viewing mode works in both First Person Perspective (FPP) and Third Person Perspective (TPP) matches. The free look camera is incredibly valuable in all situations and should be abused whenever possible. When you know more than your opponent, you have an advantage. In TPP matches, the free look camera allows you to look around walls and cover. If you are not using this option, it is being used against you.

Many times, it is incredibly helpful to your chances of winning to occasionally stop moving and simply look around you. Lots of players make the decision to move from one spot to another and gain tunnel vision, only focusing on their destination. If you aren’t looking to your sides or behind you, you will not see the enemy coming. Obviously, the location that you choose to stop and look around is important. You don’t want to do it in the middle of an open field or meadow, otherwise, you stick out like a sore thumb to other players who may be watching you. Try to plan your idle glances when you are near cover or trees.

When To Engage

Once you have spotted enemy players, you don’t always have to start firing at them. When possible, take the time to think about the chances of success you will have if you do fire on that person. Is it likely that you will even hit them? If you do hit them, is it likely that you will kill them quickly? Every time to fire your weapons, the sounds (and muzzle flash) advertise information about your location (and where your attention is focused). Taking low-percentage pot shots at a distant target is unlikely to help you win a round and will often alert nearby players to your exact location. By doing this, you’ve put yourself at a serious disadvantage.

This line of thought also applies in Duos and Squad matches. Taking low-percentage shots at an enemy team can be incredibly unhelpful to your cause if your own teammate(s) are not in position to engage the targets safely. Another consideration for Duos and Squad matches is to not immediately fire on a freshly spotted target. If you see one player, chances are, his teammate(s) are not far behind. Before engaging another team, it is to your advantage to know where all members of said team are located prior to engaging. You don’t get any closer to winning if you murder a single member of a team, attempt to loot the body, and then get immediately killed by one of their nearby teammates.

Another thing to pay attention to in team modes are downed enemies. If you attack an enemy and they drop to their knees, but you are not immediately awarded a kill, that player still has teammates alive somewhere. It is always a good idea to keep a count of the enemy players that you or your team downs during an encounter. In Squad matches, you should always assume that any person you engage with is part of a full, 4-person team. Looting dead bodies should not be considered “safe” until you know that all four members are dead. While fighting a squad, if the player that you or a teammate shoots dies instantly without dropping to their knees, you can be sure that the entire team has been eliminated.

Urban Encounters

In each of PUBG’s current maps, there are sparse areas with little cover and there are towns full of structures. In the case of Miramar, some of these towns are quite large and full of buildings. Surviving encounters in the more densely-packed areas requires that you pay attention to visual clues, rather than simply looking at where you heard gunfire and aiming down your sights. There is much more that you need to process when observing your surroundings in urban areas.

Because of the abundance of cover, enemy players can be just about anywhere. Take note when you enter these towns to see if there are open doors and broken windows. Usually, structures with these have previously been occupied and/or looted by other players. When conditions force you into these areas, don’t forget to use the audible clues provided to you by the game. Any time you hear broken glass, you can assume that someone near you has jumped through a window. If you believe there are enemies near you, stop and listen for footsteps. When running, player footsteps can be audible as far as 40 meters away.

When you need to move around in these town environments, always make sure that you aren’t an easy target. Never run up and down the middle of roads. If you need to cross a road, do it quickly. Always try to move from cover to cover. Danger can come from 360 degrees around you. If a stone wall or building covers 180 of those degrees, you only need to focus on the other side to which you are exposed. In team situations where you are being fired on, attempt to have a teammate fire on the enemy’s position while you or other teammates move to new cover. This lowers the chances that the enemy engaging you can easily land killing shots. When possible, try and return the favor for the teammate that gave you cover.

What To Grab When You Drop Hot

Sometimes, you will find yourself in a rough situation as you come off the back of the airplane. You had big plans about how you were going to drop into a specific spot and loot, only to find that 16 other players had that same idea. These kinds of situations are what my friends and I call “hot drops”. Hot drops can often be a coin flip between life and death, but how you carry yourself in the first few seconds after you hit the ground can tilt the coin in your favor.

The first thing you need to do is decide to get the hell out of Dodge or stay and fight. If you choose to fight, get into a structure as soon as possible and search for a firearm. Any gun is useful, but on the occasions where you have a choice, some are more helpful than others. On most hot drops, you will come across pistols first. Always take the P92 or M1911 over the R1895 and R45, simply because the revolvers take so much longer to load. During the early encounters, the person who shoots first is often the victor. You don’t want to be caught trying load rounds when an enemy comes in your house.

With primary firearms, look for shotguns and the Micro Uzi. Most hot drop encounters occur at very close range, tipping the balance in favor of the S686, S1897, and S12K. If you do go with the Micro Uzi, be sure to set it to the auto firing mode as soon as possible. Also remember that changing firing modes, opening doors, or picking up items will interrupt a weapon reload. Get you rounds into your gun as fast as humanly possible. If you have the time to spare, throw attachments onto your early round weapons. Once they were in your inventory, you only need to right-click on an attachment and the game will automatically affix it to the gun. This works much faster than dragging the attachment onto the gun. For a detailed overview of attachments for all weapons, refer to our PUBG weapon attachment guides: Sights, Magazines, and Muzzles.

The Circle And You

The shrinking circles of PUBG are a source of excitement and frustration. As they randomly constrict themselves across the map, the circles can quickly turn your can’t-miss plan into garbage. The players in PUBG who survive longest and earn those chicken dinners make the shrinking circles work for them. Your view of the white and blue circles on the big map or minimap gives you incredibly valuable information about where to go and where other players will be in the near future.

The first thing to know about the circles how quickly they can damage you (or other players) and how quickly they will move. In the early parts of a PUBG round, being outside the blue circle does a very small amount of damage to players. It will lightly chip away at your health bar when you find yourself behind it as it contracts. Once the blue circle reaches the edge of the white circle, the new, smaller white circle will show up on the map. At this time, the chip damage that you will receive while behind the blue circle wall increases. It is imperative that you don’t find yourself hundreds of meters out of the circle when this occurs.

Always Stay Geeked Up On Red Bulls

You can mitigate the damage you take from the circle by ingesting stimulants like Energy Drink and Painkillers. While it takes longer to ingest Painkillers, they provide a bigger buff to your stimulant bar (located under your health bar). The closer to full your stimulant bar is, the faster you can regain health and the faster you move. You will need to slam 3 Energy Drinks back to back to fill the bar, or one Painkiller and one Energy Drink. You can also use Bandages and First Aid Kits while taking circle damage. If you have enough of them, it is possible to survive outside of the circle for extended periods.

Because of this, you should always pick up First Aid Kits, Energy Drink, and Painkillers when you see them. When looting a dead body, it is always a good practice to grab any stimulants or healing items to keep yourself topped off. Using stimulants during regular encounters is also a great way to keep yourself alive. If conditions are forcing you to make a move to a new location and you know that this movement will put you in serious danger of being fired on, it is always advised to top yourself off with Painkillers and Energy Drinks. The gradual healing may be the difference between you living and dying. The slight movement boost can make you harder to hit or keep you just ahead of a shrinking circle. If you find yourself in the closing moments of a tense match, always remember to get stimmed up. If two players are similarly equipped and fir on each other at the same time, the player who is stimmed up is more likely to survive the encounter, assuming both players hit each other similarly.

Embrace Your Inner Edgelord

You can use the blue circle’s positioning to move yourself around the battleground and increase your chances of survival. Many players like to play the edge of the circle, as it allows you to keep focus on the area inside, rather than having to worry in every direction. Take note of the blue circle’s positioning before the timer reaches zero. The edges of the blue circle farthest away from the white circle will shrink faster than the edges close to the white circle. You can use this to your advantage when moving with the circle.

If you have some spare time before the circle contracts, look at the map a check for spots inside the white circle where you would prefer to be by the time the blue circle closes in. If you are constantly running from the blue circle to stay alive, it decreases the chances that you will be able to remain calm during an enemy engagement. When the circle closes in on you, things can get hectic and you may find yourself doing stupid things that you would not do without the external pressure from the blue circle.

Once you find yourself comfortable with how to move within the circles, use the information about upcoming shrinks to make educated guesses about where enemy players will position themselves after the shrink. Are there structures or defilades within the white circle that would give a tactical advantage if you were near them? Some players will hide in cover near the edges of the blue wall in the later stages of a round. If you think a player or players may be in that cover, make a guess as to where that group would move to once the circle begins the next shrink. If you were in their position? What spot would you prefer to move to? You can position yourself to exploit the opportunity presented by their movement and open fire on them. Successfully working the edges of the blue circle can put you at an advantage over players who choose to focus on the center of the white circle and hide until the circle forces action.

Good Luck Out There

While these tips and suggestion are no guarantee that you will survive or wins any rounds of PUBG, making situation awareness a priority and picking up habits that put the advantage in your favor will start to work for you over time. There are 30 million people currently playing PUBG right now. No matter what, there is always some hot shot kid who is better at aiming that you and can afford to play 16 hours a day. Paying closer attention and putting yourself in good situations can help tip the scales in your favor.

I also understand that reading sucks and no one wants to constantly refer to crazy text guides like this when working to improve their PUBG game. I strongly suggest watching some of the top Twitch or Youtube streamers of PUBG. While most of their viewers and chatters will be focused on the crazy headshots and comedy moments, you should pay attention to their observational habits. Pay attention to how they move their character during engagements. Notice the fights they take and they fights they avoid. Make notes about how they spotted enemy players and what they did once gaining that information. One of the best channels I’ve found for watching clean PUBG play without a focus on screaming, talking to subs, or nonsense is Aculite. His Youtube videos on PUBG contain a world of information on how to carry yourself while playing.

In the meantime, keep dropping hot and never give up!

Contributing Tech Editor

Chris Jarrard likes playing games, crankin' tunes, and looking for fights on obscure online message boards. He understands that breakfast food is the only true food. Don't @ him.

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