Prepare to lose
While you should always play to win, the most important thing to know about Battlegrounds is that you will lose more rounds that you’ll ever win. You will get flashbanged, sniped, shotgunned, and beaten with frying pans. Don’t worry about it; it’s all part of the process.
You can play alone or in squads
Battlegrounds offers three games modes: a solo mode with 100 players, a mode that pairs everyone up into duos, and a final mode that tosses folks into four person squads. You can queue up for any of these, but unless you have some buddies to play with, I’d suggest solo-play for learning the basics. If you can survive on your own, you’ll be able to contribute well to a group too.
Mute voice chat
The game turns on proximity voice chat by default which means a lot of yelling, trash talk, and slurs that you probably don’t want to hear. While keeping the comms open can help you know if a mouthy enemy is nearby, it’s best to mute it by pressing Control+T.
Choose a smart dropzone
Every match starts with a freefall jump from a plane high above the playing field. Hit M to open up your map and survey where you want to drop. Mark it by right clicking. Major towns will offer a lot of loot, but that also means other players will be heading there too. For beginners, it’s wiser to find smaller villages or homesteads at first. As you get more confident, you can get more audacious with your dropzones.
Dive straight down
If you’re directly above your dropzone, it’s essential to angle yourself straight towards the ground and press W. Done properly, your character will pick up a great deal of speed and pull their parachute a little closer to the ground as well. These extra seconds could mean the difference between snatching loot or getting ambushed by anyone else near your dropzone.
It is crucial to get your hands on a gear as fast as possible. Search every room in nearby buildings. You’re looking for a few essentials: weapons, ammo, medical supplies, armor, and backpacks.
Pick things up quickly
The default keybind for grabbing supplies is F, but this is actually the slowest way of grabbing loot. It’s much faster to open your inventory and right click on the supplies on the left side of your menu. I prefer to click and drag, which also works if you’re fast.
Increase inventory capacity with backpacks and armor
Among the most important things to grab are backpacks and armor vests. Each of these will increase your inventory capacity by various amounts, which is crucial for stockpiling ammo, medkits, and gun attachments.
Understand the value of armor
Vests and helmets come in tiers one to three. The higher the level, the more resilient the gear. However, there’s some things you need to know about armor:
- Level One and Level Two helmets do not protect your face. Wearing a ballistic mask does not change this; only a Level Three helmet will protect against face shots.
- At close range, there is virtually no difference between Level One and Level Two helmets. You’ll die in two shots to the head no matter what level you are wearing, although a Level Two does protect for more shots at long distances.
- Body armor tends to protect you from one extra body shot for each level starting at Level One armor, which will allow you to survive around four rifle shots to the chest from close range.
You can watch a break down of damage statistics in this video by jackfrags.
“Guns. Lots of guns.”
Battlegrounds has a lot of weapons, each which take specific ammo and can use certain attachments. Knowing their various strengths and weaknesses will help you go far. Here’s a breakdown of my own preferences:
Assault Rifles are medium range weapons that are the backbone of your arsenal. The AKM fires 7.76 rounds and packs the biggest punch, while the M416 offers the greatest amount of customization slot for scopes, stocks, and other modifications. I highly recommend either, though I advise caution with the M16A4, as the secondary burst fire mode is can be tricky to master. For a decent all around rifle, stick with the SCAR-L. It doesn’t have any particular strengths but is reliable enough.
Shotguns are perfect for sweeping through houses. The S12K is the pick of the litter in my book, with semi-automatic fire that can blast enemies to bits when clearing rooms. Otherwise, look out for the S1897, a pump action that fires a little bit slower but still hits hard.
Submachine Guns split the difference between close and mid-range combat. The UMP9 is a solid choice, but if you grab a Micro Uzi or Vector, they’ll work well for close range fights so long as you press B to switch them to fully automatic firing.
Sniper Rifles are incredibly elusive, and you’ll be lucky to find even one over the course of dozens of games. Chances are you’ll find the Kar98, which packs a ton of punch and is amazingly dangerous once you find a scope. A new update added the VSS, a silenced sniper rifle that’s much weaker. Grab it, but be prepared to follow up your shots.
Pistols matter mostly in the opening moments of a round, when you might need to kill someone who dropped near you but can save you in a pinch later on as well. I suggest grabbing the P92 over anything else as it has the largest magazine size. The P1911 is stronger but only has seven rounds to a clip, so be careful with it. Avoid the R1895 unless desperate; the long reload time isn’t worth it.
Modify your weapons
If you can find a scope for your gun, pick it up and toss it on there. A basic red dot sight can work wonders for submachine guns and if you’re able to grab a 4x or even 8x scope for your rifle, that’s a major edge on the competition. Carry multiple scopes and slot them in as the situation needs. Grab stocks to control recoil and look out for silencers. They’re exceedingly rare and can turn you into an absolute monster in the field.
“I need healing”
There are a few healing items in Battlegrounds. Bandages are the most basic health item and only restore a small amount of health but won’t heal above 75% of your health. First aid kits will top you off to that 75% point immediately, and med kits will completely heal you. You have to stay still to use a kit, although you can still bob back and forth a bit if you’re afraid a sniper’s headshot.
Do the Dew
Boost items like energy drinks and painkillers heal over time and will even heal over that 75% threshold that bandages and first aid kits. Quickly consume two of these in any combination for increased movement speed.
Find your bearings
After you’ve grabbed your weapons, you need to know where to go. If you open your map, you’ll see a large white circle. This is the playzone, and you’re going to want to eventually move inside it. As the match goes on, that zone gets smaller and a second, blue circle will appear. If you’re outside the blue circle, you’ll take damage. The blue circle moves faster and does increased damage over the course of the match, so you want to always be aware of it.
Be aware of your surroundings
If you’re traveling in the open, hold down the alt key and move your mouse to rotate the camera without changing the direction your character is moving. This way, you can keep an eye out for enemies and trouble spots. Additionally, there is a compass at the top of the screen that can be used to call out enemy position to teammates. If you placed a marker on your map, it will show up on the compass.
Look out for red zones
Just to spice things up, the game will periodically drop a red circle on the map and begin bombarding that area with artillery fire. If you are in that zone, either rush out of the radius or hide in a building until the coast is clear.
Be wary of supply drops
Much more benevolently, the game will sometimes decide to drop a crate of supplies into the area from a passing plane. These contain special weapons like the powerful AWM sniper rifle or the ridiculous Tommy Gun. Gear from supply drops can help turn the tide of battle, but the drops are initially marked by a puff of fluorescent smoke. If you can see it, someone else can too. Be prepared for a firefight if you want to grab the loot.
Turn down your foliage setting
Update: Some folks are saying the foliage discrepancy has been dealt with in a patch, but I’m leaving this up here as a general tip for posterity. Battlegrounds isn't particularly well optimized. Playing on low settings might help deal with that.
If there is one graphic option to set as low as possible, it is foliage. Many players who think they are safe in grassy fields or wild forests are actually at the mercy of enemies who've turned this setting down. If you want to find folks in the open, adjust your settings. The game will look uglier but that’s a small price to pay for victory.
“So you've spotted an enemy…”
Battlegrounds is all about killing other people, and it can be tempting to open fire on whoever you see. If you spot an enemy, take time to assess if you can land your shot and fire only if you’re confident that you can take them down.
Holding right click will aim your weapon in third person, while tapping right click will aim down your sights. If you’re doing the latter, you can even press shift to hold your breath for more accuracy. Aim carefully and you can drop enemies with only a few shots.
Even if you don’t see an enemy, you might hear them moving around in the grass or catch some gunfire in the distance. If you’re being shot at, you’ll often hear the impact on the ground before the whizzing of the bullet. Keep your ears alert and bear in mind that the direction of the sound you hear is relative to where the camera is facing, not where your character is looking.
It’s okay to run
You can’t win if you’re dead, which means that it’s absolutely fine to hightail it from dangerous situations. If two groups of foes are fighting, let them fight. If a would-be killer is trying to sweep your house, leap off the balcony, steal their car, and ride to safety.
It’s also okay to camp
I prefer to play Battlegrounds quickly moving from point to point, but if you find a strong position to hole up in and the circle isn’t going to close in just yet, consider taking time to hunker down and plot out an ambush.
Pay attention to doors
The game starts with all the doors closed; an open door means a player has been in the house. If an open door is pushed in, they might be in the house, and if it is pushed out it is probable that they left. An open house that has a single room with a closed door is a red flag: assume someone is camping in there.
Be careful with vehicles
Battlegrounds offers cars, buggies, and motorcycles to traverse long distances, but I suggest using them sparingly. They make a lot of noise and give away your position. They can also run out of gas, explode if shot too much, or flip over and kill you. If you are using a vehicle, make sure you come to a stop before exiting or else you might run yourself over.
Look where cars are parked
A car outside a house all but assures someone is inside. Freshly spawned cars only ever face east; if it’s angled elsewhere, someone’s been driving it.
Remain calm near the end
When you’re down to the last ten players or handful of squads, finding suitable cover will be essential. Reduce the possible angles of attack by as much as you can and try not to panic. Leave cover and push enemy positions only if you have to, and make use of tools like smoke and flash grenades to gain an advantage.
“I actually won!”
Good job. I’m proud of you.
Battlegrounds is a tense game, and if you get far, your heart is going to be pounding. Try not to get frustrated, even if you miss your shot at victory by a hair’s length. It’s just a game, and there’s always a new round to play. Take it easy and enjoy the mayhem.