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To Get Better at 'Battlegrounds,' Stop Hiding and Start Shooting

Mere survival doesn't prepare you for 'PUBG' crunch-time.

Cameron Kunzelman

Cameron Kunzelman

courtesy Bluehole

I used to try the Dale Carnegie method of getting better at Playerunknown's Battlegrounds. "Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better at PUBG," I would repeat in the mirror over and over again. It didn't work. I was slaughtered over and over again. Dale Carnegie doesn't apply to the brave new world of digital murder emporiums.

I watched some videos of people playing the game, and I realized that I was doing something wrong. Or, rather, not wrong, but something that was preventing me from doing well in the parts that I had been doing the worst at. I couldn't win a gun fight to save my life—literally—and that meant that all the careful preparation and loot gathering I did was always for nothing. I was consistently making top 20 or 10, and sometimes even top 5, but going for the gold seemed out of my reach.

The best way to get better at PUBG is to get into firefights. That's it. Find your game mode of choice (mine is playing solo squad), drop into a hotly-contested place like the military base, the school, or the shipping yard, and start scrambling. Pick up weapons and pick fights. Are you afraid of taking a shot because you don't know if you can hit your target? Try it out. That's the only way you're going to know if you prefer the UMP or the SCAR. You only get to know the feel of the different shotguns by trying them out.

The more opportunities that you have to put shots on a target, the better you get at the part of the game that has the most mental and physical demand on the player. My first few weeks of playing were dominated by anxiety when I actually had to come into conflict with someone. While this led to some really peaceful play experiences, it meant that I couldn't close out a game.

All of this seems really obvious, but it wasn't apparent to me for a long time that I was playing and never getting any better. Realizing that I was playing 20 minute matches where I fired three or four shots, which meant that I was getting maybe 5 seconds of useful, practical game mechanic education, was a big revelation to me.

Jump, fight, fail, try again, fail more, and then maybe you'll get the chicken dinner that has been promised to you.