PUBG is a highlander-style arena shooter in which 100 players parachute in to an island and only one team survives. Winners must play for tempo to survive the early game and prepare for the midgame.
Players start with no equipment. Players need equipment to deal and mitigate damage. An advantage in the presence or power-level of one’s equipment is decisive in engagements. For example, a player with a weapon can freely kill a player with no weapon; a level 2 helmet allows one to survive many shots that would kill you in a level 1 helm. The first players to land get first pick of the available equipment.
The quality of loot drops across a map varies with the density of the buildings in an area. A safe and cozy isolated shack is going to roll on a very low quality loot table, meaning weaker armors, weaker weapons, fewer bullets in each pile of ammo, and fewer items in general. A map’s towns and military bases however will have more and higher-tier items. In a smaller village you might be lucky to find a tommy gun in time to fight, but in an a rich area you might well find all that you need on the rooftop you land on.
Areas with rich loot are usually highly-contested, and many landers will die in the early combats, some before they even manage to equip and load a weapon. Players on PC should use the fastest of the three ways to pick up an item:
After the opening’s landing, initial-weapon-finding, and first round of combats have been resolved, survivors will look to assemble coherent ensembles of weapon attachments for the slots on their guns. For example, a player’s sniper rifle could be filled out by finding a cheekpad, an extended rifle magazine, and a silencer. A mini-uzi could fill its slots with an smg compensator, an extended smg magazine, and a folding stock. Additionally, players look to find higher tier armors, and healing items.
“Looting” is what PUBG calls the process of scouring buildings (and bodies) for weapons, attachments, and healing items. The survivors of the initial drop phase that loot most efficiently (without dying…) will find themselves best set up for the midgame. Quick looting involves pathing well through each building, progressing between unlooted structures while avoiding looted ones, and quickly pulling needed items into the inventory. It’s important to learn what each item looks like at a distance, so you can avoid checking each loot pile’s item list and instead prioritize which loot piles to approach and which to avoid.
Tempo in the early game is as critical in PUBG as it is in all games. Developing well means developing quickly. Players use a lead in development to set up unfair fights against those slow to start, and to match those peers of theirs who also develop at top speed.