This may come as a surprise, but Battlegrounds is not about winning. With everyone’s obsession with achieving the coveted “Winner Winner Chicken Dinner,” it’s easy to mistake Battlegrounds for a game you should aim to win. And maybe, if you’re a very certain type of person, it could be. But the vast majority of us have been woefully misinformed.
In Battlegrounds, the point isn’t to win, or even to survive—it’s to live. And living isn’t about hiding behind shrubbery. It’s about having as many new experiences as possible.
I’ve grown frustrated with the rigid approach I’ve seen lots of players take toward the game: shoot down from the plane like a lightning bolt, land somewhere remote, loot what they can and then hide on the outskirts of the play area until they have no choice but to headshot whoever comes across their path. Sure, sometimes these strategies can ensure your safety, at least until you’re among the final ten survivors. But they won’t guarantee a win—or even that you’ll have fun.
You have around a 1% chance of winning a Battlegrounds game. Even the top players lose many, many more games than they win. A lot of what can ensure victory is random—where you land, where the play area is, what weapons and attachments you find. Yesterday, Twitch Plays Battlegrounds achieved third place in a match half by sprinting around in circles and half by getting stuck inside and running into walls. Clearly there’s no magic formula for success.
Liberate yourself from the notion of victory. Instead, try capitalizing on what make Battlegrounds such a phenomenal game: freedom.
Go straight to the hospital. After collecting weapons, hop out from a corner and jump-scare an opponent. Learn to do a motorcycle flip. Spend an entire game swimming. Go out of your way to run people over with a truck. Alternate between landing somewhere stupidly crowded and stupidly barren. Make it your mission to snipe someone from a lighthouse. Camp somewhere prone and hit people with smoke grenades. Spend the entirety of a match gathering increasingly powerful weapons until someone headshots you. Figure out how to navigate the ruins. Stalk someone. Take gorgeous landscape photos and start a Tumblr. Chase the red zone.
This advice might sound like bullet points from a Battlegrounds bucket list. (Honestly, it’s not a bad idea to make one.) /r/Battlegrounds has already done ten “Challenge Series” events tasking players to compete for the best time racing around a made-up course on Sosnovka Island or “Kill or down an enemy player from the back of a moving motorcycle using the P18C” or “Kill or down an enemy player with a frag grenade without throwing it.” These types of undertakings are what makes the game worth playing.
My best Battlegrounds experiences are also my best Battlegrounds stories—the sort of war stories you can’t help but tell another person in a manic gush. This morning, Kotaku’s Nathan Grayson asked me whether I’d seen this clip of a duo riding a motorcycle up a ramp and, miraculously, straight through a building window, where they gracefully dismount their bike. Just up the stairs was another player, who they proceed to mow down, along with his partner. It was bonkers. It’s one of the most holy shit moments I’ve seen in Battlegrounds.
“That’s my life goal now,” Nathan said. “So if you see somebody repeatedly crashing a motorcycle into a second story wall, it’s probably me.”
It’s fine if you’re the kind of person who is laser-focused on winning a Battlegrounds match, but no one wants to hear you brag about hiding in a bathroom for 30 minutes. On the other extreme, you don’t have to laser-focus on getting that YouTube-perfect epic gameplay moment. Just expand your conception of “winning” to include, say, motorcycling off a cliff and accidentally landing on an opponent.