The Most Thrilling Way to Play 'Battlegrounds' Is Also The Most Difficult
Did you know you can play by yourself in squad servers? It's the best.
All images courtesy of Bluehole
My first win in Playerunknown's Battlegrounds—or PUBG—was a stressful and brutal chain of events that left me sweating profusely. I immediately stood up and began dancing with the release of tension. Despite how much joy that gave me, I immediately recognized that it wasn't the victory I wanted. I wanted to win a team game as a solo player. I wanted to go into a Squad game, which pits teams of 4 against one another in the PVP deathmatch extravaganza, and come out on top.
I've been playing with Solo Squad (my own term for it) since I first wrote about PUBG. The idea is simple: You click on a Squad game, uncheck the box that puts you in a team with three other randos, and play the game as you normally would. The complexity ramps up a thousand percent, of course, and that's the thrill of playing this way. You are testing yourself against the combined knowledge of four people who are, presumably, all speaking to one another in some form of chat. They want to win. They can flank and hurt you so much more efficiently than you can do the same to them, and to be honest, that's all the game is. It's getting a position and doing pain to others.
The game plays differently in Solo Squad mode. There is no running and gunning. You can't win any encounters by rushing your enemies and yelling. You can take one player when they're off guard, but sneaking up on four people is next to impossible. Taking a long-range, tactical encounter is usually your best bet if you're trying to fight at all, although a shotgun can make much quicker work of a team than you might think if you're waiting around the right corner.
There is a lot of complaining about sneaking and being stealthy in the player community, and the "one-kill win" is often complained about, but Solo Squad elevates stealth to an art form. It is an anxious and empowering event to be looting a house and hear a car coming. It parks outside, and you hide. Four people come in, and you're hiding behind an open door wiggling the camera to the side hoping that you can get at least one shot off before they get you. They look at the open door, see nothing on the ground, and pass on by. They all get in the car and drive away. You breathe a sigh of release.
My best placement in Solo Squad was 6th alive, 4th team. I was watching two squads firing on each other, and I tried for the final pick off, having no kills so far. I wasn't able to get the enemy before they fled into cover, and someone from charged me and put me out of my misery. It was a terrible and thrilling moment.
I keep logging in, chasing that dream, and hyping up on the maximum amount of adrenaline possible in PUBG.