While there have been loads of Rules of Survival guides that have popped up as the game has soared to the top of the iTunes charts, I’ve really yet to see any of them that offer any kind of actual useful tips that you couldn’t just figure out yourself by playing the game for five minutes, or worse, just reading the iTunes description. As of this writing, I’ve got 264 hours of Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds under my belt, and it doesn’t seem like Rules of Survival (Free) keeps track of cumulative play time, but let’s just say I’ve been eating my fair share of chicken dinners as practically everything learned by playing PUBG is completely applicable in Rules of Survival, which I suppose just goes to show what a good job NetEase did at cloning the Steam smash hit.
Find a control scheme you’re comfortable with:
Before we even get started with any kind of high-level strategy, start with the basics and really go through the various options the game has for controls. Typically when you play clones of popular games like this, little thought goes into the controls beyond maybe allowing you to adjust camera sensitivity. In Rules of Survival, the menus are loaded with sliders for everything, as well as entire different control schemes. If you find the default one to be a little awkward, give the others a try. Even if you’re a-OK with the defaults I still recommend digging into the “Advance" menu and turning on “double tap to turn around." Movement is always a little awkward in games with virtual controls where you can’t just rapidly move your mouse, and being able to double tap the joystick and run the other way is fantastically useful as often the best way to win a match is not getting involved in a firefight at all.
The best places to drop:
The game begins with all the players loaded on to the airplane, which flies over the island that the battle royale takes place on. Before trying to actually play competitively, just practice jumping out of the plane and seeing how far your parachute can take you to get an idea of how far you can stray from the plane’s path. If you pull your parachute early, you can fly farther away, but this comes with the disadvantage of slowing your overall descent. Players who waited until the last second to pull their parachutes will reach the ground (and any loot) first.
There’s two distinct strategies you can take with where you drop, and they’re both equally valid. You can either choose to jump out and hope to land in the center of the map, and get in fire fights early or you can look for a place as far away as possible and work your way back towards the action. The former can be good, as killing and looting players is a great way to quickly gear up, but I tend to prefer the more methodical approach of taking my time and moving slowly.
Bring up the map by tapping the mini map, look for a group of buildings you think you can make it to, tap to place a marker, then keep an eye on the HUD at the top of the screen to guide yourself to that point. With any luck, you’ll be the only player that decided to drop there and you’ll have full houses full of loot for yourself.
The most important thing to do when you’ve got your parachute out is look around to see where other players are dropping, then mentally bookmark those areas as where people could potentially be coming from to kill you. If you see someone heading to the exact same spot you are, you need to decide whether or not you want to divert course and go somewhere else or potentially get involved in a mad loot scramble to kill them first.
Looting priority and what to look for first:
Obviously when you first drop you want to scramble for any kind of weapon you can find, since you never know when you’re going to run into someone else but the first things you should be looking for is a backpack and a helmet. Backpacks significantly increase your carrying capacity, which determines how much ammo and everything else you can haul around. You’re going to be at a serious disadvantage if you need to start passing up med kits and other important items because you don’t have a backpack. Helmets protect you from getting killed in one hit with a headshot, so make sure you’ve always got one.
From there, my ideal load-out is one weapon that’s good at close distances like a shotgun or submachine gun and any sort of rifle that can have an optic equipped. Scopes are unbelievably powerful in Rules of Survival, as you’ll potentially be able to shoot people from so far away that they can’t even see you. The drawback is, a scoped rifle isn’t great for close quarters combat inside of a house or something, which is where you’ll be switching to your shotgun or SMG.
The shockingly complex psychology of the “door meta" and leaving loot behind:
When you enter a house to loot in Rules of Survival, you’ll need to open doors. Initially, you won’t think too much of this, but you quickly realize that you’re leaving a very obvious path behind of where you’ve been and what you looted. The same thing can be said for items you do (and don’t) pick up. Doing well in battle royale games is all about mastering the psychology of your opponents, as if they come across a house that has all of its doors closed and some assault rifle ammo sitting in the middle of the room it seems super reasonable to assume no one is in there. But, you could be sitting in the bathroom waiting to blow them away. People seem to really let their guard down when they think a house is unlooted. Exploit this to its fullest.
Patience is key:
For whatever reason, it seems like all new players to any battle royale game treat the game mode like it’s any other fast-paced death match game when it is anything but that. In Rules of Survival you can often make it to the top 25 by doing nothing but hunkering down and waiting a couple minutes. I always do my best when I spend the first part of the game chilling out, slowly making my way into the first circle, and avoiding all conflict.
Collect gear and ammo, keep your health up, and let all the other dummies fight amongst themselves. They’re often easy pickings when they’re low on health, and get careless from being over-confident from getting a couple kills. Camping (sitting in one spot and waiting to shoot) wins games, so find a good spot and just relax. Let people come to you.
Sound is everything, use headphones:
While you likely play a lot of mobile games with the sound off, Rules of Survival is one you’ll want to play with the sound on at minimum- Or, ideally, with headphones. You want to use every piece of information the game gives you to determine what to do next, and if you’re not using sound you’re missing a massive indicator of where people are.
Not many people seem to have figured this out in Rules of Survival, so it seems like the best thing to do is when you hear a car or footsteps, just hit the deck and wait. When they get close enough, an indicator will appear at the HUD on the top of the screen. These audio cues are just as good as running actual wall hacks, as you can sense exactly where someone is to already have your gun pointing their direction before they come into view.
Using sound, and patience as mentioned before, can lead to surviving FAR longer than you would otherwise just running around like a chicken with its head cut off. Additionally, the plane going overhead as well as the bombs being dropped in the red zone can mask the sound of your own movements. Use this to your advantage when you think people might be listening for you.
Don’t fear the green:
The primary mechanic that drives these battle royale games is the system of circles that determine where players need to go next to not take damage. A primary circle will appear on the map inside of a larger circle. You need to make it to that smaller circle by the time the larger circle hits its border, otherwise you take damage.
Something to (strongly) consider is that in the early game this damage is not that substantial, but everyone treats these circles like you’re going to get insta-gibbed if you step outside of them. That’s not the case at all. You take damage, sure, but it’s something you can easily heal through with items.
By disregarding the first circle you’ll be in an area of the map where it’s practically guaranteed you won’t run into other players and can just wildly loot everything. When you watch PUBG played on the professional level, some players won’t come into the circle until the end game. It’s risky, but it’s a strategy that works super well. Don’t be scared to take a little damage as the rewards can be fantastic.
Circle positioning and catching people running in:
Because people are often so scared of taking damage from the circle, another great strategy is doing the inverse of what I mentioned above and rush to position yourself at the very edge of the primary circle, positioned with good cover looking out over a road or field which people will need to run through to get to safety. Particularly if people are coming in late, or just ahead of the damage-dealing forcefield they’ll be running at full speed, making tons of noise, and just generally not paying attention to you hiding behind a tree waiting to kill them.
Crates are the perfect bait:
Every now and again a plane will fly over and drop a crate filled with some of the best loot in the game. Initially you’d think, “Oh, rad, I need that." Problem is, everyone is thinking that. Some of my highest kill games have been games where I’ve been able to get a good position in the high ground above where a crate dropped. People get loot fever, and just run directly to the crates that drop. If you managed to find a scope, picking these players off is like shooting fish in a barrel.
Better yet, when you finally need to run in to evade the next circle, give yourself a little time to then loot that crate and all the people you killed trying to get it.
Always make sure you have grenades:
For whatever reason, it seems like no one in Rules of Survival has figured out how good grenades are yet. They do a ton of damage and are both good for killing people who are in an easily defensible position inside of a house as well as when the final few people are alive and everyone is hiding. Just be careful with where you throw them, as if anyone is playing with sound on you’ll be giving them a massive clue to where you probably are.
Use the third-person camera to your advantage:
While it might not be super apparent when you first start playing, you can exploit the third party camera to see around corners, over walls, and through windows without exposing your character to gunfire. Learning how far you can move before being seen and how to get full views out of windows without exposing yourself is absolutely key to staying hidden and getting the jump on other players.
Don’t bother with duo and squad play unless you’re playing with friends:
One of the most frustrating parts of Rules of Survival right now is how it seems like tons of people queue up to play duo and squad games, then just screw off and do their own thing. If you’re going to play anything beyond solo with random players, it’s best to just wait and see where they drop and follow them around. Few people seem to realize what map markers are, and even fewer people are using the in-game voice chat.
…However, you can totally use this to your advantage. Using the in-game friend system and forming your own groups and hopping into Discord can give you a unbelievable advantage. Very few duos and squads actually play using any kind of teamwork, so when you arrange a team and actively use voice chat it is straight up absurd how easy winning Rules of Survival becomes.
Keep at it:
While Rules of Survival is the best PUBG clone currently available on the App Store, with how white-hot PUBG is right now I’m sure there will be others. Much like how the skills you learn playing a MOBA are largely applicable to other MOBAs, the same is true for these battle royale games. Just try to be strategic and analytical. When you die, think of what you did to be in a situation where someone was able to kill you and try to use it as a learning experience to avoid that particular situation again.
If anyone has any other tips, drop them in the comments. Have questions? I’ll answer them. As mentioned, I’ve got hundreds of hours under my belt of playing games like this one, and could easily spend all day writing about them.