PUBG Mobile 0.17.0 reintroduced Hardcore mode. And it was a big deal. The mode strips the mobile battle royale title of all the things that made it just a little bit easier to play on a touchscreen device, bringing it more in line with a survival sim than a simple run’ and gun arcade shooter with no respawns.
Think back to the first time you booted up the game. Did you pick up on the graphics, or just how many menu items you had to learn, reposition, and battle with in your first (and maybe fortieth) match? Hardcore mode makes all of tiny buttons and windows more important than ever, and you’re going to get creamed if you don’t prepare yourself. We’re not quite ready to dish out the details on how to top the board in every match, but what we can share is a short list of best practices — five things you need to know before jumping into your first match.
Load Your Weapon (No, Seriously)
It’s one of the first actions you’re able to do when you land in Erangel, and one of the most deadly things you can forget. PUBG Mobile Hardcore mode scrubs your ability to auto-load and reload a weapon you pick up.
With how often this action is automated in other matches as you empty a clip into your opponent, it’s incredibly likely that you’ll pull the trigger only to hear that dreaded click. You’ll probably hear this is when you’re in a life or death situation — your crosshairs on your opponent’s head, ready to send them back to the lobby and you closer to a delicious chicken dinner. You pull the trigger, hear a click, and your opponent blows you out of the water.
So, rather than fall victim to that embarrassing and infuriatingly misplaced confidence, make your first thought when landing not to grab everything you can, but to load whichever weapon you grab before you run into the sights of your foes. Oh, and it doesn’t stop there. You’ll never auto-reload. Not even when your clip empties out. You’re about to use that reload button more than ever, so familiarize yourself with its position, and count those bullets.
Be mindful of what you pick up
This one falls into a similar category at the reload tip. Just like in any other mode, you’re bound to spend a lot of your time foraging for equipment. Once you’ve grabbed your gun (and loaded it), you’re far more prepared for a fight than you would be without one. But you still need armor, bullets, and a scope or two, right? Absolutely. But don’t get ahead of yourself.
Any other PUBG Mobile mode allows for smart auto-pickups. Your character doesn’t just grab everything they see on the floor — they only grab what they need. They’re not going to swap high-level armor out for something worse, and they won’t swap out a gun unless you have an empty slot. That’s great. Pickups and manual in Hardcore mode, but that doesn’t mean you should just mimic the automation system and frantically spam the loot menu to stuff everything into your pockets.
Doing this is a great way to undo the first tip. If you accidentally swap out your weapon, you’re back to an unloaded firearm — and you’re far less likely to notice. Rather than fix a basic issue only to trip over it again at some other point, think clearly about what you need. Don’t just grab everything you see. Pay attention to the loot window and avoid swapping out an assault rifle for a shotgun purely because you wanted to save a half-second.
Don’t Rush Into a Fight You Can’t Win
There are a lot of moving parts in any Battle Royale mode. You need to pick a landing spot, gear up, and deal with a constant influx of new information regarding enemy whereabouts, a battle strategy, and how to deal with each circle collapse. All of this is amplified in hardcore mode when something as simple as manually opening a door can be a risk too great to take in a firefight.
For all these reasons (and no doubt plenty more) it’s imperative that you don’t take a single action without giving thought to the potential repercussions. Don’t start a fight without a clear strategy of how to win in mind. Your teammates have just as much pre-work to do themselves.
Firing a round at a distant target as soon as you grab a weapon might but the entire squad in jeopardy. Maybe they haven’t found a weapon yet, maybe they’re hiding from another nearby target, or maybe they just haven’t found enough ammo to be a reliable source of damage. With so much invisible information in Hardcore that we’ve taken for granted in other modes, it pays to be a little more cautious in the early stages.
Use Your Headphones
PUBG Mobile’s audio engine sucks. There are no two ways about it. Heck, even the original PC release was known for its laughable oversight of such a necessary feature. The extra issue here is that Hardcore mode eliminates the minimap, so not only can you barely keep track of your teammates without covering your entire field of vision with the equivalent of a gas station travel map, but you can’t see a rough representation of where gunfire is originating from, either.
That means we’re back to using sound to discern where our opponents may be. Again, PUBG Mobile isn’t made for this. Gunfire usually sounds far closer than it normally is, and stereo separation is virtually nonexistent.
To get around this, it’s absolutely essential that you use a decent pair of headphones when playing Hardcore mode. It won’t suddenly differentiate between a player firing from the roof or the bottom floor of a nearby building, but it will help you pick out which side of town has just broken out into a turf war. You might be able to help things further by cranking up the audio quality in the settings, but not only does this take the download of the excitement resource pack, but there’s no guarantee you’ll notice the difference, either.
Keep Tabs on Your Teammates
Back to crying over the death of the minimap, then. Without it, it’s pretty tough to keep track of your teammates. It’s not something to worry about if you’re going solo, but the long queues on this mode might push you back into the squad life when you’re desperate to scratch the Battle Royale itch.
Not being ever-aware of your squad’s location can pose some problems. Without then clearly displayed on the minimap, loud footsteps are bound to keep you on high alert. It doesn’t matter if you’re absolutely certain you dropped into a desolate place, hearing a footstep without knowing exactly where your team is will have you on edge throughout the match. For that, it’s more important than ever to be aware of your surroundings.
Become best buds with the camera (and your control scheme). Spin it around every other second and take note of your squad’s nameplates floating (hopefully) nearby. This way you’ll be able to think critically when you hear footsteps coming from that rough direction, and you’ll have a constant lay of the land regarding any enemies in the area. Communicate these to your friends, too.