Currently in H1Z1, Battle Royales are the primary alternative server rule-set that drastically changes the game. PvP and PvE rule-sets are generally the same outside of players being able to kill one another freely. A Battle Royale, however, is a totally different beast. It is a timed-duration game, with a few additional changes to the map and loot that alter everything completely. Generally most all of these matches can be broken down into three primary phases.
Understanding the Battle Royale
Other than the imposed time-limitations on the match, there is also a "toxic gas" mechanic that progressively shrinks the playable space of the map throughout the duration of the event. While the gas does not restrict you from outer areas, it can (and will) kill you if you stay in it too long. The later the stage of the game, the more dramatically your health will drop from exposure.
Phase One: Insertion & Weapon Rush
It starts crazy right out of the gate. Players are airdropped simultaneously across the map via parachute. These are quite steerable, but not so much to where you could cross the entire map on one. (Nor would you want to, as that would dramatically waste time you need to be on the ground getting a head start with weapons and ammunition.) Land quickly, near houses or campsites if you see any.
The most important aspect of this phase is arming yourself and loading up on cloth (for bandages) and first-aid kits. If you're going to have any hope of surviving till the end, you'll need all of that (and more). Some people also rush for a vehicle, but I don't always see the necessity of this (as you can kill a player and take their vehicle in fairly short fashion). It is important to note that you may not be able to stay ahead of the gas progression on foot. So vehicles can become a very helpful (and near-essential) tool.
The preferred combination of weapons is an AR15 (for mid-long range) and a shotgun for close range. If you can find a pistol too, they make for a great quick-draw solution in the event that you burn through your ammunition and can't risk reloading. Sniper Rifles are generally a pass over, as you will typically be engaged in close combat quite often. Ideally you want to avoid players entirely during this phase if you can help it. Save that ammunition for later.
Phase Two: Map Shrink and Population Thinning
75% of the people die during this phase, as the map progressively continues to get tighter and tighter. More players will succumb to toxic gas and the inevitable fact that you're going to run into more and more players as you all push towards the same, narrowing objective. Your map will indicate where the safe areas are, so be sure to constantly monitor your position and ensure you're staying ahead of the sweeping green death.
The primary goal during this phase (aside from simply staying alive) is getting to the safe zone, and being there as early as possible. While you can eliminate other players when you see them, it's best to save the thinning to everyone else. Just try to stay alive and keep moving, kill players that you see and don't be afraid to blow ammunition when needed. You want to make it to the next phase, and you can't do that if you're too conservative with your ammo. The point here really is, don't go looking for fights. Just keep moving towards your objective and the kills will come when they come. Also if you have occasional time and safety to stop and top off your health, always do so. The more of a cushion you have for the unexpected engagement - the better.
Phase Three: The Final Showdown
By now, you should definitely have been taking notice of the survivor count that's been ticking away at the top of your screen (as well as the toxic gas indicator). If you get caught in the fumes be sure to vacate them as fast as possible (as the damage is more deadly later in the game). You will see a red spotlight flare pop-up and fade each time your health ticks away, keeping this at the bottom of your screen means you're moving away from the gas (and keeping it behind you).
You're going to need to get extremely careful as you draw closer to the final plot of land where this ultimate showdown will occur. Again, you don't want to be the one doing the killing unless it can't be avoided. Keeping a low profile and a good angle on the other combatants is one of the largest determining factors towards coming out on top (with a solid streak of good luck being the second). You're going to need to have your head on a swivel and try to not make too much noise or movement, as there are probably lots of others just like you quietly sneaking around and camping out others.
If you somehow find a way to make it to the final 5 or 6, real first-person-shooter cover and concealment tactics come heavily into play - as does accuracy, timing, and luck. If you end up in the wilderness, you're going to make heavy use of the crouch and prone positions and each and every tree and bush you come across just might mean life or death for you. Pick off the final remaining combatants and you win!
Final Tips & Pointers
- Stay mobile. That gas will hit you quicker than you think.
- Try to keep building up ammunition so you'll have a healthy supply to blow through later in the game.
- Vehicles are pretty important later on, but they also attract bullets like magnets.
- Be conscious of the location where you (or others) will spawn when exiting a vehicle.
- Maneuver your vehicle to maximize its use as a barrier and cover from gunfire.
- Don't be afraid to use your vehicle as a decoy, a weapon, or a giant mobile bomb if the need arises.
- Ditch any supplies that aren't ammo, first-aid kits, cloth (for bandages), or guns.
- AR15s and Shotguns are the most effective weapons, especially late in the game - so find them and stock up on .223 rounds and shotgun shells.
Last but not least, remember that participating in a Battle Royale is currently free during Alpha. These are a great way to test some of the game mechanics that you usually can't (or wouldn't) test in a PvE or even PvP server. Also, be prepared to be on the edge of your seat for a couple hours straight. There really is no rest during these events, and the first and last 30 minutes can be real nail-biters. Hope you enjoyed this guide and that it helps you understand and better enjoy this game type. For a short visual guide with a few more advanced tricks and pointers, check out this video I dug up on Youtube:
Quick and Dirty Starter Tips - H1Z101
Navigator's Compass & World Atlas
Crafter's Recipe & Blueprint Compendium
Scavenger's Item & Resource Locator
Official H1Z1 Links & External Information
Plots, Shots, & Airdrops: A Combatant's Scope on PvP
How to Throw Down in a Battle Royale
50 Shades of PvE: The Real Hardcore Mode of H1Z1
Base Engineering For Dummies!
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