To all the brave souls out there who spent dozens of hours playing PUBG, we offer a helping hand to those looking to jump into Black Ops 4’s Blackout mode.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is here and so is the series’ first battle royale mode, Blackout. If you’re a PUBG player who didn’t get a chance to play the – albeit limited – beta on PC or Xbox One, it may take you a bit of time to pick up on some of the nuances of Blackout.
The first thing you should know is that Blackout plays differently from PUBG. Generally speaking, Blackout offers a fast-paced arcade version of the PUBG experience, borrowing some of its mechanics, streamlining others, and leaving a few at the door. You can think of it as a more polished, accessible PUBG.
You won’t have to abandon everything you learned playing PUBG, of course, but some of Blackout’s quirks will take some getting used to. To cut down on the time you’ll need to learn everything, we’ve prepared a few tips that’ll help you transition over with minimal friction.
The game only just came out, after all, so expect this page to be expanded and updated as we play more of Blackout.
Before you go on, it’s worth taking a couple of minutes to read our general Blackout tips. Though these tips are mostly for players new to battle royale, the page does highlight a few elements in Blackout you may not be aware of.
So without further ado, let’s jump in.
Change mouse behaviour in inventory/map
This is one of the first changes you should make in Blackout’s settings. This quick toggle allows you to maintain the mouse cursor behaviour you’re used to in PUBG when using the map or bringing up the inventory screen.
By default, Blackout allows you to move and shoot while in these screens. What that means in practice is that you’ll need to click once after opening the inventory to be able to use the mouse cursor in that window.
Technically, there’s a tactical advantage to always being in the fight even when browsing these screens, but PUBG players may find it frustrating. To change it, head over to the Settings menu and click Interface.
Under General, turn both Mouse Cursor Inventory, and Mouse Cursor Map to ‘Show’. This makes it so inventory and map screens will always take control of your mouse cursor while they’re open.
Unless you want to learn the Blackout system, of course. Just be aware that there’s an option and save your sanity.
Take advantage of Call of Duty’s fluid movement
If you’ve been playing a lot of PUBG, the first time you move your character in Blackout may get you to shed a tear. That’s because it’s built on Call of Duty’s, or more specifically Black Ops’, mechanics.
Movement mechanics encompass vaulting, jumping, switching stances, picking up items and everything else your character does that doesn’t involve shooting. It’s so incredibly fluid in Blackout that it’ll give you pause. You won’t ever have to think about pulling off any simple move, you’ll just do them.
This is a double-edged sword. For one, it’s going to feel great to run in and out of cover, barge into houses and get to raised platforms with ease, but so can your enemy. More to the point, Call of Duty’s mechanics allow players to perform lots of moves in quick succession.
In other words, expect people to slide-jump, dropshot, bunnyhop around corners and everything that entails. This is pretty much par for the course in Call of Duty, but it may come as a surprise in a pseudo-tactical mode like Blackout. If you’ve not played a Call of Duty game recently (or ever), some of the moves on display could appear a bit silly.
And beyond that, playing PUBG for so long will likely have trained you to avoid doing these sorts of moves. Not so in Blackout, where you’ll have to rely on these mechanics to survive.
In your first few games, spend a bit of time jumping, vaulting and sliding around to get a feel for it. You can even combo some of them together like jumping at the end of the slide to make yourself harder to hit.
You can shoot underwater
Another great Black Ops mechanic in Blackout is that swimming – and going through water in general – is not a nightmare. You enter and exit any body of water very quickly and fluidly.
You won’t ever have to endure a few meters of forced slowdown before your character can swim, or when you reach the other side.
The biggest and, honestly, game changing feature in Blackout is the ability to use your gun under and in water. You can shoot at enemies trying to hit you from the shore with only a minor impediment, and you can do the same to those swimming or diving around you.
You can even aim down sights, again both under and above water. As a result, be prepared to have fights in the water in certain situations. Choosing to swim and not take a bridge won’t doom you in Blackout, and it’s going to feel very refreshing.
You obviously won’t be able to camp underwater, but you are far from being a sitting duck if you ever have to swim. This is another thing that’ll make it harder to alternate between PUBG and Blackout.
Being able to auto-equip attachments is great
Another Blackout system you’ll need to know about is how the game treats picking up weapon attachments. By default, it assigns two different buttons for picking them up. One for adding to your inventory, and another for picking up and automatically equipping.
The attachments picked up will automatically go onto the weapon you had equipped at the time, assuming they can go on that weapon to begin with. If you already have that attachment slot filled (such as when switching long barrel for suppressor), it’ll replace it and send the old attachment to your inventory.
Needless to say, this will take some getting used to. You can have the auto-equip function mapped to a button you’ll never press just to get it out of the way, but don’t be quick to dismiss the feature.
It saves up a lot of the time you’d normally spend in PUBG dragging and dropping items. In Blackout, you’ll instantly know whether the attachment you see can go onto your weapon and do it with one button press.
A good compromise is to bind auto-equip to ‘E’ or ‘Q’ (since there’s no leaning) and leave ‘F’ to the regular ol’ pick up.
Loot crates can be found in the world
In Blackout, rare loot can generally be found in two types of crates. Air drops that you fight other players for, and in-world stashes hidden all around the map.
You’ll know when you see one, because it’s usually a very big box. These spawns are random, of course, so they change with every match. In them, you’ll find Trauma Kits, gold weapons, level 3 armour and more
That’s not to say rare loot can’t be found lying around the world, because it can. You don’t always have to go for the air drops if you want to score some of the rare items in Blackout.
There’s only one backpack item and ammo management isn’t a thing
Item and inventory management are less of a worry in Blackout compared to PUBG. For one, there’s only one backpack size. You start off with five slots in your inventory, and the backpack expands it to ten.
While extra healing items and equipment (such as grenades) take up slots in your inventory, you can free up some space by equipping items in your quick slot.
The items stored in the quick slot for both healing and equipment don’t take up inventory space, and aren’t affected by whether or not you have a backpack. The same goes for ammo, which also won’t be taking up any valuable inventory space.
Ammo inventory is likewise separate and you’ll be able to see a nice representation of each ammo type you have and how many in the panel on the left.
There’s a limit to how many bullets you can hold for each calibre, but the amount is usually high enough that you won’t run out of bullets mid-fight. In other words, hoover up any ammo you come across until you no longer ca.
Perks and equipment are essential
You’re going to see this a lot throughout this piece; but you shouldn’t play Blackout the same way you play PUBG. Like we explained, Blackout is a lighter version of the milsim-inspired PUBG, and this is very apparent in the items and perks you’ll come across.
Perks are very important to your loadout, and while we’ve already covered how not to get overwhelmed by the choice of perk in our general tips, PUBG players need this fact highlighted more than anyone.
Unlike PUBG, you’re not always on the hunt for better gear and weapons. Weapons and gear are plentiful in Blackout, so your focus should shift to instead have a strong build of equipment and perks.
You’re putting yourself at a serious disadvantage if you don’t take the time to learn which perks are helpful and actively hunt for them. Knowing when to use them is another matter, and that will take longer to nail down.
The same goes for items. The sensor dart is literally a portable UAV. If you fire off one or more darts before you attack a hill, you’re going to start the fight with an immense advantage. Dead Silence makes approaching houses a breeze, and Consumer lets you chug those healing items unbelievably quickly.
Other players will be using these advantages, too, so don’t be quick to call hacks when it feels like your killer had been tracking your every move or if you didn’t hear them approaching.
If you played PUBG, you’ll know how valuable suppressors are. Think of perks and equipment as a more versatile set of suppressors that can and do turn the tide of battle.
Only level 3 armour offers headshot protection
Headshots are very deadly in both PUBG and Blackout, but it’s going to feel more frustrating in the latter. Sniper rifles especially can knock you out with one shot to the head.
Your only defence against instant death is equipping level 3 armour. Helmets don’t exist in Blackout, so that’s the closest we’re going to get. Of course, level 3 is the highest tier of armour, and you won’t find it everywhere.
Level 3 can be found in air drops, loot crates hidden around the world, and if you’re lucky, as floor loot somewhere. Level 3 also offers the best protection against body shots, but its main perk is obviously headshot protection.
While we’re on the subject, you may find that headshots are easier to hit than in PUBG. Bullet drop is a lot less aggressive, and Call of Duty’s hit boxes are generous. Always try to bob and weave if you suspect your opponent is using a sniper rifle.
Don’t be afraid to fire in full-auto at range
Blackout may be inspired by PUBG in some ways, but it’s first and foremost a Call of Duty mode, so don’t expect weapon handling to mirror what you’re used to in PUBG.
This means weapons will kick a lot less when fired, and bullets will travel faster than you expect. Most assault rifles have very controllable recoil, and some barely have any to speak of. 7.62mm weapons, broadly speaking, have the highest recoil in Blackout.
Faster muzzle velocity and less recoil basically means you can get away with full-auto fire at ranges beyond close and medium. In fact, you’ll often find that tap-firing makes weapons harder to control than sustained full-auto. That’s because the time it takes for sights to reset is longer for some reason.
If you find it hard to predict the recoil pattern of a weapon, the likely reason is that some don’t have consistent patterns like PUBG. Things like single-shot rifles will flip between kicking horizontally and vertically. This is not a good way to balance them, but it is what it is.
In short, don’t worry about recoil management. You can easily check this by firing at a wall without compensating and watching the pattern.
You can’t camp in bushes, but be wary of shade
Across the Blackout map, you’ll come across small bushes. PUBG players know shrubs make for excellent camping spots, but not so much in Blackout.
Treyarch chose to make bushes solid, which means you can’t hide in them. You can certainly go prone behind them for cover but you sadly won’t be able to pop out and surprise anyone passing by.
This is something I am certain will be received differently depending on which PUBG mode (FPP/TPP) you spend most of your time in.
Blackout balances this out by making shadows very dark. Any of the shade-covered spots around trees are perfect for hiding. You’ll often find players having difficulty tracking their target if they decide to move into a well-shaded spot.
Going prone in these spots is also very effective. The battle-proven PUBG tactic of pre-firing bushes in late-game has effectively been replaced with pre-firing shaded areas around trees.
You can ignore vehicles in most situations
Vehicles are fun to use in Blackout, especially in squad games where your teammates can fire off the back of the truck and out the sides of a helicopter. But they’re not essential.
Vehicle handling mechanics aren’t great in Blackout, which means the slow and lumbering truck somehow feels very light. The ATV can get you in or out of trouble quickly, but leaves both driver and passenger well exposed.
The helicopter, while fun to use, will get you spotted and shot at pretty quickly, too. What we’re trying to say is that vehicles are not necessary to close the distance in Blackout.
The map isn’t anywhere near as big as it is in PUBG, and your default running speed is more than enough. Even if you end up on the opposite side of where the circle takes form, you can generally just book it on foot.
But if utility isn’t what you’re looking for, check out the next tip.
Shooting out of vehicles is legit
While some of PUBG’s vehicles allow passengers to use their weapons, the rough terrain, constant camera shake and bullet drop make it very hard to hit targets on the move.
To say nothing of the limited FOV that can sometimes cause you to hit teammates by accident, and generally makes firing from a moving vehicle very awkward.
Blackout is the exact opposite. Passengers in ATVs, trucks, helicopters can use any of their weapons and have a very wide angle to shoot from. This is enhanced by the more stable viewpoint and the negligible bullet drop.
Three teammates shooting from the back of a truck can dish out a lot of damage very quickly. You’re all going to die if it blows up, but it can be a lot of fun.