It's no secret that PUBG Mobile is one of the most popular games in India right now. So much so that publisher Tencent hosted the nation's first PUBG Mobile Campus Championship last month, with the winners slated to represent India at the PUBG Mobile Star Challenge Global Finals in Dubai from November 29 to December 1. Mumbai-based PUBG Mobile clan Terrifying Nightmares won the PUBG Mobile Campus Championship finals in Bengaluru last month and Gadgets 360 spoke to Sakriya Puri, one-fourth of the team, to find out how it plans to put India on the PUBG Mobile e-sports map.
Terrifying Nightmares is a four-person PUBG Mobile squad consisting of Sakriya Puri, his brother Anand Puri, Amit Sharma, and Mehul Dey. All of them come from diverse streams such as hotel management and engineering with Sakriya himself being a medical student.
"Mehul, Anand, and I were in the same tuition classes and we've known each other for eight or nine years," Puri says. "Amit Sharma was in school with me. Amit and I used to play video games together, but later on, all of us started playing together."
The reason for choosing to play PUBG Mobile stemmed from his brother's aversion towards Fortnite, which at the time had not hit Android and iOS.
"He used to play Fortnite on PS4 but he wasn't comfortable with the controls so he checked out what was on mobile and then he found PUBG which he downloaded after seeing that the reviews," he recalls. "The graphics were really good and he decided to play the game and did very well in its first season. He wanted to continue playing it. He only wanted to play with people he knew. He wanted to build more chemistry. He asked all of us to download the game and that's how we ended up making a squad."
While playing PUBG Mobile casually was the primary reason for the group banding together, they decided to try their luck and register for the PUBG Mobile Campus Championship, maintaining a relaxed approach to each match. Though this changed in the semi-finals, Puri tells us.
"Till the semi-finals we felt like it was just a game that we'd play calmly and then it turned serious," he says before explaining the team's pre-final regimen.
"We used to go to the training mode separately to figure out which gun had the most power, which gun had the least recoil, and after attaching all attachments, which gun increased its power and reduced its recoil to figure out which weapon we should use in the game," he explains.
And while this may sound extreme for a title that has an element of randomness due to the procedurally generated items present, Puri states that it helped them stay prepared. In fact they took it a step further, delegating roles to each member.
"I was a grenadier and a sniper while Anand and Mehul played the support role, and Amit would charge at enemies," he says. "That's how we practised everything."
Furthermore, Terrifying Nightmares made use of PUBG Mobile's room function to learn the nuances of its maps.
"Usually people create a room so they can play with their own group of friends," he says. "However, we'd create a room where we wouldn't kill each other first. Instead we'd analyse the entire map, we would go to different places, check out the buildings, how to conquer an area or a particular building. That's how our main strategy was, we'd go to a room, play a duo. Two of us would be defensive, two would attack and we'd see if we could kill each other in the mode. That's how we analyse everything in the map and we were pretty good at it."
And there was more. In order to prepare themselves even further, they squared off against PUBG Mobile YouTubers, most of whom play the game on PC via emulation which gives them an unfair advantage.
"YouTubers who stream PUBG Mobile create rooms and publicly give the room ID so that everyone can join," he says. "Most PUBG Mobile YouTubers right now are emulator players who play the game on PC. So we thought that they'd be super difficult to the point where we cannot defeat them. We purposely joined those rooms so we could have difficult competition and to understand how they play. Even thought it was keyboard, mouse, and everything, we wanted some difficult opponent against us so we could know if we could take them down or if it's impossible. To train harder we had to do this."
This sudden ramp up to a methodical style of play worked well for the team as in the finals as it helped them hold their ground against fierce opposition and the team hopes it pays off in Dubai as well.
"We are aiming for a top three finish in Dubai," he says. "In Dubai there are going to be professional players. They're going to be better or worse, we don't know. But we have to be cautious and we should know how they could play."
While Terrifying Nightmares' training may seem like overkill to the average gamer, Puri had some tips to help newcomers get good at the battle royale sensation. Beginners, he believes, should spend time playing PUBG Mobile classic matches to learn the nuances of the game and gain an understanding of its weapons, equipment, and armour.
"You need like a month to learn the game," he says. "Play classic matches, don't join any room or anything in the very beginning. Then go into training and improve your aim. If that's already good, learn to equip the right weapon at the right time, know how to use it."
The conversation shifts to gaming as a feasible career option. While e-sports is slowly trying to gain legitimacy in India, we wondered what Puri's thoughts are on competitive gaming as a profession. He left us with this.
"The day you take it as a career everything becomes serious and you lose your confidence," he says. "One thing goes wrong your morale goes down, everything goes wrong. Just take it as your passion. Just play it for the fun of playing, that's it. Don't take it as a career. Just play it for passion, play it for fun."
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