Phasmophobia Beginner's Guide 1
by Aether in

Last Updated on November 6, 2020 by Aether

Phasmophobia is a 4-person audiovisual co-op psychological horror. You play as a ghost hunter and you and your team investigate a haunted area (house, farm, school, etc) to see if you can detect a ghost. It is a dangerous mission, because you can be killed. However, it can also be rewarding because you might not die if you successfully achieve certain objectives. Instead of dying, you may be handsomely rewarded.

There are 4 types of haunts that you can choose from when playing:

  • Training – for beginners as you would expect
  • Amateur – for those who are just learning how to play, 5 minute delay time on ghost killing you
  • Intermediate – for those getting better at playing, 2 minute delay time on ghost killing you
  • Professional – zero minute delay time on ghost killing you

If you are new to the game, you should try to setup your mic, test it, and learn the basics. The basics include knowing what control buttons to use, knowing the objectives of the game, and knowing how to move throughout the game.

Setting up the Mic

Making sure your microphone is connected and works is important. The game is a fully immersive experience with graphics and sounds. The ghosts will interact with you based on what you say to them. You actually rely on audio interactions to gather clues as to what your ghost is. You will also need the mic in order to interact with your teammates. The mic helps you coordinate your activities and share clues with one another.

Objectives of the Game

Like all games, the objective is to have fun. You can do this by not dying and by succeeding in objectives. You can also do this by going on suicide missions. It’s really up to you. However, in order to not die, you will need to learn how to survive. Survival typically depends on your ability to navigate the terrain and achieve your objectives without triggering a ghost hunt. A ghost hunt is an event where the ghost will come and try to kill you.

Training Mode

Phasmophobia Beginner's Guide 2

In the main menu, you will have several options that you can choose from. You can directly play the game and try to figure out how it works as you go. However, as this is a cooperative game your teammates may or may not appreciate you learning things as they go on the fly.

Fortunately, there is a button called training mode. This option allows you to play in a solo and safe environment. You can go investigate a small house of reasonable size with a van equipped with various tools you would need, similar to what you will have on hand when you go on an actual 4-person mission. You can use this training mode environment to learn how to play safely. There will be a ghost in the training module. The environment will be identical to a real haunted location, except the ghost won’t try to kill you. It will do all the other things the ghost typically does though.

In this safe space, you can learn how to move with the default key controls, such as with: A (left), W (up), S(down), and D (right). You can learn how to pick up objects using E (hold). You can hold up to 3 objects at a time if you are not in VR mode (virtual reality headset mode), not including a video camera headset. You can also learn how to read the various charts and maps in the van.

It is recommended that you practice picking up an object, such as the EMF reader, turning it on (pressing F), and also equipping with a flashlight (pressing T).

In the training environment, you can learn how to move and identify valuable pieces of evidence that help you identify the ghost that is haunting any particular location. Whenever you enter a haunted location, there will always be at least one ghost. The #1 objective will always be to find the type of ghost that is haunting a location. The next 3 objectives will be randomized sub objectives that you can also complete for more money.


If someone called you an amateur in real life, you might slap them with good reason. Typically, the word amateur implies you are a novice and don’t know any better. However, in the case of Phasmophobia, playing an amateur haunt is not bad. It is playing it on a rather safe mode. Your rewards for guessing correctly will be significantly smaller, however so will your percentages of not dying. The ghost hunt spawn rate is much less difficult and you will be able to find your ghost much more easily as you basically have 5 whole minutes to strategically setup your investigation and equipment in advance of any real danger.

If you die in amateur mode, any equipment that you purchased and added in addition to the equipment that was already included as basic equipment you will re-coup insurance on (50% of the value of the equipment you added).


In intermediate mode, the ghost hunting stage is delayed by 2 minutes. You have 2 minutes to freely setup and have little risk of attack. (You can break the safe mode by doing things like using the Ouija board).

If you die in intermediate mode, any equipment that you purchased and added in addition to the equipment that was already included as basic equipment you will re-coup insurance on (50% of the value of the equipment you added).


In professional mode, you are playing the hardest level of the game. The ghost spawn and hunt rates are increased. The clues you will have to find the ghost may be more difficult for you to obtain. However, because you are playing in difficult mode, if you do accomplish your objectives there is a multiplier applied.

If you die in professional mode, any equipment that you purchased and added in addition to the equipment that was already included as basic equipment you will not re-coup any insurance money on.Things You Can Photograph for Extra CashIn Phasmaphobia, your main objective is to not die and earn lots of cash. Most people know you can earn money by accomplishing the objectives listed on the white board in the ghost hunter van. The van is where you will start off in the beginning of each game. There are 4 objectives listed. The objectives tell you what missions you need to accomplish to succeed.

Inside Van

The van is the location where you will spawn at the beginning of the game. The van is a safe space in the game that is lighted and has all your ghost hunting equipment. You can monitor the vitals of your teammates within the van, and you also can recover your sanity here. You won’t die from a ghost inside the van.

White Board

The white board hangs on the inside of the van in the far back, across the computer monitor. At the start of each new game, there are 4 objectives that are displayed. The objectives will tell you what you need to accomplish to earn money. Each objective listed here is typically worth $10. The first objective, identify the ghost is worth more depending on which level of difficulty you play on. There is a multiplier added based on difficulty of the game type.

Extra Money through Photography

Novices however may not be aware that you can also earn lots of money in addition to just identifying the ghost through photography. In the van, you can carry up to a fixed number of cameras. Typically this is set based on the location at max 3. Each camera can take up to 5 photos. Photos of specific items, even if they are not listed on the white board, will result in money. You can tell if an object that you have photographed will give you money when it shows up in your journal (press J to access) with a label above it.

Photo Evidence that Gives You Extra Money

  • Bone – (in addition to you picking up the bone)
  • Dead teammate – must include head shot
  • Ghost
  • Dirty water – water that has been fouled by the Ghost touching it
  • Ghost interaction – photo of something the ghost did (that occurred recently)
  • Fingerprints – of ghost from doorway
  • Footstep in salt – must be recent
  • Ouija board – must be clear view
  • Ringing telephone
  • Voodoo dolls – seen in farmhouse only

When in doubt, remember to whip out the camera!

Setup a Room Without Dying (or Decreasing Your Odds of a Violent Death)To setup a room with investigation equipment without dying, you should choose a haunt appropriate to your level and skill set. If you are a novice or are still learning how to investigate, you should consider amateur setting. You will get less money for accomplishing your objectives, but you are more likely to be alive to accomplish your objectives.

You can accomplish your objectives more easily if you prepare your strategy for how you will handle the haunt efficiently. The longer the haunt goes on, the lower your sanity will drop. The lower your sanity drops, the greater chance you will trigger a ghost hunt. During ghost hunt(s), the ghost is in kill mode. Instead of remaining stationary within a confined room, the ghost will begin to explore the house and lock the doors or exits. If you happen to cross the ghost’s line of sight, it will try to find you and kill you.

Setup of the Room

While you are in the van, you should be preparing how to achieve your objectives. You should look at the white board to determine what equipment you will need to accomplish the goals you want. Typically, the objectives will require you to do something with a specific piece of equipment.

You can hold 3 pieces of equipment, not including a video camera headset at a time if you are playing Phasmophobia in non-VR mode. If you are playing in VR mode, then the game allows you to equip 4 pieces of equipment at a time. In general, you will always want to equip a flashlight of some sort (strong flash light or weak flashlight or UV black light). The reason being that the haunted location is almost always partially dark with lights off or, if not dark, you can use your light to know if a ghost hunt has begun. A ghost hunt is ALWAYS revealed by flickering lights. If your flash light flickers, it is not you running out of batteries. It means the ghost is now hunting and able to kill. If you cross its path, you will be a victim.

Recommended items to carry when you first enter:

  • Light source
  • Scanning equipment
  • Video camera headset

Scanning a Room

Most ghosts will confine themselves to a specific room or location during its normal non-hunting mode. The ghost will haunt the specific location as its favorite room. You can determine which room is its favorite location by using a scanning tool to quickly locate it. When you identify its location, then you can setup your base of operations with other equipment. There are several pieces of equipment that are specifically suited to scanning or locating a ghost quickly.

Equipment of Choice:

  • Thermometer
  • EMF Reader

I like to scan rooms with a thermometer before I enter. The thermometer is a great tool for quickly assessing the room for ghosts because it gives a temperature read out. Generally, all ghosts will give a temperature read out that is lower than normal. All ghosts give temperature read outs below 10 degrees C. If you have a thermometer equipped (which you purchase from the store shop), you can add it to your missions.

The thermometer is a great tool because you can quickly walk across the room using shift and your arrow keys (A,W,S,D) to navigate the screen. You actually move more quickly than most ghosts can walk. (Note: Some ghosts can teleport, which is different). However, you can traverse a great deal of ground quickly and scan it using the temperature probe.

If you don’t have a thermometer, you can as a second choice try using the EMF reader. To equip the EMF reader, you simply equip it (E) and then press (F) to use it and turn it on. It will light up with 1 bar. This is its normal mode. You would walk around the house with the EMF reader. If the ghost has done some kind of activity recently in the area, then the EMF reader will light up. Ghosts activity can be variable. Therefore, EMF readers may be considered less reliable. Ghosts EMF readouts can be anywhere from 2 – 5 EMF levels when active. Specific ghosts give EMF level 5 readings. However, the readings for the ghosts can fluctuate so you may need to have high activity to confirm that the read out will reach a max of level 5.

Suppressing Ghost Attacks

As soon as you’ve identified the ghost room, you can suppress ghost attacks by dropping items that may prevent you from being harmed by the ghost. In your second wave of going into the house, after you have identified the ghost’s favorite room, you can increase your odds of not being attacked by dropping high level protective equipment. This includes dropping crucifix (up to 2 are permitted in each mission) within 3 m of each other. You can drop them by the doorway to facilitate your escape and also in the center of the room. The crucifix each have 2 turns at stopping haunts before they are consumed and from user experiences are reported to work when they are in the ground and near the ghost haunt start location. (Note: If the ghost has already started a haunt outside of the range of the crucifix, then this doesn’t apply).

You can also drop in the room smudge sticks. Smudge sticks help temporarily suppress ghost activity, which in effect calms the ghost down, so you can taunt it and make it appear without real consequences. To activate a smudge stick, you will need to equip both a lighter and also the smudge stick. You will turn on the lighter and then equip the smudge. Do not activate the smudge stick until you are within approx 3m of the ghost aka in the same room as the ghost. You press F to use the smudge stick, which will begin burning and you can throw it by dropping it (G) into the room that you want to smudge. This smudge stick will last only a few seconds but it helps suppress the ghost activity for a few minutes.

You can salt the floor to suppress specific ghost types from harming you, as some ghost types are afraid of salt. Additionally, the salt will help you gather evidence if a ghost steps in it. If a ghost steps in the salt, you can photograph the step the ghost made to gain an interaction event evidence and to collect some cash.

Dropping Equipment Strategically

If you want to minimize your chances of dying, you can strategically drop equipment so that you don’t have to be in the house in the dark with low sanity for long periods of time. The longer you are in the house at low sanity, the higher the chance the ghost will convert into hunt mode and come and attack you. To strategically drop your equipment, you can setup your video camera.

To monitor from the safety of a van, it is recommended you enable the video camera and put it on a tripod. You should put more than one video camera in the corners of the room where the ghost may haunt. You will want to do this so you can have visibility to everything that is going on in the room. You can actually use the video camera to see if ghost orbs are appearing, which is a key evidence of a specific type of ghost.

You can also use the cameras to monitor other pieces of evidence if you are strategic. You can drop the ghost writing book into the room within view of the camera to see if the ghost is writing. You can also drop the EMF reader in clear view, as well as, you can even take pictures of the ghost from the safety of the van from the view of the monitor. You can also see puffs of breathe or freezing temperatures, which is another sign of a specific set of ghost types from the safety of the monitor. You can drop black lights to see if there are finger prints. (Ghost finger prints also show up on photographs). Pretty much the only evidence you can’t collect from the van is the spirit talking.

Once a ghost hunt has begun (aka lights are flickering), you have moments to hide. You can hide from many ghost types by hiding in a place that they can’t see you.

You can do this by going into a closet, which is some place that they would not normally go into as part of their hunting. (Most ghosts cannot go through doors, except Phantoms).

If you don’t have a closet to hide in, you can try to find some place that they won’t likely cross. You must turn off your flashlight (and other electronics) and crouch in a corner (press C) behind objects. Hopefully, the corner you choose is not one that is extremely visible to the ghost or one that they frequent.

It is also important to not use the radio and talk while the ghost hunt is occurring. The ghost can hear anything you say into the mic. Speaking into the mic will reveal your location to the ghost. Also, if you have people in the van shouting your name through the radio, it can potentially also reveal your location and have you killed – as was my personal recent experience.

Aether has been playing World of Warcraft since 2006. In his youth he raided 7 days a week, but now just plays with friends doing Mythic dungeons and Arena. He swaps his main more often than he should.
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