2018 is the year when PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is going to rise to the occasion and reaffirm that they are the best Battle Royale for a reason. This is the spiritual message behind the 2018 roadmap, even though it was never strictly formulated. At the beginning of the year, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds has finally left the early access and was fully released to the public, although the game was quite away from being completely finished, let alone polished. As the fans starts to get a little bit grumpy, especially since the Xbox version of the game was nowhere as near as good as it was promised, the developers of PUBG have found himself facing a competitor - Fortnite - pecking away on their player base and doing so with an alarming speed and ease. Changes had to be made, and fast.
The problem with the PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is the fact that the changes have started to arrive only slowly, whereas Fortnite was throwing out a tremendous amount of new content and updates for their game. It seemed as if every day something new was happening over at Fortnite, and this dynamic nature of the game started to attract more and more PUBG players. Perhaps even worse was the fact that many of Twitch streamers started to switch from PUBG to Fortnite as well. This development had to be stopped. At the beginning of the year, PUBG developers have announced a roadmap for 2018, detailing many things they intended to introduce to PUBG in this year in order to make it more competitive. The outlined plan was truly ambitious, which may be the reason why it didn’t have a lot of impact on the player base. Now, after the first quarter of the year has passed, it is time to take an account as to what has been done so far.
Winds of change
First of all, we have to be sincere and admit that, unlike what was happening in the last quarter 2017, 2018 has in fact been a year that has seen a lot of positive changes and upgrades when it comes to PUBG. The majority of PUBG players who used to see little, if any changes at all throughout the past year suddenly found themselves under a torrent of upgrades, changes, fixes and additions to the game. At some point it seemed as if one could barely log into a game on any given day without noticing changes and additions to the game, either on the live servers or the test servers. Even more encouragingly is the fact that majority of changes that are being introduced test server find their way very quickly to the actual live servers. For the first time in a long while PUBG developers seem to have switched into a higher gear and are producing content and updates at a speed we would have never expected from them.
There are a lot of changes that have been implemented into the game. First there came an emote system, which was a refreshing feature, regardless of how useful it may be in the actual game - we can hardly find a proper usage for the taunt emote while we’re still stuck in the middle of the battle. As for the technical upgrades, the game has experienced a lot of changes that improved its stability and frame rate. One of the changes was to divide the hundred players into several different starting groups, and then close the door of the plane and no longer show the players within. These changes alone have resulted in an increased frame rate for majority of players, so now when the plane is flying over the map, the frame rate is easily 140 FPS while it used to be somewhere around 40 or 50 FPS. Also, all the starting lobby areas no longer have any weapons in them, making the 60 second wait for the matchmaking to be finished a much less training experience on our ears.
The introduction of PUBG events
Events were one of the features that many have been asking for a long time now, and PUBG developers have finally fulfilled this wish. In the past several weeks, there were different events that would last throughout the weekend, introducing a whole new method and types of gameplay. One of these events was called Tequila Sunrise, where players would be organized in teams of four and could be armed only with shotguns. Once they dropped on the Miramar, they could loot shotguns, meds and gear plus a ton of attachments that, sadly, was pretty useless, since only weapon available were the hunting double-barrel, the pump-shotgun and the automatic SK12. Initially, there were also choke attachments, but the devs took them out very soon, so that the players had harder time hitting their targets. As for the useless attachments, well, imagine putting a x8 scope on S12K. Nuff said.
The lack of long-range weapons such as assault rifles and sniper rifles changed the meta-game significantly for the duration of that event, so suddenly players were motivated to play a close-knit, tactical game where best way to survive the entire encounter was not to rely on one’s shooting skill alone, but actually to work together with your teammates as a well-coordinated unit.
Deathmatch was the next type of event that was introduced the following week. In this mode, players would start in three teams of 12 people each, with three teams in total. They would be dropped on a very narrow area of Erangel map, armed with random assault rifles or SMG’s and would immediately engage in fighting. When somebody got killed, they would respawn within 30 seconds, whereupon they would drop from the plane directly above the combat zone. There was no constriction of the white circle, which was somewhere around 300 m in diameter and usually covered a section of a city or a small compound. The team that would get the most kills and points would and up in the first place and winning this event.
There were several other events with different sizes of groups in different team objectives. In the recent one, there is the introduction of a flare gun which summons a special crate delivery to the place where the flare has been fired off from. In these crates are usually several high-quality weapons and high-quality gear pieces.
The feedback was incredible with the vast majority of players loving the new events and the experience it brought. It would also have given Bluehole some valuable data on future game modes they may want to introduce into the mix.
New map: Codename Savage
Perhaps the most interesting news is the implementation of the new map, Codename Savage. This map has been introduced to the closed test servers and is only the quarter of the size of Erangel or Miramar maps. Initially, this map was designed as situated somewhere in Adriatic Sea but as development progressed further, the map seems more and more to correspond to a certain Asian geography, reminding many of Vietnam maps in other shooters that we have seen before. The idea of the smaller map was to introduce shorter, more dynamic PUBG matches to the rotation, as opposite to longer and more drawn out engagements on existing maps.
According to the developers, this map will not be released to the live servers for the next couple of months, since they are obviously trying to balance it out as much as possible, all according the player feedback and gathered data. For this reason, you will see many empty, unfinished buildings of the map, lacking any details or furniture in their interior. Also, the latest version of the map has brought some extra compounds that did not exist before in order to level out the gaming field.
One of the positive changes that the Savage map is bringing along with itself is the dynamic weather change. The majority of players loved the weather change and have been severely disappointed when the rain, fog and evening sunset maps were removed from rotation. Especially the Erangel map had a very creepy, frightening fog map, one that made you feel as if walking undead would come staggering from the mist at any given moment… We sure miss that one and hope to see it back in the rotation soon.
So far, we get to see the rain back on the Savage map and we are looking forward to witnessing as many weather variances as merely possible, across all the maps. Next to this, there is also a large increase in item and weapons spawn. The idea was that the player should not land on the island and spend five minutes looting buildings until they find a suitable weapon for them. Scarcity of weapons would not work well on Savage, especially since we have very much smaller map than we had until now.
The circle now spawns instantly, at the very beginning of the game, and you can decide to jump straight into it and not loot the borders of the map. This is one of the changes that PUBG developers are not certain about; on one hand, it is comfortable to know where the circle will be in any given game. On the other hand, the random element of luck is gone, the necessity to adapt to certain situations is heavily reduced and the possibility of endless camping in small shacks has been reintroduced. Personally, we can live with a bit of RNG in our lives, so we don’t mind not knowing where the first circle will be.
We believe that a random factor which causes the first circle to spawn after the player have been on the ground for several minutes is a better solution, because it forces mobility on everybody who are on the map.
Finally, it is worth mentioning that PUBG is now finally working on the map selection feature, which should enable players to set their own map preferences and exclude the maps they don’t really like.
Introduction of Interactive Savage map in PUBGG.com map rotation
PUBGG.com has considered the issue whether to include the new codename Savage map into the rotation right away or wait for a while until the developers are finally done changing and tweaking the map. It seems that a much better solution would be to actually wait until the map has been fully released, since it is obvious that right now developers are still balancing the map, adding compounds, tweaking the weapon and gear spawn rates. Once the Savage map is fully released, what should happen within a couple of months if the developers keep their promise, we will add it to our rotation.
The last PUBG special event is running this very weekend, as we are writing this article. It is called Metal Rain and it puts people in eight-man squads that will fight on Erangel against each other. The weather will change dynamically throughout the match, so expect rain to randomly start drizzling at some point or another. In this even, a player can find flare guns throughout the map, not only at certain fixed spawn points as it was the case until now. Actually, the flare guns are in abundance, and many matches have seen flares going up within 30 seconds of people landing on the ground. If you fire off the flare gun within the safe zone, a plane will drop a special care package with extra weapons and other high-level loot and attachments. However, if you fire off a flare gun outside the safe zone, the plane is going to drop an armored UAZ.
Reinvigorated PlayerUnknown Battleground's
All these changes and updates that are arriving almost every day have left a very positive impression on the player base. They feel once again appreciated and heard by developers and they are enjoying the new modes of gameplay very much. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is a battle Royale game that hides a lot of potential in itself which should definitely be exploited to its fullest. Just like this game asked a simple question of “what if we could…” when it started out its life as an Arma 3 mod, so do we hope that today a fully developed, stand-alone PUBG will not forget how it came to pass that it became so famous.
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