playerunknown’s battlegrounds

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Official Site: PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds
Studio: Bluehole
Launch Date: N/A
Genre: Stealth shooter battle royale
Business Model: B2P with microtrans
Platform: PC

The Soapbox: Do MMOs still fall victim to the copycat curse?

When Radical Heights launched, I was inspired to put together a whole Perfect Ten about why trend-chasing doesn’t work for online games. Obviously, my chief focus was on games that wind up being developed at a rushed pace to cash in on trends and then run face-first into problems with chasing momentary trends, which… you know, you can just read the article; it’s linked right there. But it also prompted a follow-up question by longtime reader Sally Bowls asking why, with all of these issues, why the same rules don’t apply to MMOs.

The answer? Well, there isn’t one answer. There are three answers, all of which are part of the same set of considerations. For one thing, there’s the difference of development time and depth. For another, there’s the time before grinding. And last but not least, well… they do apply, really. But let’s take this piece by piece to talk about why trend-chasing for MMOs doesn’t quite provoke the same immediate reactions as it does for, say, MOBAs.

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PUBG’s Sanhok map enters the final testing stretch

As PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds runs its new and highly anticipated Sanhok map through a fourth round of testing, players can at least be consoled with the thought that the patch should be getting very near release by now. In fact, the studio said that the map will be arriving later this month!

When testers dive into this round, which closes on June 4th, they will discover many performance and weapon improvements, not to mention item spawn rebalance, twice — TWICE — the number of throwable apples, and simulated three-dimensional sound.

This latest build also gave the town, ruins, and caves another set dressing pass. This should give them even more signs of life, although nobody will notice any of these since they’ll be sprinting at top speed as the good little twitch gunners that they are.

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Trace the history of the battle royale genre from inception to now

It all started with a new mode for DayZ. No, it all started with Minecraft. Wait, maybe it started with deathmatch games. There’s a lot of things you can trace as the origin point for the current battle royale trend in games, but a new video from Gamespot attempts to cut past speculation and hazy half-memories to provide a history of the genre in gaming from its first origin points to the modern war over players. And if you thought this was a video that would omit mentioning the obvious pop culture inspirations like the eponymous novel and movie Battle Royale… well, prepare to be disappointed.

The video traces the line through Minecraft game modes through DayZ, the initial launch of H1Z1, and through the various mods and alterations that brought us to games like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. Check out the full video below if you’re interested at a relatively brief overview of the genre’s history, although be aware that this is “brief” in the sense that it’s only 20 minutes long. There’s a lot of history to cover.

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PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds apologizes for communication deficiencies, lays out top priorities

Players frustrated with the spotty communication from PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds’ development team may have a legitimate reason for complaint. In a letter posted over on Steam, the devs admit that they had futzed up a bit and promised to do better in the future.

“Players have rightfully called us out for failing to address complaints about performance, and recently we haven’t done the best job of communicating about the changes we’re making to the game,” the devs said. “Today we want to change that by talking in-depth about the things we’re prioritizing.”

So what’s on the docket for this battle royale title? Expect to see a lot of improvements to performance, optimization, and the whole cheating situation. The team said that it has already made the game a lot harder for players to exploit through hacks and have started to take “serious legal action” against those creating cheating software.

Coming in June is the Sanhok update, with an additional map and weather effects, followed by the release of additional vehicles (such as the three-wheeled Tukshai) and weapons.

Source: Steam

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Data show that battle royale gamers tend to spend more money on games

So, how are battle royale fans different from any other sort of competitive gamer? A recent study put out by market intelligence firm Newzoo finds that they’re more dedicated. In basically every metric, too. Battle royale fans tend to be more likely to spend money over other competitive gamers (88 percent vs. 75 percent), more likely to invest over six hours of time in games a week (30 percent vs. 25 percent on console, 40 percent vs. 32 percent on PC), and more likely to watch several e-sports events per month (28 percent vs. 19 percent).

It also confirms once again that Fortnite is eating PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds players, but you already knew that.

Of course, this particular report uses the somewhat fuzzy metric of “competitive gamers,” which could mean a lot of different things. Still, it means that there’s definitely engagement and dedication on that side of the fence, something that does tend to justify the amount of money being poured into the subgenre. Check out the full report if you’re curious about the details of how running around and shooting people in a box stacks up compared to more traditional options.

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Atlas Reactor arrives in China via Steam

Atlas Reactor really needs to be given some credit for striking out in a different direction when the rest of the PvP scene was shamelessly copycatting League of Legends and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. The turn-based strategy game had more in common with Advance Wars and chess than your typical MOBA and remains rather unique in the genre space.

Well now the Chinese can experience that unique flavor, as Trion Worlds announced that Atlas Reactor has arrived in that country and is available through Steam. The free-to-play game is the second (after Trove) that Trion launched in the region and brings the full game up through the current start of Season Six.

Atlas Reactor’s exciting and competitive take on the turn-based strategy genre as well as its compelling cast of characters make it a great fit for China,” said CEO Scott Hartsman. “Chinese players have fully embraced Trove and have been asking for a fully localized version of Atlas Reactor as well, and we couldn’t be happier to bring it to them.”

Source: Trion Worlds

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PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds tackles frame rate drops, looks at the next mobile patch

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds dropped a patch earlier this week, but don’t get too excited: It was mostly bug fixes and balance adjustments for the battle royale game. Players can check out a new gear customization tab that offers the ability to switch parachute skins. And an aviator crate is now being sold

The studio said that low frame rates is a priority for the team: “We’ve seen a lot of concern from many of you about overall performance. Addressing FPS drops is our top priority, and we hope to have more updates to address performance improvements soon. For now, the team will be trying out fixes throughout this patch cycle.”

And if you’re following the mobile experience of PUBG, check out details on Patch 0.5.0 after the jump – the game’s just hit 10 million daily users.

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Hands-on with Bless Reborn at Neowiz’s San Francisco media reveal

As you probably have heard, there was a Bless influencer event this week, with a couple of media and a smattering of MMO streamers in attendance. The leak of the price points happened soon before we went in, but none of the people in attendance, devs or streamers, really seemed fazed by it. Most people seemed ready to have a good time.

For someone like me, who was initially blown away by Bless circa 2011, the game had fallen off my radar, especially after the game’s rocky trip to Russia and initial Korean release. The western build-up for me has felt like a big PR push, with the pricing model dangled like a feature that people actually should be excited about. Basic questions like, “How does endgame work?” were easier to find on Reddit, Steam, and fansites than any of the PR I was reading. I was concerned, to say the least, but things like “tame almost any mob!” and “100v100” battles intrigued me. Though nothing I saw is probably going to change any core fans’ mind, it may be useful to those on the fence.

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PlayerUnknown’s Battleground radically rebalances weaponry with its latest patch

There’s going to be a big downtime for a patch for PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds tonight; don’t count on playing in tonight after 10 p.m. EDT. That’s because of a nice big patch that’s dropping, update 12. And update 12 is bringing plenty of new stuff to the game, starting with a big rebalance to all of the existing weapon types. Assault rifles in particular have been rebalanced to really avoid having one of them be objectively the best choice for every possible scenario.

A new muscle car has also been added to Miramar, along with new scopes for your weaponry to further affect your gameplay. It’s a length patch that you can read through in detail; downtime for the patch is expected to be around four hours. Once it’s all over, you can start re-evaluating which weapons you should be picking up for which situations, hopefully before other players prove their superior skills at snap valuation.

Source: Steam via VG24/7

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Chinese authorities arrest 15 more accused PUBG hackers, fining them over $5M

Bluehole and PUBG Corp are apparently continuing their government-backed crackdown on PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds cheaters.

Last week, PUBG Corp told Steam players that it takes cheating seriously and has upgraded its security measures. “In the meantime, we’ve also been continuously gathering information on hack developers (and sellers) and have been working extensively with multiple partners and judicial authorities to bring these people to justice,” the studio writes. “Earlier this month, on April 25th, 15 suspects were arrested for developing and selling hacking/cheating programs that affect PUBG. It was confirmed that malicious code, including Trojan horse software, was included in some of these programs and was used to steal user information.”

The studio indicates the suspects, all in China and being dealt with by Chinese authorities, have been fined the rough equivalent of $5.1M USD for their infractions. Prison time is historically a potential factor in cases like these in China as well, but the report doesn’t mention it.

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PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds balances weapons, brings Miramar map to the Xbox One

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds isn’t giving up the fight against Fortnite for the market share of the battle royale crowd. The PvP shooter has a ton of content in the works, starting with a weapons balance patch that’s coming soon.

The team said that this patch should address imbalance in players’ selections: “According to our research, only a few specific types of weapons (ARs) are used in most situations. We believe the choice about which gun to use should be based on personal preference and its effectiveness in any given situation, rather than simply ‘which gun is strongest.’ Our goal is to make it so no one gun will feel objectively better than the others.”

The studio announced that it is hosting the first official PUBG e-sports tournament later this year in Berlin with a $2 million prize pool. Also, Xbox One players can rejoice that they will finally be getting the Miramar map only four or so months after it came out on PC.

And finally, PUBG Corp. is asking players to vote on one of five names for an abandoned resort that’s located on the Savage map.

Source: Steam, Polygon, #2, VG247

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Dutch Gaming Authority calls out four games as violating its lootbox policies

If you had expected the Netherlands to be leading the fight against lootboxes, you may be more clairvoyant than the rest of the population. After investigating 10 games, the Dutch Gaming Authority has found that four of the games tested feature lootboxes that violate the Better Gaming Act. That may not sound too serious until you consider that the offending games have eight weeks to make changes to the lootboxes to comply with the law.

Failure to do so can result in fines or just straight-up forbidding the games from being sold in the Netherlands. That’s a pretty big deal.

While the DGA did not specifically name games, the Dutch paper reporting on the situation cites FIFA ’18, Dota 2, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, and Rocket League as the offending titles. The remaining six titles are not in violation of the law but were still sharply criticized for the lootbox implementation, which is said to target younger players and encourage gambling. It’s also worth noting that each of these violations specifically pertains to tradeable items for real money, which just squeaks in as a gambling option.

Source: NOS, VG24/7

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Coming soon: PUBG will finally let players block their most hated maps

Mappety map map maps. Soon you can pick your own map in PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and won’t be stuck in Miramar.

According to PUBG Corp, people have been begging for the feature for half of forever, but a number of issues stood in the way. The studio says matchmaking was its biggest concern: “We analyzed tens of millions of matches and sorted the data by server, mode, and time to make sure map selection wouldn’t break the game for anyone. We wanted to make sure that we could create a solution that worked for every region’s players, even the ones with a naturally low server population.” On top of that, it wanted to take into account the supposedly different preferences and playstatles of different regions.

“Ultimately, we created a version of map selection that we think is unlikely to cause issues for matchmaking” as maps are added in the future, PUBG Corp writes.

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