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Why you should give PUBG a second chance

Is PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds dead?

If you've had that thought creep into your head, you're not alone. It often shows up when a new battle royale game comes out, as players look back and wonder what happened to the title that made the genre popular. We won't argue that PUBG doesn't have quite the cachet it did back in early 2017, when Fortnite was just a floundering survival game and the Apex Legends team was fresh off the release of Titanfall 2. But losing the first place spot doesn't necessarily mean PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds has surrendered.

In fact, the PUBG of today is far better than the one that took off like a rocket a few years ago.

While other games have come along to become the shiny new thing in the battle royale space, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds has been plugging away, working to become a more polished product. And whether you're a lapsed player or someone who simply avoided the game due to the many issues it had, we're pleased to say many of those issues have been resolved. 

Below, we're going to tell you about all of the ways PUBG has improved since you last heard about it.

Here's why you should give PUBG a second chance.

Game performance has improved

Let's be honest: PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds ran like a limping dog at launch. On one hand, it was totally understandable. The game was born out of an ARMA 3 mod, built by a small team that had no idea it would explode in popularity the way it did. As time went on, though, PUBG started making a lot of money. Investment in the game and the company behind it went up. And as more players poured in to take part in the phenomenon, PUBG's poor performance became less and less acceptable.

We can safely say that PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds runs a whole lot better today than it did a few years ago.

PUBG Corp. has been devoted to tweaking the game behind the scenes, ensuring it runs more optimally on all of its platforms. Regular patches have slowly but surely lessened the framerate chug. And more options have been added in the game's graphics settings for those who want to experiment with things like adding more sharpness and setting a maximum framerate.

PUBG got too big too fast and wasn't ready for the increased scrutiny of the hardcore gaming community. The game is in a much better place today.

Networking is far less janky

If you've ever played an online shooter, you're probably familiar with latency, or what many people call lag. It seemingly rears its ugly head at the worst times, and can turn a fun run through a few multiplayer matches into an exercise in frustration. Have you ever been shot dead when you thought you were behind cover? Or dumped a thousand bullets into an opponent, only to see them run away unscathed, sometimes teleporting along the way? You're experiencing something called desync, and for a long time, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds had a big problem with it.

Thank the heavens, a lot of those problems have since been resolved.

Updates to PUBG have increased something called the tick rate, which is basically the rate that online servers and the game communicate with one another. The higher the tick rate, the faster the game is able to sync with the server and all of those playing. PUBG now has a server tick rate of 60 hertz, which means that if you're playing the game at 60 frames per second, the game and the PUBG servers are actually trying to sync up with every frame you're seeing on the screen.

Now, it's not always perfect. Some people are going to have bad connections; that's just the way of the world. But these issues should no longer be the fault of PUBG itself, and as a result, most will find player positioning and shot registration to be far more accurate.

Matchmaking times are shorter

It doesn't matter how great your game is or how buttery smooth it runs; none of that means anything if players can't get through the front door. That's why multiplayer matchmaking may be the most important aspect of running an online game. And it's why, if you're the developer of such an experience, it behooves you to ensure that players find matches quickly. If you make them wait too long, they'll simply find something better to do.

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds had some pretty disappointing matchmaking for a while. But the team at PUBG Corp. threw themselves at the issue, and it's safe to say the matchmaking inside PUBG has vastly improved.

Thanks to a very welcome set of changesPlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds has lessened the amount of time it takes to find a match on all maps in the game. A bug that made players sit through a never-ending matchmaking screen has been squashed. And PUBG no longer dumps players into the game's most popular maps, instead giving players in the matchmaking queue more variety when it comes to where they play.

It's become enough of a non-issue now that players can simply load the game, jump into matchmaking, and expect they'll end up in a contest. And really, that's all you can ask for.

There are new maps and remasters of older maps

Imagine loading into an online shooter and playing on the same map, day after day. It would get pretty old, wouldn't it? At some point, you'd be starving for a little change. You'd be looking for something, anything, to come along and break the monotony. Fortnite aims to battle this by making sweeping changes to its one map every season, adding new areas and completely destroying others. PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, however, isn't entirely content with that approach.

Early in PUBG's life, one could knock the game for only having one map. That is no longer the case.

Since its release, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds has slowly but steadily added more maps to its rotation. Along with Erangel, the location that players are all too familiar with at this point, the game has also added Miramar, a map based in Central America and Mexico; Vikendi, a snowy European map; and Sanhok, a map with a decidedly Asian flair. But that's not all. The team behind PUBG is also going back and making changes to existing maps, starting with Erangel. 

New maps can add a lot to an online shooter. They force players to learn a new layout and develop new strategies, for instance, and they offer something new to look at when you're tired of the same old, same old. PUBG has done well in this department, and there's no reason to expect it won't continue.

PUBG is now on PlayStation 4

It's no secret that a large part of Fortnite's success had to do with the fact that it was everywhere. While PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds initially launched on PC, Fortnite was present on PC as well as most consoles. When PUBG went to the Xbox One with limited-time exclusivity, Fortnite was waiting with open arms for those on the PlayStation 4.

If you skipped out on PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds because you're a PS4 gamer (and didn't really have a choice in the matter), we have an interesting bit of news for you: PUBG now has a PlayStation 4 version.

As it turns out, PUBG Corp. was hard at work on a PS4 port for its game, getting it ready even as PUBG was still exclusive to the Xbox One. PUBG eventually arrived on the PlayStation 4 last December, bringing with it all of the content that had been introduced on PC and Xbox One since the game launched. And look, we get it: you might be wrapped up in Fortnite or Apex Legends now, with little to no interest in the game that spurned your console of choice all those years ago.

But PUBG offers a much different experience than those titles, and it's a much different game than it was at launch. If you have the cash to spare and are the least bit curious about what PUBG has to offer, why not check it out?

PUBG is available via Xbox Game Pass

No bones about it, Xbox Game Pass is an absolute beast when it comes to the value it offers gamers. At just $10 a month, the service boasts a library of over 100 titles, yet actually sits somewhere closer to 200 at this point. It's a cheap way to gain access to an instant game collection, and in terms of what you can play, there's something for everyone — especially if you like online shooters. And now you probably know where this is headed.

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds is a part of the Xbox Game Pass library, which means subscribers can download and play PUBG at no additional cost.

The addition of PUBG in Game Pass has done wonders for it. The game already had a healthy online community on Xbox One, thanks to its period of limited exclusivity there. But Xbox Game Pass has managed to expand its player base even more, getting those who might not have otherwise purchased PUBG to give it a shot. And Xbox Game Pass is almost always on sale, as Microsoft pushes to increase its subscriber count. So players are spending as little as $1 a month to join up, and those same players — who might be looking for a change of pace from Fortnite and Apex Legends — are finding that PUBG offers a bit of a different battle royale flavor.

If you have Game Pass, PUBG won't cost you one extra penny. Give it a look.

Cheaters are far less prevalent

It doesn't matter the game: there is nothing worse than a cheater. Those people who secretly hide a stash of Monopoly money? A scourge on society. Trivia players who Google the answers? They deserve to be shamed. Little kids who try to peek during pin the tail on the donkey? Lock 'em up. Cheaters make whatever they're cheating at less fun for everyone else. But while Beyoncé chooses to deal with these scoundrels by taking a baseball bat to their car windows, the team behind PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds — well, they swing something a little bit different: a ban hammer.

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds made news in early 2019 for banning 30,000 cheaters from the game. And guess what? Some of them were professional players.

If you previously played PUBG and had an encounter or two with someone glitching in the game, or someone running an exploit, the folks at PUBG Corp. heard your complaints loud and clear. They found that a bunch of players were using a hack that allowed them to see others on radar, giving them a distinct advantage over their enemies. And they took swift action to remove those players from the equation entirely, even if they were pros who earned a living off the game.

Cheaters never prosper, as they say. The fact that that's now true in PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds means you can come back to some fair competition. Hallelujah.

The game now has a training mode

You know what a lot of first-person online shooters don't have? A training mode. Something containing a firing range that you can test your guns out on, and locations for practicing important gameplay aspects like grenade tossing and melee combat. Or something like a space for practicing your parachute landings, or learning how to drive vehicles. Ask fans of Destiny, who've been begging for a firing range since the beginning of time. Most developers just aren't interested.

But most developers aren't PUBG Corp., which is another reason you should give PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds another look.

PUBG added a training mode in the summer of 2018 that gives players a way to practice without throwing themselves to the wolves, and that's great news for those who might otherwise shy away from such a game. It's tough to get into tactical shooters like PUBG, and it's even harder to learn the basics when a bunch of wannabe professionals are sniping your head off from a mile away. A training mode is something that PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds fans asked for, and though it took some time to eventually make its way into the game, it did finally happen.

If nothing else, that's a promising development, because it means all of the other features players have been requesting are now a possibility.

Balance patches come out once per quarter

The universe needs balance, and so do online shooters. There are so many weapons for various situations in these games, and its a developer's job to make sure that these weapons fill their intended role without being too overpowered or too weak to compete. And there's the task of keeping things fresh, too. Sometimes it's necessary to make balance changes in order to let a new meta take hold, to let some other weapons have their moment to shine.

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds aims to release balance patches every quarter. And that ensures that no matter how much you play, you'll more often than not be learning what works and what doesn't right along with everyone else.

This commitment to balance is something that PUBG Corp. hopes will keep players invested in the game. After all, you've probably heard of some games with guns that are way too deadly for their own good. And you've likely heard about how everyone runs the same old loadouts, and there isn't a lot of room to experiment without totally ruining your K/D. Games that don't issue balance patches regularly grow stale over time. They're just not fun to play. And in the world of live service games, where keeping players engaged means everything, a bored player is a player who might not be around much longer.

Long story short: if weapon balancing and constantly shifting metas are important to you, PUBG has you covered.

PUBG Corp. is hiring to grow its team and make improvements more quickly

It's no secret that Fortnite is still running away with the battle royale title right now. And Apex Legends has come on strong to compete with Fortnite and PUBG, launching with a whole lot of polish on day one. But the team at PUBG Corp. isn't resting on its laurels. The folks who kicked off the battle royale craze aren't just sitting around and watching the world pass them by.

Instead, they're doing a whole lot of hiring in order to make PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds the best game it can be.

PUBG Corp. announced in May 2018 that it was staffing up in order to "invest in the game's ongoing development." And those efforts have already bore fruit. Many of the improvements and fixes described above have come thanks to the studio's hiring drive, giving those who play PUBG a better performing game, brand new maps, new loot to chase, a more balanced experience, and a slew of added features.

A lot of what the PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds team wanted to complete has been checked off. But there's little to indicate they'll be slowing down anytime soon. As the battle royale competition roars on, all of the games involved will be doing everything they can to get a leg up. And that includes PUBG.

It appeals to a different audience than Fornite and Apex Legends

We quite often look at PlayerUnknown's BattlegroundsFortnite, and Apex Legends as competitors due to the battle royale genre they share. And it's true that all three games do operate around the same end goal, which is to eliminate all of your opponents and be the last player (or squad) standing. But the truth is, these three games couldn't be more different.

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds is more of a pure shooter. You can kill quickly. You can be killed quickly. Your success in PUBG comes down to your shooting skills, the awareness you have of your surroundings, and how you position yourself on the battlefield. Scavenging for resources is secondary to all of that.

Fortnite has a whole lot of its Save the World PvE DNA remaining, so much so that it's just as much a building game as it is a shooter. And to its credit, Epic Games has leaned into that and let the game be weird. There are serious players, sure, but Fortnite is not meant to be a serious game. And that is totally okay.

Finally, there's Apex Legends, which has more in common with Overwatch than any of the above games. Apex Legends has unique characters with their own special abilities and puts an emphasis on squad-based play rather than taking the world on solo. It puts its own spin on the genre, and has arguably carved out its own corner of the market.

Long story short: all of these games have their place.