PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) is beginning to thrive as an eSport despite the game being unfinished and large issues still remaining. Read on to find out more about the problems in the game and what it needs to do to become one of the major eSports titles.
All successful competitive eSports games are driven by the community, which in-turn encourages tournament organisers to host events. PUBG was no different, despite PlayerUnknown himself stating PUBG is far from being ready as an eSports title, the popularity of the game forced the organiser’s hands and a number of large events were announced. This lead to large teams recruiting squads in preparation for events to come.
PUBG is a game like no other. When you eliminate the complexities and intricacies, the idea is incredibly simple.
The best format to be used in eSports has not been settled on yet and as such, tournaments such as IEM (Intel Extreme Masters by ESL) have been used predominantly to develop the competitive rule set moving forward. Fine-tuning and tweaking is essential at the start of an eSports game and the organisers know this. Companies such as ESL have decided to put up substantial amounts of money regardless of this, capitalising on the games immediate popularity.
IEM continue to support PUBG with large prize pools such as the $50,000 event planned to occur in 2018. Other companies have also announced events, with StarLadder hosting a tournament in Kiev and the OGN’s League in Korea. These are all promising signs for PUBG as an eSport.
The creators of PUBG (BlueHole) have a lot planned for 2018 and the decisions they make now could make or break its chances of becoming a major eSports title. Currently they have the market share, but if other similar games such as Fortnite take off first, PUBG will soon be forgotten.
PUBG: What are the main issues?
There are a number of issues within PUBG that need addressing. Some issues are quite small, whereas others are a lot trickier to fix.
Keeping the audience interested
The largest issue plaguing PUBG now is optimisation. This is creating issues with the Frames per second (FPS). This can lead to stuttering and frustrating gameplay, hampering a players chances of making memorable plays. Even with high-end computers, the FPS in certain parts of the big city maps is incredibly poor and this is something they need to keep addressing.
Perhaps the biggest positive for PUBG in relation to it being an eSport is the willingness of the game developers to listen to feedback to help make the game be more successful.
The opening minutes of a match seem to be quite uneventful due to players spending a lot of time looting and finding equipment. During this time there is very little action to engage the audience, leading to the spectators at IEM deciding their mobile phones were more interesting than watching. The viewing experience is also hampered by the fact that around 100 players start the game at once.
Finding a way to make the beginning of a match interesting will be one of the hardest tasks for the makers of PUBG. Although the ‘laning phase’ (the phase when players are just levelling up) in League of Legends can be somewhat quiet as well, there are still pockets of action and lots of information available for the casters to relay to the audience.
Sharing more in-game information with the viewer helps create a narrative to the story unfolding, which in turn emotionally engages them and helps them understand what they are watching - this is certainly another area where PUBG could improve.
Allowing shout casters and viewers at home the ability to listen to part of a squad’s voice communication would give the audience an insight into why a squad moved to a new compound or why they decided to take an engagement. Few eSports have this and enabling it could help PUBG offer something unique.
The points system and luck vs. skill
The points system also needs a lot of re-working in PUBG. Players are not being rewarded enough for making aggressive plays. The results from IEM Oakland are a good example of this as aAa came first despite getting zero kills in the final two games.
Finding a way to make the beginning of a match interesting will be one of the hardest tasks for the makers of PUBG.
Another issue with the points system is the number of games played. At IEM they played a total of eight matches and this can cause problems in the final few. For example, if squad A only needs to finish above squad B, as soon as that team is eliminated, the game means nothing for them. This kind of situation then limits the excitement for the viewer.
Random Number Generator (RNG) elements in a game also take away from the overall skill level, which usually diminishes the potential level it can reach as an eSport (PUBG has a lot of them). From the path the plane takes to where the circle forms, these elements can cause a lesser skilled side to win a game based largely on a bit of luck - this could potentially be off-putting for players and fans alike.
Improving the maps
Balancing the maps needs to be a priority. The second map Miramar was released a long time after the first (Erangel) and it still needs some tweaking before being ready for a big tournament. It needs to be slightly smaller, with more cover in the large open spaces. Cover is needed for professional players to apply tactical knowledge into the battlefield or the skill ceiling declines. The original map, Erangel, still needs some work as well although is a lot closer to being the finished article.
With a bit of back luck, the circle can fall upon areas of the map with little to no cover. It then becomes a free-for-all, with there being a bigger emphasis on luck rather than skill or strategy. Finding a way to eliminate end games like this will help improve the overall competitive nature of the game.
PUBG: What are the main positives?
PUBG is a game like no other. When you eliminate the complexities and intricacies, the idea is incredibly simple. One hundred people land on an island and eliminate each other until one remains. The popularity of movies such as Hunger Games and Battle Royale shows that people have always had an interest in this kind of idea.
The creators of PUBG (BlueHole) have a lot planned for 2018 and the decisions they make now could make or break its chances of becoming a major eSports title.
Creating a game from this simple principle sounds a lot easier than it is. BlueHole have managed to create a game that appeals to the masses, but has a high skill ceiling incorporated into it. The game can be played and enjoyed by a complete beginner just as much as a professional player and that’s a major plus - it helps create an environment where people want to play and want to get better.
The different phases, circle sizes and player numbers per game mean you can turn on a stream and immediately know which phase of the game is currently being played. This makes it a lot easier for players to spectate a game at any point, keeping viewing numbers high. This easily accessible nature really helps add to the title as an eSport.
If you don’t regularly follow games like Overwatch and League of Legends , it can be hard to understand what’s going on. In contrast, it’s relatively easy to know what is happening in a game of PUBG regardless of your previous knowledge or the game state.
PUBG’s early popularity could be crucial when it comes to PUBG becoming a major eSports title. Before it was released, a lot of the most famous streamers had begun moving away from H1Z1 (a similar game) due to the issues they were having with the game developers not updating the game enough. PUBG swooped in and got all the large streamers on board. This was an easy way to increase the number of people interested in the game and the popularity grew exponentially.
Perhaps the biggest positive for PUBG in relation to it being an eSport is the willingness of the game developers to listen to feedback to help make the game be more successful. Having producers who are open to ideas means PUBG is made with a collaborative feel which engages the public and makes them feel almost like it is ‘their’ game.
PUBG has more potential than any game that has been released for a long time bar Overwatch and although a lot of things need work, there is a willingness and desire from all parties to make PUBG as good an eSports game as it can possibly be. If you are interested in reading more about other eSports, read more articles on our eSports betting hub.