Checkpoint: How PUBG's Newest Map Reinvigorates the Game

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via BGR- “The new map is called Savage, and unlike PUBG‘s two existing maps, it’s a 4×4 kilometer grid. The existing maps are both 8×8, so there’s far less space to play with. The weapon spawns are also more frequent, which makes it a more consistent and action-packed experience.”

“On Savage, nearly every building has a decent-quality weapon inside, which changes the dynamic entirely. Pick a small building cluster close to the drop path, and you’re virtually guaranteed a fairly even showdown with another player within 30 seconds. It’s fun, because you’re not trying to beat someone to death with a frying pan, but it also doesn’t matter if you lose: You didn’t spend 20 minutes sneaking through undergrowth to find the weapon, so I felt far less frustrated.”

“The end result is gameplay that’s noticeably faster than the normal maps, especially towards the end. You get into the final circles much faster, so positioning is a greater part of the game; reliance on vehicles is also lower, thanks to the smaller map. All in all, it feels like a good response to Fortnite, which is known for having faster and more rewarding action. You definitely lose some of the complexity of PUBG, and a big caveat is we haven’t seen how squads play just yet.”

The newest addition to the PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds landscape, a map known as Savage has already begun making waves in the burgeoning “battle royale” community.  Currently the map is only available to players possessing beta keys of which there are only a limited number.  The first test period was dated for April 2-5 but for anyone who missed out, PUBG corp has already confirmed that a second round will be scheduled down the line.  

 The map introduces a brand new ecosystem featuring a much more tropical feel.

The map introduces a brand new ecosystem featuring a much more tropical feel.

Savage represents a radical departure from the previous maps featured in PUBG; as described above the play area is roughly a quarter the size of both Erandel and Miramar.  This simple change in scale has altered the dynamics of PUBG’s gameplay significantly, with many playtesters claiming it is for the better.  The main improvement that has been cited is the frequency and intensity of combat on Savage as opposed to the other maps.  The relatively limited amount of space will force drop zones to be contested no matter where you decide to land.  The increased proximity to other players means that there will be comparatively little time to loot and force players to be more active in confronting enemies.  This also means that games will tend to be quicker both as a result of player attrition being more constant and the removal of the long stretches of quiet which define typical PUBG matches.

 

 While it's markedly smaller than Erandel, 16 square km means you'll still be doing plenty of running.

While it's markedly smaller than Erandel, 16 square km means you'll still be doing plenty of running.

While there is something to be said about the high tension and more deliberate pace featured on the classic maps, it is encouraging to see Bluehole experimenting with the formula they essentially pioneered.  To me it seems this move was a reaction in the face of increasing competition from fellow battle royale competitor Fortnite.  It wasn’t too long ago that Fortnite usurped PUBG as having the largest concurrent player-base in online gaming with some declaring the games day in the sun had come and gone.  Traditionally, Fortnite has focused more on fast paced action rather than brief, intense encounters.  This aspect of the gameplay was enhanced by the fact that the map has always been substantially smaller than PUBG’s.  The prospect of matching this high energy gameplay and combining it with PUBG’s intense realism means that Bluehole has a fighting chance of taking back the top spot from Epic Games.  

Ultimately, the true test of time will come down to fixing the multitude of technical issues which have plagued PUBG since the days of its early access such as frequent glitches and cheating.  My worry is that a small developer like Bluehole will not prove to be up to the task of delivering a definitive battle royale experience when compared to a far more seasoned and better equipped company like Epic Games.  Regardless of the outcome, I am still excited to see if this newly popularized genre has the staying power of other shooters and where it will lead us next.