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PUBG 1.0 Impressions: Still Potato or Not?

PUBG 1.0 launched this week. That means the game which sold millions and almost won game of the year 2017 is no longer in early access. Coinciding with the launch is a series of recent updates to the game which include a new desert map and some improvements to the engine.

PUBG in my eyes has always been a “good game,” but lacked the polish and refined gameplay, engine, and overall build quality to be great. PUBG is, as many often refer to it, potato quality.

Has 1.0 changed any of that?

I will confirm that the performance as it pertains to system resources has improved. I am achieving higher FPS and more stable FPS than I would previously get. I’m also think the game looks visually better. There’s a color filter change or something that makes the game look more colorful. I like that.

The jankiness is totally still there, though. Shooting mechanics, movement — event with the new “vaulting” or whatever — inventory management, vehicle driving, netcode, etc., are all still highly flawed and janky feeling.

Miramar, the new map, is pretty cool. I like it a lot better than the original map. I think the big open areas and building setups make for a lot more scary “am I going to be shot from anywhere?” moments vs. tons of house hiding.

Overall, PUBG is still a “good game” but hasn’t elevated itself much beyond that for me. I still have the same impressions I did pre-1.0, and I’ll likely continue to feel like Fortnite is making better headway in the Battle Royale genre.

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Fortnite 50v50 is On to Something

I played the new "temporary" 50 vs. 50 Battle Royale mode tonight.  Before I tell you about my experiences, let me show you how they advertised it during the VGAs.

From the look of it, that's an awesome battle with two big forts and 50 players facing off another 50 in an all-out warfare.

Reality is slightly different and less... cool? But still very much a right way to go for the genre and the game.

In Battle Royale 50v50 you're playing the game 100% exactly like you would in a normal solo queue or squad game. You can fill a squad or not, and get dumped into a game. Where you bail, with or without your team or squad, is entirely up to you. How you guys organize is completely random.

If things happen like my first match, it's just the same mad dash for guns in the beginning, except half the people aren't trying to kill you -- just trying to get the guns first.

If things play out like my second game, eventually when it comes down to 25v25 or so you'll start to see bigger bases build up and the all-out mayhem begins. We won a round I played this evening where both side were racing toward the circle building walls and shooting at each other while we all ran for our lives. It was awesome!

What this mode showed me was that I really think the game needs an almost Battlefield-like mode where there's an area in the middle and the teams spawn on either side. Using building materials and forts you basically have to take over the middle and fight until you accrue points or the last man stands or something. This mode falls a bit flat due to still bailing out of the party bus and having to congregate.

Overall, a very cool mode that I enjoy A LOT more than solo or squad. I have a feeling this 'temporary' mode is here to stay.

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Fortnite Battle Royale is Gaining Steam

Despite a shaky start with a terrible single-player and a nervous PUBG rival, Fortnite appears to be gaining steam. Often the game is being viewed by more people on Twitch during prime time than PUBG (not always, but often), and is resonating more with younger players. My completely unscientific research data is a group of young teens from the youth group at church who can’t seem to get enough of it.

Fortnite BR is also receiving quite a few updates to gameplay that are continually improving the mechanics of combat and the flow of battle. Fortnite Battle Royale is a considerably better game than the version I played less than two months ago.

I just finished up a few matches this evening, and the meta for Fortnite’s BR is really starting to define itself. The building element — something I originally thought would just be a neat gimmick in BR — has expanded to a massive strategic component of every major match.

With Fortnite showing itself as a real competitor to the current juggernaut, and a rising star, I’m eager to see what this type of gameplay and meta does for up and coming BR games in development.

If you haven’t given it a shot, it’s pretty fun and worth experimenting with to see if the building meta, cartoony zany gameplay, and shooting mechanics strike your fancy.

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525k Concurrent Users Isn’t Bad…

Fascinating what a bit of internet drama can do for a dying game. 

Fortnite is currently (as of 6:32pm PT on 10/10/2017) the 8th game in terms of Twitch viewership. PUBG currently scoring 77,576 watching and Fortnite 18,890. 

Twitch viewers are hardly a metric to go by since they're dominated by brands in and of themselves -- brands of the streamers playing those games.

Fortnite announced that this past Sunday they achieved 525,000 concurrent users. That's really not bad at all for a game accused of being a copy cat and future thief.

PUBG still remains relatively unreachable. Just looking at these Steam numbers, PUBG secures a huge lead on the concurrent players.

Factor in that PUBG numbers are Steam only (PC) and Fortnite is on PC, Xbox One, and PS4, and you see PUBG has nothing to fear. Compound that with F2P vs. Paid entry, and it's a landslide in PUBG's favor. 

Still, 525k concurrent users. 

Epic has also announced improvements to the Unreal engine for games like these 100 player Battle Royale games -- all of them. A bit of a passive aggresive wink at Bluehole, who previously claimed Epic would keep the tech to themselves and even steal from PUBG's super secret engine tweaks.

I'm still blown away by the numbers. Neither of these games are THAT good.

Blizzard Battle Royale Game

I want Blizzard to make a battle royale game. Why? Because it would be cool to see their take on the emerging genre. Blizzard typically sits back and watches a genre develop, then waltzes in and scores a huge success.

They could go with something a little more realistic in the graphics department, or approach it from the same stylized angle they do everything in and I don’t think it would really matter. Overwatch might really have the best design style, but I’d like something ever-so-slightly less cartoony.

None of their existing IPs would make much sense, so I wouldn’t want a Starcraft or Warcraft BR, or even an Overwatch. I’d want something completely vanilla and unique.

Blizzard might even be able to pull off a F2P business model where no one else would really succeed akin to Hearthstone.

Thinking about it gets my imagination and wishing glands going. How about you? Do you wish Blizzard which branch out a little more into genres like Battle Royale?

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