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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.

2

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.

4

Bluehole vs. Epic: Unprofessional & Paranoid

I refrained from commenting (Twitter snark doesn't count) on this issue because I find the entire thing asinine, but since it continues and I needed a topic for today, let's do this.

Bluehole (PUBG Devs) released a press release -- yes, I got an actual email to my press email account -- stating the following:

“We’ve had an ongoing relationship with Epic Games throughout PUBG’s development as they are the creators of UE4, the engine we licensed for the game,” said Chang Han Kim, Vice President and Executive Producer for Bluehole, Inc. “After listening to the growing feedback from our community and reviewing the gameplay for ourselves, we are concerned that Fortnite may be replicating the experience for which PUBG is known.”

“Other companies will, of course, enter the marketplace, but I would just hope they put their own spin on the game mode and not just make a carbon copy!”

Couple of things.

Willy Wonka Unique Idea Meme

I find it a little ridiculous to publish a press release calling someone out for copying your game (especially when your game is a Battle Royale clone itself).

This is the video game industry. Just spend 10 minutes looking at the RPG, Shooter, FPS, and RTS genres. Seriously.

What was PUBG's "own spin" that made it more unique? Does Fortnite's building mechanic not count?

Now we have an interview with PC Gamer that C.H. Kim did with PC Gamer where Bluehole takes a different approach.

C.H. Kim: So the first thing that I’d like to clarify is that this is not about the battle royale game mode itself. There were other BR gamemodes earlier this year that were released, like last man standing or GTA 5’s battle royale game mode, and we never raised an issue, and I think it’s great that there’s more competition and everyone should be able to create their own battle royale game mode, and it’s not about the idea itself, it’s about Epic Games, and that wasn’t really clear [in the press release].

Willy Wonka Smarmy Grin

Uhh huhhh, sure. It gets better, too. 

“We’re going to get some technical support [from Epic], and we’re going to work with them to make sure Unreal Engine better supports battle royale gameplay which requires 100 people in one session, and now we’re starting to have concerns that they’re going to develop new features or improve something in the engine to support that battle royale gameplay, and then use it for their own game mode.” […]

“We could be afraid when we make new features in the engine by modifying it internally, that is not already available and public, that feature could be leaked, or other things could happen.”

Do you REALLY believe that Epic, one of the biggest engine licencors in the entire business, would do that? REALLY?

Epic has been licensing their engine for so long, making plenty of  titles that compete with their customers, and I have never heard of any reports of them ever saying, "Ohhh look they made tweaks to the engine let's leak it to the world or use it to make our game better just to put them under."

Why would Epic sabotage their core business model to act in any way that would violate their contractual agreement with a company licensing their engine?

I'm not a lawyer, but if I were one at Epic I would be chomping at the bit right now. This feels dangerously close to slander for overtly implying that Epic would use its license agreements to ruin other companies. Again, it's damaging to Epic's core business model.

Bluehole is paranoid, delusional, and behaving so unprofessional. They're digging themselves into a hole and opening the door for issues that would have never existed. Their fans could have done all the defending for them.

PUBG is a fantastic game. They did a great job. It has quality issues, and a whole lot of jank, but the game is good.

Fortnite (PvE) is absolute crap. I found it lacking in fun, and full of tedium. Their Battle Royale PvP mode is much more fun, and they openly admit to be inspired by PUBG. I played it, and found it very much a Battle Royale / PUBG clone. Will it in any way pull from PUBG? I can't see any reason why.

3

Fortnite: Battle Royale

Woah, okay, so this happened.

No shock to you guys, I was not a fan of Fortnite. I was suuuuper hyped for it to come out, and then extremely bothered by the awful execution and delivery.

I might actually have a reason to... install Fornite again?

Graev and an email this afternoon containing information about a new Fortnite Battle Royale mode. Here's what they said:

quote-left

"We made a PvP mode for Fortnite. We love Battle Royale games like PUBG and thought Fortnite would make a great foundation for our own version. A few months ago Epic’s Unreal Tournament team began experimenting with the mode while the original Fortnite team kept updating the core game. The new Battle Royale mode was so much fun we decided to share it with everyone to get feedback. To maintain game balance we kept the PvP mode completely separate from the PvE mode."

Fornite Battle Royale is currently available on the public test server, and will release to the public September 26, 2017.

I'm wondering if this will scratch an itch for a game that's less camping-intense and action-deprived than PUBG. Building, breaking things, and zany combat might be exactly what I need for a Battle Royale. This appears way less twitch and 'gotta get the one-shot headshot' than PUBG, which means I might suck less than normal.

I am absolutely going to try this out and get back to you guys.

9

H1Z1 Wants To Be Faster & More Action-Packed Than PUBG

I'm on a PUBG binge lately. I can't get enough of the mad rush to pick up guns and shoot the heck out of everyone in the vicinity. 

What I CAN do without is the monotony of not finding gear, waiting to find other players, and sitting in a bush waiting out the play areas to shrink.

Here's something we haven't touched on almost ever on the blog... H1Z1. Daybreak wants H1Z1 to be faster-paced and more action-packed than its competitor PUBG according to their newest H1Z1 roadmap.

Our vision is for H1Z1 to be the dominant fast-paced, action packed game in the genre. This is what sets H1Z1 apart from its competition. PUBG is very clearly a slow paced, tactical experience. And they have certainly delivered on that vision. But ours has always been and will continue to be based on fast paced & action packed moment to moment gameplay. In the coming months, all of the updates and features we bring to the game will be driving towards fully delivering on this vision.

Their goal to achieve this faster gameplay sounds good to me.

H1Z1 Roadmap Improvements

Having really never played H1Z1, I'll put these improvements into context of PUBG.

Streamlined picking up of items? Needed.

More vehicles? Probably okay where we're at.

Easier to locate and get into action? I'd like that.

Airdrops we're good.

Upgrades to enhance base weaponry are probably okay, though some general improvement would be nice.

The biggest improvements of all would be to enhance getting gear and getting into the action. While true that PUBG is designed to be a little slower-paced and there is an element of ambushing going on, I feel like most of the games run a little stale after the 15 minute mark.

Interestingly, H1Z1 also published a pacing chart to show how they'd like the games to play out.

H1Z1 improved game pacing already patched PUBG

Maybe it's just me... but this is what my PUBG already feels like. If H1Z1 wants to be faster and more action oriented, then it's probably a better idea to cut to the chase at 2x this speed.

I want to hit the ground, grab some items, and immediately fight. Not that I need a way to 'find the action' because there has to be an element of survival, but I want to fight more.

Lately I have intentionally been dropping on the heavy-action areas. I'll go out of my way to drop on the military base or the school. I like those games where I'm either the one to come out on top, or I die in the first 2 minutes.

If H1Z1 wants to set a pacing that already looks as slower or slower than PUBG, I don't know that I'd jump in.

In fact, I need PUBG to speed things up a little bit. PUBG needs less 'hide in a building and home someone opens that door I'm aiming my shotgun at for 10 minutes' and more of the 'I see lots of people running around let's see who I can hit with my shotgun before they down me'.

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