Mixed Reactions to the Latest PUBG Update Even with Sanhok
Although PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is far from “dying” as some claim, pointing to the shrinking player base that is half the size since the game was fully released, it is, in fact, still the most played title on Steam, far ahead of all the competition. The Latest PUBG Update, probably the greatest one the game has ever seen, has motivated many players to return to the game and give it another try. However, the reactions are mixed and largely negative.
New Map: Sanhok
Let us start off with good things, first; the new map, Sanhok. This one has been in production for months and has been finally released on the public server. The reactions so far have been good, people like the new surroundings, return of dynamic weather and quicker pace of the action. The vibe reminds us of many games we played in Vietnam setting although the topography and vegetation sometimes feel out of place. To mention that the game’s tempo here is more reminiscent of Fortnite may perhaps irk some, but that is pretty much the gist of it. There is much more loot on this island, the compounds are close to each other and the action is much tighter. The new QBZ assault rifle is an awesome substitute for SCAR and is available only on this map; pretty much like any new weapon it feels overpowered at the beginning but fits overall just nicely into the PUBG arsenal.
There is a decent number of other changes in the game, a large majority of them aimed to improve the quality of life with bug fixes and performance increases; even the user interface has seen a partial overhaul and streamlining. Yet probably the most important addition was the introduction of the Sanhok Event Pass, the first of that kind for the PUBG.
Sanhok Event Pass
It is highly probable that this free-to-play gimmick entered PUBG due to the direct influence of Fortnite and (estimated) crazy sales that Epic Games is scoring that way. Sanhok Event Pass came with a price tag of $9,99 and enabled anyone who was ready to dish out the money to progress to level 30, gathering various cosmetic items on their way. The first “season” will last from 22 June until 21 July, which is the time frame for people to level as much and as fast as possible. The event has introduced two different categories of the loot, permanent and temporary. Permanent loot can be kept forever, the temporary however will expire some time after it has been obtained, up to the maximum of 30 days.
That is the „theory “, now let us look at the practice. The Event Pass has been – rightfully so – rated with 6/10 on Steam. First of all, it does not provide the adequate value for the money, since 14 of the items unlocked will disappear once the event is over. There are 17 permanently unlocked cosmetic items, but the majority of the leveling rewards are BP currency and experience points. Level 10 gives the players 700 BP – a ridiculous reward, which is a cost of the first crate after the week restart and something that can be earned in half an hour play.
It is worth mentioning that there is a lot of negative feedback considering the cosmetic items that are a part of Event Pass and that non-paying players are being largely locked out from. After getting the feedback from the players the PUBG developers decided to be more accommodating to those that did not buy the first Event pass. Now everyone who hasn’t invested money in season pass will be able to score two additional items, a leather “worker jacket” and a face “earloop” mask, like the one that doctors have on during the surgery – only in black! But players without the pass will still be locked at level 20, while players with the pass will be able to advance all the way to level 30.
Event Missions: The Bad and Ugly
There are several problems with the mission system that helps players level by doing some of the challenges/missions on the daily and weekly basis, but they can all be neatly summoned with the terms “buggy” and “stupid”.
First off, it didn’t help that the PUBG made a change on how the players choose the in-game maps. Previously, one could skip the map he didn’t like; now, it is all about choosing between the “big” Battle Royale maps, Erangel and Miramar and the “mini” BR map, the Sanhok. The daily mission requires the players to play five squad games on Miramar, but the map randomizer keeps throwing the player on Erangel. This means that all the players that join a random team on a map NOT of their preference simply drop out and hope that the next random roll will bring them to Miramar! This results in games with crippled squads where a majority of teams are missing at least one or two players. We have no idea how they wanted to reconcile this decision and put on a time-limited event with designated maps, while at the same time denying the players the ability to choose those very maps.
Second, it is all about how silly and unimaginative the missions get. Some are reasonable (kill 10 enemies, kill an enemy with a sniper at over 300m distance), some underwhelming, but OK-ish (drive 2km with the buggy, drive a 3-seat bike) while there is a number of missions which have absolutely ridiculous demands! Some require the player to not kill anyone in solo until you reach top 3 players; other ask you not to engage anyone or lose health for 15 minutes (so much about promoting sitting still in a cottage during games) while some ask the player to stay alive in Sanhok matches for longer than 30 minutes, which is downright impossible on such a small map.
By far the worst part are bugged missions. Some are literally broken, such as the “Get to top 10 on Sanhok without using a vehicle”, others are bugged and do not register a fulfillment, and some are lacking proper description (whether the particular mission needs to be played in a TPP or FPP, for example). One such bugged daily missions demanded from the player to play 3 squad games on Miramar, however the counter stopped reacting for us after the second mission. After playing seven more squad missions on that map, in different modes (both FPP and TPP) the situation remained the same. This is by far not an isolated incident, these missions are broken for everyone, both non-paying players and those who got the Event pass.
Playing PUBG All Day Long
There is also the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back; a Reddit user did a bit of math and calculated that the amount of PUBG needed to be played in order to get all the rewards in this season would amount to at least 6-8 hours of good, solid gameplay, probably even more due to the bugged missions and the inability of the players to achieve all the success conditions at the same time. For example, you might be able to influence the fight and inflict sufficient kills to complete a mission, but how long will it take you to revive ten fallen comrades in squad fights? Unless you are going for friendly knockdowns – which I am certain many will be doing, and pretty soon – how will you get all those teammates knocked down and revived by you? How about the extreme cases when you need to loot care packages, kill at least three enemies, revive a colleague at least twice, take no damage from the blue zone, reach top 10 and never use any first aids? The last one is an extreme example, but it is a part of the game as well. Yes, admittedly, many of these missions can eventually be achieved, but getting all these circumstances to happen in one game which are beyond player’s control is a both unreasonable, to say the least. Even more, it feels as if the entire even and missions have been designed in such a way so that players don’t even think start taking on this challenge without paying for the Season Event Pass first.
Unfortunately, the server instability, extreme lag and frame rate drops are still the hallmark even of the Latest PUBG Update – not to mention the frequent occurrences where the players couldn’t log in to play for hours. This time, however, the developers were quick to react. The aforementioned increase in cosmetic gifts for non-paying players, then quick statement that all the rewards that did not trigger due to the bugs will be retroactively reimbursed, as well as the promise to resolve the mission and leveling bugs as soon as possible show promise… But PUBG players have been given many promises before, only to see them broken. The question is how long will their goodwill last?
For more, check this out: PUBG Lawsuit Against Epic Games’ Fornite