Bluehole only went and gave us a PTS (public test server)! So, those of us that are rabid for new updates to PlayerUnknown’s BattleGrounds (PUBG), can try things before they go live in the main game. Better yet, we’re given access to test out the 2nd map, named Miramar, this time around.
Being treated like a respected player base can’t be under-sold here. Usually a PTS is left for PC gamers, and we just get what we’re given, weeks, sometimes months later.
Giving us the opportunity to actively test and try new things is excellent. Yeah, it could be argued that they should be doing better testing in-house, but who cares? No way that testing on this scale could be done in-house.
Here it is! The 2nd map for PUBG. Released on PC at the back end of 2017, it’s been in rotation for them since.
A desert-style map, filled with arid areas, and make-shift shacks (it looks much nicer than I’ve just made it sound!).
Bluehole have really given Miramar a unique feel and look here, and really something that comes across with a different tone to the original map, Erangel.
Not only that, but there are new weapons and new vehicles to try, too. A sawed-off shotgun to fill your pistol slot, a revolver-style pistol, a Winchester rifle. Weapons that would fit a wild-west theme, I guess?
Different map, sames rules, different approach
Suddenly, we’re faced with a map, the same size as the other, but that’s about where the similarity stops.
Relying on tree-lines, grass and bushes to hide and to use as cover, is suddenly no longer an option. Desert, mountains and little in between, means you commit to wherever you’re going.
Need to move to that new circle? Ok, better hope there’s a vehicle, otherwise that’s a very exposed, very long walk! You’re suddenly much more aware of hills and mountain tops……
Luckily there are plenty of vehicles, including the new camper van and pickup truck. The roads are ok, but off-road is bumpy and often times steep, so it can be a real struggle to move without hugging main routes.
The other thing about Miramar that I really enjoyed, was the accessibility to rooftops on buildings, and the cover etc built into them. You feel like you could have a proper gun fight in a little town. Rooftops, jumping through massive front windows, taking cover. The close-range combat traversal options have changed, and that’s awesome!
Plenty of added verticality, even in smaller town areas is a really nice touch. Very impressed indeed.
So now, you’re assessing your traversal very differently, and in terms of keeping yourself alive, you’re having to take big risks to move from spot to spot.
On the reverse of that, though. If you get a decent gun and scope early-doors, and you’ve landed well within the initial circle. You could be laughing! Taking to height and watching all of these uncovered victims means you get to start taking to sniping and practicing those long-shots.
In the few games I played, people seemed very far away for the bulk of each round. With close combat only taking place in later circles. Sniping and long-rage firefights seemed to be the bulk of the action mid-game.
You’re playing the same game, but man is it different. And different it good!
Change is good!
My understanding is that a lot of PC players don’t particularly like Miramar. Citing the travel distance and a lack of vehicle-friendly terrain as issues.
Truth is, everyone likes to complain, and I’d argue that when people are happy they’re not as vocal. So there’s likely to be loads of people that really like it.
Either way, I really enjoyed having to think and do everything slightly differently. It’s still 100 people being dropped onto an island and the last man standing is the winner. It’s still luck as to what weapons you’ll find and where the circle will go.
This is the same game, but with a slightly different flavour, both in terms of design, and player approach. And this is a welcome difference, adding new variables to your second-to-second thoughts and plans. New content, enjoyable content, and something Xbox PUBG players have been clamoring for.
Who would have thought a desert could quench a thirst?
Aside from having Miramar to play on. This round of tests seems to have brought with it some general changes and fixes.
The whole game seemed to run with a much smoother framerate. Heavy action didn’t seem to cause and major slow down.
I also noticed that there were no clothing items available to pick up, this is important, because it’s a change they were suggesting they made on PC. Populating the map with essentially useless objects was a bit of a waste, and I think it helps with the initial loading in.
I could be wrong, maybe I just never found anything, but in 5 matches, not even seeing a t-shirt, makes it seem like they’ve all been removed.
Each game seemed pretty robust, and apart from a little texture pop-in on the buildings, it was a much smoother game!
I don’t know that the official release date of the map into the main game has been announced yet. But there’s plenty of data and feedback available to Bluehole now, so they’ll no doubt be smoothing off the rough edges, and making tweaks ready for a full-release.
Hopefully, we see more and more use of the PTS, and we all have the opportunity to really help shape this game. At it’s core, it’s wonderful. It’s just been hampered by issues (which have mostly been resolved, and certainly improved upon, frequently!) since release.
Now, we can help with quality testing, and as a pay-off, try new things sooner.
Things are looking good right now for PUBG on Xbox!