If you have been asleep this past year like me, you are starting to understand the true power that is PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds. If you have been awake and playing the game or any one of its friendly neighbors out there, then you understand this trend in gaming which has swept over pretty much all game styles in the last few months. Here are some thoughts as to why it is so popular.
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No matter the numbers, you are in a quest for survival. You enter the map quickly, maybe with a few assets and cool skin you picked up in one of the many stores online. You begin by gathering and arming yourself. A quick grab to build your character is fun and makes for a great origin story. Then suddenly the hunt begins. The level of competition is what makes this game format fun. No one wants to be the first to die, but it happens. It is how you rank in a match that becomes your baseline for enjoyment. It can be repeated over and over. Maybe I was 68 one match, and later that night I ended up at 10. Seeing how far you get in a game is a personal metric you can always take with you. It is your badge.
Survival tactics are everything in humans. There have been books, movies, and life coaches about the very subject. It is why zombie scenarios are so fun to think about. What would you do to survive? Many of us believe we’d be kick ass fighters in a wasteland, when in reality everyone would fall apart. How you navigate a map and acquire resources is something which speaks to you as a player. Maybe you hide for twenty minutes to make it into the top fifty. Maybe you land smack in the middle of a heavy area and start shooting from the gate. Most of us lie somewhere in between and change our strategies based on experience. After all, isn’t that what survival is all about?
There are a huge host of games out there with these elements. PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds leads the pack quickly followed by H1Z1 and Fortnite, both of which are very popular. And there will be more to come. If we have learned anything in games over the years, it is that people make clones of game styles. MMOs, MOBAs, mobile games, and now the battle royale games. They will come in a wave. The big question is which tweaks and styles will rise to the top? For now all of these offerings are solid fun. Like all game designs, we will likely see a game from Blizzard in a year or two that takes the best practices tuned to perfection. My orc is ready to enter Warcraft Battlegrounds, are you?
Can it be an Esport?
Esports are hot right now. Overwatch League and League of Legends are building the market and stepping up on making this past time mainstream. PUBG by nature is almost forced into being an esport. However, I don’t think that is the proper category to put it in. It is much more of a spectator sport. The game lends itself to a story much more than quick play matches. It can be drawn out over time and have a narrative throughout. I do think many people will watch a PUBG League one day, but the word League may not be used to describe it.
These games are fun. They harness what made PvP amazing in classic MMOs like Dark Age of Camelot and Ultima Online. It is the awareness in a person that rises when they are in a hunt or be hunted scenario. It is the essence of PvP and it is so much fun. If you have not tried these games, give them a shot. They will be growing quickly from now to 2020.