PUBG - the first popular "battle royale" online format

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, or simply PUBG, is the action game that made the "battle royale" genre known around the world. The game was not the first of its kind, but it set the canons reproduced by dozens of other shooters, including the Call of Duty series. Landing on the battlefield, collecting weapons and supplies, maneuvering within the confines of a narrowing circle, fighting the last survivors in a tiny area where even a bush or boulder can give an advantage. Situations familiar to many have given the classic a solid margin of safety - today PUBG doesn't even think about retiring. Let's find out why it's appealing to the public these days.

What is a "battle royale"?

If you had asked this question in the early 1990s, it would have been answered not by gamers, but by fans of American wrestling. "Royal Rumble" was the name given to a contest where 30 wrestlers threw each other out of the ring until only one was left inside. The show inspired the Japanese journalist Kosyun Takami to write a book with a similar title, Battle Royale. Only the author replaced the ring with an island inside a totalitarian state, jocks in tights - with schoolchildren, and in addition gave the characters weapons with which they had to fight among themselves. The winner, according to the plot, was rewarded, and the dead - eternal oblivion.

Takami took a long time to publish his novel, as Japan at that time was struggling to recover from the economic crisis that had spawned a wave of juvenile delinquency. The writer was accused of an attack on morals, and no one dared to take his text to print. But the journalist proved to be stubborn: after three years of searching for a publisher, he finally pushed the book into the masses. Soon Kinji Fukasaku made a movie based on the book. At the turn of the century, both works gained cult status, and the term "battle royale" went far beyond wrestling shows.
The genre was lucky to be born twice. When the work of the Japanese began to be forgotten, Susan Collins' book The Hunger Games became a bestseller across the ocean, which also described the gladiatorial battles of teenagers. Soon the film adaptation with Jennifer Lawrence came along as well - since it all reminded us a lot of "The Battle Royale", the old ideas got a new life. But more importantly, in 2012, when The Hunger Games was released, the creation of amateur modifications was already flourishing among gamers. If the entertainment allows you to add new modes, fans took advantage of it and reproduced in an interactive form stories seen on the silver screen or read in books. So, for example, arose the Hunger Games mod for the popular "sandbox" Minecraft. And designer and DJ Brendan Green, who used to spend his evenings with the military shooter Arma 2, decided to remember the classics.

Brendan's attention was caught by the DayZ modification for Arma, which added zombies to locations. Combined with realistic graphics, open world, vehicle usage and hardcore shooting simulation, the walking dead made the game a Hollywood-style suspenseful experience. Nevertheless, the action game lacked rules that could make sense of running around the map, random skirmishes, and survival. So the basic principles Green took from the book "The Battle Royale": the participants of the match appear nearby, collect from the crates of any equipment they can grab, and run scattered to the nearest shelters. Zombies, of course, disappeared into oblivion, so as not to get underfoot. But the question arose: how to encourage the players to take active action?

In Kosun Takami's novel, the contestants were forced to fight: if no one killed anyone in a day, the victim was chosen by lot - and a charge reliably attached to the poor guy's body was triggered. In addition, there were "red zones" on the battlefield, and trespassing into them was also punishable by death. But in the game such decisions are questionable, because the blind fortune should not affect the events stronger than the skill of the gamer. What Green did was simple: instead of random eliminations, he devised a constantly narrowing circle. At first, everyone operates on a huge map, but over time the boundaries get tighter and tighter, and things move toward a final battle on a tiny patch of land. And since long sessions made the audience tired, it was this mechanic that ensured DayZ: Battle Royale's popularity.
The second important innovation, landing on the map with a parachute, was invented by Green when he transferred his modification from the second part of Arma to the third part. He allowed players to choose the point where their survival begins, which is a serious strategic decision. If some would prefer a poorly-stocked but quiet place, others are ready to rush into the thick of battle for the sake of cool guns and solid armor. For two years the author has been perfecting his creation. During this time the pseudonym of the developer - PlayerUnknown - became known to the fans of shooters all over the world. Everyone knew that it was he who makes the benchmark "battle royale".

In January 2015, the Korean company Bluehole offered Brendan Green to release his own project instead of remaking someone else's. He immediately agreed, because he was given ideal conditions, including a substantial fee, creative freedom, and the help of a team of professionals who had already had a hand in multiplayer games. This is how PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds was born, the individual techniques and mechanics of which are used by anyone who intends to create a shooter by the rules of Battle Royale.

Getting to know PUBG

The essence of the game is simple: you land, find a weapon, kill everyone. But it is extremely difficult to implement this scheme in practice, and the chances of a beginner in general are close to zero. Lucky still, if you enter at least the top 10 survivors. Therefore, you should study PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds thoroughly, not disdaining training. The first thing you are invited to approve the appearance of the character and give him a name. Scatter of all sorts of settings and runners from role-playing games is not here, but there is a choice of sex, face and the starting set of clothes - the shooter does not need more. However, for the in-game money there is available additional decorations for the hero, from pink pantaloons to polka dots backpacks. It is worth immediately noting that the virtual currency PUBG, G-coins, spent only on fashion - to strengthen yourself in a battle for coins is impossible. But to get a fashionable bow, exchanging real money for digital, is quite real.
Training mode is not a full-fledged match, but just a testing ground, allowing you to learn the controls and touch different types of equipment. Very useful for those who came to the game for the first time. No one will kill you here, but you have a chance to try out all the guns, as well as backpacks, body armor, helmets, sights and other rifle equipment. During training, your character appears on an island of buildings with useful items, vehicles, shooting galleries, and shelters of all varieties. You can take any rifle, shotgun, or pistol, find the right ammo for them, and run around shooting anything that moves. Or take a powerful telescope, get in the car, drive away and try to play the role of an ambush sniper. If you see red splatter in the scope after the shot, the target is hit.

It is immediately clear that the competition in multiplayer will not be an easy walk: each gun has three types of aiming, felt recoil and scatter, bullets fly on a realistic trajectory, not all shelters protect equally well. Even reloading time varies between weapon models, and in close combat it is fractions of a second that count. Also the movement is important: somewhere it is advantageous to run at full height, and somewhere - get down, not to mention the cases when crawling on the belly in thickets of grass saves your life. The Q and E keys allow you to peek out from behind obstacles, and the V key toggles between third-person and first-person views, not to be neglected either. If the camera behind you gives you a better view around the corner, the eye view is more convenient for shooting at barely visible targets. Training makes it possible to master all these subtleties. And afterwards - practice.

From the main menu there are four types of combat: "Normal", "Rank", "Arcade", and "Custom". The first is the classic "battle royale. In ranked battles allowed players from level 80, and user mode allows you to configure the rules of the match and invite your friends. Here you can, for example, organize races on different types of vehicles or run a zombie mode, where some act as people, and others - as the walking dead. As for the "Arcade", it is a firefight according to the rules of dematch: participants are divided into two teams of 8 people and fight on the map until one of the squads completes 50 kills. If neither side completes the task, after 10 minutes the points are tallied - whoever has more, wins. But no matter how fun these contests are, they only serve to spice up the main course in PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds.
"The Battle Royale", on the other hand, consists of several modes to choose from. You can play alone ("Solo"), try to survive with a partner ("Duo") or as part of a squad of four. If there is no one to invite to the party, click on the single-player format, then "Confirm" - and after entering the lobby the match search will start. To fight requires a hundred participants, although more often the battlefield gets ninety and a tailspin. Still, the crowd is impressive, and while everyone is connected, the game gives you the opportunity to stretch out in neutral territory, check the keyboard, mouse sensitivity and sound. Depending on the map, there are also mini-games like soccer or snowball in such a location. But you can't run after the ball for long: the timer counts down the last seconds before the landing, and people who were just cheerfully throwing snowballs, go to kill each other.

The adventure begins on board the plane, flying over the map on a random trajectory. You have to press the F button to jump out of it, but it's more expensive to jump out at random. First you need to choose the right moment and figure out what kind of terrain is located below - it is not profitable to land on the river or in an open field, because there are no weapons and supplies. In addition, to jump in the company of a crowd of players - means to fly with them to the same location and to get into a hard bind after landing. Usually such gangs rush to places with rich prey, but many die there as well. To see this, look at the survivor counter in the first minutes of the battle: about a quarter of a hundred get a return ticket in the hope of snagging better equipment.

You land without supplies and guns, so you have to rush to the nearest building and find something useful there. If you're lucky, you'll immediately collect the necessary set: gun, ammo, armor, backpack and medicine. And if fortune is not on your side, the kit will be incomplete. Sometimes the party picks up a lot of dodgers like grips, sights, flame throwers, but suitable rifle is not around - and the first time he has to run with his grandfather's double barrel or machete, depending on your luck. At the same time, you can not get carried away searching, because the area of military action is constantly narrowed. To assess the situation it is enough to open the map, which is responsible for the button M, and check the location of the circle. Those who landed in the active area get a head start - they have time to prepare more thoroughly for combat. The rest have to run or drive away from the impending electric wall. There are several such narrowings of the circle per match - with each new phase its boundary moves faster and hurts more. Once in the circle of the first phase, you can still get out and heal. But in the later phases to be behind the barrier - certain death.
In addition to the narrowing of the circle, the participants of the match experience two more regular events. The first is a parcel drop (or airdrop in gamer jargon): from time to time a helicopter flies over the map and drops a container with valuable equipment to a random point. The place of the fall is marked by a column of red smoke, which can be seen from a distance. You can take a risk and engage in a scramble for the loot, or, conversely, bypass the crate, as the showdown around it is always brutal. Some do the trickier thing: they hide in anticipation of the final fight to shoot the winner and take the loot for themselves. But even this tactic requires caution - what if the exact same hunter is sitting nearby? The second regular event is the "red zones", spotted by the developers in the book and movie "The Battle Royale". We are talking about artillery fire on a randomly selected location, which makes moving around it extremely dangerous.

In other words, in PUBG your character can be killed by anything: whether it is a stray bullet coming from somewhere, or caught in an explosion, or the boundary of the circle. Due to inexperience, it happens that you get blown up on your own grenade or fall from a cliff on the run. At first such incidents discourage you, but with time you gain experience and a thrill: can I survive this time? So that no one gave up, the game marks even small achievements with experience points, medals and levels. Survived two phases of the circle? Already good. Kept on the map for so many and so many minutes? Also not bad. And at the same time, you can participate in events - mini-quests that bring rewards in the form of costumes for the character, player emblems and other decorations. For example, it is necessary to pick up a helmet, bulletproof vest and backpack in five hours - there is nothing difficult in such missions. But they also do not give special advantages over the enemies.

Basics of Tactics

What really matters on the battlefield is competent behavior that allows you to stay alive as long as possible. Tactics in PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds plays a huge role, so it is not unreasonable to use a number of rules that are useful in moving around the map and colliding with the enemy. And the main law of survival is that stealth is more advantageous than action. This is not the kind of shooter where shots on the run, grenade throws on the jump, bottom break under machine gun fire bring success. Noise and running make you conspicuous - with all the consequences that come with it. It's up to the gunfighters, who pause between lap phases in ambushes, avoiding roads, large clusters of houses, and open spaces, to draw the battle to its conclusion. Bridges have a particularly unfortunate reputation: better to cross a river by swimming than by huddling on a strip of asphalt bounded on both sides.
Ambushes are ambushes, but you also need to move, because the boundaries of the combat zone are not standing still. If there is no car nearby, there is only running - it can be accelerated by throwing your weapon over your shoulder (X key on the computer). To ensure that no one heard your stomping, it is better to remove your shoes before the match. It won't affect your movement speed, but it will make your steps quieter. Don't forget that many of your opponents use good headphones and are quick to react even to weak sounds. Most beginners "fell" during the search of buildings - to reduce the risk of being detected, you should close all the doors behind you. In the same way it is not difficult to set a trap: Thinking that in a house with closed doors no one has ever been, the enemy will rush in and get caught. But in this case, you must act quickly, keep the entrance under the gun and not go too close to the windows.

Painkillers and energy drinks are your friends. Before each run you must fill up your character with them until the yellow bar above the health indicator at the bottom of the screen is full. What does this do in practice? Automatic healing after an injury. Crossing dangerous terrain like a street between houses or a field surrounded by hills you always risk getting hit. If the enemy is lurking in the distance it's hard to know where he is shooting from. Lying down in the grass to heal is not an option either, as this makes you not only an easy target but also a stationary one. The only thing left is to zigzag to the nearest cover, and during this time your character is sure to catch a bullet or two - this is where the drunk stimulants come in handy. Although you'll have to find them first. Sometimes, when you search for supplies at short notice, you find only medicines or only energy.

But suddenly you decide not to hide, but to take the fight - how to act in this case? The greatest power inside have high-speed machine guns, shotguns, grenades and Molotov cocktails. Rifles are dominating on the middle and long range, you are better to combine shooting with simple maneuvers: the side-to-side tilting of the character by pushing Q and E, changing straight and bent positions of the body, peeking from behind different shelters. The main thing is to make your head twitch - the shot to it is almost always flying, and this way it will be difficult for the enemy to aim. Since your character rotates following the mouse movement and becomes more visible as a result, keeping your disguise intact is helped by the Alt-clicked third-person view.
One of the most dangerous things to do in a match is to evade the impending boundaries of the circle. To avoid such situations, you must follow the alerts and move to safety in advance, even if there is an uncharted house behind you. Because there's a real hunt for fugitives who have been patient to the last. So it is a risky step to go straight from the edge of the circle to the center. But if you miss the right moment, it's better to spend precious seconds looking for a motorcycle, a buggy or a car, which are often located by the side of the road. On wheels, the chance of skipping under the fields is increased by the speed and strength of the vehicle. However, you can survive without it: the main thing is not to rush to safety in a straight line and save your first-aid kits with stimulants for the sprint.

Weapons and equipment

There are a lot of guns in PUBG, so it's hard to know which one is better. At the start of the match you don't choose a gun - whatever you got, you have to pick it up. If the enemy who fell with you in the same location only got a machete, then even a dud pistol gives you a power advantage. But as events unfold and buildings are searched, the player faces a choice that determines survival and eventual victory. Let's take a closer look at virtual firearms.

It has already been said about the usefulness of the shotgun in the four walls: two shots from the S686 or Saiga at point-blank range - and any enemy is sent back to the lobby. Another good one is the Vector submachine gun, which uses .45 caliber ammunition. Not much killing power, but the rate of fire is record-breaking: the turn from the Vector is a powerful argument in a close-range showdown. Nevertheless you spend most of the match with the rifle. The main calibers in this class of weapons are two - the "NATO" 5.56 and the "Soviet" 7.62. The first uses the M16A4, M416 and SCAR-L, while the latter is needed for the Kalashnikov assault rifle, the Simonov carbine (SKS) and the famous "karyak" - Kar98K. All these guns are not hard to find on the map. There are also less killing samples, but it is better to change them at the first opportunity to something listed above. And the coolest guns, such as the AWM sniper, can be found only in the airdrop. It's worth noting that some weapons do not give the effect you expect from them. For example, the silent VSS "Vintorez", familiar to many fans of shooters, here shoots pistol bullets caliber 9 mm and does not do wonders on the battlefield.
Various accessories, which can also be found on the map, help to improve your weapon. Flame arrestors, compensators, silencers, tactical grips, stocks, butts and forearms, magazine extensions and cartridges, laser pointers and sights of all kinds - there's just about everything. But the add-ons are not universal - each fits a limited number of guns. For example, a quick access magazine and a folding stock for submachine guns can't be attached to the M16A4, and a flame thrower made for it won't fit to the SKS. The most "omnivorous" in this sense sights, presented in the game a mass of options: there is a holographic, collimator, optics with a magnification of 2x, 3x, 4x, 6x, and 12x sniper friend, available only in eirdrops. However, the magnification does not yet guarantee high efficiency. In close or medium-range combat the red dot of the collimator is much more convenient than a powerful eyepiece with a limited field of view. And when attacking from afar the magnification ratio of the sight should be adjusted with the range of fire - the Emka has 100 meters by default. The Page Up and Page Down keys allow you to set the desired setting.

A special item in the arsenal is the frying pan - the unspoken symbol of the game and also the most powerful melee weapon. It's not so rare, but very useful: with proper skills one can creep up to the enemy and knock him out with a blow on the head, and hanging under the backpack the object of kitchen utensils helps to protect your ass from the wounds. If a tire iron, sickle and machete are practically useless, it never hurts to take a frying pan with you.

Guns, ammo, and dodgers are not the only items on your equipment list, but you also need supplies, body armor, a helmet, and a backpack. The first are bandages, first aid kits, painkillers, energy and gasoline for transport - yes, sometimes the map comes across wheelbarrows and boats with an empty tank. In addition, it is useful to take a few grenades: fragmentation and stun grenades will help in the storming of the building, and the smoke grenade will cover during the change of position under fire. As for the other items, they come in three classes, depending on their quality. That is, the third level vest withstands more damage than the light protection, and in the third backpack holds more supplies. Without the bag you can't go far at all: the inventory is only enough for medicines, one gun and a clip for it.
PUBG surprises those who think the game is a pure shooter where marksmanship alone is sufficient for success. All sorts of items matter, and the skill of picking them up ("looping") is just as important to survival as dexterity with weapons and tactical wits. You never know what will come in handy at any given moment. But no matter how the party turns out, ammo of the two main calibers, a couple or three dodges, armor, a helmet, and a set of consumables should always be on hand.

Maps and locations

When PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds first gained popularity, it had only one map. Today there are five of them, and you can't choose your favorite one before the match, and the developers continually bring new areas to the court of gamers - to explore them, you need to spend a lot of time and effort. Although to understand the issue is not as difficult as it seems. To look at the map, just press the M button on your keyboard: the window will immediately open a detailed plan with mountains, rivers, buildings, as well as your position, circle and "red zone", if it has already begun. For orientation it is very convenient to put a marker (for example, to choose a building to which you need to keep the way) - it will be displayed on the azimuth scale at the top of the screen. Now let's talk about the five polygons in more detail.

  • Erangel is the oldest and largest map with an area of 8x8 kilometers. It is called "Russian": Pochinki, Sosnovka, Primorsk, Rozhok, Zharki, Severny, Lipovka, Yasnaya Polyana, and other settlements are located here, each of which is famous among fans. For example, the Sosnovka military base has a maximum concentration of valuable items, including third-level vests and helmets, only two bridges lead from there, and both are already ambushed by the fifth minute of the match. Another "place of power" - the school near Rogozhok. Due to its location in the center of the map and the rich loot, a lot of people land here. In the upper right corner there is a small island with a fortress - in team mode you can gather here quite well, but one of the players must find gasoline and fill up the boat to have time to get to the big land before the circle narrows.
  • Miramar is a map designed in a Latin American style. Unlike Erangel, which is dominated by meadows, hills and groves, here is desert terrain with cacti and bare rocks. Of primary interest to gun and equipment hunters are the towns of El Pozo and Los Leones, as well as the centrally located San Martin and the military base to the northeast.
  • Sanoc will delight those who would like to shoot in the impenetrable jungle. The atmosphere of the island is added by wooden huts on stilts, temple ruins and other exotics seen in movies about Vietnam. Map is not the biggest - 4x4 kilometers, but it is interesting, and even with a dynamically changing weather. Tropical rain can give a head start to fans of stealthy combat and weaken the snipers, aiming at the victim for half a kilometer. In addition, only here you can ride tuk-tuks - Asian moped cabs. Places of active gathering of prey are the camps "Alpha" and "Bravo", the resort, the towns of Pai Nan and Mongnai.
  • Vikendi - the winter kingdom, where there is an amusement park, a spaceport, a coal mine, and where, because of the abundance of snow, clothes of protective color will only de-mask you. An important feature of the map is the railroad, which runs the train, making stops at the stations. If the route is suitable, you can jump in the car and take a ride. But it is worth remembering that each station is a great place to ambush such "passengers."
  • Paramo is a new map that only recently got out of test mode. It is a small island of 3x3 km with a colorful attraction - an active volcano. So it is better not to step in the lava, so as not to burn before time. But on the main area of the map, the natural phenomenon has no effect. Another interesting nuance was the fact that here the characters landed from a helicopter, not a plane. In addition, "Emergency Evacuation" works here - if you find an item with this name and apply it, you can quickly move from outside the circle to a safe zone.

What is PUBG Labs?

Since its official release the game has changed a lot: instead of one map it now has as many as five, the developers keep rolling out new modes, functions, equipment items, modes of transport, not to mention the options for customizing the appearance of characters for G-coins. Previously, the test server was the only place where such innovations were made. He is still active, which is easy to make sure the owner of a computer version of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds from the Steam store - here to download available as a shooter, and Test Server, which is installed separately. But since you can't test all the ideas on such a server, the developers opened PUBG Labs. This experimental environment will be interesting for everyone who wants to follow the development of the project and know in advance what exactly will be added to it after testing.

Many of the game's innovations, from the Paramo map to the races and hardcore mode without an interface, went through the approval of the public in PUBG Labs. The work with rankings is also noteworthy. If before there was only one way to gain reputation - to survive on the map as long as possible, now the algorithm evaluates your skills: how active you are, how often you shoot and hit the target, what weapons you use. Such metrics are important for those who monitor their own progress and skill development, not just sitting in the bushes, waiting for the next phase of the round. For gamers taking part in prize competitions, it's not necessary to say about it - for them, skill evaluation is critically important.

About the problems of the newcomer

Of course, PUBG is a living classic and an authoritative representative of the genre. But not everything in the game is as cloudless as we would like it to be. After all, in addition to the challenges on the battlefield, a person running the shooter for the first time will face several difficulties. Let us start with the balancing of matches - there is simply no balance: newcomers are thrown into the mix with experienced veterans who have been playing for many years and have earned more than a hundred levels. Although the number in the character profile does not affect his/her characteristics, it objectively reflects the user's experience. If you have the fourth level and your enemy has the four-hundredth, the situation is obviously not in your favor - if only because the enemy knows the terrain and weapons better, uses the consumables more cleverly and probably has learned a couple of tactical tricks.
The second difficulty is created by cheaters - people who use illegal programs to bypass the conventions of the virtual world. Simply put, cheaters. With the help of pirate software, they can see opponents through walls, penetrate trees and rocks, shoot straight into the head from any distance. Actually, because of the situations when "the bullet came from nowhere and killed in the shelter", the game has mixed reviews on digital platforms, including the already mentioned Steam. Another nuance is that it can be difficult to understand whether your opponent outplayed you tactically or really cheated. "Replays" help to unmask the cheater - A record of your opponent's actions: if he, for example, follows the movements of the enemies that are not in his field of vision, or starts firing at them before they appear in the line of fire, it is a sign of dishonesty. But what if the man is well oriented by sound? It's almost impossible to prove anything in these situations. Therefore, the topic of cheaters remains painful for those who begin their acquaintance with the "battle royale".

Finally, the technical part. No, the game does not require fancy hardware and normally runs even on a relatively weak computer - it is enough to lower the graphics settings. But the connection quality should be high, otherwise the signal path time from the server to you and back ("ping") will be too long. This is fraught with the fact that under equal conditions, the enemy will see you a little earlier than you do him, and respond faster. The optimal ping value for PUBG is 50 milliseconds. 100 is still bearable, but if the figure is higher, the match can be considered a failure in advance. Fortunately, there are many applications that allow you to check the ping before the session in multiplayer.


Despite strong competitors such as Fortnite, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds is still the benchmark for "battle royale" with classic genre rules and realistic shooting mechanics. Rarely does a game reward strong emotions for both winning and just participating. But PUBG manages it: during the match you feel like a hero of an action movie, who takes care of his own survival and fights a lot of opponents. Additional modes only fuel interest, and pairs and squads battles allow you to have fun with your friends.

23 July 2021