PUBG Considering Region Locking Servers to Fix “Poor Matchmaking”

Friends in different regions will still be able to play with each other.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds could be testing region locks for the game according to an official update on PUBG’s Korea developer update portal. This would prevent players from different regions from playing together on the same server.

Spotted on Reddit, the update was posted on the official Naver portal for PUBG, (written in Korean). We’ve translated the post which mentions that in order to fix an “uncomfortable gaming environment” caused by “ping-related matchmaking” PUBG Corp. is considering “operating servers that only players in that region can play [in].” A longer way of saying that region locking is now on the table. Furthermore, players in other regions won’t be able to see foreign servers to play in.

PUBG Corp. will make considerations for players who have friends abroad however. If a player you enjoy playing with lives in a different region, then partying up together will allow you to play on the same servers. In short, all players in a party, regardless of region will be able to play together.

Region lock has been a heavily requested feature within the PUBG community for months, though for reasons other than what PUBG Corp describes as ping-related issues. Instead, players have mostly been asking PUBG Corp to region lock areas that have been accused of fielding cheaters. Unfortunately this line of thinking has led to some xenophobic remarks in the PUBG community, and the validity of the assumption is questionable.

So far the announcement is only available in Korean. We’ve reached out to PUBG Corp. for confirmation of the update and whether this announcement will be made in North America and in English.

PUBG is currently dealing with a massive cheating problem, something PUBG Corp. has cited as the reason why the game’s content updates have slowed. Recently, PUBG Corp. released a new content roadmap for 2018 that promises more maps, more server improvements, and more updates on a two month cycle. For more on PUBG check out our PUBG guides for the latest info, or our PUBG Review.

PUBG on Xbox: 5 things you should know before buying

It’s fun, but it doesn’t work beautifully on Microsoft’s game console yet.

I’m an addict. My drug of choice: PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, the “Hunger Games”-like video game where 100 players paradrop onto an island, scavenge for weaponry and fight to be the last to survive.

I’ve played over 300 hours of PUBG to date, and I’ve now spent several more testing out the long-awaited Preview version of the game for Xbox One, which launched today for $30, £25 or AU$40.

The good news: It’s just as nail-biting and heart-pounding an experience as the PC original. With an assist from Microsoft developer PUBG Corp. has managed to bring over practically every element that made the game great, in spite of the game’s dizzying array of controls. (This is a game where shooting enemies can require pressing buttons to lean out of cover, hold your breath, aim down sights and zero for distance all at the same time.)

The bad: The game simply doesn’t run well, even on Microsoft’s recently released, amped-up Xbox One X. If you’ve got an original Xbox One, I’m not sure I can recommend it at all. Plus, some of PUBG’s gamepad controls still feel pretty awkward.

That said, the PC version had its fair share of issues at launch, too, though it steadily got better with updates. Another place to find the Xbox version is under Microsoft’s “Game Preview” program.

Here are five things Microsoft and PUBG Corp need to improve to earn my money.

Frame rate

Whether you play on Xbox One or Xbox One X, today’s PUBG can often feel like a choppy mess.

Eurogamer’s Digital Foundry has an excellent split-screen comparison between Xbox One and Xbox One X (see embedded video) but the short version is this: The game tops out at 30 frames per second, but can often dip beneath 20 frames per second, or even as low as 15 on the original Xbox One console. That’s abysmal for any game, much less a competitive multiplayer shooter.

Draw distance and pop-in

Video games don’t always render objects “as far as the eye can see”. Sometimes, they only display buildings and trees and items that are fairly close to you, to save on processing power. Draw distance is how far away objects are displayed.

Also, sometimes games will show you very low quality, rudimentary objects from far away, then “pop-in” the higher quality versions when you get close.

On the original Xbox One, the draw distance and pop-in are so bad right now you can’t drive a car at full speed, because you might hit barriers that don’t exist until they decide to show up and totally ruin your day. I certainly did.

Here are a couple examples of less worrying draw-distance and pop-in quirks:

On the Xbox One X, it’s quite a bit better, but it’s still pretty obvious that objects are popping into view.

It’s also super weird to see some of the game’s biggest landmarks, like the military base and the bridges between the islands, are invisible from the air until you get really close. That’s currently the case on both consoles.

Aim assist

There is none.

Unlike most shooters on game consoles, there’s no auto-aim of any sort… not even a little nudge in the right direction as far as I can tell. Which is why most of my fights wound up like this:

Except for that one time a player was kind enough to stand perfectly still, right in front of me. That was nice of them:

As is, you’ll really need to learn to precisely move the analog sticks to hit anything, and you may want to play with their deadzone and sensitivity too. Which actually is a setting you can change, by the way — from the main menu, hit Start to go to the screen where you select your geographical region, then again. (It’s a weird place to keep it.)

I don’t know about you, but I’d really like a teensy bit of aim assist so I’m not flailing around during gunfights. I’m here to wrestle with other players, not the control scheme.

Shouldering a weapon

And speaking of wrestling with the control scheme: One place where the PC version strangely outstrips the console’s is the simple act of precisely aiming a weapon at enemies. In order to aim down the sights, you’ve got to tap the left trigger to enter a totally different “Aim” mode where the rest of your controls change to better suit a sniper role.

But while it’s nice to have easy access to controls to hold your breath, and/or zero in your weapon in “Aim” mode, you can’t easily run away without tapping the left trigger again to “exit” that mode. It leaves you vulnerable. On PC, I’d simply tap and hold the right mouse button to carefully aim, then let go as soon as I needed to run.

On the plus side, I guess it makes sniping a little riskier. PC had too many snipers, if you ask me. Similarly, I think it’s weird that you have to hold down the X button to reload — which takes way longer than on PC! — but it makes the game more interesting when players run out of bullets.

Inventory management

It’s a pain. Any time I’m trying to loot a fallen enemy, it takes so long I’m practically begging for someone to sneak up and kill me. PUBG for Xbox’s inventory system requires tabbing through up to four different columns of items (ones on the ground, ones in your backpack, ones you’re wearing and your equipped weapons) to do simple things like take a scope that’s on the ground and attach it to a particular weapon.

(There was probably an easier way for me to do the above scope swap.)

There are handy shortcuts, like tapping a button to attach an item to a gun automatically, but it still takes a while if you haven’t burned them into your brain. Tapping X will put items into your backpack, and tapping A will equip items or attach them to your weapon, but if you tap X when you meant to tap A (or vice versa) you’ll do the wrong thing — or maybe not grab the item at all.

I respect that Microsoft found a way to bring all the item management elements of PUBG to Xbox by inventing this control scheme… but honestly the PC version’s inventory was already too convoluted. I was hoping for something simpler.

So: Those are the biggest things to think about before you buy PUBG at launch. But you should know they may not be annoyances forever. When I asked about the performance issues, I received this statement from a Microsoft rep:

“In bringing ‘PUBG’ to Xbox One, our goal was to bring the core game experience that fans have played on PC for many months to console. That means the development on the title is still ongoing and work in progress. ‘PUBG’ is launching in Xbox Game Preview, which enables fans to preview and purchase work-in-progress digital titles, participate in the development process and help developers make Xbox One games the best they can be.

“Similar to its development on PC, ‘PUBG’ on Xbox One will continue to receive content new content, updates, optimizations and more in the months ahead.”

Criticism Of Chinese Players On PUBG Explodes On Steam

PlayerUnknown's BattleGrounds Reaches 3M Concurrent Players

PlayerUnknowns Battlegrounds and China

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds officially opened the retail doors to the Chinese market. With it legitimately going on sale in the country, the developers made the decision to allow server sharing with ‘Western’ players. It was at this point that the problems started.

Since then the Steam community boards have been flooded with complaints. Why? Because a high portion of gamers feel that a significant number of the Chinese players are cheating.

The problem with PUBG and cheaters is, in fairness, well known. Even in China. We recently reported how ‘mob justice’ had taken over in internet cafes when cheaters were caught in the act.

A quick peruse of the Steam discussions board, however, clearly shows that ‘western’ gamers are not fans of the Chinese influx and have even called for a blanket banning of all Chinese players or at the very least, a region locking.

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds Beats DOTA2 in Steam Player Count pubg

PUBG and Cheaters

A current post in Chinese on the discussions forum has garnered over 300 responses so far. Now, I can’t understand the Chinese so I have no idea what most of it is all about, but the majority of English speakers fall into 3 categories. They either want region-locking for China, they want all Chinese players removed or the third fall into a fringe racist category which unfortunately undermines some of the more valid comments.

A video has even appeared showing aim-botting, calling it the ‘China experience’.

From my perspective, it’s a tricky point. I totally appreciate how a great game can be ruined by prevalent cheating. CoD MW2 on the PC was ruined online by cheaters. Similarly, Dark Souls has/had problems too. The current ‘China Problem’, however, does clearly seem to be one of significant concern to the community.

Some have gone as far to say that the cheating issue is so bad that if the developers do not do something soon, they’re going to lose their honest player base very quickly.

I’m certainly not saying that cheating has only just started since China joined, but it seems clear that a significant portion of the community thinks it just got a whole lot worse.

What do you think? Should China be region locked? Is it just a case of bad players blaming cheating? What is your solution? – Let us know in the comments