CK Park here, and I lead the PUBG team responsible for esports balancing and tuning. Phases 1 and 2 are over, and I would like to thank the fans for the great support and thank the players for the amazing skill you’ve shown us.
We’re in the middle of a great run with the PUBG Classics –GLL Grand Slam and MET Asia Series– as well as the upcoming Nations Cup event in Seoul. We hope you’re excited about these events as we continue to drive toward the PUBG Global Championship.
I would like to discuss the upcoming gameplay changes in Phase 3 and the general direction of PUBG Esports game settings.
Philosophy of PUBG Esports Ruleset
We feel competitive integrity suffered when we applied the default live server settings to the professional-level matches without any modifications. Thanks to the sincere feedback from players and fans, we’ve made several improvements in this area since 2018..
There was a gap between the live settings and the esports setting, but this was inevitable for us to achieve our initial goals. However, we are now determined to narrow that gap. Like many of you, all of us here felt that the rules of an esports match that we watch and the rules of a PUBG game we play should be the same. So we are modifying the esports settings while maintaining the entertainment value and competitive integrity of PUBG. This way, we hope that you, as a viewer, can enjoy watching esports, and then have the same experience when you play the game on the live server. We are reviewing esports game settings in multiple ways to achieve this goal.
We have researched and tested to see if there is a map that can be used competitively and is fun to watch without having a big difference in live settings and esports settings. The result is our decision to include Sanhok as an official esports map beginning with Phase 3.
New Map! Sanhok
A map has a direct impact on gameplay in PUBG and it took plenty of discussion and even more testing to actually add Sanhok into the official esports map pool.
Sanhok has been the most played map in the last year, and we are excited to introduce the map in esports. We focused on the following issues before adding Sanhok:
- Will players be rewarded of good skill level?
- Is the RNG element of the map too strong?
- How will the meta change with the addition of Sanhok?
- Will the meta change based on the skill level of the players?
- How long will it take for the players to adapt to the new map?
For the last couple of months, we worked with top-level players, and analyzed their feedback, meta and strategy changes, and their play styles. We hope that adding Sanhok into the competitive map pool will bring the following positive results:
- Map diversity
Esports have been run on two maps (Erangel and Miramar) for more than a year. Our aim is to diversify league structure and team strategies by adding a new map.
- New gameplay
Erangel and Miramar use the same Blue Zone settings, which resulted in similar match pattern on both maps. However, Sanhok uses different Blue Zone settings, making the gameplay noticeably different. We believe that adding Sanhok will bring interesting gameplay into the competitive ecosystem.
- Faster game pace
Sanhok is a relatively small map (4×4 size), and teams do not need to make long rotations for early game looting. You can reach most of your destinations from jumping out of the airplane, which means that initial battles take place that much earlier. Average match time in Sanhok is 23 minutes, about seven minutes shorter than the average match time in Erangel or Miramar. Players will need to stay fully focused on Sanhok with this faster game pace.
- More team fights
Due to the characteristics of Sanhok map, it is difficult to take out an opponent from distance and there are many ways for players to cover themselves. This makes it less likely for teams to lose members in rotation. We expect more intense team fights between full squads.
- Reduced gap between live settings and esports settings
There is a big difference between the live game settings and the esports settings for Erangel and Miramar. However, there is little difference in Sanhok, with the exception of spawn rates for certain items.
With a smaller gap between live settings and esports ruleset, we hope that viewers get to try out what they have seen in esports matches.
Changes made to the Phase 3 ruleset
There were so many impressive moments created by Frag Grenades in the last two phases. However, we also received feedback that Frag Grenade are too strong. They are still great tools to overcome difficult situations, but the drop rates of throwables have been adjusted so that players can use Frag Grenades more discreetly.
- The drop rate of Stun Grenade will be increased slightly;
- The drop rate of Frag Grenade will be decreased heavily;
- The drop rate of Molotov Cocktail will be increased slightly; and
- The drop rate of Smoke Grenade will be increased slightly.
We are sure that there are still some questions you have about the changes to the overall esports ruleset. We’re introducing some changes via this announcement and additional changes for Phase 3 are coming soon.
We will continue to monitor the gameplay of professional players and continue to make esports improvements, even after these announcements. We welcome feedback from the professional players and the fans. For more details, please refer to the SUPER.