clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

PUBG patch changes blue zone speed, altering the game’s pace

The zone now moves slower in mid-game, does more damage in late-game

A dune buggy sits on a ridgeline on PUBG’s Miramar map. PUBG Corp.
Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds developer PUBG Corp. announced details of a new patch today, one that promises to significantly alter the pace of the game.

In every battle royale-style game, there’s a zone of death that constantly creeps in from the edge of the map. In Battlegrounds, that outside force is called the “blue zone,” which constantly pushes heavily armed players closer and closer together to give the game its trademark, pulse-pounding tension. Tweak that aspect of Battlegrounds, and you fundamentally change its overall pace.

A graph describing the changes made to PUBG’s blue zone on 4/11/2018.
A chart published by PUBG Corp. shows the speed and rate of damage before and after today’s patch.
PUBG Corp.

Today’s patch slows the rate at which the blue zone contracts during the mid- and late-games, while slightly increasing its speed in the early game.

A common strategy early on in a round of Battlegrounds is to head away from the center of the map, and into the gap between the blue zone and the safe area, to do your initial looting. With other players naturally drawn toward the center of the safe area, spots outside of it tend to be relatively conflict-free.

Today’s change means players will have less time to exercise this strategy. Similarly, they will have more time in the later part of the game to carefully get into position around the edge of the final few zones, moving tactically between the blue zone and the edge of the safe zone through lightly trafficked areas of the map.

There’s a catch, however: The damage caused by the blue zone in the late-game has been amped up significantly. Get caught out of position, and there’s less of a chance you’ll survive.

That could make the so-called “pacifist” win, where players simply keep their heads down in the final circle and hope they have enough medical supplies to ride it out until the end, harder to pull off. At the very least, the patch will make it much more difficult to time when you need to use your medical supplies.

Overall, expect mid-game to be a much more tactical affair, as players will suddenly have a little more time to plan their next moves. Duos and squads should see the biggest benefits, as two or more people can now take a bit more time to communicate.

Additionally, PUBG Corp. has reduced the risk of a so-called “extreme safe zone,” or a safe zone centered on a particularly remote portion of the map. The safe zone will also “increasingly favor areas with land over areas with water.” Long story short, fewer games will end up with a couple of players stranded on a beach or deserted island. Instead, there’s a much higher likelihood that there will be some meaningful cover between them.

Safe zones will also appear earlier on Erangel, Battlegrounds original map, and can now be seen from the airplane on Miramar, Battlegrounds’ newer, more arid map. Additionally, Miramar is getting some added points of interest with three new areas, all connected by new roadways, giving some much-needed variety to its most desolate drop zones.

Alterations to PUBG’s Miramar map, detailed by the developers in a Steam post on 4/11/2018.
Details of the three newly improved areas of the Miramar map. Expect roads as well as new structures in these spots.
PUBG Corp.

Finally, there won’t be any clothing to speak of included as in-game loot from now on. So if you want that sweet pair of sunglasses or the leather duster, you’ll need to murder someone. Alternately, you could just buy one of the game’s loot crates and hope for the best, or pony up the cash on the Steam marketplace to purchase them outright.

You can read the full patch notes on the game’s Steam page.