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Playerunknown's Battlegrounds vaulting & new ballistics hits test servers overnight [updated]

Update: The developers have extended the test for another day and added support for squad play.

The long-promised climbing & vaulting system coming to Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds will debut on the test servers in a few short hours, developers PUBG Corp. announced today. For us in the UK it’ll be at 2am on Tuesday, or it’s tonight in America. The test period will be brief, giving only 24 hours to check it out – and only in solo mode. We’ll also get to play with Plunkbat’s updated ballistics, which will change a fair bit about how different guns work at different ranges. I am excited for a day of Plunkbat where I understand how neither movement nor shooting work.

The test servers will open at 2am UK time on Tuesday the 16th (which is actually tonight in America – 6pm Pacific, 9pm Eastern), PUBG Corp. said in today’s announcement, then close at 2am on Wednesday. Why so short? Because the stability problems that delayed the previous planned test are still not entirely fixed.

“Although the current test build is not completely stable as of now, we still would like to open the test servers this week even for a short period of time and allow players to test the long-awaited feature – vaulting & climbing,” the devs say. “We were planning to run test servers for about three days but this week’s test will be shorter because of the build’s current state.”

A shame it’s so short but hey, I’ll still peek. Unlike most other test server patches so far on Plunkbat’s journey, this one won’t be pushed live afterwards. Instead, the version 1.0 build is something that’ll remain separate, reappearing expanded and improved over time, until the game’s ready to leave early access. I believe that’s the plan for the new desert map too.

Anyway, this patch first. Climbing & vaulting will will let players hop over small obstacles and climb over big ones, as well as do fancy stunts like leap out of windows. Take a run-up and you’ll go faster, try to climb high enough and you’ll automatically put your gun away. I’m excited for this because it should make for scrappier, less predictable close-range fights, with people leaping over walls to flank and escaping out of windows. The ‘crouch-jumping’ trick in Plunkbat (hit jump and crouch at the same time and you’ll be able to jump a touch higher) is already a bit like vaulting, but this will be accessible to everyone and not feel a bit exploit-y.

Climbing should be interesting too, seeing players end up in more surprising places.

Here’s that old video again:

The ballistics overhaul should also shake up action. Plunkbat already simulates certain aspects of a bullet in flight, with bullet speed and gravity meaning you need to aim ahead of and possibly above distant players, and now it’ll simulate drag too. This means bullets will start to slow in flight, falling faster as they get farther, so shooters will need to compensate more with long-range shots. Oh, and guns are being tweaked a little to better reflect their real-world counterparts – some getting better, some worse.

The net result of all this, the devs say, is that most guns will be fairly accurate at ranges up to about 300 metres, then beyond that you might have a much trickier time if your gun’s not up to it. I find long-range murder quite boring in Plunkbat (both causing and receiving it) so I’m keen to see how much of a difference this makes.

Locational damage is being overhauled too. Necks will now fall into the head hit area, taking almost as much damage as a headshot (25% less) but being protected by helmets. Different guns will have different damage modifiers for different hit locations too, rather than all sharing the same values. One other change that won’t be in this initial test build is reworking limb damage so they take less damage the farther they are from the chest – so shooting feet won’t be as deadly.

Oh, and before you even fire a shot, changes are coming to sights. Weapon zeroing (adjusting your sights to compensate for distance) is becoming “more realistic”. The red dot, holo, and 2X sights are getting adjustable intensity, changed my scrolling the mouse wheel. And 8x and 15x scopes will let you change the zoom level by scrolling – hopefully no more needing to carry a spare 4x?

Whew. The full dev blog post and patch notes explain more changes — and all in more detail — so go read if you’re curious. See you on the test server in a few hours?

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