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Playerunknown's Battlegrounds v1.0 launching overnight

‘Twas the night before Plunkbat, when all thro’ the house
Not a computer was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by Steam with care,
In hopes that Playerunknown soon would be there;
The lads were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of spicy drops danced in their heads.

Barring last-minute setbacks and disasters, version 1.0 of Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds will leave early access and launch tonight. For us in the UK, it’s actually at 7am on Thursday. Remember to leave a can of Red Bull on the mantelpiece for Plunky Claus and to update your drivers.

Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds version 1.0 will launch tonight. The game’s servers will go down at midnight (GMT) tonight, which is 1am on Thursday CET and 4pm on Wednesday in PST. They will relaunch with version 1.0 at 7am GMT on Thursday, which is 8am CET and 11pm Wednesday PST. That’s the current plan, anyway. Hiccups and hurdles may present themselves.

Nvidia today launched their Plunkbat ‘Game Ready’ driver, which they say provides “the optimal gaming experience.” Vague, I know. But perhaps Plunky Claus considers not updating your drivers to be bad behaviour and will leave an M249 in your airdrop.

Plunkbat, to refresh your memory, is a competitive multiplayer shooter which drops 100 players (solo, in duos, or in squads of up to four) over an 8x8km map to wander and drive around settlements and houses looking for weapons, items, and upgrades to murder each other to bits. Matches last thirty minutes, with players being pushed ever closer by a contracting safe circle with electric death outside – though as it doesn’t have respawning, most players are gone long before the half-hour mark. It’s not a serious sim but its ballistics model does require players to compensate for bullet drag, drop, and travel speed, so it’s not Call of Duty either. The only persistent unlocks are clothes, with everything else found (and lost) each round.

And it’s good. It’s really good fun. Playing well and improving feels great, and despite being a serious-looking murdergame it does encourage ludicrous antics and situations. This is the most fun I’ve had in a multiplayer game since the early days of Dota 2. And everyone is playing it. Everyone. It’s the most-played game on Steam by far. Popularity doesn’t mean much but it does mean: 1) matchmaking will place you in a game within seconds, which is handy when death can come swiftly; 2) friends you didn’t expect would ever play a game like this are encouraged to give Plunkbat a go, and playing with pals is great. Good friends will even go along with your insistence that you’re all a bunch of lads and absolute bloody legends on a stag do.

I still insist that Plunkbat’s backstory is one of stag and hen weekends gone horribly wrong. 100 people have come to what they’ve been told is a party hotspot with activities from paintball to boating, then got absolutely hammered, woke up on a plane with a parachute on their back and no idea of how they got there, and just went along with it.

But god, its fashion sense is awful. Truly terrible. Stag weekends, eh?

Plunkbat has been in early access for nine months (three longer than planned), over that time receiving a second map, a climbing & vaulting system, new vehicles, extra weapons, and more clothing. The devs have also broadly polished the game and made it run way faster than in those dreadful early days. Poor performance and lag have been recurrent problems but on the whole, yeah, I’m glad I got onboard during early access and larked all those larks.

No huge surprises are expected for v1.0, as it’s been on the test servers for a fair bit, but it will bring a reworking of leaderboards so only the top 1000 get to see their numbered ranking – the rest of us will only get percentiles. One thing that we do know will come later is an option to pick which map and weather variant you want to play on.

‘s on Steam, innit.

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Alice O'Connor

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When not writing news, Alice may be found in the sea.

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