Paladins, wizards, magic spells, unicorn motorbikes, and crafting are coming to Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds with the silly Fantasy Battle Royale event mode celebrating April Fools’ Day. Starting Wednesday, it’s Plunkbat, right, but with fantasy classes. What I most like is how all this is dressed as shoddy LARP gear: the Paladin in tinfoil greaves; the Barbarian wearing a Buster Bluth muscle suit; the Wizard in his dressing gown; the Ranger with two off-brand Pringles tubes as thigh-mounted quivers; the unicorn mount that’s a motorbike with a plush unicorn head strapped to the front. This live-action trailer is great too.
While most April Fools’ jokes in video games are bad, I do like when developers actually commit to the joke and make their joke real. Fantasy Battle Royale will start at 8am (midnight PDT) on April 1st then run until 7:59am on April 8th. I’m well up for some fantasy battling with the laaads.
I quite fancy a go on the Wizard myself, who has the lowest HP but can fling fireballs and meteor showers with gay abandon. The Barbarian has high health and movement speed, a big ol’ sword, and a perk that boosts movement speed as they hit enemies, which sounds fun. The Ranger snipes with a crossbow and can also hurl Flash Powder to blind enemies and buff allies’ damage reduction. And the Paladin can heal, slow enemies, and shield charge – but can’t climb because their hands are full with their banister mace and bin lid shield.
The mode will bring 20 teams of four to Erangel (here known as the Dragon’s Isle), and no there’s no forced party composition. Two vehicles will be around, the Noble Steed (the motorbike) and Dragon Wagon (a repainted UAZ), but they’re slower and less resilient than usual.
Oh, and it’ll have a crafting system. We’ll be looting crafting materials to upgrade our class-specific weapon, necklace, and ring for more powerful perks.
A special event calls for special prizes, and Fantasy Battle Royale will let us get the LARP costume pieces for keepsies. Some are bought with Gold earned by completing Fantasy Battle missions, while others are sold for regular BP earned by normal play. They will also be sold for real cash for people who’d rather skip all that.
This frivolity also lets PUBG Corp squeeze in some experiments they’ve been thinking about.
“A big part of Battle Royale is survival and we’ve been curious what crafting on the Battlegrounds might look like,” the developers said in the announcement, and that this event mode “gave us the perfect opportunity to try out a crafting system”. Though they do stress that “none of this means that these test features are going to appear in normal PUBG matches tomorrow, or ever for that matter, but it does finally give us a good way to get them out to you and gather your feedback so we can decide whether or not to develop them further.”
They did also try to head off grumbling from players who want other things more, saying “it’s important for us that you know Fantasy BR wasn’t some giant use of our development resources.” They continued, “It is mostly some creative new art on top of a few bits of code to change how things that already exist in PUBG work. We know that what we spend our time on is important to you, especially while some persistent issues remain unfixed right now.”
As a lapsed daily player, mate I’ll take wizards over whatever else. An event mode might be a low priority for regular players but this’ll certainly get me back in for a look.