The very nature of 'battle passes' in multiplayer games is grinding through challenges to unlock cosmetic shinies, but the one Playerunknown's Battlegrounds launched last week to celebrate its new map, Sanhok, was taking the Michael a little. Sure, the beachwear it can eventually unlock is quite nice, but getting there is quite a task - especially with stringent restrictions on levelling up the Event Pass. Doubly so because developers PUBG Corp let players pay extra money to buy Pass levels. People were not best pleased. So the devs have rethought and are loosening it up, making those level 30 bikini bottoms a little more attainable.
"Your feedback regarding the Event Pass has been extremely valuable to us, and we're making some changes based on the feedback received," this morning's announcement explained. Just once, I'd like to see one of these sorts of 'it's a fair cop' statements from publishers open with "Christ! Okay! Fine!"
After a short stretch on the test server, these Pass changes will roll out:
- Event Pass system's progression mechanisms have been adjusted.
- Daily XP Limit 80 → 120
- Minimum play time required to count towards mission progress: 5 minutes → 2 minutes
- Minimum play time required to acquire XP: 5 minutes → 2.5 minutes
- 'Reach top 3 without killing anyone in Solos' mission requirements have been changed. The mission now requires reaching top 3 with 2 kills or less.
So more matches will qualify to boost your Pass progress, and players can earn more XP per day.
It is still a bit weird to have an XP cap at all, given that the Pass will end on July 21st and the rewards aren't tradeable. When a game offers me the option to pay to skip grind (£3.78 for five levels here), every quirk and limitation of that progression system can feel an irksome and calculating attempt to reach into my sock of pennies.
The event does have a free progression track, mind, open to all players whether they buy the premium Pass. Its rewards are mostly temporary use of several popular items from pay-to-open crates, giving a fleeting taste of a billionaire's lifestyle, but a jacket and mask are for keepsies.
This week's Update #16 will bring a few other changes too. It'll make footsteps louder, fix Sanhok's thatched roofs not making footstep noises, bring "optimized memory encryption mechanism to decrease lag", and fix a bug which meant the view down a weapon's sights and its bullet trajectory could be slightly misaligned ("most noticeable with the QBZ and crossbow", they say). That's all good news.
One spot of bad news: another cosmetic crate which requires a paid key to unlock is being added to the pool of random crate rewards. The Aviator Crate, which currently exists as a separate crate you have to specifically choose, is hitting the pool in Update #16. The pool will now have five pay-to-open crates and five free-to-open, with basically a 50/50 chance you'll get one needing a key to unlock. Which sucks. The odds of getting anything good out of crates are already so low that... well, I've mentioned that irksome suspicion that a game is reaching for my pennysock. But hey, Sanhok is a grand map, and I'll take cosmetic microtransaction hell over paid DLC maps any day.