Good news, Plunkchums: both the old island and the new desert maps are now live in the test version of Playerunknown's Battlegrounds. Both Erangel and Miramar, to use their real names, are on the test servers all the way through the Battle Royale 'em up's exit from early access on December 20th. Previous tests have only had one or the other. The game will randomly select a map when each match begins, as there's (currently?) no official way to select one. I don't want to quit the test servers because it feels so much more like a finished game (well, except for the lag and crashes) but I have missed Erangel a bit so grand, mix it up and let's go.
"We want to test Erangel in conjunction with all the new features as we make our final adjustments for PC 1.0," developers PUBG Corp explained in this morning's announcement.
They've made a few changes to Erangel in this latest test build too, fixing the insides of buildings being way too dark, adding the dinky little Aquarail boat to this map too, popping Miramar's new ghillie suit into the Erangel crate drop loot tables, and splashing a wet effect over vehicles in the rainy variant.
And yes, the devs are aware of the crippling rubberbanding lag which afflicts the first few minutes of test server rounds. They say "our engineers have been working to alleviate these problems" and that "we are looking into different solutions and hope to see some improvements soon."
So, the desert. While young Matthew has gushed about it, I'm a little more reserved. Perhaps I'm not acclimatised yet or perhaps I'm expecting it to be more like Erangel, but the scale of Miramar feels off. The map is huge, with far more land even though it's the same 8x8km level size, and the slowness of its vehicles combined with the tricky terrain means people are really spread out. But loot does not seem spread out well, as even places big enough to be named on the map often offer slim pickings. At the same time, cities are so dense and have so much good loot. All this combines to mean that landing anywhere other than a big city with enough vehicle spawns can mean frustrating looting and tedious travel times.
But this could be the intended pace of the map, a different type of Plunkbat in a different place. I'd be okay with that, I just need to get it through my thick skull. I do like the look of Miramar and especially how the terrain has so many lumps, humps, gullies, and rills providing cover. Some of the locations and prefabs are cracking too, prompting great fights up and across industrial objects. The map is clearly built with climbing in mind, and that's grand.
If you'd rather choose which map you play, you'll have to get sneaky for now. The only way to pick a map is to join a match then, if it's not the one you want, quit and try another. These are still only opt-in test servers, mind, so the devs want everyone to test everything. I do hope the full release will include the option to pick which map you play, as the foggy and rainy Erangel variants (which are great!) have already shown that people will quit if they don't like the map, meaning rounds often end up starting with only 70-80 players.
More patches will be hitting the test build in the run-up to release, the devs say. I hope they smash the crashes and lag soon.