When we heard reports that the Playerunknown's Battlegrounds test patch adding climbing & vaulting also digs a pond in a woodland glade, we sent RPS wild swimming correspondent Alice O'Connor onto the test server to investigate.
Bad news: The new pond is rubbish for swimming.
Good news: If you're seeking somewhere for a nice walk, to sit and chat with a close friend, for a tense final battle, or to use as cover as you cross what was one a wide flat plain of certain death, it's really quite nice. I hope more of Plunk Island is revisited and reworked like this.
North of Mansion, south-east of Yasnaya Polyana, and east of that hill you can ramp sikk tricks off, where once was an exposed plain there now lies a dense wood with a pond at its heart.
Experienced outdoor swimmers understand the importance of inspecting a body of water for exit points and potential hazards before getting in. If you head straight to the highest rock and try to leap in like a hooligan.
Perhaps shouting "SPRING BREAK FOREVER!" as you flail towards the water.
You will likely slip or crunch your ankles as your body discovers the water is only knee-deep.
As I said, rubbish for swimming. At best, you'll scootch along the bottom of the pond on your hands like a mudskipper. This can certainly be pleasurable as an element of horseplay, monkeyshines, or antics, but don't go expecting a good swim.
I'd also be wary of stagnant water, as it's small and shallow and doesn't appear to be fed by a fresh source.
But as a place to visit or walk past? Oh mate, absolutely go for it. You'll find great sitting-on boulders, a small sandy beach to play on, reeds to poke around in, birds circling overhead to watch, fallen trees to enjoy balancing on and walking across, a few burnt stumps to kick in the ashes of, and a few opportunities for challenges.
If your mate bets you they can jump from the shore to these rocks, listen for splashes and check their toes for wetness.
That's all good on sunny days but how many of them will we see as winter draws near? I myself always enjoy sitting on a rock near water in the rain.
And trees offer plenty of cover too, if you'd rather simply include the pond in a walk through the woods.
It's an excellent spot for brooding on a foggy morning too. Ghostly.
I am slightly concerned about the pond's proximity to that mansion complex. While it's outside their grounds, it is at a perfectly uncomfortable distance. You know: they're close enough to feel a sense of ownership over the pond and be irritated when people go there, possibly even coming out to complain about the noise, but they're far enough that you can't ever tell if anyone's watching. I crept into the houses several times and always found a shotgun or even an assault rifle on an overlooking balcony so, ah, I'm not entirely comfortable with that.
You could huddle down or cuddle up out of sight on the rocks on the south-east corner, mind. That might be nice.
Thankfully I have not been disturbed during any of my visits, but this whole wood does seem a cracking spot for a fight. What was just another flat patch of land with sparse trees, a place for boring fights you can have anywhere or to get murdered by people holding Mansion, is really interesting. The ground is full of dips, swells, and hills. The trees are dense. Rocks, stumps, and fallen trees are all over. I hope the developers similarly rework more of the island, as so many areas are just flat land with trees and maybe a hill. This sort of terrain is so much more interesting to me. And I'm certainly glad to have the option of this wood providing cover when I need to move past Mansion.
This patch is not live in the regular version of Plunkbat, instead being on the separate test server client. While some of the changes in this update are being held back for the full version 1.0 launch later this year, most notably vaulting and climbing, I do hope this little wood might be added to the regular early access client soon.
Just remember not to get too distracted by the pond, as your visit is likely to be brief.