Throughout the history of PUBG as an esport, one of the most frequent points of discussion has been about the settings and rules under which professionals play the game. Whether it’s the amount of loot spawns, map selection, circle mechanics, scoring systems, or anything else, it’s a safe bet to assume that it’s been argued about at length.
As one of the great thinkers of the game, and one of the minds behind Rogue’s (formerly known as Airstation Mike) rise in the scene, no one knows about the struggle of creating a good set of rules for competitive PUBG more than Miniment. Part of a team that directed an effort to test a myriad of ways to play out the game, Miniment has probably tried more variations on PUBG’s settings than most people even know exist. For this reason, I can think of no one better to talk to about PUBG’s settings, the recent changes in tournaments’ rules, and what goes into creating a balanced way to play the game.
You and some others worked on a set of settings that events are now starting to adopt. Could you give a synopsis of what these settings are?
In a nutshell, we moved a lot of the size and time from early circles to mid- and late-game circles. There is more time spent fighting for good positions in the crucial parts of the game, which not only improves the game for the players, but also the viewers. The circles move a lot slower, so teams have time to run in and fight for their positions instead of getting destroyed by extremely random, quickly moving shrinks.
When you set out with the goal of refining competitive settings, what was the goal you had in mind? What did you specifically hope to achieve with the changes?
Our main goal was to create a system that is still random in its core, but it allows good teams to adapt and overcome the randomness. The circles should never decide who wins or loses, they should create an environment that lets the best teams succeed.
What are some changes that you thought might help, but you ended up scrapping?
We raised the circle damage quite a bit in later stages of the game, but while testing we thought it should be even higher. We turned it down again to a point where healing strats are not really possible anymore, but blue damage does not immediately “one shot” players.
How difficult was it to find settings that accomplished what you were trying to do?
It was quite a lot of work to test the settings. We simulated more than 200 matches and just ran around and looked how fast the shrinks were, how much damage the blue zone dealt and compared the actual and relative circle sizes. Then we introduced the system in the scrims and asked teams for their feedback and readjusted a bit afterwards.
Are there changes that you personally want to add, but that others would find controversial?
Personally I would lower the time in the first 2 circles even more, but a lot of players are really used to the time they can spend looting now.
How does Miramar shake up the game from a ruleset point of view? Do settings need to be altered for the different maps?
The loot settings definitely need to be raised further. We are using higher drop rates on assault rifles, medical supplies and scopes at the moment, because the loot spots on Miramar are just so vast and spread out that it can take ages to find a decent amount of loot, even when looting high value loot spots.
The circle settings might also need adjusting, because cars are less viable than on Erangel, so more gameplay on foot needs to be taken into account.
What are the major benefits of your settings versus the vanilla settings?
The biggest benefit is that the teams now have the time to fight in the crucial phases of the game. With the vanilla settings we had horrific circles that took out 80% of the players within like 30 seconds, just because vanilla circles put all the teams within fighting distance in a single shrink and didn’t give them any time to fight it out.
This not only negatively affects players, but also viewers, because they wait the entire time for something to happen, and then everyone dies and they miss most of it.
Should your settings also be implemented into public games? Why or why not?
I think it would be nice to have the same settings in public games too, just so casual players can relate to the settings pro players are facing. However we created the settings with professional teams in mind, that rotate extremely fast in the early circles.
If we had more phases available, we could create a system that is perfect for both public and competitive gameplay.
Should PUBG have one unified set of rules that every tournament abides by? If so, should that be pushed out to public servers? In this same vein, should PUBG Corp be the ones to spearhead a complete overhaul of the settings in PUBG?
PUBG Corp don’t necessarily need to push the settings onto tournament organisations. We are in contact with most of the major tournament organisers and we are very glad they all chose to use the settings in their tournaments.
But yes, I think there should be unified settings across all tournaments.
There has been a lot of debate over what size competitive lobbies should be. Do you believe in 16 team lobbies, or 20 team lobbies?
I am 100% convinced that 16 teams is the best size for competitive PUBG. Not only do 20 team lobbies have immense performance problems at the moment, but the map is simply not big enough to fit 20 teams.
Having 16 teams allows for more rotation and tactical gameplay, which directly translates into more viewing pleasure on streams.
If you could change one thing about the game, what would it be? (Besides water, that's too easy of an answer)
I would add 2 more phases (circle shrinks) to the game. This would make the mid- and late-game transitions so much smoother and more consistent. The times could be adjusted so a round takes the same amount of time, but the game would play out much better.
What is your stance on the debate over whether Miramar should be played on or not for the Auzom Pro League and IEM Katowice?
I think not playing Miramar is the safer choice, seeing as PUBG Corp constantly change the map in the latest patches. Maybe it would have been fine to have it at the IEM main event, just to givethe teams more time to practice it and make sure the settings are working well on the new map.
The map will find its way into the main events and tournaments soon enough, maybe even mid-season.
Huge shoutout to the EU scrim discord, without all the players and teams testing and giving feedback we would still be playing vanilla circles today.
Also big thanks to all the tournament organisers that always have an open ear for our concerns and decided to use the settings in their events!
Thanks to Miniment for reaching out to me about doing an interview! Follow him on twitter