PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is spicing things up with special events—limited time game modes with special weapons and squad rules. The latest event, which kicked off yesterday, adds a special flare gun for calling supply drops. It’s a good idea, but the execution is too timid.
Following Fortnite Battle Royale’s model of limited time events, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds has started adding their own special game types. The first increased the spawn rate of assault rifles and grouped teams in eight-person squads. The result left something to be desired—the battles were big, but it didn’t feel like an event. The latest match type dots the map with flare guns that can call in airdrops brimming with armor and weapons. The idea seems to be to have players battle over flares and drops for a bloodier game mode. While that sometimes happens, the meager supply of flare guns prevents things from getting really exciting.
The event takes place on the game’s desert map of Miramar and can only be played with four-person squads. Miramar is the less popular of Battlegrounds’ two maps, with a great deal of open space that makes getting from one point to another exceptionally dangerous. Even after updates added more houses to the map to break up the empty space, you’re often exposed. The open areas make it easier to see where supply drops will come in and, as a result, shooting a flare gun is a risky proposition. The gun is loud, the flare can be see from a great distance, and the supply crate drops slowly. Occasionally, all the pieces come together—the flares, the rare weapon drops, the squads closing in—and the event mode manages a burst of action.
Unfortunately, flare guns only spawn in limited supply within the map’s one-story buildings. This hamstrings the game mode. You can go multiple matches without anyone finding a flare gun. Whether through technical limitations or a deliberate choice to keep the pace slow, Battlegrounds misses the opportunity to create a match with a unique identity or feeling. Instead of a raucous matches where flares pack the skies and rare weapons abound, it often feels like you’re just playing a normal squad match.
Greater risks would add more excitement to Battlegrounds’ event modes. At the moment, more exciting modes are being played on private servers—cowboy modes using rifles and shotguns only, car races with grenades and molotovs. While the game’s more deliberate pace helps separate it from Fortnite Battle Royale, event modes are a chance to experiment and get a bit sillier. Here’s hoping future events are more interesting.