Community Care Package - April 2022
Community Care Package - April 2022
We have always wanted to talk about community issues that haven’t been addressed through our regular announcements and Patch Notes. Although we have our community managers who thoroughly communicate with our players on various channels, we wanted to bring up some of the most desired community issues through this Community Care Package.
Albeit not regularly, we will be issuing these announcements as we have updates on community issues.
Without further ado, let’s jump right in!
It’s already been a few months since PUBG: BATTLEGROUNDS went F2P. We are aware that those in the servers with no map selection now want more than ever to have separate choices between Battle Royale and Mini Royale as the number of players increases. We continuously tried to put our thoughts together, considering as many possibilities as possible on this matter. Unfortunately, however, we concluded that it is not possible to provide a choice in the map rotation simply based on the number of active users to ensure a pleasant matchmaking experience.
The following is a detailed explanation of why it is difficult to change the current map rotation.
- How we decide the map rotation
As mentioned above, it is true that, after the transition to F2P, we saw an influx of new players and a dramatic increase in the active user population. Those who have played our game would surely notice the number of new players increased.
However, many of the new users remain in the tutorial stage, and, as for the casual players, the population doesn’t contribute much to matchmaking compared to the increased number of active users. For example, imagine a user who has played 30 matches a day and another who just joined the game today and exits after playing a couple of matches. In this case, we can hardly say each of them counts as one active player contributing to traffic for a map rotation.
The list of playable maps can result in different simulation results depending on what factors we consider, including the number of active users, the number of matches requested, the number of game sessions, etc. Therefore, we decide on the map rotation by factoring in comprehensive metrics such as per-session details and traffic differences by time and mode instead of simply looking at the number of players increased due to the F2P transition.
We believe players have already noticed that whether matchmaking is pleasant differs depending on what perspective and mode they play in. In Solo Mode of the AS, KR KAKAO and SEA servers on PC, for example, even those with high MMR are matched with many bots due to not enough player pool. In the most popular mode (mostly Squad) of the same servers, on the other hand, matchmaking is done relatively easily without bots.
You might say it would be okay to allow for map selection for Squad Mode and no map selection for Solo. Unfortunately, however, dividing the matchmaking pool of both modes with map selection would only worsen the matchmaking issue, and thus it is very likely that those who prefer Solo Mode would always end up playing matches full of bots. This is because dividing the queues into large maps and small maps means a smaller matchmaking pool.
In addition, if we apply different options for different modes, some users may have to play the mode they don’t want to get the map they prefer. In the worst scenario, players who prefer FPP would be forced to play in TPP.
Last but not least, many of the new players who joined our game after the F2P transition are still enjoying TPP Mode, while the most favored mode in the EU server is FPP. Therefore, the increase in TPP Mode players doesn’t significantly affect matchmaking in the most popular FPP Mode in the region.
- Bot ratio and MMR
Along with requests for map selection from our community, we also saw continuous sentiments regarding bots. As requested, the bot ratio was recently reduced with various adjustment measures. If the bot ratio is increased back again, it would only cause inconvenience to our players.
We understand that players would prefer zero or less bot ratio, but we need to consider various possibilities in matchmaking. More bots mean more sessions that can be generated per player. We need 100 players to generate one session, so we can say each player can bring about 0.01 sessions if we assume there is no bot. In other words, the number of sessions where players can be distributed increases because of bots, and players can be placed in different sessions based on their skill gap. Therefore, reducing the bot ratio would increase player density, resulting in a wider skill gap among players within the same session.
If we introduce map selection and divide our matchmaking pool into two, it would be inevitable to see either a higher bot ratio or a wider MMR gap.
The number of players split by half means more bots to make up for the half. Or, if we don’t want to add more bots, we have to match players with a wide gap of MMR together. This would ultimately make new players who meet enemies with way better skills lose interest in our game and leave, which in turn would lead to the return of a high bot ratio as before.
Based on the considerations above, we’re quite concerned that providing map selection just because the number of active users increased would force us to sacrifice many other values.
- Server status
We currently consider matchmaking works properly as long as the average session count per hour exceeds about 300. The Squad/FPP queue of the EU server is an example of the hourly average sessions of 300, which is the biggest server among various other random-map-based servers. It is natural to experience more frequent matchmaking during the peak hours when there are a lot of players, whereas matchmaking is less frequent at midnight with less player concentration. Therefore, we say the matchmaking status is pleasant only when frequent enough matchmaking is ensured, at least 5-6 hours of peak time within a day. Under this criterion, we can say matchmaking is pleasant when the average session count per hour exceeds 300.
If we divide the matchmaking pool by half to provide map selection, the number would also be reduced by half, and the criterion would double. In this case, the bar of per-hour sessions should be about 600 to provide map selection while maintaining the current bot ratio and ensuring pleasant matchmaking after splitting the queue into two.
The EU server, which has the biggest number of players, reached the figure right after the F2P transition. However, the number dropped to the extent that it is hard to provide map selection. It would be a more dangerous move to divide the pool whose traffic is not on an upward trend. Also, please be advised that the situation is not quite different, or even worse, in other servers than the EU one in terms of player count.
Ranked – 10 Division Restriction
In our current Ranked Mode, players with a 10+ tier gap, cannot team up as a squad. The idea was to ensure that squads of similar tiers were matched together. However, we found that such a restriction serves as a barrier that blocks players from playing Ranked Mode while teaming up with their friends with a 10+ tiger gap in some servers where the skill-based matchmaking system doesn’t work as intended. Moreover, there have been requests to lift the restriction from some server communities since a while ago, and we are fully aware of them.
After putting our thoughts together for a long time and making various analyses, however, we decided to keep the current skill-based matchmaking system. We understand this decision may disappoint the players on the server who made the requests for a long time, and we would like to explain why we made the decision. It might not be the decision you want to see, but we hope the following explanation can help you understand our intention.
- Rank Point (RP) difference in Ranked sessions
- The following are the average and maximum RP differences on the weekend of March 26th and 27th.
|Server||Mode/Perspective||Agv. RP difference||Max. RP difference|
We can see the AS server has very healthy skill-based matchmaking with an average RP difference of 864. Its max RP difference stood at 2,263, but this came from a match during non-peak time, not a usual case. We can also tell that the average RP difference is around 1,000 in a server with frequent Ranked sessions, whereas servers like NA or SA with smaller player pools have bigger average RP differences. It was an extreme case, but in the NA server, the max and average differences were the same because only one Ranked session was played during the same period.
As you can see, in many servers, except for some, the skill-based matchmaking system is working properly.
- RP difference ratio in Servers with healthy Ranked matchmaking
The following indicates the rate of unbalanced matchmaking according to RP differences.
In the AS server, 83% of the entire sessions showed less than 1,000 RP differences, which means skill-based matchmaking is working properly. In other servers except for KR, matchmaking was made with less than 1,500 RP gaps for more than 84% of the sessions.
Therefore, skill-based matchmaking is properly working for Ranked Mode, with 1,000 RP gaps in most servers.
We are aware that players in some servers where skill-based matchmaking doesn’t work due to not enough player pool have asked us to partly or completely lift the 10 division restriction so they can play Ranked Mode in a team with their friends with a wide tier gap as skill-based matchmaking isn’t working anyway.
We did review the option of easing the division restriction from 10 to 15 or even 20 through strenuous data analyses and discussions.
Our conclusion, however, is to go back to the basics: Skill-based matchmaking is the foremost precondition for Ranked matches to ensure fair competition. Some players might still ask us to make an exception for some servers where skill-based matchmaking isn’t working properly, but it is technically difficult to differentiate regions. There is no perfect alternative available, but we hope Normal Match can be the place for free play with friends.
We will continuously monitor player feedback on our final decision from various servers.
Console – Enhanced Graphics Options
It has been quite a while since we first discussed enhanced graphic options on consoles. We’re aware that many of you are disappointed that after almost 2 years, you’re still unable to take advantage of your higher-spec console hardware.
It is still early to announce a specific release timing, but now that we are right around the corner to finish developing enhanced graphic options, we want to share as much information as possible through this letter.
- Stability issues and delays in development
Initially designed for the PC platform, PUBG: BATTLEGROUNDS has experienced stability issues since its console launch. Until recently, we saw some periods of increased crashing, hitches, desync, and graphic loading issues that would sound familiar to those who played PUBG: BATTLEGROUNDS on the console.
Due to a recent surge in console crash cases, we had to put a significant amount of dev resources into further addressing performance issues. Stability issues are usually more severe on low-spec consoles because they have less memory available. When we release new content and features through updates, memory use increases. This also applies when introducing enhanced graphic options that would require higher device performance, potentially worsening stability issues.
Another reason for the delay in providing enhanced graphic options was that we needed support from platform holders to help us distinguish between the older (PlayStation®4, Xbox One/One S) and newer consoles in our game (PlayStation®5, Xbox Series S/X. Unfortunately, despite our collaboration with platform holders, we faced several additional technical issues that caused more delays in development. However, with the help of the console platform partners, we successfully solved the problems and were able to advance the development.
We are committed to introducing graphics enhancements options without compromising stability. But please understand that the options may not be supported on all devices as there will be potential stability risks.
- Targeting level of graphics
Our target is to create an environment where users with higher-spec console devices can play PUBG with a steady performance of 60 FPS at a higher resolution. We’re also planning to improve Anti-Aliasing from the current FXAA(Fast approximate anti-aliasing) to TAA(Temporal anti-aliasing), which will soften the sharp edges you see on objects when playing. That being said, differences in visual performance will exist on various consoles, and some devices might not see any difference compared to their previous generation. In addition, we have difficulties making the best out of the capabilities of the current generation consoles since our development aims to preserve backward compatibility. Thus, newer consoles will share the same system builds as the older ones. So we’re going in the direction of offering the best possible graphic options optimized for individual console models rather than providing the same level of graphical improvements for all current-generation devices.
If you were wondering about anti-cheat issues, don’t worry we haven’t forgotten! We will be back with an anti-cheat announcement soon.
PUBG: BATTLEGROUNDS Team