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It’s not so long since PUBG went free-to-play, a change that belatedly recognised the battle royale genre had almost left it behind. PUBG may not have invented the idea, but it certainly popularised it. It’s one of those games that reached such a critical mass of players that it’s become an endless work-in-progress, near-unrecognisable from what it once was.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing. While it feels like PUBG’s heyday has passed (and playing it now can feel aimless) it’s certainly not short of players, new content, or competition. And in respect of the latter, it looks like developer Krafton has been watching the ongoing success of Respawn’s Apex Legends with some interest, and thought PUBG could maybe use some of that.
New map Deston is a ruined and lavishly detailed cityscape, filled with points of interest (swampland, a festival, a hydroelectric dam,) and all about introducing a more vertical element to matches. It’s got tonnes of skyscrapers and other tall buildings, and introduces ziplines that can zoom your character up the side of buildings, as well as towers that you can zipline up and shoot out of the top of.
Players spawn with two new items on Deston because of this: the ‘ascender’ tool is your zipline kit, and you also get a reusable parachute to avoid fall damage from slingshotting across the map. There’s a bunch of other new stuff to find as well, including a combat shotgun, a hovercraft, locked security rooms with top-tier loot, and amusingly enough they’ve added garages so you can refuel your vehicle. There’s also a new crafting system for skins, if that’s your bag.
Deston is included in patch 18.2, which is live now, and amazingly enough is PUBG’s ninth map. I keep on saying PUBG, because that’s what the game is called, but we should remember Krafton made the baffling decision to rename it PUBG: Battlegrounds, i.e. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds: Battlegrounds. I’m not saying there’s any link, but creator Brendan Greene left developer Krafton like a month after this announcement to set up his own studio.