With the meteoric rise to fame of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), breaking Steam records almost weekly, it was only a matter of time until South Africa got its first event. It turns out that the time is now, and it’s none other than Luca Tucconi and his Orena team who have made the first move, organising the Orena PUBG Battle for the Throne.
PUBG dethroned Dota 2 as the game with the highest number of concurrent players in August, and soon after broke another Steam record with over one million gamers logged in at one time – so it’s safe to say people are interested in the unique arena-style survival shooter. While having a huge player base doesn’t necessarily guarantee success as an esport, it does definitely help, and Luca’s confident there’s something special about this game that could see it succeed as an esport where previous battle royale games have fallen short.
“One of the key factors to a game being successful in a competitive environment is having a massive player base to draw from, this is something PUBG clearly won’t have issues with in the foreseeable future with the title breaking player milestones almost on a weekly basis. I feel PUBG has managed this by carving out a unique experience for players and viewers alike.
No current title offers the continuous flow of action as-well as an almost infinite number of scenarios that players could be faced with on their road to that illustrious ‘Chicken Dinner’. From nutty long-range shots to drawn out close quarter engagements in urban environments, vehicle management and the odd fist fight, this game provides an almost fresh experience in every round for both the players and viewers.
That being said, the slight element of RNG (finding fantastic gear early on or nothing at all) might be the only factor that initially deters the esports purists, but it also adds to the narrative of having to truly survive no matter what you’re given. The game isn’t all about having fantastic aim, but also strategising your entire round from the point you jump from the plane to the final 1v1 situation.
There is always this element of someone watching you from a mile away and the moment you stand still your head is getting taken off. So being inconspicuous while also being able to rip someone’s head off with a flick of the wrist is totally necessary if you intend on walking away with the top spot and the Chicken Dinner.
If I had to choose a comparison, I would say its most akin to combining a game of paintball with an element of Call of Duty or Counter Strike, wrapped with the basic concept of the Hunger Games series.
Take those three to four exciting concepts, squeeze them into game engine and you get PUBG.”
Survival truly is the name of the PUBG game. But the need for strategic play has given rise to a potentially-boring playstyle of ‘wait until everyone else is dead, then kill the last guy’, instead of the exponentially more entertaining style of running-and-gunning.
In order to combat the desire to simply shack up in a haystack for a few days and wait for your feathered dinner to come to you, the team at Orena have created a custom scoring system that will hopefully encourage the perfect balance of hiding, seeking, hunting and gathering.
“After watching the PUBG tournament at Gamescom, I saw Bluehole making a clear effort in their ruleset to draw some balance between surviving to the end and looking for fights which I really enjoyed. We took that concept and added extra emphasis on gaining points for kills.
Specifically, this was done to see if we could create a livelier environment during the beginning periods of each round instead of only seeing massive gun battles during the final few gas circles.”
Speaking of lively environments, tickets to this event sold out quicker than the Nandos R30 birthday deal (GLHF: This article is not sponsored by Nandos, but it should be. Look how good we are at dropping in subtle and humorous, yet relevant, branding.). The original number of 100 entrants was reached within a lightning-quick six hours, leading to the release of 100 more tickets (which are also sold out, in case you were wondering).
“The response was truly incredible! With regards to expanding the field, we decided to stick to 200 to ensure we provide the users who had already paid with the best experience possible. We’ll be hosting up to 25 of the players in the Orena Lounge so we want to make sure we can handle the numbers for our first shot.
With regards to the full dinner prize, it’s going to be a R5,000 cash split between the top three competitors, including a hearty Chicken Dinner voucher for the overall winner.”
But what’s the point of all this liveliness if you can’t go and get involved? Fear not, while tickets to the event are sold out, Orena will be hosting livestreams for all to enjoy. Tune into their Facebook, Twitch and YouTube streams from 12:00 SAST on 17 September to catch all the frying pan-filled action.
Hopefully Orena will host the next event in Cape Town; the best city in the whole country, possibly on the continent, maybe even in the world. Even if only to allow GLHF to do what we do best and write some mildly-funny article about the event like we were actually there. (GLHF: It really was a poor decision to move to Joburg, Luca. How are we supposed to pretend to do work while watching live gaming now?).
“We’ll definitely have a stream up on twitch.tv/orenaonline with casting provided. This will be our first attempt so we’re still in the process of mastering the observer functions but we’re feeling confident this will be a unique experience for all who tune in.
The observer functions in PUBG are quite extensive, but we’re getting the hang of it. I can see some serious potential in the long term with regards to observing, so I’m super excited to master the controls as fast as humanly possible.
With regards to the future, expect announcements for our next PUBG event before the end of this month. I can confidently say our next iteration will not be a solo event.”
Be sure to check out the Orena streams on 17 September from 12:00 SAST to watch 200 South Africans fight over a Nando’s full chicken meal.
On the off chance anyone at Nando’s is reading this, this really is your best chance to get into esports. We haven’t heard this much talk about fowls in a video game since some pigs got some birds all riled up.