As the PUBG Global (Minus Africa) Invitational 2018 gets underway (that’s today if you’re reading this the day it was published), we can’t help but be a little sad that there are no South Africa teams attending. Not because we’re not good enough, but because we were never given the chance to qualify.
Our last PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds article came out just after the ViNCO Gaming team was disqualified from an EU-based event because they weren’t from an eligible region. It was a pan to the face for South African PUBG.
But instead of giving up on the title, Joshua ‘BLU3’ Weiss of ViNCO Gaming’s PUBG team tells us that there is a lot of love for the game in South Africa and, as far as esports goes, things are only going to get better.
“I love the RNG factor of the game. Because of the RNG, competitive PUBG is played more like a poker game than a traditional esports title. There is this large macro game of planning your moves, anticipating what other teams will do, balancing the risk of moving to a more central compound to be rewarded by being in the next circle. All this needs to be thought about while still playing an FPS game at a high level.
It’s this depth of gameplay that I think people get attached to. Once they realise how high the skill ceiling is and how different competitive PUBG is to the normal game they are hooked.
The core gameplay of competitive PUBG is incredibly good, people want to keep playing it despite the recent desync and frame drop issues. I also think these issues will get fixed, many other issues have been so I don’t see why they won’t continue making the game better.
It’s a great esports title that will keep rising in popularity. I’d like for us to have a scene up and running early so we can show PUBG Corp. that there is a playerbase way down here.”
PUBG Corp. sounds like the name of an evil organisation from a movie or video game. Then again, for South Africans keen on the game, it kind of is right now – the final boss we need to defeat to be accepted into the global, Africa-inclusive PUBG scene.
“I think we are on the way already, more and more tournaments are opening up to South Africans. Xpulz, one of the largest tournament organisers in PUBG, has grouped up with Mettlestate to start hosting leagues in South Africa. On the private side of things many invite-only scrim practices have started allowing us to join and practice with high-level teams.
So far we haven’t proven we have the ability to host our own qualifiers, if we host a dedicated PUBG LAN event I think PUBG Corp. will take notice. Our goal is for South Africa to be included in the next PGI qualifiers.”
That’s an ambitious goal, considering PUBG Corp. has snubbed South Africa at every turn. But there is real passion for the game here: All the spots for the Mettlestate and Xpulz Sanhok Duos, taking place this Friday, were filled up in just 30 minutes.
Besides, up until now, BLU3 believes PUBG’s success as an esport has been more in the hands of the community than the evil-sounding corporation.
“The community has already decided that the game is esports ready. Unlike other companies that are boosting the esports scene in their games, PUBG Corp. does close to nothing to help the esports scene. There are no tiered ranking ladders in game, no competitive public searching and no way for new players to get into the scene easily. The PGI tournament PUBG Corp. are hosting is just one of many tournaments and doesn’t affect most pro players.
Its like CS:GO only having casual matchmaking and no 5v5 ranked.
The whole esports scene takes place over Discord and through third parties. Everything is community-run and community-managed. I think PUBG is esports ready, despite all the bugs and problems it may have.”
Esports ready. It’s been an ongoing joke about the state of PUBG, but whether or not it’s ready, it’s happening. With the PUBG Global (Minus Africa) Invitational 2018 that’s about to go down, the tons of community-led events that have already taken place and, literally hours after we interviewed BLU3, PUBG’s announcement to start official regional leagues in 2019.
As BLU3 said, up until this point PUBG’s esports success has been all thanks to the community. The evil-sounding corporation has finally taken notice of their playerbase’s desire to play the game more competitively and are now coming to the eparty too.
The combination of third party-run events and PUBG Corp. events should make 2019 one hell of a year for the Battle Royale. Getting a official regional league in South Africa is something we should definitely be working towards along with a spot in the PGI qualifiers.
We’ve mentioned the local scene a few times without saying exactly where you can drop in and get yourself a dose of South African competitive PUBG, so BLU3 lays it out for us.
“Firstly there is Orena Online. They host a league every week on a Wednesday for a month. Get three friends, start practicing and, when the next season starts in two weeks, sign up and see what real PUBG is.
Mettlestate have also announced a duo tournament this Friday which has a R2,000 prize pool. An important first step in PUBG ZA esports. I’m sure we’ll see more leagues and tournaments in the near future.
PUBG Corp. have just opened custom servers up for everyone. This means that any company or tournament organiser can host their own events. We should see a huge increase in tournaments now as the closed servers were a real bottleneck. PUBG Corp. are also becoming more aware of our presence, I think, and we just need to keep annoying them (we tag them in every tournament post).”
Ah, the old ‘annoy them until they cave to our wishes’ strategy. It’s been used extensively by guys in the friendzone and people in MMOs wanting free items – with very mixed results.
“The best way to join a team is join the Orena Discord, Mettlestate Discord or message any of the pro players on Twitter, they will be more than willing to help.”
Battle Royale games are all the rage at the moment, with new ones constantly popping up on our radar. And the discussion about whether Fortnite or PUBG will be THE Battle Royale game to play rages on (GLHF: It’s the internet, so it obviously rages.).
So, will PUBG even be around as a game, let alone an esport, in a few years time?
“I think there are probably going to be two large Battle Royale games at any point. A more hardcore one and a casual one. Fortnite is good because it replaces PUBGs tactics and shooting with raw mechanical building skill. All the other Battle Royale games seem to be missing the special sauce that makes them more than just a run and gun shooter.
I think PUBG got a lot of hype and by now most of the players who were following the hype have moved on, either because they have gotten bored with the casual game or because of the desync issues. Only the hardcore players who really love the core game are really left, and it shows. That being said, there are still a million players in-game at 9 in the morning on a Tuesday. The game is in no way dead or dying, it’s just entering its maturity stages.”
If you believe that, which we’re inclined to, then right now PUBG looks like it’s got the hardcore Battle Royale game on lock. Add to that the evil-sounding corporation’s intentions to start supporting the esports side of the game more and we’re pretty sure it’s going to be around for a good while.
It’s esports ready after all.