The PUBG 1.0 Miramar Update is the best thing to ever happen to PUBG

Like a lot of Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds fans, this last week I completely abandoned the vanilla PUBG experience in favor of the test servers. Why? Because playing an optimized PUBG that runs at a consistent FPS, on a wild new map, with the new parkour system is absolutely a hundred times better than playing the pre-1.0 update of PUBG.

That doesn’t mean the experience is perfect, because especially on the test servers there are a host of new bugs, crashes, and the return of everyone’s favorite lag and rubber-banding issues, but most of these issues are tied to the start of the round and will hopefully disappear once the patch makes its way to the main servers.

Despite that, at the end of the day this update feels like it delivers a worthwhile battle royale experience that improves on the pacing, gunplay, and strategy that made PUBG popular in the first place.

Miramar, a Whole New Playground

One of the big highlights to the new patch is Miramar, Bluehole’s massive new sandy arena extravaganza. If you’re a fan of deserts with a distinct urban-industrial motif, then Miramar is going to be right up your alley. This new map is all about that cozy, post-industrial Nevada feel, and feels like a nice variation from the woodsy blend of military complexes, yellow houses, and concrete garages that we see in Erangel.

Even though trees and more obvious pieces of cover are much less common in Miramar compared to Erangel, the map feels like it has more than enough gullies, canyons, hills, mountains, and divets in the landscape to make it feel like there’s always plenty of cover around. It’s an attention to detail that you just don’t really get in the softly slopping plains and grassy knolls we’ve seen in PUBG up to this point, which makes it feel like the developers really spent a lot of time focusing on how players use cover so that they could fill their map with plenty of useful hidey holes and areas that give you a fighting chance against overwhelming odds.

Even relatively open areas that would look like suicide alley on Erangel have hidden ditches and gulches that you can take full advantage of to put something solid between you and an enemy sniper. All in all, it makes Miramar feel extremely fun to play because it rarely leaves you in that frustrating situation where you start taking rounds out in the open and have absolutely no chance to find cover. You’re rarely sprinting, jumping, and crouching to ward off a single deadly headshot because the nearest chance of survival is a hundred meters of open grassland away.

Instead, if an enemy misses their first few shots you almost always have a chance to sprint over a small slope, drop into a ditch, and plan a solid move from there. It’s a dramatic change in the feel of the overall map that makes it feel like you rarely die to RNG because the circle just happened to place you in the one part of the map with absolutely no cover. As a result, there’s no doubt in my mind that Miramar is going to be a fan favorite for years to come.

A Change in Scale

Miramar also feels much larger compared to Erangel, even though on the map you’ll find they’re about the same size. Of course, a huge part of that is the lack of both large, forested areas that block line of sight, and the fact that the map itself isn’t practically cut in thirds by a channel of water leading to the most likely end of match area in the game.

A big part of this sense of increased scale also feels tied to the gameplay changes for assault rifles. Range and accuracy on ARs across the board have been noticeably nerfed, and as a result they’re no longer near as deadly at medium to long range encounters. You’ll find that shots fired at ridiculously long ranges from an AR now land much more randomly, and as a result sniper rifles and marksman rifles are much more valuable and also much more common.

All in all, this change feels good, albeit there’s no doubt it’s going to take some getting used to for players that are used to nailing shots with an AKM or an M416 from 300 yards away. Between the increased cover and the shift in the AR meta it feels like you rarely get ripped apart by enemies that you never even have a chance to see or respond to.

If you’re interested in a full breakdown of the new weapons and their damage values, be sure to check out our full guide on the new weapons rolling out with this patch.

It’s also worth mentioning that the parkour system is a huge game changer for movement in the game at large. Gone are the days of fumbling around with the wonky physics trying to hop on top of crates and small walls. You’re now free to hop over fences, out windows, and up over most structures, and it feels incredibly freeing compared to previous versions of the game.

This system makes maps feel much more vertical, and there’s often now a reason to take a second pass through heavily looted areas to scrounge supplies that other players may have left behind because they didn’t take the time to climb on top of certain buildings or balconies.

That said, the parkour still isn’t perfect and there are a ton of things that you should be able to climb or hop over that your character either refuses to acknowledge or only acknowledges if you do a lot of sidestepping and shimmying while spamming your sprint and jump keys. Additionally, there are now a few issues with moving around near structures while prone that could be unrelated, but feels like your character’s newly mobile limbs are occasionally getting stuck inside small ledges and fence posts, forcing you to crouch or stand up if you want to free yourself. A move that’s almost guaranteed to give your position away in the middle of a tense situation.

Performance and Optimization

Although these gameplay changes plus the Miramar map are huge, big ticket items for the upcoming patch. It’s important to note the real star of the show for this update has to do with the overall performance of the engine at large.

Almost everyone I’ve played with has seen a massive increase in frames per second, and the game all in all feels much smoother on rigs large and small. For a competitive shooter, this change is huge because it makes aiming much more consistent and easier to pull off, and although it’s something that a lot of players feel should have been a part of the game since it launched there’s no doubt that it’s a welcome increase in the quality of the experience as a whole.

That doesn’t mean Bluehole’s work is done, because there are still plenty of crash issues and bugs that need to be addressed in the long run, but the improvements to the overall game engine are a huge step up compared to what we’ve seen from PUBG up to this point. Even with occasional lag and rubber-banding at the start of rounds, and the fact that my squad would occasionally lose a player to a crash before the round even fully started we were still able to consistently rejoin the match and rarely felt like we died or lost the match because of these issues as a whole.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, this update is a huge step up from the standard PUBG experience and makes the game a lot more fun and enjoyable for both dedicated fans and players that may have stepped out because of issues with performance or game mechanics that occasionally feel broken or unfair.

That said, although all of these changes feel like huge positives it’s important to note that more than a few of these improvements are just fixing some of the broken mechanics and features of the game as a whole. It’s great that they’re happening, and it makes sense that they’re rolling out with the 1.0 version of the game, but there’s a part of me that wishes some of these issues were taken care of earlier in the game’s overall lifespan. Of course, beggars can’t be choosers, and we’re happy to see PUBG is finally moving up to a level of quality that lives up to the massive hype surrounding the game.

The 1.0 patch is rolling out on December 20th, and there’s no doubt that it’s a huge improvement on the base game that’s finally delivering the PUBG experience we’ve always wanted to see.