Circle camping has become a staple tactic in battle royale games as a means of controlling space and outmaneuvering opponents while the playing field shrinks over the course of a match. PUBG Corporation experimented with a solution for "circle squatters" over the weekend: more circles.
In a blog post, the developer detailed the affectionately named "Bluehole" mode it was adding to PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds' Labs. The idea is that, alongside the circle you know and love, there is a second circle that shows where the next will be. While inside that circle, you'll take damage—the same amount you'd take if you were outside the circle on the next phase.
It's pretty straightforward: you can see the current circle and the next one, but squatting in the future one will hurt you a lot. This encourages players to play around future circles without fear of the unknown, while also taking away the advantage of already sitting in prime circle real-estate by chance.
"Land, loot, and camp in the circle for the rest of the match no more," the blog says. "Circle squatters that felt safe not to engage the enemy will now be forced to keep it moving as a second Blue Zone is being added to the existing circle."
The Bluehole mode was only live from Dec. 5 through 8, and it's not clear if PUBG plans on bringing it back as a future mode or part of the rotation. It's an interesting idea, though. Battle royale games have often struggled with the question of camping and whether it should be good or not. This seems like a solid compromise, rewarding players who make use of information and forcing squatters to get up and move a little.
As the world of PUBG continues to grow with new developments from its creator Brendan Greene and dabbling its toes in narrative experiences, this kind of experimentation at least seems like it could keep the classic battle royale experience fresh.