PUBG Region Locking: Here Are The Pros and Cons

pubg, playerunknown'sbattlegrounds
Is the answer really as simple as keeping players in their own regions?

The PUBG developers seem as undecided about region locking as we are. Here’s what you need to know.

Update #8 recently dropped for PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, bringing with it more crates to spend your hard earned BP on, along with a brand new weapon skin system.

But that isn’t all the developers covered in their customary Steam Community update post. In fact, the first half of the post doesn’t mention the skins at all, instead going over some potential plans for what seems to be a region lock system.

The post says that the developers are considering “operating servers so that only those players who reside in that region can connect and play. These servers will be made invisible to players residing in other regions”.

This potential solution seems very much in line with what many vocal players have been demanding  from PUBG since the beginning. But before any cross region squads to start to get antsy, the post also says “if a player in an exclusive server region forms a team with a player from another region, they can connect to and play on any of the servers available to either of them”.

All this comes right after a statement made by PUBG creator Brendan Greene during a USGamer interview stating that region lock “just doesn’t work”.

With the PUBG team seemingly going back and forth on the issue themselves, here’s our take.

On one hand, we don’t need it…

...or at least, not as much as we used to. Both the Steam Community Update and the USGamer interview have PUBG dev team members reminding us that their ping-based matchmaking system has been a big step towards creating a smoother, cleaner PUBG experience for all of us. And for the most part, it has. Matches played after the implementation of the ping-based matchmaking system are markedly less laggy than the ones played before now that we don’t have to worry about connecting with players with blazingly high ping, foreign or otherwise. It’s also got the added bonus of keeping your player composition from match to match a little closer to home.

If the devs can implement effective anti-cheat methods without resorting to isolating players to their native servers, more power to them. If not…

...we just might need it after all.

And while it’s reductive to say that region locking China (or in the case of the solution mentioned in the update post, everyone) will solve the issue of hackers once and for all, Brendan Greene did admit in a Kotaku interview back in December of 2017 that the majority of cheaters and cheat software comes from China. It stands to reason that limiting cross-region access there would cut off a vast percentage of the people willing to cheat to get their chicken dinner.

The region locking solution proposed by the developers isn’t, however, absolute isolation. It does allow for cross-region play through squads, meaning players who genuinely want to play with their friends from other countries shouldn’t have any problem doing so.

And this, for the most part, is a really good thing. It allows the developers to simultaneously stifle cheating down to a non-issue in less hack prone countries, bolstering and solidifying that playerbase, while still working on anti-cheat methods for places more prone to them.

Because when it comes down to it, anti-cheat is what needs to be improved at the end of the day, not stronger methods of region blocking.

Cheats and hacks aren’t a purely foreign issue, and we’d be lying if we said that the US region is devoid of any kind of foul play. Viewing region lock as an end all be all solution is like saying that quarantine is the best solution to a problem, while it’s only really dealing with a symptom. The dev team has come up with a solution that shuts out a good portion of the problem spots while keeping the doors open for people to team up with other regions as needed, and that compromise is a good one.

But that’s still only step one, and until PUBG comes equipped with some systems to fully block out third-party advantages, it’s going to be a problem regardless of where you’re playing the game from.

 

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Stuck somewhere between poet and games journalist. If something pops into my head, it's bound to find its way onto a page somehow. I'm a big fan of good gin and tipsy PUBG.
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