7 things we want to see from PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds in Early Access

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds hasn't been in Early Access for long—not even two weeks, in fact. That doesn't mean players don't already have mental (and sometimes written) lists of things they'd like to see changed, added, or fixed. And so do we.

Developer Bluehole stated the plan is for Battlegrounds to spend about six months in Early Access, a pretty ambitious target for a game that has only been in development for about a year. Here are a few things we'd like to see happen in the coming months.

Optimization, optimization

Just as Battlegrounds entered Early Access, Bluehole released a roadmap of the progress they hoped to make with the battle royale shooter. Much of it was focused on optimization, and that's great. I think the game runs pretty darn well for a fresh Early Access title, but I'm looking forward to seeing the optimization dialed in over the coming months. Even looking at the larger cities on the map can result in some steep fps losses, and actually visiting those denser areas can turn the game into a slideshow.

As it is now, a lot of streamers I watch have their graphics settings turned down as low as they'll go to compensate for those optimization issues. That feels like a shame, since Battlegrounds is a really nice-looking game. I know optimization is a priority for Bluehole, and I'm hoping to keep seeing improvements as the weekly and monthly patches arrive.

First-person-only servers

I know in DayZ, first-person-only servers aren't heavily trafficked, and while I prefer combat in first-person, I do like running around in third-person. So, quite honestly, I never use first-person locked servers myself. But, there is something important about having first-person-only servers available for those who do.

Being able to look over and around cover with a third-person camera doesn't feel like an unfair advantage, since everyone else playing in third-person mode can do it too. And that's true: a third-person camera is an advantage everyone shares, we just don't necessarily share it at the exact same time. If you're pressed up against a wall that's slightly taller than you are, you can use the third-person camera to see another player on the other side of the wall. However, if the player is some distance from the wall, they can't see you, even in third-person. So it can feel a bit unfair in that respect, and in a competitive game like Battlegrounds, fairness is important.

I'm certain not many players will confine themselves to first-person-only servers, but I think there are enough out there who enjoy the extra challenge and complete fairness of first-person-only matches. I hope first-person-only servers become a fixture for those who want them.

A killcam—if not a solo spectator mode

It sort of stinks to be killed during a match, especially near the end when there are only a few players left, and not be able to spectate the end of it. I have a natural curiosity for how things will play out, perhaps in some respects driven by the desire to see my killer get his comeuppance (or, if he wins, at least to feel like I was killed by the best player). At the same time, I understand how spectator mode could be used for cheating. If you have a buddy in the same solo match, you could pass along information on enemy locations if you were allowed to just sit there watching.

At the very least, then, I'd love to see a killcam feature added. I'm often uncertain where my killer was when he dropped me, so a little replay, from the other player's perspective, would be helpful. It would help players learn from their mistakes if they could fully take in the circumstances of their deaths. Also, it could help to curb cheating or aimbotting or other exploits, providing some visual proof that someone was up to no good.

Better directional sound

My biggest problem in Battlegrounds—apart from the fact that my aim isn't so great—is that when I'm fired at from a long distance away, I have a lot of difficulty telling where the shots are coming from. Bluehole posted recently about how the gunshot sounds work in Battlegrounds, but in my experience—and I've seen others saying the same—even though I know what the sounds mean, it's still very difficult to tell which direction they're coming from.

Many times I've taken cover from an assailant, only to continue to take fire because the assailant isn't where I think he is, based on the sound of the gunshots. And I've seen it happen in-game to players I've been firing on. Above, I nail a guy a few times, and he moves behind a tree, but he clearly thinks the sounds are coming from the left side of the screen. He tries to put a tree between us, but fails. While I'm happy he was wrong and that I was able to kill him, I've been in the exact same situation, and I know how frustrating it is.

Sound effects balance

This is really just a matter of tweaking things during Early Access, but right now the volume of certain sound effects feels a bit out of whack. I can hear footsteps if another player is in a house with me, but can barely hear the noise of them opening a door a few feet away, so door noises need to come up a bit in the mix. Occasionally, footsteps outside seem a bit too muffled, as I've been startled in the past to suddenly see another player sprint past—though at other times footsteps sound just fine and can be heard over long distances.

Rain, meanwhile: it's just a bummer. I appreciate that sounds can be muffled during a rainstorm—that's just nature. But rain currently feels overly noisy, and here's the real kicker: it just sucks to hear the sound of rain in a game for twenty solid minutes. I absolutely hated when it rained in DayZ: I would immediately leave the server and look for a sunnier one. It's just tiring to have to listen to that constant, inescapable noise while playing a game. (Though in life, I quite enjoy it.)

Better vehicle physics

I'll admit, flying cars are hilarious. Cars can't fly: that's why it's so funny when they do. And who doesn't enjoy doing a sick flip now and then? So, while I wouldn't completely fix the vehicle physics to act like they do in real life, I do think they need to be toned down a bit. Quite a bit.

It's fine if cars act a bit cartoony, but at the very least they need to be predictably cartoony. Currently, they can fly through the air at even minor collisions with other cars, and sometimes simply by shooting them.

Better swimming

Admittedly, swimming is probably very difficult for someone wearing a motorcycle helmet and leather coat while carrying three guns and several grenades. If anything, perhaps swimming should be a lot harder than it is in Battlegrounds. 

It just sort of sucks, though: I feel like it takes forever to paddle across a river. I don't know if it's a strong current coded in the water or what, but it's already extremely punishing (and a little boring) to swim even a short distance. As someone who has wound up in the water more than once—usually due to poor driving or fleeing in panic—I wouldn't mind feeling a bit more like Michael Phelps and a bit less than Michael Caine.*

*No offense to meant Michael Caine. He may be a very strong swimmer. It's just that he's 84 is probably not as good a swimmer as Michael Phelps, and also I think he got eaten in the Jaws movie he was in.