QUAKE II - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Katharine Castle)

The number of confirmed ray tracing games for [cms-block] and selected GTX graphics cards has just got a little bit longer. With E3 2019 in full swing, Nvidia have confirmed that both Watch Dogs Legion and the upcoming Call of Duty: Modern Warfare will also be getting full ray tracing support, and in the case of Call of Duty, adaptive shading support as well.

That ray tracing games list is still pretty small, admittedly, and the number of games you can find it in right now> can almost be counted on a single hand. Indeed, a lot of confirmed RTX games are yet to receive their ray tracing and performance-boosting DLSS support, so the list below is more of a complete ‘this is how many games will have it eventually’ kind of thing than ‘these are all the games you can play with ray tracing right this very second’. Still, if you’re currently on the fence about buying one of Nvidia’s RTX 2060, RTX 2070, RTX 2080 or RTX 2080 Ti graphics cards as opposed to one of the new [cms-block] GPUs, this guide should hopefully help you decide whether ray tracing is something worth investing in. Here’s every confirmed ray tracing and DLSS game we know about so far.

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Grand Theft Auto V - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (John Walker)

This week: Rude swears! Writing about more interesting games than the ones you boring people keep buying! And battle advice to people who’ve been dead 1,800 years! It’s some Steam Charts.

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PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS - Hawkinz
Welcome back survivors,

Survival Title Season 3, the Title Season that began in March, will end soon! Read on for more information on the Season 3 end date, Title System, rewards and distribution schedule.

Survival Title Season 3 ends on June 18, 2019 PDT in accordance with the start of live server maintenance. Earn rewards before Season 3 ends!

Survival Title Season 3 Rewards Distribution Criteria and Schedule
You will receive rewards based on the highest Title achieved during the season regardless of Mode or Perspective (FPP/TPP). Season 3 rewards will be distributed to players who have achieved higher than a Novice Title and will be distributed after live server maintenance on June 25 ends (PDT). You can check out acquired reward items in your in-game inventory or in the pop-up window when logging in.

Reward Distribution Schedule per Survival Title Rank


You will earn coupons and rewards based on the highest Title and Rank you achieved during the season. You can claim the rewards by clicking Title Rewards in the left bottom from Season - Overview tab in the game, then clicking Claim All by June 25, 2019 before the live server maintenance. You won't be able to receive them after the end of the claim period, so be sure to obtain all the coupons you've acquired within the season period!

Rewards per Survival Title

The Survival Title Season is an opportunity for players to earn cool rewards for their hard fought battles over time. By climbing through the ranks and upgrading your title, you can earn a themed item set as you progress through the title tiers. The items you will have earned throughout the season will be distributed at the close of Survival Title Season's end.


The rewards are issued based on your last achieved Title - regardless of your end rank.

Policies regarding Survival Title Season 3 Reward Distribution

Season 3 rewards will be distributed to those who have achieved higher than a Novice Title according to the achieved survival titles.
  • Rewards will be distributed sequentially and should all be distributed within one day.
    • If you haven't received the reward after the announced date, please contact Customer Service.
    • Any players who are found to have obtained a Survival Title by violating operational policies may be subject to account restriction and/or removal of seasonal rewards.

FAQ

Q. When will Survival Title Season 3 end?
A. Survival Title Season 3 ends on June 18, 2019 PDT in accordance with the start of live server maintenance.

Q. When can I receive rewards?
A. The rewards for Survival Title Season 3 will appear in your inventory sequentially after the live server maintenance completes on June 25, 2019 PDT.

Q. What should I do if I don't receive rewards a day after distribution completes?
A. If you haven't received rewards one day after distribution, please contact customer service.

Q. Is there any reason players wouldn't receive rewards they expected?
A. Any players who are found to have obtained a Survival Title by violating operation policies may be subject to account restriction and/or removal of seasonal rewards.

Q. When does the next season begin?
A. The Dev Team is working hard to introduce a robust Survival Title Season 4, with the new season planned for the end of July. We will have more detailed information closer to release.

Q. Can I still gain SP once the season ends?
A. Once Survival Title Season 3 comes to an end, playing matches won't grant SP until the next season begins.

Q. What will my Title be at the start of the next season?
A. Titles will go through soft reset, taking the players' past season Title into account.

Thanks,
The PUBG Team
PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS

PUBG's first map, Erangel, never looked like a prime holiday location, but after PUBG Corp has finished its visual update... it will still look pretty miserable. But maybe less miserable than before. 

The developer has been working on the makeover since March, and there are more updates cooking away. They'll be released across themed seasons, introducing new features like the upcoming ledge grab, weapon balance changes and new vehicles, along with a new Survivor Pass. PUBG Season 4 will start this month. 

PUBG's executive producer TS Jang teases some of what the team's been working on in the latest development update. 

You'll be able to check out the Erangel changes soon, with PC test servers opening up at 8 pm PT this evening and running until June 11. The test will be split into two phases with different restrictions. Until June 8, only partner custom matches will be available and only official PUBG partners can create custom matches sessions, while all players can join the lobby. After 8 pm PT on June 8, public matches will be available, but you'll only be able to play in squads. 

You can get a quick look at some of the changes in the trailer below. 

They're pretty subtle, and having been on a break from PUBG for some time, I'm not sure if I would have noticed if it weren't for the before and after shots. The differences might be more obvious if I travel to some of my favourite haunts, though. 

The goal's been to make Erangel more consistent with the newer maps, but PUBG Corp says it doesn't want to make the map unrecognisable. "Rest assured, we’ll make every effort to keep Erangel feeling like the map you fell in love with while bringing it in line with how players enjoy PUBG today."

Expect more Season 4 details soon.

PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS

If you just finished watching Chernobyl and are in the mood for grim Soviet-era concrete buildings, take a look at PUBG's Erangel map remake, which has been teased along with a fair bit of new content.

In a June update video, PUBG executive producer and head of development TS Jang explained the game's upcoming content will be "released through themed seasons moving forward". Along with a new version of the Survivor Pass (basically a paid battle pass) with each season, PUBG Corp will now debut new content and features "under the banner of one overall theme". Hopefully this will provide a more unified and straightforward update schedule.

The flagship feature of Season 4 (which begins this month) appears to be the Erangel map remake. Officially announced back in March following several leaks, this is the first real look we've had at the visual improvements. From watching the trailer, I can't say it's going to completely remove PUBG's asset-store vibes, but it's certainly giving the map a different look.

Read more

PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS - Hawkinz
Hello Players!

First off, we want to thank you for such an amazing year so far. The first half of 2019 has flown by quickly, but certainly has not seen the last of the exciting updates we have planned for PUBG. We’ve been hard at work on some of the great new updates we talked about earlier in the year, and wanted to take a moment to go over the development direction for all of our platforms in the coming months. Below, you’ll find an important message from TS Jang, Executive Producer and Head of Development at PUBG. He will guide you through our vision for the game and some of the exciting things we’re working on, including information on how you can help test the update to our beloved Erangel map.

Development Update - June 2019
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16aDCt7rxDY
Erangel Visual Update
For the past few months, we’ve been sharing our plans to bring our very first map, Erangel, up to the same level of polish as our more recent maps. We started way back in March with an initial balance of loot and followed it up more recently with a full loot pass. We’re excited to finally give you a sneak peek at some of the other improvements we’ve had in the works.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwhfiszWwjE

With this test, you’ll see new building styles, more realistic scenery and terrain, some new and changed areas within the map, and test settings for an updated Blue Zone.

As with previous stages of the Erangel update, these changes will be rolled out on the Test Server first, allowing players to get in, test map stability, check out all the updates, and provide their feedback before this hits live servers later this summer.

Detailed plans for the Test Server operation are as follows.

Test Information
PC Test Server Availability: 6/6 8:00 p.m. – 6/11 8:00 p.m. (PDT)

Operation plans by phase
  • Phase 1: 6/6 8:00 p.m. PDT ~ 6/8 8:00 p.m. PDT (48 hours)
    • Partner Custom Matches only
    • Only the updated Erangel and normal Custom Match mode are available
    • Only official PUBG Partners from each region can create Custom Match sessions, but all players can join the lobby to play
  • Phase 2: 6/8 8:00 p.m PDT ~ 6/11 8:00 p.m PDT (72 hours)
    • Public matchmaking and Partner Custom Matches available
    • Only the updated Erangel map is available. Quick Join is also available.
    • Squad mode only. FPP only in North America and TPP only on Asia servers.
    • All players can participate

When Phase 1 begins, the partners listed below can make the session and you can join the custom match rooms. Look out for your favorite streamers below and jump in for a game!

Phase 1 PUBG Partners for NA/EMEA/LATAM




As mentioned above, this test will feature some new Blue Zone settings we’ve been working on to help Erangel feel more up-to-date based on emerging playstyles and tactics. These settings are experimental and subject to change based on your feedback. Test details for the Blue Zone balance are as follows:

Changes to Erangel’s Blue Zone for Testing
(applied on the test server during the test period only)
  • Blue Zone timings are faster throughout the match.
  • Blue Zone delay is reduced in the earlier phase.
  • Size of the safe zone is reduced in the earlier phase.
  • Blue Zone speed is reduced in the early & middle phases.
  • Blue Zone damage is slightly increased in the later phase.
  • Blue Zone delay is reduced in the last phase.

We are excited to finally be able to share our work with you and look forward to your feedback on this new take on our classic map. This update will be available on PC and consoles by late summer this year. More information and specific plans will be announced at a later date.

We know Erangel is a beloved part of PUBG that stirs up passion among our players. Rest assured, we’ll make every effort to keep Erangel feeling like the map you fell in love with while bringing it in line with how players enjoy PUBG today. As always, we look forward to your invaluable feedback and we hope you enjoy the Erangel Visual Update and Blue Zone changes.

Thank you.

–The PUBG Team
Grand Theft Auto V - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (John Walker)

Good hello. Please, grab hold and sit, for this is some Steam Charts.

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QUAKE II - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Katharine Castle)

With the arrival of Nvidia’s new GTX ray tracing driver, the number of graphics cards that can now take advantage of the tech giant’s fancy new lighting tech has grown exponentially. In addition to the four new [cms-block] cards, everyone with a 6GB GTX 1060 and up can now get a taste of that ray tracing magic. Sort of.

Alas, the number of confirmed ray tracing games is still pretty small. There have been a couple of new, notable additions to the list in recent months, including Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 and Wolfenstein: Youngblood, but even now the number of games you can find it in right now> can be counted on a single hand. The same goes for Nvidia’s performance-boosting DLSS tech, which is still only available on the RTX 2060, RTX 2070, RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti. So I thought I’d do the hard work for you and put everything in a nice, big list, detailing every confirmed ray tracing and DLSS game we know about so far.

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Grand Theft Auto V - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (John Walker)

Hello person. This is the Steam Charts, the weekly round-up of the top-grossing PC games on the online store Steam. We write it cynically to collect your clicks, and then we take those clicks and we use them to poke innocent orphans in their stupid orphan eyes.

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PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS

Before there was PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, there were developer Brendan Greene’s battle royale-esque mods for games like ARMA 2. One of his most popular creations, DayZ: Battle Royale, was a mod built on top of another mod. His battle royale mode was a hit, but it didn't truly blow up until Korean developer Bluehole hired him to make PUBG, which set the record for the most simultaneous players on Steam with 3.2 million in January 2018. A long string of imitators followed, and now just a year or so later it's Fortnite, not PUBG, that dominates the news. PUBG's short reign already feels like a lifetime ago.

Instead of PUBG Corp. explaining what a battle royale is, players are now telling the developer what they want in the game. And what everyone wants is often different.

And yet it's still immensely popular. In December 2018, PUBG Corp. told The Verge that PUBG Mobile had more than 200 million users. For context, Fortnite, on all platforms, had the same number of users during that time. Despite Fortnite’s dominance in mainstream media, PUBG had been quietly keeping up, and even exceeding Fortnite’s player numbers. (And that number, according to The Verge, was excluding Chinese players, who have recently moved onto a PUBG dupe from Tencent called Game for Peace.) In June 2018, PUBG Corp said it had more than 400 million players, 227 million of which logged in monthly. 

Despite those high numbers, the playerbase on PC has been declining consistently, according to SteamCharts. But it's still in the top three every day, right behind Dota 2 and CS:GO. From a population perspective, PUBG is still thriving.

“In the beginning, we spent all our time explaining what battle royale was,” PUBG Corp. studio director Brian Corrigan said. “It definitely hasn’t happened without some growing pains, but it’s been really amazing to see PUBG go from being the first major battle royale game to an established game in the market.”

When the battle royale genre was new, players didn’t know what to expect. The early access banner helped quell expectations, but that’s changed now. Player expectations are higher, Corrigan said—instead of PUBG Corp. explaining what a battle royale is, players are telling the developer what they want in the game. And what everyone wants is often different.

A PUBG for everyone

Streamers and content creators want a game that’ll guarantee entertaining footage. “We currently have four major areas to explore, lots of different vehicles and weapons to play with, and a custom match mode that lets streamers [and] content creators get up to all kinds of mischief and mayhem,” Corrigan added. 

Competitive players in one of PUBG’s official leagues want a game that’s balanced, focused on skill rather than pure, random chaos. PUBG Corp. has to figure out how to adjust the game to meet everyone’s needs.

Generally, players on Reddit are pretty happy with Battlegrounds—and honestly, that’s shocking given the complaining you'll find on a typical subreddit.

Thread after thread on the PUBG subreddit questions the state of PUBG, to largely positive responses. Just last week, I saw replies that the game is in its “best shape,” with a Reddit user reporting that “a lot of streamers share this thought, too.” (PUBG is the second-most watched battle royale game on Twitch right now, hovering at 23,000 viewers at the time of writing. Fortnite, naturally, is in the top slot with 163,000 viewers.)

PUBG has seen some dramatic changes in the past year to get where it is now. Last year it introduced the Survivor Pass (previously called the Event Pass) as PUBG’s progression system. Like with Fortnite’s Battle Pass, the Survivor Pass rewards players for completing missions and reaching milestones.

Others on Reddit cite PUBG’s stability as Apex Legends’ popularity wanes. “Apex has its own five minutes. Same thing was with [Call of Duty: Blackout] and where is it now? Fortnite is already back on top while PUBG stays untouched,” another user wrote. “[They’re] different types of games.” People are drawn to PUBG for its more realistic and tactical gunplay. It's not as fast as Apex or as wild as Fortnite, but that's the whole point.

“PUBG is a completely new game from when we first played it,” said Richard Simms, PUBG caster and ESL’s head of talent. “While not to everyone’s taste, the new maps and Survivor Passes add a nice mix of fun and casual grinding to the game away from the hardcore competitive nature of PUBG. It’s just not the same game, and for all the right reasons.”

Indeed, there are multiple new maps in PUBG, for a total of four: Erangel, Miramar, Vikendi, and Sanhok. All of the new maps add something different, but Sanhok really changes things. It’s really small, half the size of the other maps. It also uses a “dynamic circle,” which can analyze how many players are left alive and taper its movement to that. If a bunch of players have been killed in the early game, the blue zone will speed up, removing some of the lag time that can happen in battle royale. Instead of just being reskinned versions of the same experience, the maps can determine how a game will play.

“Our experience is really unique and we’re OK with that,” Corrigan said. “Being good at PUBG requires a unique combination of technical skills, situational experience, and dogged persistence. There are a lot of ways we could change the game to make it more approachable, but that’s not the story we want to tell and it’s just not the soul of the game. We look at PUBG as sometimes unforgiving, hard but not hardcore, with a weird mix of silly and strange things thrown in to keep it interesting.”

Cheating and esports growth

The thing that PUBG Corp. is still struggling with is cheating. A reported 13 million PUBG accounts have been banned since mid-2017. Fifteen people were arrested in April 2018 for creating cheating programs. And earlier this year, ahead of the launch of the new PUBG leagues, a bunch of competitive players had their accounts suspended and were banned from event participation for cheating during qualification matches. Bold.

The biggest journey PUBG has had to undergo is finding out how to tackle [battle royale] as an esport.

Richard Simms

PUBG Corp. is grappling with it. In February, the developer outlined its anti-cheat program, which is part of the developer’s larger campaign to “fix PUBG.

Corrigan declined to share PUBG’s daily active numbers, but he said the game is maintaining a healthy player base that’s still growing. “The market is more mature now, so we’re obviously not expecting to experience the meteoric rise we saw in 2017,” he said.

A large part of PUBG’s sustainability can be tied to its competitive structure, which launched in full in 2019. PUBG esports span a number of different pro-level events across nine regions, including North America, which hosts the National PUBG League from a specially-built studio in California. Director of esports Jake Sin said that the 10-month competitive period is designed for consistency and stability.

That requires keeping players and the audience invested in the future of PUBG. With the nine leagues, fans have a consistent schedule of games to watch. “The league system is easier for the fans to follow and understand, as opposed to a series of short-term tournaments,” Sin said. “Local leagues can foster the growth of local fandom and loyalty for their own leagues and heroes.”

The big thing here is that PUBG Corp. is invested in its teams with a revenue sharing program. This makes PUBG a little more stable for participating teams, but only for some of them; teams in the North American PUBG League and the PUBG Europe League benefit from the program, but the other leagues haven’t been added yet. Twenty-five percent of sales of league-branded items go to the league teams, and PUBG Corp. also helps teams pay for travel and housing, if needed.

“The biggest journey PUBG has had to undergo is finding out how to tackle [battle royale] as an esport,” Simms said. “By nature, [battle royales] have a heavy element of random influence… but PUBG has introduced rulesets and settings which mitigate a certain amount of RNG and make it more manageable. That, alongside learning how to best present to an audience a 64-player game by the use of a map stream and new observation tools, the [battle royale] genre isn’t a simple team vs. team show. It’s a story.”

In the era of games-as-a-service, players and fans are expecting games and leagues to evolve on the fly, and that pressure can be relentless. PUBG Corp. knows this, and Corrigan said the team has added a lot of support staff to scale up for the game’s popularity. Last year was “hiring mode” for the developer, and this year players are beginning to see the fruits of that labor. PUBG's designers certainly aren't sitting still.

Corrigan said PUBG’s progression system, weapon mastery, which was added this year, will continue to change and evolve in 2019. “Looking further ahead, players are going to see more content, changes to current systems, and more support for our esports and competitive players,” Corrigan added. “On top of that, we’re continuing to make changes to our core engine and working to make the experience smoother.”

...

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