PUBG Corp took a step towards upping the action in “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds” with a release of a smaller, more condensed map to invite-only test servers this week. The map is already garnering praise from the PC game's community and shows signs of injecting some much-needed life into the battle royale title which has been eclipsed in popularity by “Fortnite.”

The new Codename: Savage map is set on three inter-connected southeast Asian islands that take up a four by four kilometer (km) area.

This is half the size of first two "PUBG" maps, Erangel and Miramar, which had to fill an eight by eight km space. PUBG Corp explained the map was made available early so the studio can collect feedback at an early stage and use that to help guide development prior to its official release.

The current testing window will run through Thursday, April 5 and "PUBG" fans are out of luck if they do not already have a key to participate. The good news for those who missed out on the first rounds is there will be future test windows with more even more keys to become available.

Smaller equals better

Dropping 100 players into a smaller, tighter player space immediately solves some of the pacing issues in "PUBG" by forcing action between players quicker and more often. Additionally, the elevation changes are perhaps the most pronounced of any of the game’s maps with the many scattered villages typically located at the bottom of hills. This solves the problem of some players attempting to wait out others by hiding on rooftops. Meanwhile, the amount of foliage is closer to the Erangel map with trees and bushes that fit the setting.

PUBG Corp also upped the action in Codename: Savage by removing cosmetic items from the loot pool and making weapons widely available through the large areas like the individual boot camps on each island, the abandoned resort, docks, or various small villages.

This cuts down on the time "PUBG" players spend hunting for loot and get them ready to fight others quickly. The only potential downside is there is a chance this could make looting downed players less rewarding as they are likely to have weapons roughly equivalent to what a player already possesses.

Still needs tweaking

Aside from completing missing textures, the most immediate tweak needed with the Codename: Savage map is the pacing of the circle of death. The early stages of a "PUBG" match can turn into crazy firefights with so many players dropping in closer together.

However, the first circle is almost the size of the entire map. The time it takes for subsequent circles to force players together slows down the mid-game by bringing a break in the action.

This is still a promising addition to "PUBG" and one that PUBG Corp will hopefully fast track for the Xbox One. The smaller map could help with performance issues on the console and solve the pace of gameplay problems there as well.

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