The latest patch in PUBG made a rather major change to one of the signature mechanics in any battle royale game, the circle of death or specifically in PUBG’s case, the Blue Circle.
The circle makes the playable area of the entire map smaller and smaller as time goes on to prevent people from hiding away in some corner for the entire game. Staying outside the playable area created by the circle will result in the player’s eventual demise.
The patch for PUBG changed the circle (via Kotaku) to constrict the play area faster, making it come into play a lot quicker than usual. Previously, the circle would only constrict rapidly during the middle and latter stages of the game, allowing players significant time to loot up and find vehicles during the beginning phase.
The PUBG team decided that the best way to reduce downtime in each match while retaining the tension ever so prevalent in battle royale games is to reduce the delay for releasing the blue circle. To compensate, the speed in which the blue circle constricts was reduced significantly in all but the first two phases (for the blue circle) of the game, where the speed is slightly increased instead.
The damage the blue circle inflicts was also increased in the final three phases to make it more dangerous to try and embrace the blue circle in exchange for positional advantages upon unsuspecting opponents.
It is clear that the intent for PUBG is to make games faster, a major selling point for their primary competitor, Fortnite, while ensuring the final tensest periods are even more intense by dragging them out through a slower blue circle. Now, players will need to be a lot quicker on their feet during the starting period of each game and newer games are more likely to start faster as a result as well. Unfortunately, this could cause a lot of players with bad starts to just give up immediately to instead try their luck in the next match, reducing the stakes and overarching tension during the very important looting phase.