There has been quite a push to have a competitive scene in many Battle Royale games in the last year or so. Before that, we had a healthy competitive community of H1Z1 and we have since seen games like PUBG try to get a competitive environment. Recently, Islands of Nyne is a game that is expressly made for the competitive Battle Royale player. Competition seems to be something that does not suit Battle Royale games, so we will be taking a look at why that is so.
The Structure of a Battle Royale
The idea of a Battle Royale game is to try to survive amongst a horde of players. This means that there are many different factors to consider in it as opposed to the traditional 5v5 format that is followed by most games and the less prevalent 1v1 format which is popularized by games like Quake and StarCraft.
My opinion is that Battle Royale games should be considered as something that cannot have a viable competitive scene, and I will be explaining some of the reasons as to why that is so.
The Sheer Size of a Battle Royale
The idea is to drop in among 100 or so players and then survive. As soon as you have these many players in a game, luck is going to be a very important factor. Even when matchmaking in PUBG you begin to see the holes within this format. Often times, you drop into an area and are unable to find loot good enough to compete. However, the guy right beside you has already found an Assault Rifle and guns you down without you being able to do anything.
This means that there will always be a certain amount of luck involved when competing in a game such as PUBG or Islands of Nyne. You can never know where the loot will be so your team needs to have a certain amount of RNG favoring it if you have any chance of surviving until the end.
Another reason why the size of a Battle Royale is a problem is that you cannot possibly consider all of the locations that an enemy can attack you from. It is quite easy to stay outside of the Play Zone when in the first few circles so not only do players need to be aware of the enemies that might attack them from within the circle but also an area which has been deemed unplayable by the game.
Logistics of a Tournament
As you know, the fact that there are more players in a single Battle Royale than there are in an entire tournament of a game like Counter-Strike or League of Legends means that trying to set up a tournament of this size is alone going to cost the hosts a lot of money.
While it may be possible for organizers like Bluehole to have the PUBG Global Invitational which is starting soon, smaller studios will not be able to afford the cost of so many computers, hotel rooms, and so on.
What occurs as an effect of this is that there is very little grassroots movement in the game. Although it is still possible for the big teams to actively participate in the main tournaments, smaller LANs which would help younger teams develop and learn how to compete in a LAN environment will be left wanting due to the lack of tournaments which will occur in their area.
The Combat and The Spectators
The following will have happened to so many PUBG players while in the game: two Squads are in a pitched battle and trying to take each other out. However, a third squad comes in out of nowhere and manages to take one of the teams out.
Now some may argue that this is just one of the things that you need to account for when in a Battle Royale match but the fact is that this only takes away from the focus of the initial fight and focus is everything in a competitive environment. If you cannot focus your attention on a particular set of enemies, then there is a fair chance that the better team does not come out on top.
The people who are watching may also experience trouble with this formula. Since there are so many players in the game and action could be happening in so many places at once, it will be incredibly hard for the spectators and the casters to keep up with it. It can easily be that the favorites to win the tournament are taken out by one of the other teams and no one knows because the camera is focused on another important fight that was going on at the same time.
All of the aforementioned reasons lead me to believe that having a Battle Royale tournament not only leaves the spectators and the fans wanting more but they are not the best way to find out which team was actually better than everyone else. The amount of RNG involved in a Battle Royale game is simply way too much for it to be considered a competitive sport.
Games like DOTA 2 and Counter Strike have focused action between only 2 teams and this allows both of them to have much deeper strategies and tactics.
There are still strategies involved in Battle Royale games but the fact is that there are so many unforeseen problems that could occur when you are executing that strategy that the winner of the game is simply not the most optimal way to find out which of these teams was the strongest and which of these teams actually deserved to take the trophy home.
Despite all that I have said, there is still a thriving community for games like PUBG and Islands of Nyne does seem to be pushing really hard on the competitive end of things, so let us know your thoughts on whether or not you think there can be a healthy competitive scene for the Battle Royale genre which will ensure fairness and leave the fan satisfied.