PUBG Corp. announced a surprising decision today regarding the upcoming release of the newest map for PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds. Sanhok, PUBG's first 4-kilometer by 4-kilometer "Mini Royale" map, will not feature skill-based matchmaking. Instead, all players, regardless of experience levels, will be lumped into the same queue and compete against veteran and newcomer alike. Sanhok goes live in PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds on PC starting June 22.
The reasons behind the decision aren't technical. PUBG Corp. wants the action on Sanhok to be fast-paced and out of control:
"The second topic is a little surprise about the way Sanhok’s matchmaking will work. We want Sanhok to feel like a truly chaotic, different gaming experience. For that reason, there will be no MMR-based matchmaking when you play on Sanhok. Although career stats will still be recorded, your performance on Sanhok won’t affect your MMR at all."
This was the decision that PUBG Corp. came to based off of several months testing the Sanhok map on PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds' experimental servers. It was likely also heavily influenced by trends that it's seeing on the live servers. There's always a chance that PUBG Corp. changes its mind in the future, but for now Sanhok and any upcoming 4x4 maps will likely not have MMR-based matchmaking.
PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds features MMR (skill-based) matchmaking for both the Miramar and Erangel maps. It appears that PUBG Corp. has no plans to alter matchmaking in the standard queue, as Sanhok will be split off into its own "Mini Royale" queue when the map goes live. Preservation of the kind of gameplay PUBG fans have come to expect from the larger maps appears to be a priority for PUBG Corp.
Players of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds will likely be entirely okay with Sanhok not having MMR-based matchmaking. PUBG's gameplay is still unique enough that any player, no matter their skill, has a chance at winning. Especially so on a smaller, faster-paced map. So balance shouldn't be much of a worry. But there are other perks, such as being able to queue with favorite streamers again, or unique encounters with players focused on having fun rather than perfect execution. This decision is emblematic of PUBG Corp. making an effort to add a more relaxed sort of fun ing PUBG.
PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds is available now on PC, Xbox One, and mobile devices. The Sanhok map will be available on PC starting June 22.