Power Armor Would Ruin Everything About PUBG

Data miners recently uncovered a suit of power armor in PUBG's assets, but would such an inclusion really help the game?

Recently, Reddit user DevinWatson posted images (via Imgur) of supposedly unreleased items and skins obtained from datamining the most recent patch of PLAYERUNKOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS. This gallery of unreleased cosmetics and items contained the usual PUBG fare: a military hat, some hooded coats, spiky leather jackets, and...

...power armor?

Though players were quick to point out that this particular asset is actually from an Unreal Engine 4 C++ template -- DevinWatson himself even noted in the gallery that this suit was found with other development and testing assets -- it does raise the question of whether power suits of some kind should ever come to PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS

Let's hope not.

While some might relish the idea of running around the map in a form-fitting bullet sponge like the one pictured above, the presence of such an item in the actual game would severely detract from the overall experience -- and for a number of reasons. 

It Would Destroy What the Game Is About

What separates PUBG from so many other first-person shooters is that decisions matter. Do I take the shot and reveal my location? Do I open the door and initiate the fight? Do I try to battle for the air drop? Whereas bad decisions in most online shooters merely send you back to the spawn point with another tick in the death column, PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS ends your match right there.

This means that your choices carry weight. Every decision could be the difference between failure and chicken dinner. Now imagine the frustration of knowing that no matter what strategy you choose, you won't stand a chance against that one guy that managed to parachute closest to the power armor at the start of the match.

In a game where snap decisions mean so much, getting shot down in an unwinnable duel against someone dressed like a Spartan IV would be nothing but a letdown. Sure, you wouldn't feel so bad if you were the one in the exosuit, but that means...

It Would Sacrifice the Enjoyment of Many for the Enjoyment of Few

Assuming that only a handful of Mass Effect-style power suits spawn on each map, the one or two players that manage to obtain one would likely have such a significant gap in power over the rest of the players that it would detract from the majority's experience. Sure, one or two players would be having a blast, but they'd be doing so at the cost of 98 other players' fun. 

An alternative to this would be increasing the drop rate of this special armor, thereby increasing the number of players that can obtain it and have fun with it. But if more players have it, that only makes it more likely for the non-armored players to encounter a foe that they stand no chance against. Not fun.

Granted, this is all assuming that the hypothetical exo-suit would have such relatively awesome stats that it grants the bearer an immediate and significant advantage over all other players. The remedy to this, naturally, would be to make the additional armor tier less powerful, right? Not quite, because...

Even As a Minor Upgrade It Would Still Cause Balance Issues

If power armor were added to the game, it would take more than a few tweaks to make it a balanced piece of equipment. Even if Bluehole Inc. introduced higher tier armor as something that can only drop with very low durability -- only useful for a limited time -- it would not be enough prevent the scenarios mentioned above where other players find themselves in a non-winnable battle.

Unlike, say, an overpowered gun, armor requires no real skill. You don't have to point and shoot your armor with precision to see its effects. Armor is a constant and guaranteed advantage over other players that requires no skill or luck to benefit from. That means that almost every time that a player with power armor encountered an enemy, they would have the upper hand.

The other possibility would be to simply make power armor the next tier of vests: as incremental as the leap from tier 2 armor to tier 3. The problem with this is that the addition of a higher armor tier -- even only a bit higher -- would require significant balance changes to current guns, their drop rates, armor drop rates, etc.

If this balancing act is screwed up, then we now have an annoyingly broken game on our hands. If the balances all work out perfectly, then the game is barely different at all, thereby defeating the purpose of even adding the exo-suit in. There's no real upside other than players getting to pretend they're Iron Man, which I can do in plenty of games already. 

Look, exo-suits are awesome in games where there are supposed to be exo-suits. But that's just not PUBG. After so many tweaks and refinements to the game's current formula, throwing in power armor would simply cause too big of an upheaval. There's no reason to risk the majority of the players' fun or the balance of the game just to give a few players some extra protection. That's what frying pans are for, after all.

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Do you agree that power armor would break PUBG? Or do you think it's a good idea? Let me know down in the comments! And be sure to check out our PUBG guides for tips and tricks that will keep you alive on the battlefield.

Published Jul. 17th 2017

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