If you've even briefly stuck your head into the PUBG subreddit in recent weeks, you'll have noticed things have taken... something of a downturn for the PC version since season 6 began. Multiple new bugs have been spotted, players have reported a severe increase in performance issues (particularly FPS drops), and one of PUBG's prominent streamers announced he would be "taking a break" as a result of the continuing problems.
One of the biggest complaints was a perceived silence from PUBG Corp on the issues - but the company has finally responded, and an official dev letter has been published to address community concerns.
"We know the last few months have had some ongoing issues impacting gameplay and wanted to take a moment to address everything," reads the letter on PUBG's Steam page. "We know the below issues have been extremely frustrating to deal with and we're sorry they've persisted for so long."
On cheaters, PUBG Corp said it is attempting to find new solutions and will update players on this with a roadmap post in early March. The developer also confirmed player reports of increased FPS drops, stuttering and crashes since the January update, and explained that these are taking a while to fix because they are issues impacting specific hardware that often occur in "situations which are difficult to reproduce". The dev team is conducting further tests to solve these, and the performance issues remain a "top priority".
Not all the problems have stemmed from the game itself, however, as PUBG Corp says the servers have increasingly been subject to external DDoS attacks (distributed denial-of-service: basically, overwhelming servers with a flood of internet traffic). These have caused connection issues such as "network delays, a significant ping increase, and severe packet loss".
"Last November, the intensity of the attacks increased to a level we hadn't experienced before, which increased again in February," PUBG Corp explained. "Our dev team has been increasing our DDoS defense solutions, working with various server infrastructure providers and analysing their effectiveness in order to protect our game servers and provide a more stable service. At the same time, we're working on our own defense system specifically designed to protect PUBG's game servers.
"DDoS server attacks are a serious crime and we've been gathering all information we can to take legal action against the perpetrators."
Apparently these efforts have so far reduced the impact of DDoS attacks by 85 per cent, but there's still more work to be done, and PUBG says it will continue to battle the attacks.
Along with these two major areas, the post explains that the problems with matchmaking in the new team deathmatch mode are now mostly resolved via a hotfix, and the team is working on a more permanent solution. Custom match presets, meanwhile, have been disabled until a fix can be rolled out.
In closing, PUBG Corp pledged it would be "more transparent" with what it's working on over the coming year, and will continue to work on the other high-priority issues affecting gameplay.
Part of the reason for community frustration is because these issues have existed for several years, but have only come to a head in the past few months. Players have frequently called for China to be region-locked to reduce the number of cheaters, for instance, while the game has earned itself something of a reputation for bugs, stutters and FPS drops.
This also isn't the first time PUBG has had to formally apologise to its player base for performance troubles. Back in August 2018 it launched a bug-fixing campaign called "Fix PUBG", intended to inform players of upcoming improvements. This didn't last particularly long, however, and was declared finished only three months later in November 2018 due to a shift in priorities towards "build stability and quality". The company has also attempted to address the rampant cheating with anti-cheat software and ban waves, resulting in an estimated 13m bans as of October 2018: perhaps revealing the sheer scale of the problem PUBG Corp has on its hands. In light of the continuing technical issues, will PUBG Corp's new promises convince players?
Something else that could get fixed in the near future, meanwhile, is the newly-added team deathmatch mode's invincibility mechanic, which grants players a brief period of invulnerability intended to prevent spawn camping, but has been highly unpopular with the community. "We're aiming to have the invincibility mechanic changed in next month's update, with invincibility being removed upon firing," community manager "Hawkinz" said on Twitter. If only an invincibility mechanic could be applied to poor PUBG's servers.