PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG)

A word on map rotation.

It's a very common thread topic on this subreddit: "WHERE IS MAP X! YOU GUYS MESSED WITH THE ALGORITHM" And invariably, there's someone else saying "Hey, I get Map X all the time! But what I would really like to play is map Z. Where is it?" And then you'll get someone else saying "hey, if it's random, it should mean that we'll get Map A, B, and X, Y and Z each 20% of the time. Since we're not seeing that, it must mean that the algorithm is broken!"

The problem with a lot of these arguments is that they sort of ignore the rules of statistics and randomness. Random means streaky data, with long runs before you see another integer. It means that you'll likely start to see patterns where there are none. It means that you need a VERY large sample size before you really start to see an even distribution, but before that you'll see lopsided results that are hard to reproduce. It means that one set of 50 games could look entirely different than another set.

I used's integer generator to create sets of 50, with random integers between 1 and 5. 1 is Erangel, 2 is Miramar, 3 is Sanhok, 4 is Vikendi, 5 is Karakin. I then ran it forty times to generate an equivalent of 2000 rounds of gameplay. The results were interesting.

The first 5 rounds are actually sort of even, but by round 10 there was a clear streak for Sanhok. It had appeared 4 times out of ten, with Erangel only appearing once. 15 rounds in, we were a little more even, with Miramar starting to show up. Erangel is still rare, and we haven't even seen Vikendi yet. It's worth noting that Vikendi didn't even show up until round 20, and then only once. Erangel has only shown up once in the first 20 rounds as well. In my opinion, 20 rounds actually looks the most biased and streaky of all the sets. However, by round 25, there was a hot streak and Vikendi had shot up to 4 appearances, and another appearance from Erangel. 30 rounds in, we start to see more Erangel. 35 rounds in, and we have another rush from Sanhok. Erangel shows up again by 40 rounds and the wheel is starting to look a little more even. 50 rounds in shows a heavy preponderance of Vikendi and Sanhok taking up fully half of the rounds played.

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However, by round 100, there's a decent-sized jump towards a more even distribution. What's interesting, though, is that you still see some streakiness as you jump up in big gaps now, from 100 to 500, then 500 to 1000. Even over huge sample sizes, you still see trends and streaks. By the time we get to 2000 maps we see almost perfect distribution, though not quite.

Now, keep in mind, these aren't actually maps. These are just integers. But putting a name to the number starts to incur some sort of personal bias. I go frustrated to see Sanhok so prevalent in the first 50 rounds or so, until I remembered that it was literally just the number 3. I think that's one of the few takeaways here.

Number one, you need a HUGE, HUGE sample size before you start to eliminate the streakiness of a random map pool. That becomes a problem when any full length game in PUBG is a commitment of 20 to 35 minutes. Who has patience for a streaky 20 round distribution when that literally comes out to 5-10 hours of gameplay? Can you imagine playing for 10 hours and only seeing Erangel once? No wonder people think it doesn't exist.

Number two, your own personal bias impacts your perception of map frequency. If you hate a map and get it frequently in the first twenty rounds you play, then of course it's going to negatively impact your experience. Just putting names to numbers when I made these charts made me feel like there was some pattern at work, but of course, there wasn't. It's just my opinion and natural bias. The more you learn to over come this bias, probably the happier you'll be.

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Number three, even if the maps even out over time, literally no one sits there and plays 100 rounds in a row. More realistically, you play somewhere between 5 and 10 rounds a night, and when you play that few, you drastically amplify the appearance of streaks. This is a gif showing two weeks' worth of games, playing 10 rounds a night. It's 140 total rounds, but broken up into individual sessions, the streakiness seems chaotic and unavoidable. There are entire nights where you don't see certain maps, and then there are several days on end where one map dominates the others, then disappears for the rest of the week. If you play fewer than 10 rounds a night, it'll look even worse.

But then, when you average those 140 rounds out, you get a very even distribution, in spite of how it "felt" when you were playing every night:

So, in short, no, there isn't a bias, PUBGcorp isn't hiding Erangel from out out of spite, you just need a LOT of rounds to even out the distribution, and even then that doesn't minimize the appearance of streaks in smaller sequences within the larger set. There isn't really a tidy solution outside of BIG ROYALE/MINI ROYALE queues, but further fracturing the player base will just lead to more bots. Gotta choose your battles. Just food for thought.

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