I'm sure by now everyone is familiar with the battle royale genre that took PC gaming by storm with PUBG's introduction last year. Since then, Fortnite and many other BR clones hit the market and that trend shows no signs of slowing down in the future as well known franchises such as Battlefield make the foray into battle royale.
Tencent, one of China's largest game publishers, is currently testing its own free to play BR game in Asia called Ring of Elysium (ROE). If you haven't heard of Tencent, they're the company that Bluehole (makers of PUBG) partnered with to create the mobile version of PUBG and they also own a large chunk of Epic Games which makes the game engine for both PUBG and Fortnite.
Free to Play In Asia (for now)
Ring of Elysium is Tencent's version of PUBG for the desktop which is currently beta testing in Asia with plans to expand availability of the game in the future. The only way to get this game if you are a NA/EU player is to download the Garena client and go through a few additional steps to get it working. You can skip ahead to the download instructions and grab a cup of coffee while ROE downloads and you finish reading the rest of this article.
Quality of Life Improvements
ROE has the same premise as PUBG and Fortnite where players eject from an airplane onto the map and then frantically search for weapons and armor to fend off other hostile players before the zone closes in on them. Even the inventory UI (user interface) in ROE looks eerily similar to PUBG but when you look beneath the surface and dig a little deeper, you'll find ROE plays quite differently than PUBG while also bringing with it sorely needed quality of life improvements that PUBG still lacks.
When I began my first match, I noticed there was no lobby like PUBG but instead I was already inside the airplane coasting along in the sky with less waiting time than a traditional PUBG lobby. Next, a sound rang out indicating it was time to eject and when I did, my character was equipped with a glider which seemed more maneuverable and enjoyable to use than a parachute.
The first place I landed was a theme park aptly named "Ocean Park" and quickly made my way to a table containing weapons and grabbed the LVOA-C (a 5.56 mm AR) and accompanying ammo while watching the player adjacent to me do the same. I lucked out and managed to dispatch my opponent with the LVOA-C and immediately noticed a difference in the gun play compared to PUBG, my bullets hit exactly where I aimed despite the high ping to Thailand. Next I ran over and grabbed an SMG (MP5) along with a 4x scope, 2x scope and vertical foregrip.
While perusing through my inventory, I noticed each gun had two slots for scopes and that I could switch between them using a hotkey--a simple yet badly needed quality of life improvement I'd always yearned for in PUBG! I tossed the 2x scope on my MP5 and 4x on the LVOA-C and continued running around looking for more loot when I came across the G28 DMR. I figured I'd toss the MP5 in favor of a AR/DMR combo and as I grabbed the G28, I noticed the vertical foregrip and 2x scope automatically switched from the MP5 to the G28 so I didn't have to manually remove and add them myself like I would have had to in PUBG. Here's an example of this mechanic at work:
Another quality of life improvement that is featured in ROE is the ability to ping 3D positions using a hotkey which makes callouts infinitely less cumbersome than trying to describe the location of your opponent based on landmarks like PUBG. Additionally, ROE has hit markers so when your bullet hits another player, feedback is given to the player via a hit indicator which gives better feedback than a tiny speck of blood like in PUBG.
Hit Detection, Bullet Velocity & Combat
Having grabbed a level 2 helmet, backpack and vest, I was ready to make my way out of Ocean Park and head towards a town called Whale Town (these names are probably placeholders). While heading over there, I saw a guy about 150 meters out running out in the open and I decided to take a shot at him with my G28 + 4x scope. As I tracked him, I led my shot like I normally do in PUBG and fired but noticed I missed because I had overcompensated thinking bullet velocity and drop were like PUBG when in fact they were nothing alike. Next, I aimed slightly ahead of him and fired again and the bullet hit him dead on and I continued by firing a few more successive shots until he was dead.
ROE bullets seem to travel at a greater velocity and have less drop (even though they are affected by wind like PUBG) compared to PUBG. In addition, the hit detection seems to be spot on for the most part (when taking high ping into account) unlike PUBG which can quite often seem spotty. I wanted to test this theory further by trying other sniper weapons out and I eventually came across a Remington 700 5.56mm sniper rifle and gave up the G28 in favor of it.
Thanks to the quality of life improvements, my extended mag and scope from the G28 were automatically added to the Remington 700 and I was good to go. I decided to perch on top of the roof and wait on a victim to test out the Remington 700 and it wasn't long before I found my next target who was blissfully running across an open field about 150-200 meters out. Seeing how little I had to compensate for movement with the G28, I figured the Remington 700 would be similar and I was right, as soon as I fired, the bullet lasered in on the guys skull and he was down for the count. I also noticed there was no delay when aiming down the sights compared to PUBG and other games.
Some players who value realism above all else may argue that less bullet drop and immediate ADS isn't a good thing but it seems Tencent has decided that a more casual approach to gun play could be more enjoyable for many and for me personally that is indeed the case.
As I was running from one town to the next trying to survive the onslaught of other players, I noticed the weather had changed from a sunny day to one with rain and strong winds. It turns out each ROE match has unique dynamic weather which includes rain, wind, lightning and fog.
Dynamic weather isn't just for looks (though it looks great), as it drives players to change their tactics. In a sunny setting, one can easily discern other players footsteps and see them from a distance but when the weather shifts to strong winds and rain, footsteps and other sounds become more muted and visibility is also reduced which forces the player to be more careful and aware of their surroundings. Here's an example of the dynamic weather at play (yeah I got shot up pretty bad):
Eventually, the rain cleared up and I continued on my journey to the center of the zone and came across a silly looking Mr. Bean car (a mini cooper knock-off) and decided to take it for a spin.
Vehicles Not Quite Up To Par
While PUBG's vehicle physics aren't exactly the best, they do have ROE beat by far for now. As I mentioned above, I was driving around in my tiny Mr. Bean car and while accelerating, I tried turning and and rather than a gradual turn like I intended, it did a hard right into a tree. You could argue this is a side effect of a 230 ms ping but that isn't exactly it, the vehicle physics seem almost non-existent and as a consequence, they drive more like a cheap mobile game than a fully fleshed out desktop BR game. However, since the game is in beta testing and nowhere near complete, this can be excused.
Performance & Limitations
The good news is that despite being in early beta, the game runs quite well and anything with a 1050 Ti and above should run it smoothly at 1080p. Unfortunately, because the game is still in its infancy, Tencent hasn't fully fleshed out all the graphics and bind options yet so you can't technically go above 1920 x 1080 px resolution unless you tab out of the game and use the NVIDIA control panel to manually adjust the resolution above 1080p. Similarly, rebinding keys to the mouse isn't yet possible so one workaround right now is to use your own mouse's software (e.g. Razer Synapse) or a third party one like X-Mouse.
Should You Try It Out? Of Course!
Even with the game limited to Asia right now, it is free and well worth checking out if you are a battle royale and especially PUBG fan. It offers a similar experience to PUBG with with the noted quality of life and gun play improvements I mentioned above. In addition, the map itself is quite beautiful and is definitely a step above what PUBG has to offer. I've been playing this game for roughly two weeks now and haven't gotten tired of it yet so I recommend every BR/PUBG fan to give this game a try since you have nothing to lose.
How to Download Ring of Elysium (Updated 5/2/2018)
Downloading ROE has become a lot less complicated now thanks to official English language support from Tencent. So let's begin:
1. First thing you will need is Garena client so head on over here and grab it: https://www.garena.sg/gpc
2. Next, launch Garena and switch your region to Thailand and then restart your Garena client.
3. Select Ring of Elysium from the list of games in the Garena client and start your download.
4. Once the download is complete, launch ROE.
5. Hit Esc and press the middle button (see picture below) which is for settings and you will then see a drop down menu that lets you change the language from Thai to English, do this and then press the "Apply" button (it will be in Thai, see second picture below). Afterwards, it will prompt you to restart the game which you will need to do.
6. Restart ROE and now it should be in English.
And you're all set!
Come Join Us!
If you would like to join the T|I crew and others in a game of ROE (and other games), then hop in our discord and say hello! We're always looking for new players to game with.