FPS Games Sandbox Survival horror Xbox One

The hawks and doves of PUBG

PUBG is a battle royale style game and can be a fascinating study in behaviour. One hundred people stuck on a plane with nothing but the clothes on their back…and often not even that, are thrust into the battered island arena which will be the home of their harrowing adventure, a barrier shrinking in and pushing the combatants closer and closer together. Here you’ll find your hawks, doves and…well frankly, crazy players. The general base of hawk and dove game theory is that while both will be initially aggressive, the doves will retreat to safety in the face of a hawk, while the hawk will fight to the death.

Where you choose to begin can have an astounding effect on your success, the hawks being aggressive and going in for the fight will land at more built up areas. These cities, bunkers and ruins often have the most choice of equipment to find, but with every extra person your chances of getting out of that situation alive decreases. The survivor/s of these battles will walk out with the best equipment and the confidence of having known they just significantly reduced the opposition. The doves will have grabbed equipment and quietly fled from the area in hopes of a safer area to hunker down until they are forced to move in closer.

I’m a dove in these games, I’ll take little risk but more often playing it safely. Grabbing what I can, often from more remote locations while trying to keep my distance until I slowly crawl my way into the next area. The chances I’ll get the best equipment are slimmer, but sometimes it happens. In half the times I’ve won my chicken dinner I didn’t fire a shot until the final hawk, weakened from the battle with the others, is looking around confused and wondering why they haven’t won and where anyone else might be. As their heart races, starting to panic slightly a shot rings out… and suddenly after all that effort, second place. Their triumph stolen by a sneaky little bastard who quickly learned when to fire and when not to. Not that is works every time, sometimes you forget to switch to single fire and spray blindly before being taken down quite embarrassingly.

Of course all this is ignoring the outliers, the people who race into vehicles and spend the final moments of a match circling around the rapidly shrinking zone in the hopes of hitting some poor unfortunate soul trying to keep in cover. Hiding in long grass I’ve had a car drive within inches of me, as they never returned I’m confident they didn’t even know I was there, they just hoped they’d hit someone before someone hit them enough to destroy their vehicle. These people are the absolute worst.

Of course, odds and brazen driving aren’t all that matters in such a game. Patience and skill take a part, and being able to hold off the panic while your heart, inexplicably pounding in your chest, tries to jump out of your throat and make a run for it as it’s pretty sure it shouldn’t be enduring such stress while playing a game. But you go back, because you only just landed at a remote farm house before being mown down that time, and that’s not really a game. You try and be the hawk, if you’re normally a dove and find it terrifying and pointless. It’s always better to play the odds, after all.

Fortnite has its own battle royale mode, which made the game instantly much more popular. It is pretty much the same as PUBG, except it’s free and polished and really rather ridiculous. There are no vehicles but you can build structures, so the end game usually results in whoever is the best architect with the luckiest positioning of their structure. While still as heart pounding at times, its more cartoonish design leaves it more relaxing, and you’ll be much more forgiving and less enraged when you die than you would on PUBG.

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