Winters: The Weekend The Waypoint Community Invented a PUBG Game Mode


#1

I’m sitting next to a solitary rock on a beach with my one surviving buddy, waiting for a delivery of that sweet, sweet chicken dinner. And the anticipation is all the sweeter, not just because this run was my very first chicken dinner. It was also the result of a house rule mode that was accidentally invented* the previous night.

Folks, I bring you: Winters.

It all began when during a regular squad match @Jon told everyone to jump, and head west from the plane. Except that they meant to say east. Because @RezziDoke and I knew the location they had in mind, we correctly went east - all except for @Vivaldist who ended up going about as far west as possible.

In a short amount of time, us three got into a losing fight, leaving @Vivaldist as the last survivor on our team. They went on to get to #4 team rank, and as my ghost watched their relative success, I had an idea.

What if we all deliberately split up at the start of the game, and then played with the aim of eventually reuniting before the end?

We thought this would be a fun way of enhancing the kinds of stories that PUBG already excels at. But what we weren’t prepared for was what an exciting and viable strategy it is for playing as a squad of four.

A few minor embellishments were suggested. @Vivaldist thought of the name Winters after Major Winters in the Band of Brothers series. He gets separated from the rest of his squad behind enemy lines without any weapon (this is based on the true story of the real Major Winters)

I figure that we could do it by deliberately aiming to be as far away from each other as possible, but @Jon suggested the much easier way it ought to work, which is for everyone to secretly pick a spot, after the plane route becomes apparent. Once we’re ready, we then count down from three and all mark at once, with no taking it back.

It’s quite the feeling, being in a squad where we all start out with different stories, which gradually become more and more entwined until we are united again. It’s as if the storytelling potential of the game becomes multiplied. Perhaps someone gets in trouble and needs to hide while another attempts to mount a daring rescue from far further away than is comfortable. Or, perhaps only one person is anywhere near the circle, but they haven’t found any decent equipment. It’s hard to describe how alive with possiblity our Winters runs became.

But not only that, I’ve now played about ten Winters games - and the worst result so far was team rank #12. The majority were in the 4-8 range, and now we have proved it truly works with that chicken dinner.

The reason it is so viable as a strategy is that by splitting up at the start, you tend to go to places that full squads avoid early on - small groupings of houses, isolated warehouses and the like that aren’t going to have enough to equip a squad. If you get in trouble early on then it can be a big problem, but if you can take care of basic equipment and work towards meeting up, it can be glorious. Even though (and somewhat because) things frequently go south in the process of trying.

I wanted to write up this post to spread the word about this house mode we’ve come up with, and also to try to tell the story of that chicken dinner we won as a result.

So, the full guidelines for a Winters run as we’ve established so far:

  • All players secretly choose a landing zone and during the flight, reveal on a count of 3.
  • Any player who accidentally reveals early should pick a new spot before the reveal.
  • If for some reason you mess up your launch then just coast along in the plane and wait to be kicked out, and pick a new spot from there.
  • Once on the ground, there are no more rules - just use any means deemed appropriate to try to kit yourself out and meet up with the others.

For that chicken dinner run we had @Jon (Rude_Ghost on Discord community) @Rezzidoke and I along with Jess (CockatielCutie on the Discord community), someone without a forum account at the moment, but here’s her Twitter.

Jess kindly wrote up a moment-to-moment account of the run, which is sitting on a google doc here.

*Disclaimer: I understand it’s very likely that other teams have had the exact same idea, probably before we did even, and don’t want to claim we’ve done something incredibly unique - but this is the version of the idea that we came up with on the Waypoint discord


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#2

Cosign, the emergent gameplay that comes out of this homegrown game mode is incredible. Isolated save for voice chat with three pals who are spread over the entire island, tricking and conniving your way into the late game by the skin of your teeth until you can finally meet up and power through the endgame with the gear you’ve picked up in your separate adventures. We’ve played ~10 times now and we often end up with two, three, four vehicles converging on a single spot from all corners of the map, where we inevitably get launched immediately into a no-holds-barred firefight with an enemy squad that can’t understand why they hear cars incoming from every direction. We’ve had games where one of us gets caught in a tight spot and is about to go down when a teammate suddenly gets their hands on a motorbike and blasts in from halfway across the map to save their friend.

We’ve had an absurd amount of fun playing Winters. Highly recommended to every PUBG fan, and we’re always happy to play with any new friends in the fan Discord :slight_smile:


#3

I have to say, the fact that this crazy idea actually spun out into a fairly viable strategy is truly amazing. There’s something really special about the ability for PUBG to create infinite playstyles and strategies, and as Player Unknown said himself on the E3 Giant Bomb stream, as long as you win, its a good strategy. Even if it was born out of me being a complete idiot and heading the wrong way.

The original Major Winters:


#4

Also want to say that aside from the joy that this mode has brought us it has also just been a heckuva lot of fun to play with the Waypoint discord community.

It’s really great to have a place where I can get games with people I don’t know too well but I can still be pretty confident they’re going to be friendly and patient and not going to sour the experience at some point with some weird homophobic comment or whatever it happens to be. I sometimes can have a hard time loosening up around strangers but everyone has made me feel extremely welcome.


#5

As promised, here is the play-by-play write-up that Jess worked on with our input.


#6

Oh, absolutely. I’ve talked about this a bunch, but the Waypoint fan community is one of the only gaming spaces that is explicitly, actively queer- and trans-positive, and that is reflected strongly not only in the demographic composition of the community but in the general air of friendliness & fun that folks in the Discord express. Especially for a game like PUBG, that tends to broadly attract a crowd of hypermasculine “no homo” bros, it’s a breath of fresh air to play with people who just want to be themselves and have a good time without putting anyone down.


#9

We had a couple of interesting though not entirely successful Winters runs yesterday which resulted in ideas for a few variants.

One run had us encountering single players in houses forcing us to wonder if we had stumbled upon other Winters runners by mistake. We also tried:

  • Spicy Winters (a @Rezzidoke idea): Winters run but players must pick the spiciest (high traffic) areas of the map to start in. Drop points must be followed accurately as possible so if two pick the same town then they still need to work to be together. We actually did quite well with this, and it proved to be a decent warm up.

Post game discussion also threw up this ideas for a variant:

  • Winters with a traitor: based on another idea I saw where one player in the squad is secretly a traitor, I thought this could work well with Winters. There would need to be a 5th person or perhaps a technology solution for picking the traitor. I also had an idea that maybe there’s a 50% chance that there is no traitor, to keep things nice and tense.

I also thought of a couple more:

  • Original Recipe Winters: Inspired by the story that began this mode, in this variant 3 players pick a spot to land in together, then the 4th player picks a location as far away from there as possible.

  • Inconvenient Rendezvous Winters: This won’t work every time, because it depends on how the landing zones and circle work out, but I like the idea that the player who is furthest away from the circle at the start of the game must stay where they are (i.e. don’t move out of whatever house they landed near) until every other player on the team has either died or made it to their location. Only then can the surviving players can move towards the circle together. A slightly less risky version of this is just to randomly pick a player at the start who will be the rendezvous point, regardless of the circle.


#10

In case you missed it, Will Smith (you know which one) is doing some Winters runs today.


#11

Here’s a link to his stream for those interested in tagging along for the ride!


#12

We bagged a second Winters chicken dinner earlier today and it was almost as eventful as the first

  • We all land in various spots and I head southwest, which ends furthest away from a circle.
  • I head towards Orpheus, who is mostly in the circle while the other two get into some spicy moments on the way, trying to get out.
  • We get ambushed in the house I meet up with Orpheus in, and we manage to take one of them down but the others are nearby causing trouble.
  • BillTheCat and schwal arrive on another motorbike to help, and a firefight ensues which ends up killing everyone but me. Argh!
  • I hide out in the house until the circle starts closing in, and the remaining assailants give up and leave on one of the bikes.
  • I grab the other, helpfully informed of its location by the ghosts of the other 3.
  • I end up driving it with some very dangerous stunts and then through a town but somehow don’t get hit. I pick one of those little tower houses inside the circle and wait.
  • Somehow, impossible, the circle closes 3 times ending up exactly on my house. During the second of these two players attempt to storm the house but I take one out and down another. I grab the downed players healing items and heal up.
  • The circle is about to close and the house is just a tiny bit outside of it and there is one player left, just outside.
  • I rush out and shoot the final player with a tiny slither of health to spare, being the last person standing.

On the one hand, I did so much of this run by myself, but on the other I was lucky in the extreme with the circle, and actually it was the fact that we had multiple vehicles in the area that enabled me to take the bike to victory.

And also, without the excellent advice of the other players, I never would have made it to the end of the run, so it truly felt like a shared victory.


#13

My friends and I loved the sound of this, and decided to play a few rounds. I’m still cutting the other games together into a decent video, but this round was so incredible on its own that I had to post it as-is:


#14

I would like to give an example of one of the best Winters game if not the best Winters game at the moment. We did not get the chicken dinner but the most important thing that has happened is that it was fun, which is the main goal of the Winters mode and Punkblart in my opinion. Winters has started as a way to mess around with the unspoken rules of Battlegrounds, and I am so glad that people are having fun with it.


#15

After a decently long attempt to talk them into it, I got one round out of the people I play with. It was… uneventful. We dropped split up, and met up without anybody really running into a squad. We showed up with low-end guns from rural areas, not great armor, no optics, shocking volumes of medical, and later lost, outgunned and out equipped.

It was then decided to not do this again. At least for two of the people. One seems rather open to the idea still, but I think others are still weirdly win-oriented, and hate not being super squad tactics mode all game, despite being remarkably bad at that? Oh well. I love the idea still.


#16

I’m glad you tried at least! Thing is, I think it IS a winning strategy. It doesn’t work absolutely every time, but neither does any strategy I’m aware of. Those folks you are playing with don’t actually sound very tactically minded actually - despite being ‘super squad tactics mode’ - they ought to know that chaos is a big part of the game, and you can’t test an approach by trying it once.

But I have found I consistently place higher on winters runs than other sorts of squad runs, and in fact 4 out of my 6 chicken dinners have been Winters runs.

It is fun, and a lot of the time playing the mode we goof off terribly, but we also win sometimes.

Anyway I’ve had a piece rattling around in my head about letting go in PUBG - finding a way to enjoy the game without worrying too much about winning and still winning all the same. About not necessarily ignoring the advice about how to stay alive, but not letting yourself worry about it. I think I’m gonna start that.


#17

I have done a couple of Winters runs at this point, all with the Waypoint community, here are some early impressions.

First of all I really like the “group up” stage especially since driving is one of my favorite parts of the game. Finding a UAS or a Dacia and plotting a course to pick up the people closest to me, if they don’t have a vehicle of their own, is very thrilling especially if there is a threat-level and I need to get there quickly.

Having basic knowledge of the map and where there is good loot for one person but not a whole squad is key so I personally have gotten out of the lone wolf stage of the game fairly well equipped. I think this is due to me having spent most of my time with the game in solo-mode. An example of what I would consider a good Winters drop zone is the radio tower on top of the mountain in between the military base and Novorepnoye. It is almost guaranteed to have high level armour and an AR or two, but almost no squads go there because there is more loot of the same tier in bigger quantity close by. In this example it is increasingly important to be quick, you need to get off the island before squads get pushed out of the spicy zones towards your drop zone and or before squads start to blockade the bridge. But speed is also highly encouraged by the Winters mode of play which is why i think this example works well.

For me Winters is a perfect blend of the tense and scary parts that I like about playing solo with the fun team play exercise of playing squads. Also the unique experience of being outnumbered before being able to group up with your squad is very thrilling. I made a pit stop on my way to pick up a squad mate because I needed gas and also was craving more #loot. I stopped at a pretty big compound northwest of Pochinki thinking that it might become spicy but that I would be fine since I was just gonna do “a quick sweep” of the buildings. I hear gunshots and explosions from Pochinki. Followed by the sound of cars coming closer. Next thing I know I am trapped in a two story building (without a balcony) and I can see a squad starting to surround the area. And all of a sudden this game turned into a stealth sequence similar to what I felt when playing Metal Gear Solid V. I managed to escape without being seen, the only thing they heard was the sound of my car driving away.

Anyway those are some of my thoughts and experiences after playing this great mode. Haven’t gotten the Winters Chicken yet but I’m sure it’s just a matter of time.