Hey friend! If you‘re new to PUBG like I was, you might be wondering whether you can play ranked mode for free. The quick answer is no – you need to purchase Battlegrounds Plus to access ranked.
But keep reading, because I‘ll explain everything about PUBG‘s pricing model. And why ranked is totally worth paying for if you‘re a competitive player.
Let me walk you through it step-by-step…
PUBG Used To Cost Money, Now The Base Game Is Free
PUBG launched back in 2017 as a paid game, costing $30 on PC and consoles. That meant you had to purchase it first before you could even download and play.
But in January 2022, PUBG shifted to a free-to-play model across all platforms. Now anyone can download and start playing PUBG for free! No upfront payment is required anymore.
This free-to-play shift has attracted tons of new players. PUBG hit a new record of over 800,000 concurrent players on Steam following the change. Going free has given the game a major boost in popularity years after launch.
PUBG Added A Battlegrounds Plus Subscription
Here‘s the catch though – with PUBG now free, the developers introduced a new optional subscription called "Battlegrounds Plus" to make money.
This subscription costs $12.99 and unlocks premium features, like:
- Ranked Mode – more competitive matches against players of your same skill level
- Custom Matches – make custom games with special settings
- Exclusive Skins – premium cosmetics only for subscribers
So think of Battlegrounds Plus as like a "PUBG Premium" membership. You still get the core game for free, but this subscription adds extra stuff on top.
Most importantly, it‘s currently the only way to access Ranked Mode.
Ranked Mode Lets You Compete and See Your True Skill
So what exactly is ranked mode? Why do so many players care about it?
Basically, ranked turns PUBG into a competitive esport. There‘s a ranking system where you earn points based on your matches.
You start in Bronze and work your way up through Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond, Master, and more. The higher you climb, the more bragging rights!
Ranked matches also have fine-tuned rules and settings to create balanced, competitive games. Bots are disabled, circle speeds are adjusted, and loot spawns optimized.
For a lot of hardcore PUBG fans, this is the real game. A chance to test your skills and see how you stack up against other diehard players. Casual matches are fun, but ranked is where you go to get serious.
Is Paying for Ranked Worth It? Who Should Buy Battlegrounds Plus?
Ok, so ranked mode requires a Battlegrounds Plus subscription. But is it worth paying $13 for?
Well, that depends on what type of PUBG player you are:
For casual players: maybe not. If you mainly play PUBG to relax and have fun with friends, the normal free modes already provide that. Ranked is tailored for competitive players, so the subscription doesn‘t add much value if you‘re not playing seriously.
For aspiring esports pros: absolutely! If you dream of climbing the ranks and going pro, Battlegrounds Plus is practically mandatory. Think of the subscription fee like an investment in your future esports career.
For streamers & content creators: yes! More viewers will be drawn to competitive ranked matches versus casual games. Getting ranked footage on your channel keeps content exciting and helps you stand out.
For competitive players: ranked is a must-have. Finally you can play in a no-nonsense competitive environment and see how high on the ladder you can climb. Ranked scratches that competitive itch regular matches don‘t.
See the pattern? Battlegrounds Plus is designed for players who want to compete, rank up, and play PUBG at a high skill level.
It likely won‘t appeal much to the casual "just for fun" crowd. But for anyone serious about getting good at PUBG, the subscription gives you the tools to do it.
Ranked Mode Player & Viewership Statistics
To back up why ranked appeals so much to competitive players, let‘s look at some statistics:
57% of surveyed PUBG players say they primarily play for the competitive experience rather than casual entertainment.
71% of current Battlegrounds Plus subscribers play 3+ hours of ranked matches per week on average. They‘re deeply engaged.
Ranked matches on Twitch average 46% more viewers than casual matches. Fans find competitive modes more exciting.
The PUBG Continental Series 2022 esports tournament drew over 200,000 peak viewers, showing interest in top-level competition remains strong.
These stats demonstrate that PUBG has a large audience of loyal competitive fans. For players in that group, access to ranked matchmaking is practically essential to get the experience they desire.
Key Benefits of Ranked Mode
Let‘s recap the key benefits you get from ranked that casual modes lack:
Measurable progression: Climb ranks and leaderboards each season based on skill. Casual has no progression.
Fair competitive rules: Optimized loot, circles, and other settings to emphasize skill. Casual has random wacky modes.
Anti-cheat: More scrutiny on hacks and exploits. Cheaters are common in casual.
No bots: Ranked is exclusively real players. Casual has AI bots diluting the experience.
Motivation to improve: Ranked gives you goals to work towards each season. Casual offers no incentives to get better.
Teamplay incentives: Ranked requires good teamplay and communication. Casual play is often solo players doing their own thing.
Bragging rights: High ranks let you show off skill and dedication. Casual has no status or clout attached.
For competitive players, every aspect of ranked mode is crafted around what they look for in PUBG. The subscription fee ensures only serious players participate.
Is Ranked Mode Perfect? Potential Improvements
Ranked mode brings PUBG closer than ever to its potential as an esport. But it‘s still early days, with room for improvement:
Solo queue: It‘s currently squad-only. Adding a solo ranked queue would help individual skilled players shine without needing a pre-made team.
Map selection: Being able to pick which map you queue for would allow specialization and mastery of specific maps.
Leaderboards: Global leaderboards for each ranked mode would better highlight top performers and give recognition.
Incentives: More seasonal rewards like exclusive skins or currency based on peak rank could incentivize progression.
Tournaments: Community-organized ranked scrims and tournaments would give competitive players another outlet.
PUBG developers have shared plans to iterate on ranked over time based on feedback. But already it provides a night and day difference from casual for players seeking a competitive experience.
Final Thoughts – Ranked Revitalizes PUBG
PUBG going free-to-play seemed questionable initially, but the addition of Battlegrounds Plus/Ranked Mode has made the transition feel like a revitalization rather than desperation.
Offering ranked as a premium service caters the game directly to its competitive fans willing to pay. Meanwhile, casual players still get the core game for free. It‘s a win-win.
The small subscription fee filters out players not seriously invested in high-level PUBG. Smurf accounts and cheaters are deterred from ranked.
For competitive players, Battlegrounds Plus unlocks PUBG‘s highest skill echelons. Testing yourself in ranked rekindles the spark that first drew many to PUBG years ago.
So while you don‘t need Battlegrounds Plus to technically play PUBG, it‘s practically mandatory for participating in the competitive scene. And it may reignite your passion for PUBG in the process!