I've been playing this game for two weeks, and I've been really, really enjoying it.
A huge part of my enjoyment is the map. It's big, it's pretty, it supports and encourages different tactics and strategies for engagement. Recognizable landmarks and biome shifts make it possible to infer one's rough position from the environment without having to open the map, which also helps to ground memories/experiences in certain areas—there's a very strong sense of, "Oh, this is where we had that final stand three games ago," or "I've died every time I've come through here!" For me and the people I play with, this makes the game feel much more substantial—it ties the gameplay to the game's world, and helps the continent to feel like a setting rather than just a 'level.'
I like the map so much that, for the first week or so that I played, I felt a little disappointed that the game didn't work harder to incentivize exploration. Framerate problems and a circle that consistently closed around Pochinki made dropping in Stalber or Yosnaya at least an unoptimal choice, if not an outright bad choice.
When the loot tables got 'broken,' I thought that this problem actually got better rather than worse—the paucity of reliable weapons drops actually made dropping in Zharki, Primorsk, Stalber, Yasnaya, or Novo much more attractive, because they provided resources that one couldn't get elsewhere. It felt like there were interesting decisions to be made around jumping: You could drop somewhere populous and central, get kitted, and have to play an aggressive early game (but not have to sprint for the circle); you could drop somewhere rural and be safe, but need to scrounge for weapons; you could drop in a remote city or warehouse, and find good gear, but be forced to spend the rest of the game humping after the white. There was no 'correct' decision, but nor was there really a 'wrong' one. Different options supported different moods and playstyles.
I think the recent loot table 'fixes'—and the changes that I suspect have been made to where circles contract, but maybe that's just variance, I'm not sure—have set this interesting balance off-kilter. The last few days, we've consistently been able to get kitted off of basically any farmhouse. Sometimes you have to hit a few, but it's not uncommon to find ARs, level 2 vests & helmets, and high-tier attachments in standard residential buildings.
Not only does this accelerate the game enormously, it also eliminates some of the advantages of dropping in a busy area. If landing in a random farm compound outside Gatka gets you as kitted as dropping in Novo, then choosing where to drop becomes less about what one's likely to find and more about the relative advantages and disadvantages of a given map position. The big losers here are Primorsk and Zharki.
Even without unusually good drops, there are plenty of reasons to drop in areas like Pochinki, Rozhok, and Yasnaya. It's easy to rotate to anywhere on the map from them, perceptive players can obtain more information about the gamestate from visual and audio cues, and their centrality and structure density means that savvy players can pick their fights and force advantages more heavily.
Landing in places like Primorsk or Zharki, however, is now a gamble in a bad way. If a circle is on the other side of the map, you have to start looking for a boat or car as soon as you hit the ground. If you don't find one, you either lose the game outright or spend the rest of the match in insanely disadvantageous positions, constantly chasing the white until someone guns you down. While this was somewhat the case before, the fact that a player landing in these cities would have unusually good gear meant that they could take favorable fights even from unfavorable positions, because they'd presumably have better equipment than the rural-droppers that they're wading through to get to the circle. Now that everyone is sporting a full kit no matter where they drop, the player who lands in Zharki and then discovers that he needs to get to Mylta has absolutely no advantage over anyone he comes across on his way there.
So what are the solutions? One is to show players the circle earlier. Let them choose to drop on the other side of the map from the circle, knowing full well what they're signing up for. Another is to put hard vehicle spawns in these locations so that people dropping in e.g. Primorsk can at least try to find a gun before they sprint for the white. Vehicles are such a liability as is—they're loud, they explode, they flip over, and they move very predictably—that giving them to players more readily doesn't give them an advantage over players that don't find them. Another is to tweak weapon spawns a little in the other direction, so that these far-flung locales have any advantage.
This game's map is huge and interesting, and I wish I was pushed to explore it more. I was getting pretty tired of fighting in the fields east of Pochinki before the circle changes, and really love the terrains I've been experiencing endgames in lately. There are so many corners of the map that I'd love to be pushed into more—the coast south of Georgopol, the high hill on eastern Sosnovka, the homes on southern Sosnovka, the hills around Stalber. That the latest patch is once again incentivizing players to totally ignore the remote and beautiful parts of the map is a little concerning to me, and I hope it doesn't stay the case forever.
tl;dr: Since the loot table reversion and circle changes, there is less and less reason to drop in some of the game's prettiest and most remote locations, and I think that's a shame.