Fortnite has taken over my night-by-night life by forcing me to get on and prove to myself that me and my best friends are capable of shitting on 96 other human beings in a row to get a big ol’ Victory Royale screen. I have zero regrets, but I do have a lot of concerns with how the game works right now — as well as tons of praise for what it does.
THEY SEEM LIKE THEY’RE ABOUT TO TAMPER WITH MATCHMAKING AND THAT MIGHT REALLY RUIN THE ENTIRE GAME FOR A LOT OF PEOPLE
Fortnite, so far, isn’t a very competitive game. In fact, it’s so non-competitive that it’s refreshing because while there are incredibly tense moments of outplaying other players through building and shot placement, there’s also those fights where you box someone in and fill the box with spike traps to fuck with them. It’s a game where you’re getting a mix bag of people in every match, and so when you drop, you can kind of twiddle your thumbs without having to worry about some incredible Black Knight Level 100 Quadruple Pump Shotgun 92-Emotes-on-the-Wheel kid showing up and ruining your night.
The argument’s being made that the game is too hard for new people, and it is. It wholeheartedly is one of the hardest games for newer people to pick up because it requires patience, a knowledge of the map/the generated buildings, how to build defensively, offensively, and neutrally… It asks a lot of a player if they want to consistently do good and while there are people like Ninja and NICKMERCS showing up dropping 40 kills a game, at one point, they were clueless to the mechanics too. The thing is, the game fosters that growth. While as a noob, you’re prone to running into people who aren’t as good as you, some of the most effective strategies are more simple, natural things like building walls and using grenades. Sure, that won’t counter a guy making 3-wide brick stairs to launch over your walls, but it won’t always have to. You’re not always going to be faced with these incredible pros and slowly (and I mean… slowly) you’re going to figure out what you’re good at and how to make those wins come in a little quicker.
Skill-based Matchmaking fucks that. The last thing I want is to run into nothing but people as good as me. I’m good at the game. I run into those people in endgame anyway. I don’t want to have to drop and build bases off the rip to ensure I get out of my dropzone alive. I want to pick on a few noobs who will get picked on for 10-15 matches before something clicks and they progress a little further. That’s what makes the game great.
SHOTGUNS ARE STILL WILD INCONSISTENT
Listen, man. Watch this clip.
I hit that child 4 times in pretty much the exact same spots for the following quantities of damage.
- 59 Damage. I hit him for his entire shield here. At this point in the game (November 2017) there weren’t any Mini Shields or Slurp Juices yet, so most people cruised with 50 Shield. I’ll assume I chunked his whole shield out here, and left him at 91 health.
- 25 Damage. He’s at 66 health now.
- 43 Damage. He’s at 23 health now.
- 0 Damage. He’s still at 23 health, somehow.
I fought him using a shotgun from a maximum range of (MAYBE) 10 feet. There is zero universe where I shouldn’t win that engagement placing all my shots on target pretty much center-mass. I mean, sure, I wasn’t jumping and I was a static target. I didn’t go for headshots. I had the weakest shotgun in the game. Yeah; they’re all true, but think about this — should I need to be bhopping? Should I need to go for headshots with a shotgun? Should I need to get a Rare shotgun before I can win an engagement at shotgun range?
The clip’s from November of 2017 (so don’t get on my ass about my aim, okay?), but the issue’s still here in March 2018. Shotguns are super, super inconsistent and could benefit from some tuning.
THE AIMING MODELS ARE BEING TESTED OUT AND THE FIRST ONE IS AWESOME
Fortnite’s current aim model is what most refer to as “the bloom model”. You get a 4-sided crosshair with a dot in the middle. When you fire, your shot will go somewhere within that crosshair. That’s not good. There’s 3 guns that have shots that make sure your bullet goes where it’s been aimed: two of them are Sniper Rifles and one of them is an Assault Rifle with a 4x Scope on it. That’s no good. Epic Games seems to understand that issue, though, because they’ve been testing out new models for shooting more recently. The active one currently shows a little red dot when you’re stationary/at peak accuracy that implies your bullet is going to go directly where you fire it. You can see that at work in this Dakotaz video pretty instantly: he takes out two people with really good accuracy really quickly. Go to 3:50 to see it in action. Also, Dakotaz swaps from a Rare AR to a Common Revolver pretty late into the game, so there’s a variety of guns being used.
The one that leaked a few months ago has an entirely different system where instead of reticle bloom, there’s physical viewkick recoil that you have to manage. I’m not a huge fan of the idea (as third person recoil management gets REALLY sloppy with more powerful weapons on consoles) but there’s a couple videos showcasing the leaked LTM from a few months back. In the video below, Ceez does pretty solid using most Assault Rifles — he bursts someone down quickly in the beginning, has consistent shots midgame, and around 9 minutes shows when the guns become a little unrealistic/unreliable, which is a good thing. (side note: shoutout to members of the viewage reading this. dathwa.)
Both systems are better than the current, so it’ll be good to see any gamewide change in the coming months.
EVERY NEW WEAPON SO FAR IS RELATIVELY BALANCED AS HELL
Fortnite’s been adding a lot of weapons in every update. Here’s a list of every gun/new offensive item since 1.7.1 and where it fits into the meta.
- Assault Rifle (Scoped)
- Counters: anything other than Sniper Rifles in mid-range.
- Is countered by: Shotguns and Submachine Guns.
- Tactical Submachine Gun
- Counters: weak buildings, Shotguns slightly out of barrel-stuff range
- Is countered by: good positioning, point-blank Shotguns, anything outside of short range.
- Counters: dumb people.
- Is countered by: smart people.
- Launch Pad
- Counters: poor positioning (on user’s part), well-structured skybases, boredom
- Is countered by: anyone who sees you use it and prepares for your arrival
- Smoke Grenades
- Counters: well-fortified enemies, Sniper Rifles/enemies with a good sightline on you
- Is countered by: people who just build themselves in and wait for you to come out of the smoke
- Suppressed Submachine Gun
- Counters: people without headphones, people without guns, same things as the Tactical Submachine Gun
- Is countered by: people with headphones, people with guns, same things as the Tactical Submachine Gun
- Boogie Bomb
- Counters: stationary targets, grouped-up enemies, generally anyone within grenade range
- Is countered by: people who see your dumb ass cocking your arm back, buildings
- Was countered by (before being tuned down): nothing
- Suppressed Pistol
- Counters: anything at close to mid range, people without headphones
- Is countered by: Shotguns (up very close), mid-to-long range weapons (from mid to long range)
- Counters: building, panic-prone players
- Is countered by: any gun punching in its weight class. An Assault Rifle at mid-range. A Suppressed Pistol up close. A Sniper Rifle from 150m.
- Counters: most things from far away, ammo deficiency
- Is countered by: sniper rifles, anything up close, building
- Hand Cannon
- Counters: nothing, really.
- Is countered by: nothing, really. This gun exists in its own little universe. There’s hard counters to it everywhere and things it counters everywhere.
Everything on this list has hard counters and has hard effective uses. That’s what makes Fortnite great. There’s been a wealth of new guns over the past few months and none of them feel out of place and when certain ones did (Scoped Assault Rifle being a laserbeam crossmap comes to mind) they were tuned adequately.
THESE LIMITED TIME MODES ARE DOPE AS HELL
What adds to Fortnite’s individual appeal from the Battle Royale genre competitors isn’t only the building mechanics and the general destructible environments: it’s that the game very obviously centers around having fun more than trying to be this competitive shooter like PlayerUnknown’s BattleGrounds. Not to say trying to be competitive is a bad thing — it’s objectively not — but Fortnite sets itself aside by being more playful. One of the ways Fortnite has done this in the past is through Limited Time Modes (or LTMs for short). Since release, we’ve seen 4 LTMs (and 6 counting the Shooting Tests) and they’ve all been supremely fun.
High Explosives was a simple twist to the game’s core mechanics. Every single item dropped on the ground was something explosive. Rocket Launchers, Grenade Launchers, Grenades, Smoke Bombs — it made for a hectic and incredibly fun mode when you just sat back and let yourself get into it.
Sneaky Silencers was an attempt to shift how Fortnite was played entirely by making every item drop something sneaky. Suppressed Submachine Guns, Suppressed Pistols, Smoke Bombs, Launch Pads — all of these incredibly fun items all made for what I believe to not only be the most fun LTM so far, but it’s been the most balanced the game has ever been. Who was good and who wasn’t was clear: you had a pistol and a submachine gun to work with.
Sniper Shootout is the most recent mode-change LTM that changed all of the item drops to Sniper Rifles and Revolvers. This is my least favorite, but it allowed for huge Sniper Tower battles where teams couldn’t really effectively just drop each other’s bases by spamming the bottoms out. If you want to spam with a revolver, you’re opening yourself up to tons of enemy sniper fire. If you wanted to snipe someone, you had to be methodical. You had to be smart about it. It wasn’t for me, but it was definitely for certain people and I hope it comes back soon. Even if everyone’s using a revolver at mid-range.
50v50 is the cream of the crop, though. It was simple. You formed a squad (or filled, or went in solo) and were paired with 46 to 49 other players on a huge team to face off against another 50 players. The thing is, you couldn’t tell who your teammates were until you hit the ground so it was a total clusterfuck trying to pick a drop zone. Sometimes, you landed with all 50 people in one zone. Sometimes, you and your 4 friends were surrounded by goons and had to go out guns blazing. It meant for a mixed bag of really, really unique experiences. The only thing I’d suggest is that they up the ammo count/somehow give you more ammo because by endgame, you’re at 12 shots and no one’s giving you anything.
Solid Gold has been my favorite so far. Only gold loot made for a much more consistent experience with every gunfight being 100 Shield/HP SCAR vs SCAR. I think I closed Solid Gold out with 16 wins in it, majority of them being duo-queuing with one of my boys.
There’s rumors of a Blitz mode that makes the storms go faster and modes like LotsaLoot datamined that imply there’d be higher chest spawns and more loot in general. I like those ideas. I hope they end up in the game. I hope everything good happens to this game.
I’M RAMBLING LET ME TIE THIS UP WITH TALKING ABOUT THE REAL FUTURE BECAUSE I’M AT 2,000 WORDS
Fortnite’s BR is my favorite game to play. I love everything about the playerbase, the community, the updates, the developers and what it stands for. I love that every Thursday holds new things for the game and the fact that I haven’t ever felt better about a game in my time playing games ever than I do when I secure the Victory Royale. I’m also hoping this piece becomes a piece that leads to me doing more Fortnite content on the site and subsequently, more games in general. We’re likely getting that Tactical AR and the P90-ish SMG soon as far as the datamines have gone, and we’re getting C4 this week which might change base rushes entirely. I’m so pumped. I love video games.