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Fortnite Looking To Introduce Balance Updates Encoraging Diverse Strategies

If your longtime Fortnite: Battle Royale strategy is and has been “just build lol”, then your number may be up.

A post by the Fortnite team on their official website stated that the updates are going to aim to give players more ways to counter each other rather than the use and abuse of the build mechanic.

The post does put specific focus on the build mechanic. The team seems well aware of the game’s current balance, and well aware that almost every fight against mid to high-level players ends in a big, drawn-out build off. The post also addresses the gross weapon imbalances present in the game, with Shotguns being the weapon of choice for many players preferring a build-heavy playstyle, long ranged rifles for those with exceptional aim or mechanical skill, and assault rifles not really having a place to stand within the game’s current “meta”.

We strongly believe that the evolution of Fortnite supports a wide range of play styles and counterplay. Currently, the superiority of shotguns, rockets, and uncapped building are such a dominant play style in the final circle that most other strategies are being drowned out. We have made a few changes recently — and will continue to make more — to give you options to counter other players in combat, especially in the late game.

The team also notes that they are exploring a wide range of options in order to balance several of the options available currently, one of which is the introduction of resource caps or limits.

But although Fortnite’s metagame and tiers of effective strategies have mostly been dominated by the “just build lol” strategy specifically quoted in this post, the prevalence of this strategy is perhaps what makes the game so unique. Freedom of building and good use of the build mechanics represents the abuse of a technique, rather than the abuse of a specific gameplay element. On the other hand, the overpowering presence of shotguns would be a much more risk-free fix for the Fortnite team.

A good example lies in the balance of the fighting game Super Smash Bros. Melee. In the Melee competitive scene, high tier characters Fox and Falco are leagues above low tier characters like Kirby and Bowser. These tiers are so extreme that winning a tournament with a low tier fighter, or even a mid-tier fighter, is such a rare occurrence that it’s usually met with quite a celebration of player skill. This is an example that can be equated to the overpowered shotgun in Fortnite, and community-made mods of Melee have attempted to revise character balance by making the other fighters more powerful to bring them in line with the top tier, leading to more character diversity in play and a more interesting viewer experience.

On the other hand, the competitive melee scene also employs numerous technical bugs and glitches to speed up character movement. One of these unintended techniques is known as the wavedash. According to  the Super Smash Bros wiki, A wavedash is a “technique/physics engine exploit in Super Smash Bros. Melee that is performed by air dodging diagonally into the ground, causing the character to slide a short distance (…) high-level play of Melee effectively requires proper use of the technique.”

This mechanic has not been removed or altered in community mods because not only is it one of the mechanics that makes the Melee viewing experience so fast and exciting, it’s also a cornerstone of established competitive play.

Building is in a similar vein. Aside from cartoony graphics and goofy weapons, its the largest thing separating PUBG and Fortnite. Becoming better at building has been the main way for Fortnite players to establish their skill at the game other than the FPS classic of becoming better at flickshots or target tracking. The Fortnite team will need to walk a very fine and careful line when balancing this mechanic, as too large of a nerf could greatly diminish on the very same unique mechanic that helped Fortnite: Battle Royale rob PUBG of the spotlight back in its early days.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Leonardo Andrés López Carreño

    August 9, 2018 at 3:40 am

    Great idea for Epic Games to proceed this way

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