Well, this isn’t going to be very well received by the Fortnite faithful. According to Epic, recent balancing tweaks and changes have been made with casual players’ needs firmly in mind.
The almighty and world-conquering Fortnite (which was downloaded to almost half of all Nintendo Switch systems worldwide after being ported to the system) has been stumbling a little lately. Of course, a phenomenal success story like this can’t just be cast aside overnight, but it’s certainly not infallible either.
For one thing, Apex Legends emerged out of nowhere to become a battle royale force to be reckoned with (although the game’s been dropping off and having its own problems of late). For another, Fortnite has seen some changes that veteran players have not appreciated. It even got to the point where Ninja, a streamer some call the face of the game, stopped his Fortnite stream to play UNO instead.
As far as Epic is concerned, though, it seems that professional streamers like Ninja aren’t really the players to prioritize. As the team stated in a recent blog post, when it comes to balancing, they face a difficult balancing act: ensuring that the game continues to evolve and rectifying issues while staying accessible to the millions of casual players.
That’s the problem, right there. The need to remain “essentially the same Fortnite played by hundreds of millions of players” means that… well, let’s be honest with ourselves. Most of us are not tournament pros. We could probably never really dream of reaching that level. It’s the vast majority of V-Bucks buyers who need to be kept happy. The casual players amongst us.
Throughout their ‘Fortnite Competitive Development Update,’ the team made this unashamedly clear. On the sticky subject of the Siphon/Material changes, for instance, they report:
“We introduced Siphon during the Pop-up Cup tournaments to provide incentives for aggression that more closely resembles how the regular modes are played, and to increase entertainment value and spectacle. Everybody enjoyed receiving health and shields for eliminations after we introduced the changes to the core modes, but there was an unexpected consequence: players at large grew more frustrated with Fortnite play, feeling they had less of a chance due to encounters with high-skill players with full health and shields.”
The result? “Over time, players began to disengage in the core modes, stating that the game had gotten too intense to be enjoyable.”
So, there we have it. It’s a very similar situation to King K. Rool’s reign of (supposed) terror in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Sakurai knew that he didn’t need to be nerfed, but there were casual complaints amundo, and so he was (if only a little). It’s always more important to placate the majority, after all.