Quentyn K. August 13, 2019
Epic Games recently appeared to slam the door on hopes that Fortnite’s problematic new B.R.U.T.E. mech would be addressed, but it’s now offering a potential middle ground for those who want it removed from the game entirely.
Instead of scrubbing its existence clean from the isles of Fortnite, Epic has instead opted to test new spawn rates for the item in Arena and Tournament playlists, which is where pro players typically practice. The disproportionately destructive B.R.U.T.E., which can one-shot a fully shielded foe, now has a significantly lowered chance to spawn during each storm phase.
Previously, there was a 100% chance for anywhere between two and four mechs to spawn within the first three phases of a match, with the probability dipping to 66%, 50%, and 10% in the later phases.
With the change, there’s now just a 21.5% chance that 1-3 mechs will spawn at the beginning. That climbs to an average spawn rate of 1-3 mechs 40% of the time for the first three storm circles before closing out at 10% and 3% for the final two. The final two circles can only spawn a single mech each, as was the case before.
These value changes tell us that matches may be too chaotic in the early game, with no real breakpoint until the final circle for those who weren’t fortunate enough to snag a B.R.U.T.E. of their own. The new numbers would make it more like a rollercoaster, with a milder climb to the mid-game before a thrilling, more tactical race to the finish.
Pros and casuals alike have protested the B.R.U.T.E. harder than any change in Fortnite’s history, some going as far as threatening an exodus to rival battle royale titles PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Apex Legends. Players feel it’s too powerful and makes the game unenjoyable for those who can’t use it. Fortnite World Cup champion Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf is among those complaining.
Epic seemed deaf to those cries at first as it delivered the unpopular news that the B.R.U.T.E. would remain for the Fortnite Champion Series. The initial proposed counterplay change added a visual alert whenever you’re targeted by the mech’s missiles. It was widely rejected as insufficient by the community.
Prior history suggests things might have stayed that way without the loud voices of the pro community. Epic has shown rigidity in Fortnite’s history for unpopular additions like guided missiles and glider redeploy mechanics. It was the same behavior that caused the death of Paragon, the company’s original take on the MOBA genre, when it was too slow to respond to common complaints and feedback.
Epic may be more concerned about the potential impact of losing significant viewership and the player base it brings than clinging to its broken vision at this point.
Testing these moves in Fortnite’s side modes gives Epic the chance to collect more meaningful feedback while allowing those who enjoy the current state of the game to have their fun elsewhere.