Epic Games wants all the Fortnite pros that have been complaining to know that the company hears them, but it won’t be making changes.
In a surprising change of approach, the publisher released a statement discussing some of the recent changes to Fortnite’s competitive scene and why the company decided to pull the trigger on some of the more controversial moves. But while it knows that many of those changes have frustrated top Fortnite players, Epic was also clear that it is going to continue with business as usual.
The statement focuses in on two particular changes that have irked pros.
First, Epic discussed the removal of the siphon mechanic from core game modes with the 8.20 patch. According to the statement, the removal of health and building material bonuses for each kill was made because it prompted a significant spike in early aggression during battle royale play. This had an effect of chasing off casual players, who had little chance of surviving early encounters with skilled and fully charged opponents.
The other key area was a discussion on screen resolutions. The removal of 4:3 resolutions has been a lingering issue in Fortnite competitions. Pro players have been playing in 4:3 resolutions instead of 16:9 due to the increased vertical field of view and the perception that it gives opponents wider hitboxes. Epic stated that it removed 4:3 and locked the vertical FOV in order to maintain an even playing field, and also because skewed resolutions make the game itself look bad.
Fortnite’s competitive scene has long been defined by its disgruntled professional players, who are constantly seen venting frustrations during streams and on social media. That has led to a lot of backlash as popular talents are often labeled as whiny by fans.
The trouble is that their gripes are sometimes justified. Events have been repeatedly shaken up by last-minute rule changes from Epic Games with no apparent input from competitors. In addition to issues like screen resolution, Epic has ruffled feathers with competitive rule changes such as banning players from bringing their own mouses to events and changing the qualification requirements for various tournaments. Even third-party tournaments have been rocked by Epic, with events like ESL One Katowice being mired by the bug-filled rollout of version 8.00.
Players keep coming back to Fortnite because the money is exceptional, with Epic planning to toss in $100 million in 2019. That isn’t helping pros on a daily basis as they are constantly waiting to have the rug pulled out from under them. A number of players have also discussed quitting professional play out of frustration of these constant shakeups, most notably Turner “Tfue” Tenney.
So does this post from Epic mean that they are going to be more conscientious of top Fortnite players? With these changes out of the way, do competitors finally have the chance to play under a uniform rule set? Will pros actually know which game rules they will be playing when they sign up for a major tournament?
Epic continued on, saying that the last-minute update issues that have persisted in Fortnite’s competitive scene are going to continue.
“We aim to reasonably stabilize gameplay in advance of the Fortnite World Cup Finals,” Epic said. “We had hoped to stabilize for all Online Qualifiers, however the new weekly online tournament cadence means we will be doing this for some, but not all.”
With seven-figure sums of cash up for grabs in almost every week of competitive Fortnite, look for pros to continue playing. Just don’t expect them to start liking the changes any time soon.