Epic caused an outrage amongst the Fortnite community with their most recent patch update following changes to its in-game “Turbo Build.” Only a day following the backlash, however, the developers for the popular Battle Royale title quickly back-tracked, rolling back the update.
On 27 August, Epic announced that the update would effectively change the time delay between placing building items from 0.005 seconds to 0.15 seconds. In Fortnite, players are able to build structures quickly by holding a single button, as opposed to repetitively clicking buttons. The update pushed by developers essentially resulted in a lag for players between automatic builds.
According to Epic, they “want[ed] building to be a bit more deliberate,” and the change would in fact mitigate differences caused by ping times. Deliberate builds would thus prevent players spamming structures to avoid damage whilst under attack.
Whilst this difference in time to the majority will seem inconsequential, for experienced players, this is detrimental to overall game strategy and tactics. If you are an experienced Fortnite player, or indeed a Fortnite viewer, you will understand the importance of moves that see players build high off of the ground to defend themselves against enemies and gain the offensive advantage. On the whole, players felt that Fortnite’s new building mechanism slowed the game down, which as previously stated inhibited strategy. As you all know, or will at least have some idea, Fortnite requires extremely high levels of responsiveness, so clunky mechanics are not ideal.
This led to waves of players voicing their displeasure at Epic, and even starting the popular the hashtag, #RevertTurboBuilding. Ninja, the face of Fortnite also complained, and alongside fellow Fortnite streamer, Pokimane, threatened to drop the popular Battle Royale and switch their allegiance to Microsoft’s own Minecraft.
Of course, Epic’s hands were forced meaning the delay had been reduced back to 0.005 seconds. Yet that does not mean the game’s developers are not conscious of the game’s ping; there is still a 0.15 second delay to replaced structures that have been destroyed. Not only this, but if two players attempt to build in the same place on the map, at the same time, the winner will be determined by a coin flip.
Prior to Fortnite’s huge summer, the esports community had been heavy on Epic for the underlying reason that Fortnite was not deemed skilled enough — the World Cup changed that, however. With a new found respect for Fortnite from esports enthusiasts, Epic’s update here causes a conundrum. Epic have been fantastic in catering to the casual competitive gamer, ensuring that they are able to compete on an “almost-level-playing field” against some of the title’s most experienced players; these updates reflect that. However, in doing so, Epic now faces a battle to find a balance between the two sides of the spectrum: ensuring the game remains highly skilled, although not too skilled that new gamers find it hard to adjust.
This is not the first time Epic has pushed an update that has not gone down well with their community. Earlier on in the month, the B.R.U.T.E. mech, a new vehicle introduced for Season 10, resulted in many complaining that the weapon was extremely overpowered. The Fortnite community’s anger came to a head when they took to Twitter using the hashtag, #RemovetheMech. Days later, Epic responded by lowering the spawn rates of the B.R.U.T.E. per storm cycle, and committed to further monitor the impact of changes prior to the weekend’s Champion Series event. Moreover, in December of last year, again Epic were forced to remove the Infinity Blade, a mythical weapon that reduced a player’s mobility, but would kill enemies and break structures in almost one hit.
With this, game developers and publishers must know the importance of keeping their communities happy by now — especially Epic. Thanks to the growing impetus that is video gaming and esports, gone are the days of game publishers not being mindful of their community, with social media now an extremely powerful tool. What did you make of Epic’s update? More importantly, what do you make of Epic’s approach here to try and level the playing field? We’d love to hear what you think so let us know!
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