Fortnite competitive play relies on a unique balancing act: maintaining a solid and balanced experience for competitive players, while being essentially the same Fortnite played by hundreds of millions of players. After all, those players are the audience for Fortnite competition, and their engagement is key to the growing opportunities for competitive players.
This creates special challenges for addressing the needs of different groups of players. We closely follow the dialog in the Fortnite competitive community, but haven’t been as active participants in the discussion as we ought to be. So, we’ll be trying harder to participate by sharing the “why” behind recent and future changes as a basis for ongoing community discussion, starting with this.
Siphon / Material Change
Let’s start with the Siphon and building material changes.
Under the pressure of intense broadcast competition, play styles differ significantly from regular play, with less aggression in the early game resulting in a crowded end-game overabundant in turtling. 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. Ultimately, Siphon increased engagement for the highest-skilled 10%, while the remaining 90% were more frustrated and played less.
Over time, players began to disengage in the core modes, stating that the game had gotten too intense to be enjoyable. The reduction in viable play styles in combination with this feedback was the basis of us removing the Siphon mechanic and the material changes from the core modes.
For players that prefer the sharper experience of Siphon, we do offer an always-available Arena mode that includes these Siphon and materials cap changes.
Stretched Resolution and Field of View (FOV)
Many competitive players have asked for an FOV slider to improve visibility in vertical end-game build battles. There has also been ire over our removal of stretched resolution (a relic of supporting old 4:3 TVs which results in a distorted screen aspect ratio).
When a game introduces a feature that provides a gameplay advantage, players gravitate towards turning it on to maximize their chances of success, even if this makes the game look and/or feel worse. The stretched characters and distorted views detract from Fortnite as an entertainment experience for all.
Fundamentally, we seek to avoid optional settings which provide players with a significant gameplay advantage.
The current default FOV of 80 is a tradeoff to accommodate:
- Varied engagement ranges, favoring a low FOV and thus a closer view of enemies.
- Minimizing potential motion-sickness in players further away from their screen. The further a player’s head moves from the center of the in-game field of view, the more negative the reaction.
- Minimizing jarring transitions when aiming down sights.
- Visual fidelity.
We have many goals we want to accomplish for players, and sometimes there is tension between these goals. Special events bring change and freshness to the game, but also affect some of the stable elements that competitive players have trained for.
Weekends are the ideal time for the largest number of players to be able to experience special one-time moments, compete in tournaments, and watch them.
Fortnite is an ever evolving game. Keeping the gameplay and the tournaments fresh is a key aspect to growing a player and viewership base that enables a large number of high-stakes tournaments for competitors and everyone who enjoys watching them.
We aim to reasonably stabilize gameplay in advance of the Fortnite World Cup Finals. 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.
There are a series of bugs most commonly experienced during higher end play we have been inconsistent about acknowledging and addressing.
Here’s a few we’ve recently added to our Trello that were recently resolved or we are actively tracking:
- Fortnite World Cup Online Opens points tracked incorrectly in client (visual only).
- Ghost shots: player clearly shoots another player, but no damage is done.
- Trap can sometimes be placed halfway through a tile - Fixed in v8.50.
- The Baller is destroyed if the driver exits the vehicle in a confined space (e.g. 1x1) - Fixed in v8.40.
A lot of them require your help as they are hard for us to reproduce internally and we are utilizing recurring small scale feedback sessions with the competitive community to narrow down on fixes.
We’re committed to doing a better job monitoring bug reports through Reddit, social channels, and in-game reports. Please help us by posting detailed bug reports including video clips.
Re-evaluating how we communicate with our competitive players includes touching on topics you care about in places you’re having discussions. Going forward, we will be more present in online forums to chat about the evolution of Arena and competition formats as we progress along the competitive season.