An X4-Stormwing flies through the skies of Fortnite.

Season 7 has been a tumultuous ride for Fortnite players. Long-standing items such as grenades, burst rifles, and even bolt-action snipers have been vaulted. Major changes to the meta have taken place, such as health-on-eliminations and changes to how the final circle operates.

Mobility has also changed dramatically in Season 7. We now have zip lines that permeate the map, and more importantly – airplanes. The airplane, formally called the X4-Stormwing, is a touchy subject in the Fortnite community. Some players love them, a lot of players don’t. In this article we’ll break-down several pieces of evidence that point to their demise.

Content Creators Don’t Like Them

The vast majority of Fortnite streamers do not like airplanes, period. Watch any stream for an extended period of time and you’ll likely hear complaints about them. Streamers who have received early-access to custom games are outlawing their use. They are a rare sight in official Fortnite tournaments.

Throughout Season 7, we’ve seen Epic respond to these criticisms with several adjustments to how planes work. First, Epic nerfed the turret by making the spread much wider. Then, they reduced the damage that planes do to both players and structures. Finally, they caved and completely removed the ability for them to damage structures in any way. You can see the trend here, with almost every release Epic has reduced the impact of planes on the meta.

With the introduction of Apex Legends, we’ve seen Epic take drastic measures to appease content creators. They have temporarily boosted Support-A-Creator profits by a multiple of four, they’ve reduced the viability of the Hand Cannon, and even incentivized players to use Support-A-Creator codes by giving away a free wrap.

“With the introduction of Apex legends, we’ve seen epic take drastic measures to appease content creators.”

Bottom line, influencers and creators don’t want planes in the game and we know Epic respects that.

Mobility Changes From Season to Season

For the last year, we’ve seen major changes to mobility with each new season. Environmental rifts were previously scattered throughout the map but are now rare. Hop Rocks were a community favorite, but were removed as lore progressed. Analyzing past trends, it only makes sense for planes to go the way of these other methods of transportation.

Planes Aren’t Important To The Meta

A plane unsuccessfully attempts to ram a structure.
Planes can’t ram structures anymore, and that’s a big deal.

Since their release, the impact of planes on gameplay has been gradually reduced. Epic likely never intended for planes to be a permanent fixture in how the game works, they were too strong at the beginning. When you could hop in a plane and 3rd-party a build battle by shooing your turret and ram builds it quickly turned into a major aspect of all game modes. In early Season 7, planes were so strong that marauding players used them to troll their way to the endgame. We’ve now seen planes reduced to just another method of transportation.

“We’ve now seen planes reduced to just another method of transportation.”

All Signs Point to Major Map Changes in Season 8

The battle between the Ice King and the Prisoner (a ‘Fire King’) will be a major aspect of the Season 8 lore. The Ice King rules the southwestern area of the map, and the prisoner has an established affiliation with the northeast. Stage 4 of the prisoner skin is unlocked north of Wailing Woods and a bug encountered last week showed it as burned. That’s also where the majority of cracks are located.

Earthquakes and fissures are a daily occurence, and they aren’t just happening in the north east corner of the map anymore. As we march to the end of the season, it is becoming easy to assume that there will be major map changes in Season 8.

What does that have to do with planes? We know that Epic plans seasons in advance, and with Season 7 they committed themselves to the X4-Stormwing. The map was changed with various airplane-related POI’s like Frosty Flights, the landing strip east of the Block, and expedition outposts. A major map change makes sense because Epic has to have planned an event that removes these items.

Season 8 Is Huge For Epic

Apex Legends has taken the gaming world by storm. Being a free-to-play Battle Royale game means that some of that Lightning had to come from Fortnite. For the past year and a half, Fortnite has dominated in a way that no game ever has. Fortnite ruled Twitch for over a year, changed the way the gaming industry operates, and infiltrated our culture.

Up until now, Fortnite has not had a worthy competitor. Apex Legends, however, is siphoning away at Epic’s dominance. We wrote previously about how Twitch is the new barometer for the gaming industry. As of this writing, Apex still held a commanding lead over Fortnite in the Twitch directory.

Apex Legends sits atop Fortnite in the Twitch directory.
Apex Legends sits atop Fortnite in the Twitch directory.

Epic wants that top spot back, and Season 8 is their chance. They need to shake things up in a major way, without impacting the excellence of what makes Fortnite so great. What does that mean? It means new methods of transportation, major map changes, and new items. It also means that some items will be removed, like the X4-Stormwing.

“Epic wants that top spot back, and season 8 is their chance.”

Check back in with Fortnite Bunker for breaking-news coverage, challenge breakdowns, and all things Fortnite as we march towards the release of Season 8.

UPDATE: Epic has confirmed that planes will be removed in Season 8.

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