Fans of Epic Games’ ultra-popular ‘Fortnite: Battle Royale’ game have noticed something a little different lately. It’s sweaty out there. Really, really sweaty. Saying that a player is “sweaty” is like saying they are skilled try-hards. Players who spend their time marauding around the map racking up fresh eliminations.
“It’s sweaty out there. Really, really sweaty.”
New players jumping into Fortnite for the first time are likely to be greeted by highly-skilled, soccer-skin wearing, 90-building sweats who return them to the lobby in seconds. A “90” refers to a vertical build that increases a players height rapidly, and being able to build one fast is paramount in Fortnite. Things weren’t always like this. Let’s take a look at how we got to this point.
Time Marches On
Naturally, players gain skill at any given game as time progresses. Fortnite is no exception. The game is almost two-years old, and many players have had time to hone their skills.
In earlier seasons, advanced building strategies included building ramps with floors and front walls attached. Now, the act of putting floors under ramps is an elementary tactic.
In order to be viable in the current environment, you need to have solid 90’s, and your edits have to be on point. Quickly performing edits can be hard, and require lots of practice to master.
For a game to have the longevity that Fortnite has, a skill-gap has to be present – and that’s OK. The current meta, however, overemphasizes these points. We’ll talk more about this in the next section.
The Way Things Were
Things were different in early Season 7. Building was weak. Walls could be easily and quickly destroyed with most weapons. The shotgun was actually viable at destroying builds. The SMG was in it’s prime, with some pro players picking up a blue SMG over a scar. The Drum Gun would decimate your builds, and it ruled the meta.
That time, often referred to as the “spray meta”, represents the far end of the spectrum. A time when the skill-gap was at it’s lowest. The community eventually went into full revolt, and things changed. The Drum Gun was removed, build pieces were made stronger, and the SMG took a severe hit to it’s accuracy. The shotgun had it’s build damage decreased into oblivion.
“That time, often referred to as the “spray meta”, represents the far end of the spectrum. A time when the skill-gap was at it’s lowest.”
Fortnite Build Fight
Now, we’re seeing the opposite of early Season 7. Building is king, with fights sprawling all the way up to the build ceiling on a regular basis. Spend two minutes traversing the map and you’ll see multiple sky-high builds.
The act of turtling is a viable tactic. To turtle, build yourself into a small fort to protect from damage. Once you are built-in, simply wait for a 3rd-party to distract your aggressor – then, make your escape.
Edits are now a cornerstone of any good player’s skill set. Being able to edit your way down a build our out of one quickly is necessary in the path to victory. Even the hand cannon, which could previously destroy a wooden wall with one shot, has been nerfed. Client-side edits were added. Which made them lightning fast. Players no longer have to wait for a server to register an edit, it happens instantly.
Fortnite v7.40 reduced the turbo-build delay from 0.15 seconds to 0.05 seconds. This makes building even faster, and reinforces the skills that top players possess.
Lastly, Glider Redeploy made it’s way into Battle Royale. It spawns at a very high rate, and players with it equipped can build as much as they want without having to worry about potential fall damage.
Fortnite vs. Apex
In early February, Apex: Legends released. It quickly took the gaming world by storm. It dominated Fortnite on Twitch for several weeks. During this period, many casual players of Fortnite jumped ship. There are still plenty of casuals, but the herd has certainly been thinned.
All of these factors combine to create the environment we are currently in. The player base has peaked in skill. The meta rewards highly-skilled players. Apex has thinned out some of the player pool and the percentage of players who are “sweats” is at it’s highest.
“All of these factors combine to create the environment we are currently in.”
Don’t fret, Epic is well aware of how things currently are. We’ll almost certainly see future changes to reverse it. Until then, go practice your 90’s.
Update: Epic has reverted the turbo building delay change, it is now at 0.15 seconds.