Feature Article

It's Time For Fortnite Updates To Slow Down--And Epic Just Introduced The Solution

Block party.

At least after one week, it seems like the Fortnite updates are going to keep on coming. Patch 7.01 is out now and introduces a totally new type of weapon in the Infinity Blade. Only one spawns on the map per match and provides significant buffs to its wielder, who is forced to drop all other weapons and items. There's also a returning LTM, Close Encounters.

Season 7 of Fortnite is in full swing, and with it comes another 10 weeks' worth of new challenges, weapons, items, skins, emotes, map changes, balance tweaks, and everything else in-between that Epic uses to keep Fortnite feeling fresh week after week. Right off the bat, the most significant of these changes appears to be the new snow-coated section of the map, which adds some festive and suitably chilly elements for this winter season. But the brand-new Creative mode, and the way it intertwines with the The Block to showcase community creations on the shared game map, might be Season 7's most exciting new addition, and should take some of the pressure off Epic to pump out new content every single week.

Fortnite is in a good place right now with the way its gameplay has been finely tuned, and this is born from a season of experimentation. In fairness, this has been true of most seasons, since Epic isn't content to sit on its laurels even when Fortnite continues to be the most popular game in the world. Yet Season 6 was more experimental than usual. For starters, glider redeploy was added to the default game modes for a week or so to test its effect on the game before Epic, with the help of the community's feedback, opted to remove it. While I enjoyed being able to flank people and bypass their fortresses by simply gliding over them, it did negatively impact the dynamic of most firefights. Fall damage was essentially removed, encouraging people to build as high as they could with no tangible repercussions, while healing or reviving squadmates became nigh on impossible due to the ease with which hostile players could traverse vast distances. Then there was the maligned addition of mounted turrets, a brief and confusing buff to explosive damage, a welcome buff to shotgun damage, numerous changes to the map as Kevin The Cube embarked upon his final journey, and the Fortnitemares Halloween event that shook up default game modes by introducing the calculated mayhem of AI zombies.

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Fortnite's strengths are built around this ever-changing environment that keeps the battle royale foundations feeling fresh. Being part of the zeitgeist is too enticing to ignore when there's new content released every single week, whether it's a new weapon, vehicle, or some ridiculous one-time-only event. But there were moments during Season 6 where playing Fortnite was more than a little frustrating. It's admirable that Epic is eager to experiment and innovate when it already has a winning formula on its hands, but it often felt like changes were being introduced for change's sake. Obviously, this all worked out in the end, growing pains and all, because the last few weeks of Season 6 were fantastic, and that has continued into Season 7. But there's an argument to be made for slightly fewer new additions in favour of maintaining and improving upon the core gameplay's current excellence.

This week we've already seen a fascinating way Epic can maintain the game's growth without impacting its mechanics. The Block--which acts as a dedicated space for showcasing standout community creations--is a smart idea that blends the new Creative mode with Fortnite's constantly evolving map. Creative mode provides Battle Pass owners your own personal island to do with as you please--creating your own maps, game modes, and anything else you can imagine that isn't just recreating de_dust. The prospect of having the best of the these creations appear as a brand-new area to play in every week is incredibly exciting--even if it comes at the cost of Risky Reels--and I can only imagine that feeling increases tenfold for those whipping up their own creations.

I don't want to sound like a crotchety old Scrooge who's averse to seeing new weapons or items added to the game, but the rate with which it happens could be dialed down a notch. We all know how volatile adding a completely new element to an online game can be, even with all of the QA testing in the world, so I would like to see new content given the opportunity to breath for a smidgen longer, just to see how it impacts the game before something else comes along and complicates things further. The Block would allow this to happen while still introducing a new element every week--or however often Epic plans on rotating them in and out--to preserve that invigorating sense of evolution and make each new leap from the Battle Bus feel as refreshing as ever. Just, whatever you do, Epic, don't touch the shotguns again, please.

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Avatar image for pizzaboy66
pizzaboy66

"At least after one week, it seems like the Fortnite updates are going to keep on coming."

Of course they were, they never said they were going to slow down. They're not going to read one article and think this.

Avatar image for untouchables111
untouchables111

the last part actually 100% sums up the feeling of the public image player for this game. ask them how they feel on stream about these innovative changes... its blind siding to have the game change to the point they have to re-learn how it all works and how to maintain their skill set.

example is the new planes...im just now seeing news coming through that players will take damage if the plane is destroyed....that should have been day 1 of the update... ive listened to several top players get very upset that shooting them down does nothing, yet they can bulldoze their way through buildings like nothing without any risk of damage... poor design and it speaks to what this article is trying to say.

Avatar image for pizzaboy66
pizzaboy66

@untouchables111: If anything, what you said proves why they need to not slow down on updates.

Avatar image for untouchables111
untouchables111

@pizzaboy66: perhaps u can explain how u get that proof from what i said...

Avatar image for Pyrosa
Pyrosa

Yes, you kind of sound like a crotchety old Scrooge who's averse to seeing new weapons or items added to the game.

What you're describing is "the pace of the rest of the industry."

This is the pace of innovation.

Avatar image for BeefoTheBold
BeefoTheBold

Guessing that the headline was meant to read "show updates" and not "slow updates".

Avatar image for Pyrosa
Pyrosa

@BeefoTheBold: No, it's "slow" as in "slow down" (and yet he's wrong IMO).

Avatar image for m4a5
m4a5

@BeefoTheBold: ...Did you read the article? (and at least the last paragraph)

Avatar image for millionsedge
Millionsedge

You don't pay for the game up front, you get to make ZERO demands of it. In a F2P game new content = more $.

Sorry, maybe you're just starting to understand what a cancer on gaming F2P is...

Avatar image for Pyrosa
Pyrosa

@millionsedge: Forcing game platforms to embrace cross-platform, cross-play, cross-saves/progress...

Enabling low-end hardware at 60 FPS...

Bringing in millions of new non-gamers into gaming...

Providing free mod tools and a showcase for the world to play with creators' works...

Specific prices for specific content rather than loot box gambling...

Put a crosshairs on Steam's stranglehold on PC developers' profits...

This "cancer" (in Epic's case) just evolved gaming on more levels in 13 months than the rest of the industry collectively in the previous 10 years.

Avatar image for millionsedge
Millionsedge

@Pyrosa: oh, ok bro

Avatar image for zodiacsword
zodiacsword

No, Epic, please touch the shotguns again. Keep their new damage rates but lower their effective range. Right now, there’s very little reason to use any other close range weapon over the shotgun. Make them the deadliest weapon for in your face fighting, but up the effectiveness of the SMGs and pistols so they can at least appear viable. If not a damage buff, a longer effective range so they can punish a rushing shotgun.

Avatar image for gamingdevil800
gamingdevil800

I was kinda hoping Epic Games would invest in new projects considering Fortnite is so successful but they abandoned Paragon and the new Unreal Tournament... So I guess they are just going to ride out the gravy train till it slumps. Hopefully the talented members of Epic Games get a chance to work on something new.

Avatar image for pizzaboy66
pizzaboy66

@gamingdevil800: Those two weren't doing great anyway.

Avatar image for Pyrosa
Pyrosa

@gamingdevil800: Having "I worked on Fortnite in its first 2years" on one's resume is a golden ticket to the rest of their careers.

Avatar image for m4a5
m4a5

@gamingdevil800: They will be in the background. Probably started some big project from scratch recently enough that we won't hear of it for a few years minimum or something...

There's no way they stopped making any other games (Paragon wasn't paying for itself anymore, and UT I don't know why they stopped).
At the least, it would be bad business to bank on 1 game only...

Avatar image for pizzaboy66
pizzaboy66

What kind of person wants a game to update less? Most of the time the updates aren’t even that gameplay changing since it’s adding a new thing and maybe some big fixes. Unless they come out and say so, they’re not, and shouldn’t, slow down with the updates and you can’t tell them so.

Not to mention, you barely explained why The Block compensates the slower update process apart from adding new areas.