On Mar. 27, my current favorite video game and cultural phenomenon Fortnite: Battle Royale seemed to be chugging along, until Epic Games released their v8.20 content update. The update was the Season 8’s third major renewal. From the most casual of players to the content creators and pros, most have not been receptive to Fortnite’s second latest patch. Prominent Twitch streamers such as “TimTheTatMan” and “Ninja” have resorted to streaming other games including the rage-inducing card game UNO. Or in the latter’s case, outright refusing to play the battle royale until the changes are reverted.
What exactly has all these Fortniter’s riled up and not asking “where are we landing boys?” And no, it is not the new Poison Dart Trap. But before we can answer that question, we must go back to a past update:
On February 14 (Valentine’s Day), Fortnite released their v7.40 content update. The update brought us gifting, cosmetics, new weapons, and more to Fortnite Island. Most importantly, the v.7.40 update brought us the “Share The Love” event. This event added settings from Fortnite’s Pop-Up Cup mode (competitive Fortnite essentially) to the default playlists (solo, duos, and squads).
These were the adjustments that were made:
- 50 Health (or Shield) based on your health when the Elimination occurs (Previously no health and/or shield given for elimination)
- 50/50/50 materials dropped on Elimination (Previously no material dropped other than what materials the slain player had harvested)
- 500/500/500 cap on materials (Previously was 900/900/900 cap on materials)
- Harvest rate increased by 40%
According to the v7.40 patch notes, Epic introduced these changes as they have “seen these settings in pop-up cups result in more engaging fights and allowing players to gain more consistent rewards for the risk of engagement.” (Epic Games)
Fast forward to v.8.20 patch notes and it seems like Epic has gone back on their word:
“We feel it has resulted in an unhealthy level of aggressive play, diminishing other viable strategies,” read the patch notes under “Siphon/Material Changes.” Epic Games
While most have rejected the v8.20 update, I am one of the few who has not. I dare to say that this update is the best update in my opinion. And for one simple reason: it has made me a better Fortnite player.
As someone who has played the battle royale for over a year now, I have had the honor and privilege of watching this game evolve. I have seen the meta shape itself into what it is today. I have also seen my fair share of players who are vastly better than me.
I realized over the last few weeks that I was not getting better by playing in the default playlist. I was not learning from my mistakes, and instead of trying to correct them, I was taking my anger out on my headsets and PlayStation 4 DualShock controllers.
Then came the v.8.20 update, and with it came my saving grace: Arena mode.
Arena mode can be played either solo or duo. Players compete to gain “Hype” (score) to advance to higher divisions and unlock exclusive tournaments, such as the Fortnite World Cup Online Opens (with a $30 million prize pool). Those recently reverted materials and harvesting changes to default? All in Arena mode.
The way scoring is set up, both placement and eliminations have incentive. The higher up in the divisions you go, the more bus fare costs. More kills and high placement are crucial to advancing to the higher divisions. It is still a matter of staying alive in hopes of that elusive Victory Royale to obtain as much “hype” as possible in a match; however, a proper balance of slaying and surviving is needed.
The biggest problem I face during my gaming sessions is when enemies ramp up and have to engage players who are “turtled up” (sitting in a box turbo building the walls you are trying ever so desperately to shoot down to get to them). Luckily for me, many players in Arena mode play this way, so suffice to say, I have gotten my fair share of practice in the last week or two I am now more comfortable and ready to confront “turtled” foes and rushers.
What has also helped in my personal leveling-up as a Fortnite player is that matchmaking in Arena is based on players of similar “hype” and division to yours. Creating this sort of skill-based matchmaking ensures an even- playing field as you make your way through the seven divisions Arena has to offer.
I am by no means a Fortnite pro and Arena may not be here to stay. The vocal outcry from the community about the siphon/material changes can, and most likely will, lead to the changes being reverted back. Whatever happens with Fortnite: Battle Royale,I will always thank Epic, Arena, and the v.8.20 content update for the fact that it made re-fall in love again with Fortnite. The changes gave me something worth improving and getting better at.
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