Epic Games can’t seem to stay out of its own way these past few months. Whether it’s a newly implemented gameplay mechanic or reverting a universally praised feature, Epic is always tangled in webs of controversy regarding their popular Battle Royale, Fortnite.
If you haven’t read the v8.20 patch notes, Fortnite removed the Pop-Up Cup settings from regular playlists. Added in the v7.40 update, these settings were previously only available in competitive playlists. Health regeneration on eliminations and a cap on materials were some of the features that came with this update.
Almost everyone in the community, casual or not, felt the v7.40 changes were a terrific addition to normal lobbies. While some problems arose, the positives far outweighed the negatives in all circumstances. With an added emphasis on gunplay and strategy, Fortnite seemed to be headed in the right direction for the first time since Season 7. However, what happened instead is Epic Games turned a solid majority of their community against them with one fell swoop.
Nearly every streamer/competitive player is upset with the changes and voicing their opinion. But even with all the negativity, there doesn’t appear to be any revert in sight.
So with the community up in arms, what is the current state of Fortnite?
There’s no community like the one Fortnite has. Being the largest game on the planet, it should come as no surprise that it has the biggest community. Are they passionate? Yes. Can they be a bit outlandish? Yes. Do they make sure Fortnite knows when they screwed up? Absolutely. Take a look at the responses on any recent Fortnite tweet for reference.
While Epic’s intentions may have been good-natured, there’s no reason to take out the Pop-Up Cup settings. They cited an “unhealthy” spike in aggressive play with the settings in normal lobbies as their reasoning. However, it’s quite obvious that they’re attempting to cater to newer players. By having the Pop-Up Cup settings in casual lobbies, higher-tier players were getting matched with brand new players and had a distinct advantage.
It’s understandable that Epic wants to make the newer and lower-tier players feel like they have a “safe space” in normal playlists. This allows these users to keep playing the game for a longer period of time, which is good for Fortnite.
Taking out these settings did create a safe space for newer players but only because some people stopped playing altogether. It is almost unanimous among the community that casual lobbies were better and more fun with the Pop-Up Cup mechanics. While attempting to cater to what Epic felt like was the larger player base, Epic alienated the rest of the community. This tactic rarely works out for developers because the people against the change are always louder. With this update so far, the disdain for this reversion is clearly the louder opinion.
you messed up @FortniteGame
and time will surely show you that.
— dakotaz (@dakotaz) March 28, 2019
One day game developers will realize that you can't protect noobs from getting bopped. You add ranked, people will smurf. You separate casual and ranked, ppl will just go bot farm in casuals. You try to change game mechanics to save them, you ruin your game.🤷🏽♂️History doesn't lie!
— Daequan (@TSM_Daequan) March 29, 2019
Of course, it may seem like the reversion of the Pop-Up Cup settings was the biggest mistake made. However, it’s not like these settings are removed from the game for good. They still remain in the competitive-only playlist, “Arena.”
It’s clear what Epic tried to do with the Arena playlist. They created an easier place for lower-tier players in casual lobbies and introduced Arena for higher-tier players. Separating casual and competitive isn’t a bad thing, especially with the World Cup coming up in two weeks. Having a playlist just for competitive play helps both sides; competitive players get to practice and casual players have fun.
It sounds like a good plan, right? Wrong. Since its introduction, the Arena playlist has not worked as intended. Some players are waiting up to 30 minutes in a queue to get in a match, which is absurd. On average, the wait time for a regular Squads match is 15 seconds. So instead of having two playlists for both sides to enjoy, only one side’s playlist is working properly.
actually forced to sit in 20 min queues all day
truly truly truly just unfortunate
— NRG Symfuhny (@Symfuhny) March 28, 2019
This has caused a massive rift within the community, as competitive players will play one-to-two Arena matches per hour. Some argue that they can simply go back to regular playlists if they don’t want to wait. Herein lies the real problem with the reversion of the Pop-Up Cup rules.
This argument of “Fortnite didn’t have the material cap and health regeneration for a year and you still loved it,” is ludicrous. If you’ve been playing a rip-off of Super Mario 64 for years, you can still have fun with it. However, if you receive the real Super Mario 64 later as a gift and realize it’s 100 times better than the rip-off, are you going to go back to playing the rip-off and have the same amount of fun? Of course not. The same concept applies to Fortnite before and after the reversion.
Casual lobbies after the update are slow, monotonous, and not nearly as engaging without Pop-Up Cup rules. Higher-tier players don’t want to play regular Solos, Duos, or Squads for these reasons. However, they have an extremely hard time playing Arena because of the long wait times.
Fortnite, in short, is in a rough state right now. They have dozens of streamers and thousands of players upset over this update. The competitive playlist that was supposed to alleviate some of these issues is not working properly. And to top it off, Epic Games doesn’t seem inclined to revert their previous update.
There have been some problems in-game in the past (planes being the most recent complication). Although, every past issue, like the Double Pump, for example, added some utility in the game. Reverting the material cap and health regen simply makes Fortnite not as fun. Planes were annoying, yes, but there were some counters to them. There are no counters for this.
Streamers and competitive players aren’t happy, and Fortnite‘s main playlists are nearly unplayable to some people. Others simply miss having +50 health regeneration on an elimination. It’s clear what the people want: a reversion. Is Epic willing to go back on an update this quickly? We’ll see.
Maybe seeing Uno ahead of Fortnite in views on Twitch will be the wake-up call Epic needs.
What do you think of the removal of the Pop-Up Cup settings? Let us know in the comments below. Make sure to stay tuned to Daily Esports for all of your Fortnite news and updates.
Joey Carr is a University of North Georgia Journalism graduate. He has 4+ years experience covering Esports and traditional sporting events, including Dreamhack Atlanta, Call of Duty Championships 2017, and Super Bowl 53.