It has finally happened: Fortnite shotguns are no longer cable of eliminations with a single shot. Today’s update, the third in a rollercoaster week, nerfed shotguns, buffed wall traps, and announced the retirement date of jetpacks. The damage output of the feared green and blue pump shotguns has been reduced to 80/85, respectively. They previously dealt a max of 90/95 each. Furthermore, the headshot multiplier for both guns, as well as tactical shotguns, was reduced from 2.5 to 2.0. That means the max damage of a blue pump shotgun is now 170, leaving a fully-shielded player with 30 health remaining. No changes were made to the heavy shotgun. Citing overly dominant strategies, developer Epic Games stated:
One of our goals for Fortnite is to have a number of ways to play the game and be successful. We’ve identified some strategies that are overly dominant and we’ll be making some adjustments today. Going forward we’ll continue to monitor how we can best support that gameplay variety.
This is clearly in reference to the overwhelming need for players to use a shotgun in order to compete. Furthermore, the patch returns wall traps to their former glory. After being gimped in an earlier update, wall traps once again do 150 damage instead of 75. Last but not least, Epic announced jetpacks will be hitting the vault as of Monday, June 11.
The pumps and downs with Fortnite shotguns
Fortnite has a long and tumultuous history with the weapon. When the game first launched, players noticed the impossibly long range of shotguns. Combined with their high damage output, players could essentially snipe with these supposedly close-range weapons. Though quickly corrected, the “double pump” meta took over shortly thereafter. This strategy involved carrying two pump shotguns and switching between them after each shot. In doing so, players were able to greatly increase their fire rate by bypassing the reload animation. Once again, shotguns had to be changed. Epic tried implementing a delay when switching weapons, but this caused public outcry. Weapon delay was tweaked, and still shotguns persisted. Even indirect updates, such as adding first-shot accuracy, did little to curb the necessity of shotguns.
Instead, the shotgun meta continued. Many firefights devolved into hopping battles, trying to dodge opponents’ shots while their own shotguns pumped. Not only does this look silly, even in a game where the only vehicles are shopping carts, but it’s also alienating. For people without itchy trigger fingers or mad hops, it was a losing battle. And so, Epic has taken the next, drastic step: The “one-pump” is gone. Though the heavy shotgun has not seen an update, both the pump and tactical are now, at the bare minimum, survivable. Hopefully, this change will encourage players to seek new strategies, rather than relying on winning encounters with a single shot.
Take the battle sky high!
Buckle up and lift off with the new Limited Time Item, Jetpack. pic.twitter.com/LtGVnWXMDI
— Fortnite (@FortniteGame) May 23, 2018
Further tweaks to patch 4.3: traps and jetpacks
Despite yesterday’s re-introduction of the bouncer trap, Epic has not forgotten about their other, more spiky variant. Until a recent update, wall traps were a reliable method of greatly damaging, if not outright eliminating, unsuspecting foes. They were a welcome item because they promoted stealth and strategic gameplay over outright brute force. Unfortunately, these deadly traps were gimped, reducing their damage from 125 to 75. Today, this decision is no longer; wall traps now do 150 damage. In a way, this counteracts predictions that the wall trap was nerfed to make room for drop traps. A mainstay of the PvE Save the World mode, drop traps recently appeared in a datamine of Fortnite Battle Royale. This leak fed the idea that wall traps were demoted in order to create a hierarchy of traps. While drop traps might still be added, it’s nice that the spikes are viable once more.
Meanwhile, the jetpack will disappear this upcoming Monday. Announced as a limited-time item, it was only a matter of time before it was taken like the shirts off a player’s back. While its removal is not a surprise, the date of the change certainly is. This update occurs the day before Fortnite‘s first major competitive tournament, the Fortnite Pro Am 2018. In conjunction with the other two changes in today’s update, competitors in Tuesday’s tournament have serious changes to address in their play styles. This only further supports the idea that, perhaps, Fortnite is updating at too quick of a pace for competitive play. Considering that major updates drop on Tuesdays, what else will we see before the big tournament? Will we finally understand the meteor? Tell us: what’s next?