Epic Games has released a hotfix balance update to buff buildings and materials while nerfing SMGs. This decision comes after weeks of rabid complaints from the Fortnite community, both on the game’s Reddit page and from established competitive players. The troubles began shortly after the launch of Season 5. In an effort to address player complaints about the dominant “double pump” meta, Epic introduced powerful new SMG variants. Simultaneously, shotguns faced a significant nerf, now with a delay and decreased damage output. To make matters worse, building effectiveness also decreased. These changes intended to provide multiple viable avenues of gameplay, but the community felt otherwise.
Today, in a post on their official blog, the developers addressed these concerns.
We’ve seen various discussions about SMGs, building material changes, and general weapon vs structure interaction. We agree that weapons should have a unique purpose and that building should feel great as well as show off your tactical skills in the heat of battle. Your feedback in combination with internal testing has shown that previous changes in these areas were not achieving the goals we had set out for. The new changes are aimed at allowing for strengths and weaknesses between the SMGs, shotguns and structures during close range combat.
Building materials now have more initial HP
In the first step of implementing these changes, the initial wall health of build materials is now increased. This change is beneficial for a number of reasons beyond simply increasing effectiveness against SMGs. Previously, wood materials felt just as viable to use as stone and metal. Wood is the most abundant resource in the game and is easy to farm. By contrast, stone and metal are more precious but offered little additional benefit. While their overall health is greater than that of wooden structures, this only helps when structures are finished building. Therefore, using the stronger materials provides a disadvantage in the middle of firefights.
This was especially true when faced against the high firepower of SMGs and other automatic weapons. Because players were able to shred structures more quickly than they could be built, the overall health of the material became moot. However, by increasing the initial health of the uncommon materials, players have an incentive to actively farm these resources.
- Wood wall initial HP increased from 80 to 90
- Stone wall initial HP increased from 80 to 100
- Metal wall initial HP increased from 80 to 110
Now, when faced with oncoming gunfire, players can once again place walls to provide a quick defense. While this was a common tactic in early seasons of the game, a number of updates reduced its effectiveness.
Combating the “spray ‘n’ pray” meta: Compact SMG and Drum Gun nerfed
As such, this brings us to the second half of the update. One of the aforementioned game-altering updates was the inclusion of the Drum Gun. Billed as an “SMG with the stopping power of an Assault Rifle,” this weapon is now ubiquitous with all areas of play. It excels in mid-range interactions and is also capable of annihilating structures from most ranges. Furthermore, despite nerfs to the shotgun, it’s now a common pair with the Drum Gun. Players fire a slug before quickly swapping to the fast-paced fire of the Drum Gun.
While Epic still desires SMGs to be useful against structures, they don’t want them to be a solution in every scenario. As such, they’ve applied a few updates to both the Compact SMG and the Drum Gun.
- Reduced damage from 22/21 to 21/20
- Reduced magazine size from 50 to 40
- Reduced falloff range damage from 80% to 70% at 3500 units
- Reduced falloff range damage from 65% to 55% at 5000+ units
- Added environmental damage fall off matching player damage fall off
- Decreased jumping accuracy by 5%
- Decreased targeting accuracy by 10%
- Reduced spawn rate from chests and floor loot by 40%
These are significant changes to the Drum Gun. In particular, reducing the spawn rate by 40% is a huge nerf. Hopefully, this latest update helps combat feel more balanced, but there are likely to be further changes to building and SMGs in the future.
Season 3 favored builders, Season 4 favored shotguns, and Season 5 favored SMGs. With today’s update, Epic hopes to strike a balance between all three. What are your thoughts on the changes? Is there a specific weapon or tactic that still feels unbalanced to you? Let us know in the comments below.
We’ll see how the competitive community reacts with this weekend’s Summer Skirmish series.