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Epic can't stop pissing off Fortnite pros

Fortnite pros thought airplanes were the worst of it, but after the sudden removal of a beloved health bonus per kill and the addition of an even more broken vehicle, Fortnite pros are about as sad-mad as I've seen them. With just one more day until the Fortnite World Cup online open qualifiers, a competitive event with $1 million at stake each week, fundamental changes and unresolved bugs are going to piss pros off. With that much money on the line, who can blame them?

Sure, Fortnite pros have been complaining about the state of Fortnite since the dawn of Fortnite. They're pros. They spend over 40 hours a week playing the same game. They probably see trees less than the average person. Wind? The heck is wind?

Fortnite pros do tend to know when an update or addition is refreshing for the competitive meta or totally broken. It doesn't help that Epic has a history of deploying changes at exciting, but extremely inconvenient times.

And in the run up to the Fortnite World Cup, one of the biggest esports competitions in history with a total $100 million in prize money on the line, Epic is making sure the hits keep on coming. 

Fun siphon

Because Reboot Vans spawn in set locations, they don't mesh well with the high-risk play of competitive Fortnite.

The impetus for players crying 'REVERT!' on Twitter, in YouTube comments, and all over the Fortnite subreddits is the recent removal of the siphon mechanic, wherein players gained some health upon eliminating other players. Siphoning enabled more aggressive plays in a given match, thinning out lobbies before the typically conservative endgame. 

Turtling during the last few circles (building snaking tunnels and multilayered buildings to hide in) was still the norm, but suddenly every live player became a health pot and a more enticing target, especially for anyone low on HP or healing resources. It wasn't just more active, the added risk-reward gave every team a little more elasticity and a way to stage a comeback.

The recent addition of Reboot Vans, Fortnite's new teammate respawn system, is a step in the right direction. However, because Reboot Vans spawn in set locations, they don't mesh well with the high-risk play of competitive Fortnite. 

Picking up a friendly's player card is risky, taking a detour to a van is riskier, and holding down the location during a respawn as a beam of light alerts everyone that you're down one player is like asking to be eliminated in a competitive lobby. 

Reboot vans have made casual lobbies more palatable sans siphoning, but they're not so simple or omnipotent enough to up the ante of competitive play.

Keep rolling 

Vehicles continue to trouble competitive players, too, with the grappling hook equipped Baller as the worst offender yet. Because players are protected from gunfire if they're inside a Baller, the already conservative and crowded competitive endgame has become even messier. 

Source: Reddit

While players hoard resources and turtle in the final few circles, Ballers essentially act as another damage sponge, soaking up 200 hit points while granting increased mobility. It's total chaos.

VIDEO: SypherPK explains what defines competitive Fortnite. 

Ballers' hit points have been nerfed from 300 to 200, but they're still a bizarre addition to the competitive endgame. Even so, they'll be around for the World Cup Qualifiers. 

Buggin' out 

Game-breaking bugs are still a huge problem in Fortnite, and pros are under the impression Epic's put stability on the backburner while it focuses on keeping pace with new weapons, items, and map changes and preps for the Fortnite World Cup, an undoubtedly gargantuan task. While that's not entirely true—Epic is squashing bugs with every update—new problems appear as often as they're eliminated. 

As of the 8.30 patch, traps no longer disappear inside of surfaces, but players have discovered a way to consistently shoot through walls. Cones will randomly fail to build on ramps. FPS drops and crashes are plaguing players. Epic simply can't keep up. 

Fortnite would no doubt benefit from a stability sabbatical, a break from the impressive cadence of New Stuff to focus on eliminating bugs and improving overall performance. It worked for Rainbow Six Siege and it would benefit Fortnite, even if it only results in goodwill from the playerbase. But short of delaying the Fortnite World Cup, there's not much to be done. Fortnite's status as the most popular game in the world is at odds with this.

What's good for competitive Fortnite and what's good for the millions of casual players has not proven to be the same.

Like how Bungie's struggled to balance Destiny 2's weapons and armor across its PvP and PvE modes rather than break out changes specific to each, Fortnite's casual and competitive players have been pulling apart since Season 3 now. Epic either has bigger plans, insufficient resources, or has just failed to acknowledge the growing schism between its two most important audiences. 

Once the Fortnite World Cup is through, we'll see some pros take a break. Expect a few of those with Twitch or YouTube audiences to say goodbye for good as they see if their followings are large enough to sustain them elsewhere.

What's good for competitive Fortnite and what's good for the millions of casual players has not proven to be the same, and Epic hasn't done well to distribute the load or, at the very least, make sense of its seemingly drastic measures. 

Battle royale is a genre best served by constant change and professional players should be measured by their ability to adapt. But constant adaptation is tough, especially if the changes aren't fun, fair, and affect your primary source of income. 

At least the Fortnite World Cup qualifiers are going to be interesting, for better or worse.  

James is PC Gamer’s bad boy, staying up late to cover Fortnite while cooking up radical ideas for the weekly livestream. He can still kickflip and swears a lot. You’ll find him somewhere in the west growing mushrooms and playing Dark Souls.