The release of Fortnite Chapter 2 (or Season 11 in old money) was one of the most hyped gaming moments ever. Over 5.5 million people watched as the old Fortnite was sucked into a black hole, before eventually spitting out a new map, vehicles, mechanics and an entirely new loot pool – drastically reducing the number of weapons and mobility items while adding a few brand new ones. It seems with this update Epic is heeding the competitive Fortnite community’s view that less is more.
This season will see the Fortnite Champion Series played as Squads, and with this, Epic has made efforts to increase the diversity of player roles. Additions like the Bandage Bazooka and carrying your downed teammates to safer ground allow for a dedicated healer “class”. This, coupled with a stripped-down loot pool, points towards a more mature and predictable (in a good way) esport.
So, is the juggernaut Battle Royale entering a new chapter as an esport?
Smaller loot pool – less RNG
One of the major changes with Fortnite Chapter 2 is the removal of many of the guns that made the loot pool feel cluttered with useless weapons. Some fan favourites are gone too – note the lack of grenade launcher or heavy sniper.
What’s left is a more manageable and reliable loot pool, reducing that early game RNG and meaning players won’t be left holding a semi-auto sniper while his opponent is rocking a shotgun. Each gun, in the right hands, can be used to devastating effect and this will allow the best players to excel.
Weapons can also be upgraded in-game at select locations for a certain amount of mats, with each upgrade increasing in cost. This adds an interesting risk/reward element to top tier play as players grapple with the decision to have more mats or better weapons.
The introduction of the first two inventory slot items is also notable. For now, it’s just the Bandage gun, able to heal friendlies as you fire at them. But in the future could we see more items that take up two slots? Perhaps some sort of mobility? A bubble shield? Each could help shape squad roles in the coming FNCS season as players begin to specialise – giving teams new strategies that will create more depth in the gameplay.
In the new Fortnite mobility items and vehicles are almost nonexistent. There are no rifts, launchpads, jump pads or quadcrashers. In fact, just one piece of mobility has made it into the start of the season. The new motorboats, which can be found scattered around the island, are the perfect means of getting around the rivers and lakes that criss-cross the map. Take note you can also now swim!
These motorboats seat four players with three passengers able to shoot as they move. Expect the locations where these spawn to be hotly contested alongside the POI’s in the centre of the map – because without mobility, dropping on the edge becomes a huge liability.
As it stands, the amount of mobility is restrictive and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see something more added to help players traverse the map. TSM’s EmadGG maybe said it best –
Too much though and before you know it, there is no risk to landing on the edges and spending ages farming. There needs to be a balance – let’s hope Epic makes the right calls on this one.
Fortnite Chapter 2 map + less POIs = more fighting
The new map also has much fewer POI’s, but the ones present are larger. With the FNCS being played as Squads, the amount of loot each team will need to be viable end game increases, meaning teams will have to contest each other off spawn to secure their place in the endgame.
This will make Fortnite tournaments much more exciting for the viewer as the farming/looting portion of every match is often tedious with little to no action. Previously teams would announce publically their drop location on the eve of tournaments to put their opponents off landing there – and with so many POI’s teams would often demure and pick another spot.
Now with fewer spots to land, statements like the one above by Liquid Chap are a call to action.