Epic Games have shown no signs of slowing down when it comes to preparing Fortnite for competitive play in 2018. Their online “Summer Skirmish” series kicked off two weeks ago, with Epic promising a new twist added in each week to constantly change the format for players as they continue to seek out the perfect mode and scoring system. Everyone has their own thoughts on what they believe the best system for Fortnite is, but what do the actual pros in the scene think and what do they think about the direction the game is heading in since Season 5 began?

OpTic’s Fortnite captain Kenneth ‘Baldy’ Anderson is part of a squad that once notably held the Solo, Duo, and Squads kill records in Fortnite. He was also one of the players in the inaugural Summer Skirmish event, when he played alongside OpTic’s own Jack ‘Courage’ Dunlop, and as someone constantly scrimming against the best in the world, he understands the gameplay changes as well as anyone in the world.

Into the Rift

“My thoughts on the new season? I like how they added rifts to the game; it makes rotating in scrims and competitive much easier, and it’s almost better to set up near rifts. I feel like they were meant for competitive play,” said Baldy, following up with “the storm circle changes make the end game better as it’s not really a heal fest anymore, and it’s forcing people to play more aggressive.”

Baldy’s thoughts on the storm circle changes were shared with the majority of the Fortnite community, who were concerned about the stagnant build-offs we have become accustomed to seeing in professional scrims during the end stages of a game. Yet, at the first Summer Skirmish event, the lobby was still plagued with this issue, as up to 30 people remained after the sixth storm circle. In turn, the servers lagged uncontrollably, leading to player deaths and a very poor viewing experience. “The servers were lagging because it’s 100 people and everyone in the lobby is really good,” said Baldy. “People were using C4 which we (pros) have noticed makes the server lag at the end of the game. Epic banned the use of it in the second game but someone carried on using it which is why they will have been lagging the way they did.”

So how can Epic adjust things to ensure this doesn’t happen in the future? Baldy thinks one key thing could be changed. “One week, I’d like to see kills being rewarded more than wins; that would be so interesting. I definitely want to see something that emphasizes kills.”

Epic must have had similar ideas too, as the second installment of the tournament involved players being awarded a point for each kill, plus bonus points for reaching 20 kills. This however, was in public lobbies and not against direct professional competition, so it still leaves the question as to the direction in which competitive Fortnite is heading.

Balance and Bombs

Epic faces another challenge in striking the fine balance between catering to casual players whilst maintaining a balanced weapon system for pro players to use. “C4 is busted and I definitely think Splodes are OP, as well as the spam guns like all the SMGs, especially the new SMG which shreds building,” explained Baldy.

In the latest update (v5.10,) Epic seem to have addressed some of the concerns shared by Baldy and fellow pros by nerfing C4. However, the addition of an even stronger SMG has left many players both casual and professional scratching their head as to why. Couple this with a nerf to structure health and it seems like Epic really is trying to reduce the amount of builds seen during a game, which could play a pivotal role in upcoming tournaments.

Just how the competitive landscape will form for Fortnite is still something that isn’t quite clear. But it is obvious that Epic are committed to making Fortnite the leading competitive Battle Royale title out there, and with continued support from viewers and players, there is no reason it shouldn’t get there.

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