One of the most refreshing aspects of Epic Games' wildly popular survival shooter is that their constant tinkering with the mechanics has kept things fresh since its rise to prominence. With esports looming large, scrutiny on these updates has dramatically increased.
The recent flurry of small, under-the-radar patches have arguably caused the biggest changes in-game since the switch to full HD. Materials, shotguns, traps, and even llamas are just some of the tools which have either been wildly boosted or infuriatingly nerfed. So, how are the heroes who play Fortnite for a living adapting to cement their place at the top of the foodchain?
1. Build smarter, not harder
A big part of Fortnite's appeal can be attributed to the unique aspect of being able to build to either protect yourself or push a hostile player, yet the amount of resources that can be harvested from objects has been significantly reduced. It's been dubbed 'The Resource Crisis'. To remedy this, streamers have been increasingly using new and creative ways to focus their building efforts.
TSM_Myth has wowed the gaming community with his incredible build speed and reaction time in combat situations. Now, he has altered his attack method by utilising the edit button and the new jump pads to bamboozle his foes.
Myth makes it look easy, but simple misdirection can go a long way in-game. Fortnite may be difficult to predict at the best of times, but staying one step ahead is still key. Mess around with editing and unusual placements when you bump into new enemies. Don't be afraid of taking the L a few times while you practise – it's all part of the process.
2. Use the heavy shotgun
In the early days, the infamous 'double pump' method saw players being able to quickly switch between shotguns at close range while exerting massive damage. The very definition of OP. After a big outcry from the community, Epic reduced pump shotgun effectiveness back in 4.3, but only now are we really feeling the pinch.
When he's not rocking the quintuple deagle, Daequan (another player on TSM's books) is well known for his unrivalled use of his 'trusty shotty', so how did he revise his method? Well, remember that horrible, clunky mess known as the heavy shotgun? Its stats have been pumped (ha) with base damage sitting at an incredible 76 with a 2.5 multiplier – therefore, a clean headshot will see you take 192 hit-points from a 100/100 foe. Daequan realised this and has been obliterating lobbies ever since.
Notice in the video how effective the heavy is at punching through walls as well. Don't like crazy builders? Here's your answer. Although the quad heavy is a little excessive, if you've got the chance to run two at the same time you mustn't hesitate.
3. Elevate your early game
One aspect of Fortnite that will never change will be the randomness of the early game. Even the very best players can come off second best if they lose the race to a gun after dropping. Often, you'll find yourself desperately searching for the weapons you want instead of the ones you need.
Just take a look of the rise and rise of Vikkstar123. His blossoming Fortnite career can be attributed to his willingness to use a wide variety of load-outs. The point here is that becoming proficient with the items you usually turn your nose up at increases your chances of survival no end.
4.4 has seen changes to the remote explosive, for example, with the move from an explosion radius of 400 to 600 meaning that they can do some serious damage. They are common floor loot as well, so testing them out will be easy enough. The pros often rely on them to shut down early structure building. Check out Vikkstar showing off their usefulness below.
An oft-forgotten feature of the Battle Royale hub is the replay feature. Watch any pro stream on Twitch and every so often you'll see them taking a moment to watch one of their deaths to see what they could of done better. Even Ninja, the Fortnite overlord himself, will carry out this exact process every so often. The 4.4 patch has added further improvements to the quality of the replay theatre, so get watching!
The key to becoming a great player is learning from your mistakes while conversely knowing the correct counter to every situation. A lot can be learned from watching replays – where your enemy was, their thought process, and insight into what you did wrong. As the game evolves through these patches, it is crucial to stay on top.
Who knows, a tad more training and you may end up winning prize money at a major gaming event!
5. Contain that rage
EPIC have released in statements that they want it to seem 'more obvious' when you have and have not landed the perfect shot during close quarters combat. It's not succinctly explained in the patch notes, but this has seen significant alterations to accuracy and spray control as 4.4 has been fine tuned.
Simply put, you're going to die a lot quicker than normal. The only thing more frustrating than getting mad at video games is thinking about the reasons why you're mad. Feeling like a new player again can be draining, but ultimately it's a learning curve that can be conquered for casual and hardcore gamers alike.
Having centred his online reputation on keeping high-octane action unquestionably chill, Twitch streamer Tfue is often highlighting new angles and build methods. He's a champion of the rapid 'turbo-build' -– check out this drop on Pleasant Park; spacial awareness and game sense defined. Watch and learn.
All in all, this new patch has ushered in a new age in the Fortnite era and the message is simple - get good, and die lots while trying.