Epic Games has added a new update to Fortnite. Chief among the new features is an airstrike grenade, which adds fire from the sky for players lucky enough to find weapons on the map. Each projectile brings 20 missiles with it, and explosions damage players and buildings alike within a 3.5-meter radius.
Like many other recent additions, the airstrikes have received backlash from the community. Outside of the new weapon, patch v9.30 doesn’t add much to the game; this might be given away by its name – Air Strike . The only other notable change to the PvP shooter is a reduction in the number of kills needed for a Team Rumble Victory Royale; teams now only need 100 wins instead of the previous 150.
Immediately after the airstrikes were announced, there was an uproar in the community, especially among professional players. It’s easy to see why. The Fortnite World Cup is less than two weeks away, with the tournament worth a combined $30 million to top-tier finalists. The attempt to shake things up hasn’t gone over well with those set to take part in the competition.
If everything goes the way it looks, many players’ chances of winning may have gone up in smoke. This isn’t the only time Epic Games has caused controversy with a new feature, especially in the past few months. Days before the World Cup circuit started, the studio banned the use of stretching screen resolutions while playing. Many gamers, especially in the e-sports circuit, had come to rely on this to create an advantage in the tournament. While the practice was deemed unfair by many, the timing of the ban was baffling.
It hasn’t just been e-sports players who have criticized the game. Many in the Fortnite community have unfavorably compared the airstrikes to those seen in Apex Legends. The comparison to the previous game has been brought up repeatedly in the past.
While players will certainly get used to Fortnite’s airstrikes, the change does seem to highlight an underlying point: Epic Games treats its e-sports leagues as an afterthought. How else could each of the large changes the developer made days or weeks before a competition be explained? While $30 million is a payday that nobody can laugh off, it still seems that being a professional Fortnite player might not be worth the hassle.