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Image credit: Epic Games

'Fortnite' could partially lose the one thing that makes it unique

Building looks set to be hit, hard.
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Epic Games

To build, or not to build? In 2011, Epic Games took a gamble on an unconventional survival shooter called Fortnite. The far-reaching maps and signature weaponry were all there in the main game, but a new breed of battle royale would shake up the genre's foundations by centering on construction mechanics. Perhaps unbeknownst to Epic at the time, that subtle innovation would pay off -- massively. Following the launch of its free battle royale mode last year, Fortnite has gone from fledgling beta to record-breaking cash cow. But right in the midst of its explosive popularity, Epic seems keen on shaking up the Fortnite formula again -- and top streamers aren't exactly thrilled.

In its most recent blog update, Epic is keen to express that Fortnite must support "a wide range of play styles and counterplay" in order to thrive. This is certainly reflected in the flood of content updates. The company has introduced new weapons, vehicles, delivered crossovers with Marvel villains and various themed tie-ins. Although it's the newer suggestions -- making Victory Royales easier for new players to achieve through "multiple strategies" and the idea that not every round has to "end in a build off" -- which are fueling player concern.

While no changes have been officially implemented, that hasn't stopped Fortnite professionals like Kenith, Ninja and Daequan from putting a voice to player's unease; building is so central to Fortnite's gameplay that putting a cap on the amount of in-game materials players can store could impact the very element allowing skilled players to succeed. Kenith acknowledged that changes "could possibly save the game" while urging Epic to launch a PUBG-like test server and ensure all players are satisfied, while Daequan argued that Fortnite's building component was what "hooked millions" in the first place.

Unlike PUBG and various other royale shooters, Fortnite lets players farm wood, brick and metal in order to build ramps and other bases in order to kill their opponents or evade damage. However, many building battles evolve into a shotgun duel and Epic is keen to shake that up. Daequan's TSM teammate Myth called the proposed changes a good thing since "Late game meta is tragically flawed."

The burden of trying to sustain Fortnite's popularity is understandable with its charge into esports and broadcasting. The game needs to change regularly to keep the gameplay fresh and exciting, which is why we've seen stink bombs, clingers, C4 and miniguns prompted as useful strategies to deter competent builders. However, the general consensus amongst the existing streaming community is clear -- they don't want the construction rules to change.

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