When Apex Legends first released in early February this year, it immediately was a huge hit in the battle royale community, beating out Fortnite for the most streamed game and hitting 25 million users in one week. By the time it 50 million just a month after its release, it seemed apparent that it would take over. However, as it reached this mark, things began to change.
By the time Apex was hitting its peak, Fortnite released its best updates ever, almost revolutionizing the game. While many players had left Fortnite due to the staleness of the game, and the new features in Apex such as being able to choose your own Apex Legends hero to play as each game, Fortnite brought back most of those who left with the amazing new gameplay that it introduced to the game. There were now things in Fortnite like the ability to receive materials and health upon each kill, new guns, and overpowered weapons like the RPG were nerfed as to make them balanced again. Overall, Fortnite became a better game than it originally was.
For the month that Fortnite was like this, the game had never been more exciting. Skilled players enjoyed it because they felt like they were getting rewarded. New players felt like there were lots of ways to improve. There was an exciting Fortnite World Cup. The shotgun meta even felt balanced for once in the game’s history. For these last few weeks of season 7 and first few weeks of season 8, the game had never felt better. But that all changed.
With update v8.20, Epic games removed Siphon, the mechanic which gave materials and health per kill. Immediately, the game started going down hill. People stopped enjoying the game and many left to play other games. And Epic has not helped its situation with its latest decisions.
Following this, many bad decisions have been made regarding the weapon pool with Fortnite. Many of the core weapons have been removed from the game, along with many weak weapons deluding the spawns, causing the game to become very frustrating for many. Ever since v8.20, every update has been filled with questionable vaults and even more questionable additions.
The most significant of these was the pump shotgun, the staple weapon in Fortnite. The pump was vaulted at the start of season 9. No matter how much skill you had or how long you had played the game, the pump shotgun would be in your inventory as long as you could find one. Due to Fortnite’s incredibly fast speed of movement and the fights being in such close quarters, this gun was the ideal weapon due to its high damage and the fact that it did burst damage. You also had the ability to one-shot anyone in the head with this gun, as from close range a headshot would do over 200 damage. It was one of the most common weapons to spawn as well. When looting a building, you could expect to find at least one of these. With the removal of its staple weapon, Fortnite immediately felt different.
A similar thing could be said about the silenced SMG. This gun, while coming in a common, uncommon, a rare rarity, was likely the most balanced gun in the game. It was accurate and gave good spray damage but still required skill to use, it gave out good damage but not too much damage, and it destroyed builds well without making them obsolete. Almost everyone in the game would carry both a pump shotgun and a silenced SMG if they could. However, Epic recently decided to vault this gun as well, adding bad weapons in its place.
Following the removal of two of the most loved weapons in the game, a new gun came into Fortnite, the Burst SMG. This gun is a painful reminder of the widely hated Burst Assault Rifle. The gun has a magazine size of 24, shoots four bullets with one trigger pull, does 23/24/25 damage, has a decently long reload time, and is the least accurate gun in the game. No matter how good your aim is, you will hit at best two shots per trigger pull, which means that this gun can be outdone by the common pistol if you get unlucky. On top of this, it is easily the most common weapon in the game, making your chances of living off of spawn based more on luck than any other time in the games history. This gun alone has made the game less fun, but it is not the only annoying weapon clogging up loot spawns.
Though other weak guns like the scoped revolver and one of the Scoped Assault Rifles, Epic decided to unvault the Scoped Sniper, a gun that no one enjoys using and is a death sentence if it is the first weapon you find. Along with this, the much more useful Hunting Rifle was vaulted, meaning that this gun was given a higher drop rate, especially in chests. These past few weapon updates have made the loot pool worse than it has ever been.
So one has to wonder, with the removal of the best guns and the addition of some of the worst guns ever into Fortnite, will this cause people to leave the game. Well the answer, not yet, but likely soon. Though the game has been bad for a few months now, there is still hope for many that the game will once again improve. Along with this, many of the biggest streamers still play Fortnite due to the World Cup, which has a $30 million prize pool and many chances to qualify. However, Apex legends does have a very loyal and competitive fanbase, with new players still joining. While this is true for Fortnite, once most of the streamers leave to go play other games, many players will leave as well. If Apex can draw those streamers to their game, then they will have won. Apex also has one significant advantage: its game is consistent. While many think that a changing game is better, it is much better to have a game that stays the same and is always good than a game with a new Meta every week. Only time will tell though to see which game is the superior battle royale.