Bowing to pressure from Fortnite players, Epic Games announced that it was scaling back the impact of the controversial B.R.U.T.E. mech that was introduced to the game for Season X.
B.R.U.T.E. was decried by experienced players as an example of Epic going too far in its efforts to give novices more of a chance to prevail in the world's preeminent battle royale. The hashtag #removethemech emerged on social media, and the outcry grew when the $10 million Fortnite Champion Series began last weekend.
Epic initially defended B.R.U.T.E., but it finally gave in Thursday, listing on its website a number of changes it was making to the mech:
The number of guided missiles fired will be cut from 10 to six.
The time between salvos by the missiles will increase by 56 percent.
The area affected by each rocket explosion will be lowered by 42 percent.
The velocity gained from boosting while in air will go down by 33 percent.
And in an alteration that will be made soon, pilots of B.R.U.T.E. will no longer get materials from destroying resources while in the mech. Epic also temporarily removed the Junk Rift from Arena playlists.
NRG Esports Fortnite pro Benjy "benjyfishy" David Fish tweeted Thursday, "mechs nerfed and junk rifts vaulted, LETS GO"
Last week, benjyfishy told ESPN, "I think it's obvious to ... most people that the mech is way too overpowered. It destroys the main part of the game, as you can't even build to defend yourself against it.
"There shouldn't be something in a game like Fortnite where a player who doesn't take the game seriously and just plays for fun can instantly destroy and one-shot a pro player. It just isn't right."
As recently as Aug. 15, Epic Games stuck by the new mech amid criticism, posting on its website, "The mission of Fortnite is to bring players of all skill levels together to have a fun experience where anyone can win. ... The B.R.U.T.E. was added at the start of Season X with this mission in mind. Since then, we have seen players who had previously struggled with getting eliminations acquiring more, while the number of eliminations earned by more experienced players remained steady."
Even so, the critics of B.R.U.T.E. delivered their message loudly.
"The newly added mech in Season X is infinitely more powerful than the (Infinity Blade) ever was," Ghost Gaming pro Justin "Kayuun" Ha told ESPN last week, "and players were already very angry and upset with the sword being in the game.
"The sword had very clear openings, although it was very powerful. If you were outside of the slash range, the sword user couldn't hurt you, so you could then easily eliminate them even though they had 200 effective HP total. Now the mech, on the other hand, doesn't have a clear and definitive opening like the sword had."
Turner "Tfue" Tenney said to ESPN, "It spawns randomly. There's too many of them. It takes no aim to actually shoot it. It's impossible to counter at times."
--Field Level Media