The reported return of skill-based matchmaking (SBMM) in Fortnite has whipped the community into a frenzy. Just when we thought that skill-based matchmaking was gone forever, Epic reportedly re-enable the system.
All of this comes from anecdotal evidence. Players feel as though they’re getting into more difficult games than they were a few days ago. At the time, however, there were far more bots in each lobby. Epic could have readjusted SBMM or, simply, added more real players. We don’t – and probably won’t – know for sure.
This is where SypherPK comes into the story. He was widely credited with helping trigger some of the positive changes we saw: nerfing Heavy Snipers, attempting to address aim assist, listening to the community, sending small patch notes, etc.
Epic made these positive changes after this video received some massive attention in the community. It might not be the sole reason that SBMM was removed, but the support on the video likely helped influence the decision.
When SBMM was removed, we saw a massive influx of bots in the Squads playlist. It’s often difficult to tell whether someone is a bot or just a bad player, but one of Sypher’s subscribers made a program to detect bots.
The program found that up to 90 players in each match were bots. This is a huge problem, as there’s not satisfaction in killing a bot who doesn’t build or barely defends themself. It’s not gratifying to win a game that’s populated with fake players.
Sypher made a couple of videos on this topic, including one with Ninja. The two discussed the idea of re-implementing SBMM into the game with a new, looser system. This could help reduce the number of bots, help new players, and keep the “old school” Fortnite vibe that everyone misses.
When players began to notice the reported reintroduction of skill-based matchmaking on May 11, Sypher became the main target of online hate. The hashtag #f**ksypher started to trend on Twitter, blaming Sypher for Epic’s decision to bring this system back.
Sypher saw this hubbub and responded with several tweets, a Twitter video, and a YouTube video.
The sentiment of his responses clarified that Sypher was never a fan of skill-based matchmaking, as the record reflects. He was, simply, trying to find a solution to the system that didn’t involve 60-90% of Fortnite matches being filled with AI players.
“I have people messaging me, ‘My career is over because of SypherPK,'” the streamer told his Twitch chat and YouTube audience. “Because AI have been reduced or removed, careers are now over? People – for some reason – think that I am responsible? … This is the most bizarre situation I’ve ever seen.”
Sypher’s defense is clear: he has always been against SBMM and never wanted it added back into Fortnite. His only problem was with the number of bots in each match, which has little to do with skill-based matchmaking.
“To the content creators that have legitimate followings … who came after me: you guys need to understand that you have influence,” Sypher explained.
“You can’t just be tweeting things out – especially things so aggressive like an f- Sypher hashtag – and to point your audience at somebody who literally has only good intentions for Fortnite … I’m trying to help you, and a lot of you turned on me when given the opportunity without doing any research.”
Sypher has been widely considered as the ‘voice of reason’ in the Fortnite community. He’s not one for hot takes and spur-of-the-moment outbursts. He has always had a reasonable opinion on controversial Fortnite topics like SBMM, aim assist, new items, etc.
Epic are, clearly, listening to community feedback on all fronts. They made it evident that they were tweaking skill-based matchmaking. It’s doubtful that their ultimate goal was to stuff every match with 60 to 90 bots. That’s not what they wanted and not what regular players want.
We’ll have to see how the SBMM system plays out, but Sypher will make it through to the other side. This seems to be a small controversy that’s isolated to Twitter and doesn’t tell the whole story. Sypher will continue to be one of the most reasonable Fortnite creators on the platform, despite the hate he’s getting on this one.
Ninja calls for a dedicated Fortnite pro league: could it happen?
Ninja suggests an official Fortnite league as a solution to some of the biggest problems in the game. Is such a thing realistic?
Competitive Fortnite is always a topic that we discuss, here, but it’s been in the crosshairs of the wider gaming and esports landscape of late. Pro Fortnite players voiced their disappointment in the Season 4 PC FNCS prize pool, comparing it to similar competitions from a year ago.
The Season 4 prize pool is significantly lower, but Epic are allocating their funds differently, now. They spread their prize pool across several regions and platforms, which lowers the amount that they can give to the most popular platform: PC. They’re also hosting daily and weekly Cash Cups, which comes out of their prize pool budget as well.
You can say what you want about Epic’s distribution of their prize pool; that’s not the topic, here. The real problem – as esports reporter, Slasher, detailed in a tweet thread – is the lack of support that these tier-one Fortnite pros feel that they receive from Epic Games.
This feeling of now being listened to fuels some of the outrage that’s common within the Fortnite community. What’s more is that these high-profile pro players need to continue to prove themselves time and time again just to qualify for paid events – something that isn’t the case in any other top esport.
People like Clix, Zayt, BenjyFishy, Mongraal, Bugha, and all of the other household names in Fortnite have to continue to qualify for official Fortnite tournaments. Theoretically, they have the same chance of qualifying as your cousin who has been grinding Cash Cups for the past few months.
This element is part of the allure of competitive Fortnite – that anyone could be a pro player. Several pros have come out of nowhere to win hundreds of thousands of dollars. Morgausse was a prime example of this during the Summer Skirmish. An unknown pro at the time, Morgausse left the event $225,000 richer and as the hottest free agent in Fortnite.
We’ve come a long way since then, however. All of the events are held online, which means everyone who has Fortnite and an internet connection can affect these games. Even players who know they can’t win an event can “grief” a high-profile streamer – landing on them and ruining the streamer’s chances of qualifying.
It feels like, after 2+ years of competitive play, Fortnite finally has an established esports scene. Is it time that Epic Games began working with organizations and developing a league, similar to what other esports titles have done?
During the FNCS Warmup tournament, Ninja took to Twitter to propose just that: an official Fortnite league. In his opinion, a league sanctioned by Epic Games is the only way to avoid some of the common problems we see in nearly every Fortnite tournament.
It seems like nearly every Fortnite pro and passionate viewer would be interested in seeing something like this, but would Epic Games ever back such a tournament? In our opinion, the answer is an unfortunate, no.
A large part of Epic’s marketing strategy with competitive Fortnite seems to be that anyone could be a pro player. They’ve explicitly said this, at times, and used it as a justification as to why they don’t split the competitive and casual loot pools.
After seasons of requests from pro players involving the Fortnite loot pool, Epic have finally begun to make half measures in this regard. Still, there always seem to be a few items that are fine in core modes but completely broken in competitive. If Epic won’t even take the time to completely split the loot pool, would they really back a walled-off competitive Fortnite league?
Sadly, our outlook on this situation is a pessimistic one. A Fortnite league is possible, but we don’t think that it’s how Epic wants to handle the professional side of Fortnite. All of the evidence points to Epic wanting to keep Fortnite esports as an open platform.
There are some positives to this, but from a viewership perspective, we think the negatives outweigh the positives. Anything is possible, though, so we hope that a dedicated Fortnite league is in the cards for the future.
SypherPK showcases the best hero ability in Fortnite Season 4
SypherPK has crowned Fortnite Season 4’s best Mythic hero ability: Sorm’s Whirlwind Blast
Fortnite Season 4 is, in many ways, a return to form for Fortnite. We’re having a lot more lighthearted fun than we had over the course of the past couple of seasons. On top of that, with the spray weapons nerfed or gone, the competitive meta is also more entertaining to watch and play.
Hero abilities are helping to keep the game fresh, as well, and offering several different playstyles that weren’t there during the first portion of Chapter 2. Instead of ramped-up versions of existing weapons, the Season 4 Mythic items are entirely new.
Obviously, some Mythic abilities are more powerful than others. For instance, Silver Surfer’s Re-Deploy ability has gotten a lot of attention in competitive modes, while Groot’s Baller has largely been left behind.
One ability seems to stand above the rest, however – at least when it comes to the Core Fortnite game modes. Storm’s Mythic Whirlwind Blast ability might be the most powerful one that Epic have added.
During a recent stream, SypherPK noticed something that a lot of players hadn’t. He shot his Doctor Doom energy orb at a player, only to have it come flying back at him. As it turns out, Storm’s ability reflects projectiles.
When you add this to the fact that you can avoid fall damage, launch players to their death, and reflect damage from incoming cars, it’s an easy decision when you have to choose one Mythic item to carry.
SypherPK released a video that shows all of the uses for Storm’s Mythic ability, including the most popular and effective one: launching players to their death. You can also reflect all of the other offensive hero abilities in Fortnite – save for Iron Man’s Unibeam.
Hopefully, this item stays out of competitive Fortnite. If not, then we can be sure of what the next “Kit’s Shockwave Launcher” will be during the Season 4 FNCS. Keep your head on a swivel if you run into a player using this ability in-game.
Ninja discusses his break & return to Fortnite
Ninja is back to enjoying Fortnite. Could he be the first domino of returning popular streamers to fall?
There was a time when Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins and Fortnite were synonymous with one another. Ninja had a solid following before the game’s release, but being an early adapter of Fortnite allowed him to catapult himself to stardom – becoming, arguably, the most popular streamer of all time.
This all occurred in – what many consider to be – Fortnite’s heyday. The game is still extremely popular, but the biggest streamers began to fall off, one by one. Now, there are only a few original names left on the Fortnite Twitch directory, and Ninja hasn’t been one of them.
Although Ninja still dipped his toe into the Fortnite waters from time to time, he wasn’t regularly playing or streaming the game. For the bulk of Chapter 2, Ninja’s only attachment to Fortnite was the sporadic Ninja Battles tournament series. It became clear that he didn’t enjoy the game anymore and wanted to play things like Valorant, Fall Guys, and Among Us.
This changed a bit when Chapter 2 Season 4 came out. Ninja seemed interested in the new season from the start – contacting SypherPK for a co-stream the morning that Season 4 came out. Sypher missed the message, but soon capitalized on Ninja’s newfound interest in Fortnite.
A couple of weeks later, Sypher reached out to Ninja and the two streamed Fortnite for the first time in months. It was clear from the start that Ninja was having a blast with the new season. He and Sypher were messing around with the new hero abilities and fan-favorite returning items like Shockwave Grenades.
Fast-forward a week and Ninja is actually streaming Solos again – something that few fans expected to see. Solos are widely considered to be the most difficult Fortnite mode to stream, but Ninja was making impressive plays, talking trash, and dancing on fallen stream snipers. It felt like old times.
“Honestly, the game was not fun to me,” Ninja explained when discussing his extended break from Fortnite. “It felt super stale, super boring – I honestly don’t really have anything good to say about the last two seasons.”
Ninja decided to take a chance when SypherPK asked him to play during Season 4. “I’m having a blast, man. It feels good again. It feels fun,” Ninja told his chat. “I’m playing Fortnite Solos. When was the last time you saw me playing Fortnite Solos?”
In a lot of ways, Ninja is the pulse of the Fortnite community. Season 4 has felt like a return to form for Fortnite. We’re back to an evolving season with unique weapons and items that finally offer a variety of playstyles. The Boogie Bombs and Shockwaves might seem like small additions, but they bring the lightheartedness that Fortnite has been missing for the past few seasons.
Hopefully, Epic stay the course for the upcoming Fortnite seasons and add some awe-inspiring events to cap them off. Fortnite is due for a resurgence in popularity, and we could be on the brink of that. Ninja was just the first domino to fall.
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