The act of swinging a pickaxe at an opponent – or trucing – has come to the forefront in competitive Fortnite. Trucing has always been part of the game, though. Let’s take a look at the evolution of the practice.
People forget that competitive Fortnite began with the pub-stomping Friday Fortnite tournament hosted by Keemstar and UMG Gaming. We didn’t have an official custom Fortnite tournament for some time. When we did finally get a tournament, it was a laggy mess that was nearly unplayable for the competing teams.
Epic eventually began to iron out the kinks, but players still weren’t to the level where they are now. End-games were similarly stacked but players didn’t know how to tunnel or crank 90’s – two strategies that are standard in any modern Fortnite tournament.
Once tournaments began to get underway, players noticed something: it was far more valuable to stay alive than it was to W-key everyone they saw. It was a silent understanding, at first, where players didn’t pick fights unless they knew they were at an advantage. At this time, it was about not angering another top-level player while both were rotating.
Once planes entered Fortnite, competitive games began to change. These were W-key machines in public matches, but competitive players used them much differently. Instead of pushing everyone they saw, they’d glide in the air and wait for their opponents to die off.
Before Epic nerfed the HP of the plane, having one was a surefire ticket to late-game every time. No one was going to waste ammo shooting you down, and everyone in the air knew that it was best to live and let live. Players began to shoot the plane’s gun to signal that they weren’t a threat.
After Epic removed planes from Fortnite, they added the Baller. The Baller wasn’t as overpowered as the plane from an offensive standpoint but it may have been an even better defensive tool.
Every competitive late-game would have 6-10 players swinging or hiding in Ballers. They offered a free rotation and it got to the point where players would sit in Ballers with opponents while waiting for the storm to move.
Epic nerfed the HP of Ballers in Season 9, which prevented players from sitting out in the open with them. They’d have to box-up to avoid getting shot, and the lower HP meant there were fewer of them in the end-game.
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Because of this, Season 9 was likely the most collusion-free season in modern Fortnite history. There were a ton of rotational tools, meaning players were more likely to take fights while rotating. You wouldn’t ruin your chances of winning if you have a few Shockwaves or a Launch Pad in your inventory.
Now, we’re at an all-time low for mobility tools. Players don’t know whether or not they have an advantage when they’re rotating with opponents, meaning no one is willing to risk a fight. They’d rather wait until they get to the circle before engaging.
Trucing is and always has been a part of Fortnite. If there’s a mutually-beneficial reason to truce then players are going to do it. Pickaxing is only the latest form of a longstanding strategy.