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What does and doesn’t make sense about the Fortnite Season 9 changes

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Blanket statements of angered criticism don’t help anybody. Let’s take a serious look at the Season 9 changes and discuss the what and why.

We believe that over-arching statements of opposition to the Season 9 changes aren’t considered valid criticisms. In order to be constructive, you must provide reasoning along with a hypothesis.

While some influencers have taken a ‘flaming’ route to discussing Season 9, let’s try to do better as we discuss the changes.

We’ll break down the changes into two major categories: ‘What went right?’ and ‘What went wrong?’. Within these sections, you will find specific discussions for things like the Pump Shotgun vaulting, Slipstreams, and others.

What went right with the Season 9 changes?

Pump Shotgun Removal…Sort of

This one could’ve gone much better with other changes…

Before you jump into the comments to repeat Tfue’s or Poach’s words, let us explain our thinking here.

The Pump Shotgun, according to Epic Games, made up 26% of all kills gotten by weapons in Fortnite. Obviously, there’s something skewed with those stats as Fortnite includes dozens of guns and items.

So, removing the Pump Shotgun makes sense from a data perspective. We would still argue that nerfing it would have been a better move. Especially since the Combat Shotgun is included in our ‘What went wrong’ section.

No single weapon should be contributing such a massive percentage to the overall kill rates, but Epic did not look at the source of the problem. Pumps allowed players to quickly ‘one-shot’ players, which shortened fights against players that don’t engage.

While building is a core part of Fortnite, it should not be the only part that matters. Additionally, the mechanic should always be counterable. While the Pump’s removal makes sense for gun balance, Epic failed to look at fight lengths which are caused by ‘passive builders’ who seek to avoid gunfights for extended periods of time with turbo building.

Sound Fixes Part 1

At last we can hear people right behind us…

While the Season 9 v9.00 patch did not fix every sound issue in Fortnite, it came a long way from the last patch of Season 8.

Pickaxes sounds can now be heard clearly when enemies try to breach your builds. This has a minor effect for casual games, but will benefit competitive players greatly. Imagine not being able to hear an enemy break the wall behind you in a hectic 40 man end-game…

The changes are minor, but the implementation is solid and Epic Games has a long list of additional upgrades on the way for Season 9. Some of these will arrive with the v9.1 patch.

New Neo Tilted and Mega Mall

Neo Tilted came into being with v9.00

New locations can be hard to nail and the new Neo Tilted is a massive addition to the game world. Mega Mall also brings a great new look to Retail Row.

Aesthetically, the Epic art team did a great job with the new versions of these locations. They are visually pleasing and give a sense of the ‘future.’ We love them.

More importantly, they give good incentives for players to land. Lots of loot means reduced RNG deaths, varied fights lead to diverse skillsets reigning supreme, and the similarity to old layouts gives long time players an advantage.

While it is natural to feel ‘sad’ about the old Tilted being gone, don’t let nostalgia cloud your judgement. Truly, take a look at the new locations and embrace the design. We believe they are among Epic’s cleanest implementations of new areas so far.

Tactical Shotgun Buff

It’s nice to have you back, old friend

The Tactical Shotgun was a key part of Fortnite’s rise to success. Both the Pump and Tactical used to be usable, but for a long time, this wasn’t so.

The Pump shouldn’t have a monopoly on close range fighting. The Tactical Shotgun brings a more guerrilla, in-and-out style of gameplay to Fortnite.

The buff to the shotgun doesn’t make the weapon overpowered, but rather gives it just enough punch to kill enemies. The shotgun uses quick, timed blasts to break apart enemies as opposed to the Pump’s one shot potential.

What went wrong with the Season 9 changes?

Combat Shotgun

But…why?

Epic decided to vault the Pump shotgun instead of removing it. Alright, that’s their play, but that would require changes to building speeds to allow players more opportunities for kills…or not?

Epic, instead of taking the route of nerfing building (a change requested by many professional and casual players to help bring down long fight times), they decided to add a new ‘shotgun.’

We initially did not think this was a horrible idea, but the implementation is questionable.

We’ll say one good thing about it. The tighter spread would have been a great way to ‘nerf’ the Pump by making players hit a smaller area for one-shots.

But, what’s the point of the aiming for the head when you can just as quickly kill them by spamming the new Combat Shotgun? It shoots faster than the Tactical Shotgun, does superior damage, and has an unacceptably long range.

Shotguns are supposed to excel at close range, but the Combat Shotgun can do decent damage to AR/SMG ranges. What? Why Epic?

Additionally, the Combat Shotgun does not have the same one-shot potential as the Pump. This leads to extremely long fights against players that simply don’t want to gunfight…in a shooter game. A more logical approach would have been to nerf the Pump a little bit along with Turbo Building changes (or removal as some pros want) and/or other building changes.

Mobility – Slipstreams, Ballers, Vents

Rotational skill gaps have decreased even further

Rotations make up a huge part of the skill gap in Battle Royale games. While other aspects can be ‘fluky’, rotations are based the player’s ability to traverse the map in a smart way.

The more mobility Epic adds into Fortnite, the less skill these rotations take. There is a fine balance between fun and skill, but we would argue that something which takes skill is thereby also fun.

Some forms of mobility in Fortnite’s past did not overly simplify rotations ie. the Quadcrasher or the Shopping Cart. Both of these vehicles move fairly slowly and put players at risk while giving them a chance at faster rotations.

The Ballers of Season 8 were a disaster for rotational skill and allowed quick escapes even if the player was a novice at Battle Royale. Nerfs helped with the vehicle’s power slightly, but it should have been vaulted in Season 9 to allow for rotational skill increases in our opinion.

Then Epic decided to further defeat the point of learning rotations by adding the Slipstream system. These allow players to travel from fight to fight extremely quickly and worsens the ‘third-partying’ problem. This is when players enter existing fights for easy kills (siphoning helped with this…).

The Slipstream system could have been great, but Epic went overboard with the ‘ease of use’ again. Players can fly out at any angle and deploy their glider even without Redeploys in their inventory. The stream can also act as an Volcano Vent if the angle is right. Epic doesn’t seem to care about rotational skill at this point.

Fortnite World Cup Support

Fortnite World Cup
Are competitive players a joke to you, Epic? -via Epic Games

As our final topic, we must discuss the Fortnite World Cup and Epic’s continued neglect of competitive norms.

Many of Epic’s philosophies work well to break the mold of the gaming industry, but their esports plans are not among these.

Competitive, in its most basic form, simply means ‘fair.’ Not ‘anti-casual,’ just fair. All players generally want a fair and level playing field against other players and that is what professional players have been calling for.

Gameplay balance is a hard art and Epic’s decisions can lead in one direction or another, but competitive Fortnite should remain stable.

This is why it would have been excellent to see Epic Games declare that all live server changes would be delayed for Arena and World Cup modes. From here on out, the patches would arrive for the core modes first.

This would allow for any problems to be sorted out like balance issues, bugs, etc. The patch could contain all the usual changes and the competitive scene would only be affected in 2-3 weeks time. This way pro players have time to practice the new mechanics and avoid ‘fluke victories.’

Call of Duty may have other problems, but at least they delay patches – via Activision

Many other games do this as a matter of course. League of Legends, Halo, Gears of War, Call of Duty, and Rainbow Six Siege all delay their patches for the competitive side. Why Epic doesn’t do this is truly a mystery.

Additionally, they gave a statement on a ‘feature’ which most consider a bug. The feature in questions is one where Duos Arena/World Cup points are not counted if one player disconnects before the game begins.

A Finnish duo would have qualified to the World Cup, but a glitch made one player stay back in the lobby. The other player clutched up by himself and got them enough points for the World Cup Finals, but Epic did not count the points.

Justification? It’s too unfair for the players playing alone against duos. Are you confused? Yes, we were too when they released the statement last week.


What do you think of Season 9 so far? Answer without thinking about what your favorite influencer has said (or what we have said here). Give us your own raw opinion on the changes based on your own gameplay.

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How to get Fortnite Inflate-A-Bulls and how to use them

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Fortnite Inflate-A-Bull

Epic Games have added another disguise to Fortnite Season 8 following the v17.10 update, and they’re called Inflate-A-Bulls.

If you ever wanted to tip-toe around the Fortnite world hidden in a cow costume, well, now is your chance!

On July 13, 2021, Epic posted a new update on their official live blog, confirming the Inflate-A-Bull has been added to the game.

Now, you’re going to need to know how to use it, and where to find them – because they look like a lot of fun.

How to use Fortnite Inflate-A-Bull

Fortnite Inflate-A-Bulls can be attached to your back and can be – shock horror – inflated to bounce or roll away from dangerous scenarios.

Essentially, they may save your life during close gunfights.

Quick tips!

Even if a player shoots your way and pops the inflatable, you will be protected from the damage.

Epic have also released a quick tip for players to follow as well, to get the most out of this strange disguise. They posted: “Tip: Rolling downhill with an Inflate-A-Bull is a LOT faster than just running downhill”.

Where to find Fortnite Inflate-A-Bull

These pesky disguises can be found in two ways: IO Chests and normal Chests.

Guarantee yourself one of these items at this location, where Rick Sanchez will wait for you.

However, there is one NPC on the Fortnite island selling these as well – Rick Sanchez. For those who don’t know, Sanchez can be found at the IO Base east of Weeping Woods (seen above).

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Fortnite LeBron James skin: Release date, price, trailer & more

A LeBron James Fortnite skin is reportedly being added to the game during the next update, and he will come with exclusive quests.

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lebron james fortnite skin space jam

NBA superstar LeBron James has officially joined Fortnite’s ICON Series skin set, with two outfits coming to the Fortnite Item Shop.

During the first day of the Epic Games vs. Apple trial, multiple planned or scrapped Fortnite crossovers had been leaked. The crossover information came from a Quarterly Business Review document for Epic Games. Among these leaks were planned crossovers with Naruto, Metroid, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and more.

A crossover with LeBron James was also found in the court documents. The still image of LeBron James included the Icon Series logo. Players assumed a LeBron James Fortnite skin would be released during the Fortnite x NBA The Crossover event, but a set of customizable skins was released instead.

Epic Games put rumors to bed with an announcement on their official blog page on July 12, confirming the date NBA’s MVP would be arriving in the world-famous Battle Royale.

He joins a list of celebrities to now have their own character in-game, including Marshmello, Ninja, Loserfruit, and more.

When is Fortnite’s LeBron James skin coming out?

Here’s a first look at both of LeBron James’ Fortnite skins.

On July 14, 2021, LeBron James will be given his very own Fortnite Battle Royale skin, as part of the ICON Series.

How much is Fortnite’s LeBron James skin?

Fortnite ICON Series skins usually cost around 1,500 V-Bucks individually, with a price point of between 2,500 or 3,000 V-Bucks for the full bundle.

What does the King James Gear Bundle include?

  • The Lion Pickaxe 
  • Wingspan Glider
  • Quiet the competition with LeBron’s emphatic on-the-court celebration, The Silencer. 

A new trailer dropped as part of the announcement, too, as seen below.

Fortnite LeBron James skin trailer

Leaks

A number of these details were revealed before Epic Games had the chance to do a full press release, too.

ShiinaBR on Twitter was the first to break the news stating: “LEBRON JAMES WILL BE THE NEXT ICON SERIES SKIN.”

HYPEX quote retweeted Shiina’s announcement with more information. They stated that the LeBron James Fortnite skin will come with an exclusive quest line called King’s Bling.

And now LeBron James will be added to the game right before the release of Space Jam: A New Legacy.

For basketball fans, this is an exciting addition to Fortnite. Not only can players equip their own custom basketball skins, but now they can play as one of the greatest to ever play the game of basketball. Let us know down below if you are excited about the collab and if you plan to purchase the LeBron James Fortnite skin.

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All Tier 100 Fortnite Skins ranked

Fortnite has given us a long list of Battle Pass skins. Here, we’re ranking all of the tier-100 Battle Pass skins from worst to best.

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Fortnite has been providing us with skins for over two years. Take a look at all Fortnite tier 100 skins as we rank them from worst to best.

We’re 16 seasons into Fortnite at this point, and 15 Battle Passes deep. We’ve seen hundreds of skins come and go with varying degrees of originality. Some are still in Battle Royale to this day while others are collecting dust in a crowded locker.

Not all Fortnite skins are created equal. Today, we’re looking at the Fortnite tier 100 skins and ranking them from worst to best. Let us know your opinions in the comments!

16. Vendetta: Season 9

The Vendetta is my least-favorite tier 100 skin of the bunch. The non-upgraded version is lame and the final stage leaves a lot to be desired.

This one was one of the most uninspired tier 100 skin, in my opinion. It doesn’t look very good, either, which is why it’s placed at the bottom of our rankings.

15. Ice King: Season 7

The Ice King is a skin you’ll hardly ever see in a modern Fortnite match. It’s not the ugliest skin we’ve gotten as a tier 100 reward, but it isn’t far off.

The reason this is so low, though, has to do with the size. This skin is massive and clunky, making you feel like an easy target when you’re wearing it.

14. Ultima Knight: Season X

The Ultima Knight is, simply, an addition to the OG Black Knight that ranks much higher in this list. This is a poor man’s Black Knight and everyone knows it.

Not only is the skin unoriginal, but it’s large and clunky when you rank it up. Anyone who already has the Black Knight won’t be rocking this version into battle

13. Dire: Season 6

The Dire skin is one of the cooler skin concepts Epic has added as a tier 100 skin. The werewolf skin, while interesting, is probably among the least popular skins you’ll see in the game.

The base skin is boring and the upgraded version is too big – two ingredients that lead to a bottom-half ranking.

12. Ragnarok: Season 5

The Ragnarok skin sits right in the middle of the pack. It’s not horrible, but it’s not great, either. The upgraded skin is a little busy for my taste, so I take everything off and roll with the topless bald man.

11. Fusion: Chapter 2, Season 1

The Fusion from Fortnite Chapter 2 is decent but relatively boring. You’d be hard-pressed to find a player still wearing this skin – especially since there were far better options in the same Battle Pass.

I had this one high on my original rankings (from C2S1) but time has knocked it down to just inside the top-10.

10. Rick Sanchez : Chapter 2 Season 7

Fortnite season 7 rick skin

Being able to play as Rick Sanchez is pretty cool seeing as he’s the most iconic character in one of the most popular animated series in recent history. His unique cell-shaded style makes him stand out from other skins, and his smug look makes it seem like every elimination is a cakewalk.

Rick is lower on the list because of his lack of utility and inevitable plummet in popularity in a few seasons. His cartoon style makes him stick out like a sore thumb in-game. His head is a massive target. And players will likely only use this skin for the next season or so.

9. Omega: Season 4

The Omega skin suffers from many of the problems as of the other bottom-half skins: it’s unathletic. That is until you take all of the armor off of the outfit.

I rock this skin stripped-down, just as I prefer the Ragnarok skin. It looks sleeker and cooler that way, in my opinion. The base Omega skin squeaks it into the top-10 – especially since you can change the color on the stripped-down version.

8. Mandalorian: Chapter 2 Season 5

This might be a controversial placement, but I’m not a huge fan of the Mandalorian skin. Fans of the show will probably like it more, but it didn’t really do it for me.

Sure, the customization options are there, but you’ll never go back to the pre-upgraded armor like you could with some of the other tier-100 skins. Baby Yoda is a hit, but the Mando skin leaves a lot to be desired.

7. Luxe: Season 8

The Luxe was the number-one tier 100 skin in my book for a long time. This is one of the only tier 100 skins that I still regularly wear when I play Fortnite, and one of only two female skins in the group.

The real reason this one ranks so highly is the back bling. Those golden wings are at least the second-best back bling reward in any Battle Pass.

6. The Reaper: Season 3

For some, the Reaper is going to be a number-one tier 100 Battle Pass skin. I understand this argument, but I never liked it, myself.

There were some bugs during Season 3 that caused Epic to hand everyone several Battle Pass tiers for free. The result was that almost everyone who bought the Season 3 Battle Pass got the Reaper skin, which is one of the reasons I never really liked it.

Despite my personal bias, I recognize that Season 3 was the golden age of Fortnite and this skin brings back the feels. It’s well-deserving of a top-five finish.

5. Spire Assassin: Chapter 2 Season 6

Fortnite Spire Assassin

The Spire Assassin is the latest tier-100 skin added to Fortnite in Season 6, and it jumped right to the top-five in my rankings. This skin comes close to the best we’ve seen in Chapter 2, but it’s too early to tell.

It’s always hard to rank a skin while the season is currently underway, but I’m betting that Spire Assassin will be a common sight on the Fortnite island long after Season 6 concludes.

4. Eternal Knight: Chapter 2, Season 3

The Eternal Knight is a strong contender for the best tier-100 skin in the history of Fortnite. All of the variants are cool and unique and the customizable pickaxe is another huge point in favor of the outfit.

Along with only a few others on this list, the Eternal Knight is still a common sight on the Fortnite island. As long as players are still wearing the skin, it deserves a high placement on this list.

3. Midas: Chapter 2, Season 2

Midas remains a favorite of a lot of Fortnite players, whether you’re using his Ghost, Shadow, or all-gold version.

The Midas skin is the best of both worlds. He’s slender, which means he doesn’t take up much of your screen, but he’s still a cool and interesting character whose outfit goes well with a lot of different combinations.

2. Iron Man: Chapter 2 Season 4

Come on, it’s Iron Man. This is how you do a tier-100 crossover skin, and the Mandalorian was a huge step back from Tony Stark in the previous season.

With one skin, you get both Iron Man and Tony Stark – which you can switch between in-game. If you leveled up the Battle Pass, you can also play as Gold, Silver, or Holographic Iron Man/Tony Stark. It’s hard to see this as anything less than a top-rated skin.

1. Black Knight: Season 2

I know, I know. The Black Knight isn’t technically a Tier 100 skin. It’s a final-tier Battle Pass skin, though, so it’s worth including on this list.

The Black Knight is the classic. It’s the OG. Wearing one of these skins doesn’t mean that you’re good, but it does mean that you’ve been playing the game for a long time.

The Black Knight takes the number-one spot because it’s one of the most aesthetically pleasing final-tier skins we’ve ever received. It’s not my personal favorite, but it carries a certain amount of significance for OG Fortnite players.

What’s your number-one tier 100 Fortnite skin? Let us know in the comments.

Image Credit: Epic Games

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