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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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5 updated Fortnite Zone Wars codes you have to try

Want to try out some of the newest Fortnite Zone wars maps? Take a look at these five options here.

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Want to try out some of the Fortnite Chapter 2 Zone Wars maps? Take a look at these five options here.

Zone Wars is one of the most popular Creative Mode map genres in Fortnite – so much so that Epic included a Zone Wars playlist during Chapter 2.

We probably won’t see another official Zone Wars lineup while Chapter 2 is still fresh, but here are five updated map codes for some of the best Fortnite Chapter 2 Zone Wars maps for your Playground Fill matches.

Make sure to get to the Hub as fast as you can so you can avoid the Red vs. Blue battle.

Realistic Solos (XA)(Pack 1): 1234-0621-9943

Realistic Solos (XA)(Pack 1) by Prettyboy may not have “zone wars” in the name, but it is an authentic competitive experience that can get intense quickly. Two to 16 players spawn in random locations across various well-crafted maps. With randomized loadouts, players race to be the last one standing.

Nuketown 2025 Zone Wars: 1149-4422-7888

Nuketown 2025 zone wars by Clapzfn is more of a novelty than anything. It’s very cool to revisit this highly detailed recreation of a Call of Duty classic. Some of the buildings have invisible barriers at the top, and the storm always pushes to the center of the map. Regardless, it’s a ton of fun to be the last player standing in Nuke Town.

Desert Zone Wars Chapter 2: 1811-9621-1739

Those who have been playing zone wars maps for a long time are probably familiar with Jotapegame’s desert zone wars maps. However, this is the latest installment in the series that incorporates the changes made in Chapter 2. Enjoy the classic desert-themed zone wars with modern weapons and items.

Area 51 Alien Zone Wars: 9843-7754-8806

Area 51 Zone Wars by Dropnite is one of the most aesthetically pleasing zone wars maps available. From the way it spawns players in to all of the decorative pieces, it really makes you feel like you’re in Area 51. It also offers a fantastic competitive experience that’s sure to get players ready for the final moments of FNCS tournaments.

50 Player Zonewars: 6167-1882-6710

50 Player Zonewars is one of the most intense creative maps once the lobby is full. The loot pool changes regularly to match Arena Mode, and there are plenty of different maps. For the higher skill tourneys that have 50 or more people in the endgame, this mode is perfect for realistic practice.

Leave us some codes in the comments if we missed your favorite Fortnite Chapter 2 Zone Wars maps!

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Battle Royale

Best Prop Hunt maps available to play now in Fortnite

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Prop Hunt has long been part of collective gaming culture. The mode has finally arrived in Fortnite and it looks to be a whole lot of fun!

Due to some mishaps on the part of Epic, Fortnite has been suffering some negative strides. In order to switch things back around, the devs need a successive streak of victories.

Prop Hunt has been a much asked for ‘just for fun’ mode and Epic is now delivering. This, along with great v9.30 changes, could really bring back a lot of excitement for Fortnite!

Prop Hunt playable now in Fortnite

Fortnite’s Creative mode is a stirring pot of creative genius and remarkable talents. For the lucky few chosen by Epic, the creations made in Creative become legendary adventures played by millions.

Prop Hunt has been brought to life by a team of talented Creative creators. The team at StrayKite managed to create a replica of the classic experience that plays like a dream.

Prop Hunt now in Fortnite! – via Epic Games

The mode is available to play now in Creative & Playground lobbies.

The basic rules of Prop Hunt are as follows:

  • Props are given a set amount of time to hide before Seekers try to find them
  • Each Prop can switch between differing objects a certain amount of times
  • Seekers try to find all the Props before the time limit is reached. If they manage to do so, the Seekers win.
  • If all Props are not found, the Props win.

Epic Games has not given any end-date for the Prop Hunt island feature, but the prop hunt mode can always be played from here on out. This can be done by using the Island Code provided by Epic (6069-9263-9110).

Using the Creative mode’s configuration settings, you can also create custom Prop Hunt game types. This includes longer Seeker time limits, stricter win conditions, banned props, and more. More options will be added for the mode in the future.

Best Prop Hunt island codes 2021

Island NameIsland CodeCreator
Prop Hunt: Modern Mall1679-1165-5282Regirom
Prop Hunt: Cozy Cafe8851-5874-9250Regirom
Lazer Tag Prop Hunt4313-9914-2759Puzzler
Prop Hunt: Battle Pass Edition9565-6442-7019Shride
Mall Prop Hunt!7666-6510-5877Gamerzhits
Prop Hunt Infinite7263-1478-7522Puzzler
Prop Hunt: The Simpsons3913-1259-2687Marablind
Asteroid Arcade (Prop Hunt1534-1221-2242SHAVERMAN46
Stranger Things Prop Hunt7011-8363-9120Mr_glaisternator
The Office Prop Hunt3006-8634-9197Mr_glaisternator
Prop Hunt With Abilities9249-3264-0093TeamUnite
Prophunt: Esports Villa5097-8380-0119H4llover4ter
Silhouette Prop Hunt5176-4146-5073ChannelFN
Swimming Pool Prop Hunt3487-1374-0131Fortniteart
Warlock’s Grave Prop Hunt6180-5637-0525Shinohara

Happy hunting!

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Battle Royale

Fortnite Battle Lab mode removed in latest update (Updated May 4)

Fortnite’s Battle Lab mode has disappeared from the mode select screen and Epic Games has made no comment on where the mode went.

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Fortnite Battle Labs Mode Art

Fortnite’s Battle Lab mode has been disabled in the v16.30 patch, and fans aren’t happy with its removal.

UPDATE: The Battle Labs mode has been turned back on as of May 4th, 2021.

Battle Lab was added in December of 2019 close to the start of Fortnite Chapter 2. This core game mode replaced the Playground mode which allowed players to explore The Island alone or with friends.

While Playground was mostly a vanilla battle royale experience, Battle Lab allowed players to set their own rules and change loot pools. Video editors would use Battle Lab to produce high-quality content, and it also allowed younger players to enjoy the game without allowing them to play with strangers.

Fortnite Mode Select Screen

However, Fortnite’s Battle Lab mode has seemingly disappeared in the latest update without any word from Fortnite or Epic Games. This has led to an outcry from fans on Twitter who are asking for the game mode to be reinstated.

Downtime for the Fortnite v16.30 started at 4 a.m. EST on April 27, and shortly after the servers came back online players started to notice Battle Lab was missing. The Fortnite Status Twitter made various posts noting the changes made in the update, but Battle Lab wasn’t mentioned a single time.

Over the past 24 hours, Fortnite Status has also acknowledged various bug fixes and server issues. While it remains unknown whether Fortnite’s Battle Lab mode was removed by accident, the lack of acknowledgment makes it seem as if it were removed intentionally.

The removal of Battle Lab won’t affect the majority of Fortnite’s player base, it will have an impact on content creators. As stated by Frenzy2nd on Twitter, it would be ideal for Fortnite to let players know what its plans are for the future of Battle Lab.

In the meantime, there are still plenty of modes available for players to enjoy. These include the new Free For All Arena mode, One Shot duos, and an assortment of featured Creative modes. Stay tuned for the latest information regarding Fortnite’s Battle Lab mode.

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