Enlarge /. This new concept art for an Xbox controller with an integrated sniper-style rifle scope doesn't really help …
Aurich Lawson / Microsoft / Epic
Shooter developers have long struggled to balance competitive online games between players who use a handheld controller and players who use a mouse keyboard setup. Fortnite is no exception, and developer Epic has a long tradition of solving the problem.
Recently, Epic has tweaked the balance of "Aiming Aid," which allows players using analog sticks to target enemies with the precision and speed of a mouse (which receives no Aiming aid from the game). Now PC Fortnite players at the top level are increasingly complaining about too good target support, which puts keyboard and mouse players at a disadvantage compared to those who connect a controller to their PC.
The situation has gotten so bad that the hugely popular streamer Tyler "Ninja" Blevins, who has made a name for himself at Fortnite, recently said in a League of Legends stream: "I haven't played Fortnite legitimately for a long time. At the moment It's just not in a healthy state on the PC … I just want the controller target support on the PC to be balanced. "
How did we get here?
While most people probably associate controller target support with console gamers, the situation where professionals complain is about those who connect a controller to the PC version of the game. There, players noticed a long time ago that the quality of the aiming aid depends on the refresh rate of the game. More frames per second in the game engine meant more helpful support until serious gamers invested in 240 Hz monitors to improve their target support boosts.
"Your input doesn't literally pull you the same distance (with different frame rates)," Player Upshall stated in this demonstration of the January 2019 effect.
So … FPS affects how hard the target support drags.
– Upshall (@UpshallGames) January 31, 2019
While keyboard and mouse players generally dominated the competitive scene for most of 2019, there have been signs of change throughout the year. Fifteen-year-old Jaden "Wolfiez" Ashman won second place at a Fortnite World Cup tournament with a controller in July. And in December, well-known controller player UnknownArmy won the Fortnite Champion Series on the highly competitive NA East server two seasons in a row.
"Get controller players out of PC tournaments, SAG I," Faze clan pro Timothy "Bizzle" Miller tweeted last November.
Not enough nerfs?
By 2020, Epic has shown that these types of concerns are not ignored. Back in March, Fortnite's Legacy target support option, which allowed controller players to continuously tap a shoulder button to continuously aim at a nearby target (a method that is mockingly called "spam with left trigger") was removed becomes).
At the end of April, another update changed the targeting aid to "make 240 Hz (targeting aid) act like 60 Hz (targeting aid)", as Epic put it in the patch notes. "Target support studies and tests are ongoing and your feedback will be appreciated."
But this change may actually have made the problem worse, according to some players. "It seems almost easier than before," said popular Fortnite streamer Cole Rodey immediately after the change. The old "Magnet Snapping" target assistant "held back controller players because it made headshots difficult," said Rodey, while the new update "would really reward people with a good target."
Cole Rodey gives his first impressions of a target assistant "nerf" who doesn't seem to be as effective.
"I have a feeling that mouse and keyboard players will still not be happy because there is still noticeable goal support," continued Rodey. "It's not as sticky and magnetic as it used to be, but yes, you still feel it 100%."
In fact, mouse and keyboard players weren't happy. "There is a reason why all these pro controller gamers playing on the PC … take full advantage of a computer and take full advantage of a 240 Hz monitor, say:" It's not broken, "said Blevin's beginning May. "Because if I were 16 years old and had such a big advantage if I photographed someone with a controller on my PC, I wouldn't want it to be falsified either. & # 39; Don't take this shit away from me! & # 39; "
This week Blevins appealed directly to the controller players to push for changes themselves. "It's because of the credible top controllers that have a huge impact on being vocal and honest if we all want it as a unit to be more balanced," he said. "If we get people to talk like this and be honest, I think we can actually get a nerf and a (chance) to make it more balanced and healthier."
"The goal is like super surgery"
Some high-level controller players have actually recognized that the situation is unsustainable. "Controller on PC with linear (aiming aid) is just too strong at the moment," tweeted popular controller player Aydan Conrad this week. "I think there has to be a serious overhaul in the linear space, and they have to focus on mechanics that (a) make controllers similar to (mouse and keyboard)."
On the other hand, some high-profile mouse and keyboard players have given up their preferred control method to gain a competitive advantage. NRG player Shane "EpikWhale" Cotton said this week that he felt he needed to learn the controller game "so I can use it when I need to get good AR rays on people … the goal is how Super surgery (overwhelmed). "
Cotton used this overpowering controller to win the final round of FNCS Invitational on a server that Fortnite Intel's report "dominated" by controller gamers.
Shane "EpikWhale" Cotton explains why he switched to playing with a controller.
Other high-profile players have followed Blevins' example and have started turning away from competitive Fortnite. "Goal support ruins Fortnite for (mouse and keyboard) players," tweeted professional streamer and longtime goal support critic Turner "Tfue" Tenney this week. "Looks like we have to find a new game that is unlucky."
"After not playing Fortnite for a day, I feel so much happier," Tenney said in a follow-up a few days later. "No, I didn't leave Fortnite. I just think the game is a super unfair ATM and wanted to take a break," he added.
For its part, Epic announced in an update that was sent to Streamer last night that further adjustments to the PC controller would be made next week. "Optimizing, optimizing and investigating controllers will continue," the company wrote. "We have some changes and next steps, but we don't want to release right before the FNCS Invitational Finale (which starts on May 23rd)."
We hope these upcoming changes will restore the competitive balance that high-level Fortnite players are looking for. Otherwise, we could see more players like Tenney saying his "First Warzone Stream went crazy" this week.