Honking great mechs stomping around and blasting rocket barrages is not so much fun in a game where most players are squishy humans scampering about on foot, Epic have conceded. They’ve rolled out a comprehensive series of balance tweaks reducing mechs’ power, though they still haven’t removed them. Epic added the B.R.U.T.E. mechs to Fortnite with the start of Season 10 on August 1st, and many players have been complaining ever since. Epic defended the mechs at first, arguing that they weren’t too disruptive and were fun for new players who didn’t often get to feel powerful, but finally relented last night.
The B.R.U.T.E. is a big stompy mech which spawns at random spots around the map. One player can pilot its basic movement but it needs a second player as a gunner to shine. Then it’s jetboosting and stomping and rocketing and machinegunning all over, a war machine which vastly outguns players on foot. It’s not unstoppable but it sure is a nuisance.
Yesterday’s balance patch hit a load of the B.R.U.T.E.’s abilities. The rocket barrage now fires 40% fewer rockets at a speed 56% slower and with a blast radius 42% lower. The dash move has a longer cooldown and boosting in the air gives less of a speed boost. And players in the mech no longer automatically pick up building materials as they stomp through structures.
Epic give their reasoning for each change, which together paint a picture of a vehicle which could zoom up, explode players before they had really time to react, disengage and escape, and come away from it with a whole load of materials farmed.
“In general we hope to shift B.R.U.T.E.s away from being highly mobile and put more emphasis on their already defensive nature,” they said.
Epic had previously defended the mechs as fine. In a blog post last week they said B.R.U.T.E.s fit “the Fortnite philosophy” in “[bringing] players of all skill levels together to have a fun experience where anyone can win” and providing “spectacle and entertainment.” They also insisted that mechs mostly affected lower-skilled players, busting out graphs and saying “we have seen players who had previously struggled with getting eliminations acquiring more, while the number of eliminations earned by more experienced players remained steady.”
Even if a weapon doesn’t massively change overall numbers, its presence can still change the shape of a match in unpleasant ways.
Player protests continued and Epic do now agree yeah, they went a bit too far. They seem quite bad at balancing spectacle with play. The biplanes and Infinity Blade sword of season 7 also provided a great deal of spectacle – and trashed balance until they were removed.