Competitive AMA Transcript

6.1.2019
By The Fortnite Team
Hey folks! We've rounded up all the questions and answers from our recent competitive AMA. Let's jump in:

Q: /u/JorisR94: Are you guys considering a separate loot pool for Arena/competitive?

A: Not at the present time.

Having the same core battle royale game played by players of all skill levels is healthy for the overall state of the game and keeps competition open, approachable, and for both players and viewers.

We aim at one game, however we occasionally make exceptions (such as Siphon), but our threshold for branching core gameplay is very high. It's up to us to find new directions for balance that reward players at every skill level, while not creating negative experiences for different groups. Even as Epic focuses on competitions where all are welcome to play in familiar ways, we’ll also be continuing to add tools that will allow players to customize their experience to fit their personal preferences and the way they would most like to play.

Q: /u/pauperdown: How do you see the future of Arena? Do you have any plans on adding new divisions and incentives like leaderboards and small prizes, so Arena feels more competitive?

A: We are currently working on a refresh of Arena, with an emphasis around providing more high quality, exciting matches and tournaments with meaningful stakes. 'Hype' will become more like a currency which you use to enter tournaments and participate in higher difficulty Arena matches, with top overall performers for the season represented on a leaderboard. Seasonal rewards are on the roadmap as well for future iterations of Arena.

We also want to get back to running nightly (non-prized) tournaments on a regular basis, across a wider variety of team sizes & game modes. Having Hype as rewards for placements in these tournaments will help provide some meaning and motivation behind each competition, even when cash isn't on the line.

Q: @CowboyFN_: How does Storm Surge work now? What circle does it activate? How many people have to be alive at what circle for it to activate? Sometimes you get a warning and sometimes it's active. Why is this?

A: First a little history - Storm Surge was initially added to help in competitive matches where an unusual number of players were still around and server performance would degrade. Ultimately having less players in a match directly impacts this, and our goal is to ride the line between minimal gameplay impact while maintaining a playable server framerate. Siphon was also added to help balance the risk/reward of eliminating another player - primarily to help reduce turtling & encourage a healthier ‘elimination curve’.

To answer your specific questions, storm surge activates if the number of players in a match is higher than the values designated below at each storm phase. Surge will deal 25 damage to each player under the damage threshold, and this damage occurs every 5 seconds. We give a brief 5 second window of opportunity for players to react to this incoming damage. Storm Surge will immediately end as soon as the threshold is reached.

Storm Phase 0 - 100 Players Allowed

Storm Phase 1 - 100 Players Allowed

Storm Phase 2 - 70 Players Allowed

Storm Phase 3 - 70 Players Allowed

Storm Phase 4 - 50 Players Allowed

Storm Phase 5 - 50 Players Allowed

Storm Phase 6 - 30 Players Allowed

Storm Phase 7 - 30 Players Allowed

Storm Phase 8 - 30 Players Allowed

Storm Phase 9 - 30 Players Allowed

As an example, if there were 72 players remaining in Storm Phase 3 (where 70 players is the cap), Surge would continually deal damage to all players under the damage threshold until there were only 70 players left. Once only 70 players remain, it would end immediately until Storm Phase 4.

Q: /u/jamalzlitni10: A topic that has emerged in the community is building pre-edits. Many of us believe that pre editing should be an option to toggle on or off. Do you guys have any intent on making a change with pre-edits in the future?

A: Yes, this is a topic we’re actively considering, and will update you on when future plans are firm.

Q: /u/kr0n_cs: From an observing point of view, how many people do you generally have observing and how does it work? Do they sit in front of 100 screens and monitor where the action will be, or is it just looking at the map and going to players who are nearby? Do you use any sort of way to automatically detect where the action will be, so that when players are about to fight, you will know where that will be?

A: Great question! A lot depends on the show or event. We've had anywhere from 2 to 30 live observers in a match. We also now have two options for covering matches; live spectating and streaming server replays. There can be some differences in how we cover a match depending on which option we're using.

For online events, such as our weekly World Cup qualifier show, we use streaming server replays. We'll typically have a crew of 13 observers which is composed of 2 teams of 5 as well as a game producer, game director, and observer director. In this case we have one team covering the match that is currently live, and the other team is watching and preparing for the next match on deck. Then we just swap between teams. Since we're using server replays and not presenting the matches "live" the teams will generally know, or have a pretty good idea of what happens in the match. Each team has a temporal scout that quickly finds relevant moments in the match for the team to cover. During the show the observer teams take direction from the game director and observer director to frame up shots and bring up the appropriate gameplay feeds. As the match plays out, the game director selects which views to cut to. The game producer's job is to guide the flow of the covers and is following both the map and any information about the match that the scouts were able to extract.

Covering matches live is a bit trickier. For our live events we use live spectating and have a slightly larger team of 17 observers. We'll typically have 4 teams of 3, 2 flex observers, a game producer, game director, and observer director. Since we are broadcasting a live match and anything can happen we use more teams to make sure we (almost) always have something both relevant and interesting we can jump to. As you can imagine making sure you are always covering the best action (Live!) can be difficult when players are spread all across the island! We also capture each team with a video replay system in case they capture something while another team was live on air. We've added mid-match replays to cover some of this stuff and fill lulls in the match. During a live match the game producer is watching the map, player stats, and listening to the observer teams, and taking into account previous matches in order to steer the coverage and find relevant action to jump to.

Here is a shot from the observer pit at Secret Skirmish: https://imgur.com/i7nBuoQ
For fun here is what 100 player feeds looks like: https://imgur.com/vVURxy8

In terms of automating coverage we are actively developing a tool that can watch a live match (or replay) and determine the best moments based on a certain set of criteria. Some of these things include; Players closing distance on each other, elim streaks, long distance elims, no scopes, etc. We could use this tool to suggest when/where to cut to in a live show or allow people to automatically generate highlight reels from their own matches. A lot of what makes good coverage can be subjective so finding a good balance of what the criteria is and how a tool selects a moment in the match is what we're looking into right now. We can't wait to share this tool with everyone as soon as it is ready.

Something interesting to note, we use the same tools to make our weekly show that are available for everyone in the live version of the game currently.

Q: /u/KurtMage: Has a competitive 2v2 mode (or even 1v1 or larger) ever been considered? The building mechanic in this game is incredible and feels like it should not be confined exclusively to the battle royale genre (for competitive). I'm not asking for something specific, it could be made with a CS-like buy system, COD-like load out system, Halo-like weapons on map system, TF-like class system, or whatever. I (and many) just love the mechanic and would love to see it on a non battle royale setting.

A: We are definitely considering all kinds of possibilities when it comes to alternate competitive modes outside of Battle Royale. We have plans to continue to expand Creative Mode so players can create their own favorite version(s) of Fortnite. We’ll be closely monitoring these community-created competitive modes as the tools for Creative Mode expand, and will officially support some of the more popular ones that pop up over time.

Q: /u/Kessarean: Will FOV see a reconsideration?

A: We have no plans to implement an FOV slider. One of our major goals for competitive Fortnite is to support players in their journey to be able to become stars and build their own audiences around awesome performances and personas. Part of that goal means listening to the desires of their viewers, and stepping in when necessary. In this case, players were indicating they felt required to play with stretched resolution (or increased FOV) in order to remain competitive, and fans said that it was a negative experience to watch.

We also don’t have any plans to adjust the current default FOV. As stated in our previous communication on the topic: https://www.epicgames.com/fortnite/competitive/news/fortnite-competitive-development-update, it’s ultimately a tradeoff of a series of goals and we’re happy with where it’s at currently.

Q: /u/beaushinkle: With the number of items / changes geared toward punishing boxes (stinks, explosive damage through walls, etc) it seems like the team isn't happy with how strong the box is in competitive play. Do you guys have plans to enable aggressive players who want to force fights with defensive players?

A: We’re always looking at the balance of core gameplay. That includes items, weapons, building, loot availability, and more. Defensive building is strong, and there should always be some counters, but not excessively so. In general having a few items that force alternative strategies or requiring players to react is healthy for keeping the moment to moment fresh.

Q: /u/DatGuyRich: We've seen over the last few world cup weeks that numerous streamers are pulling the same amount of numbers as the official Fortnite stream mainly because people prefer this method of spectating. So during the world cup will there be an option to spectate from one player's POV?

A: We’re totally fine with streamers pulling in bigger numbers than our channel, and this possibility was something we had actually looked forward to in creating our approach. In general it's a goal of ours to help drive traffic to our players' streams. We completely understand that people may want to only watch their favorite streamer vs our show. Our coverage is generally meant to serve viewers who may not have a favorite streamer or who are looking for more information about a tournament as a whole.

As an example of how we want to continue the spirit of supporting players and streamers first, for World Cup we will also be streaming the finalists’ replays LIVE, so if you wanted to you could load up the replay while the match is happening and watch from your favorite player's perspective.

Q: /u/Pmoney98: The shotgun pullout delay was initially added to prevent the ‘double shotgun’ meta. In the current state of the game, double shotgun is both obsolete and irrelevant. The pullout delay feels obtrusive and clunky. Are there any plans to change this?

A: We’re looking into possible tuning iterations here - the main thing we want to keep in mind is that the Pump Shotgun is still available in Creative (and always has the potential to be unvaulted), so we want to make sure that any adjustments take its unique characteristics into consideration.

Q: /u/hriship1999: Any plans on removing the boom bow?

A: There are balance adjustments coming in the 9.20 update. We'll be continuing to evaluate after these changes as well.

Q: Would you guys ever consider adaptive chests that drop different loot depending on what items the player has already looted/seen from previous chests in that game? Or perhaps adaptive floor loot so that the floor loots in a single house won't be all of the same weapon/item type?

A: We considered this early on, but decided against it. The main downside being - if your opponent gets a powerful weapon because he hasn't had one recently, that's an unfair experience to you. But, we regularly revisit these kinds of questions to make sure our thinking is still up to date.

Q: /u/vSilvr: Why are there 5 snipers in the game?

A: We're actively looking at this, the main reason being that each one provides a somewhat different role. But we agree it's probably a little higher than we'd like.

Q: /uWerkit5: It seems the shotgun timer issue could easily be solved by having the timer enabled if the player is holding multiple shotguns, and disabled otherwise. What am I missing here? I'm assuming it's more complicated than that.

A: This is one of the options on the table - it's being actively discussed.

Q: /u/Joeys_1k: Could you please touch somewhere on ballers? The ballers are a great idea and fun thing to use, perfect for core playlists. But in arena/competitive, it completely takes away from the core values of competitive (1. movement 2. materials 3. gun skill) 

A: We've discussed potentially disabling vehicles after storm phase 5, similar to how Slipstreams are disabled. Our main concern is making sure it's clear what's going on, so we're still iterating here.

Q: /u/NikosKan2004: Any plans to unvault the pump? 

A: Vaulted weapons/items always have the possibility to come back.

Q: /u/EightBit5: What’s the percentage on the amount of deaths by a Drum Gun or SMG?

A: We're always evaluating weapon variety. I actually just checked - Drum Guns are currently accountable for 5.26% of eliminations.

Q: /u/scoobyaimbots: So far all we’ve had is Solos and Duo tournaments probably due to the servers. Are there plans for competitive Trios or Squads in the future?

A: We will definitely be getting back to running regular Trios and Squads tournaments soon.

Q: With prize pools?

A: Sure. :)

Q: /u/itsAtxm: Is there any plan on making a separate arena or competitive mode for only console players? Some of the more casual players would like the experience of playing at a competitive level against people with the same hardware. Also, are there plans on bringing squads and/or trios to an arena mode, and if so is there an estimated time on when we’d be seeing this?

A: We will be running a few console/mobile specific tournaments in the future, but the majority of tournaments and Arena will continue to be mixed.

Trios/Squads coming soon but don’t have a date - will be after the Online Opens wrap up though.

Q: /u/omarFN: Have you guys considered changing the format of the 1 million weekly tournament after the world cup, like hosting customs for top 100 of each region?

A: We are locked in to format for the Online Opens, but we’ve definitely talked about possibly extending another round of the tournament with the Top 100 (or 500ish) players. Need to solve some of the matchmaking challenges around automating that.

Q: /u/TyrellBagnum: Why not use the winter royale format each week? While obviously keeping the scoring the same as it is now.

A: Winter Royale finals were a massive, manual undertaking that involved getting 200+ players into a Discord server within a week and then coordinating those players getting into custom matches together. It was a real scramble!

We thought it went pretty well, but need a more automated solution so that we can run more tournaments regularly in all of our server regions.

Q: Is there any future for sea server player on competitive fortnite? 

A: We are always assessing potential for additional Arena/Tournament server locations. The skill-based nature of matchmaking means we need more players from a region to create quality matches, and for tournaments players need to hit a single server location for competition integrity reasons. Additionally, only certain locations have server availability for the more powerful servers high end tournament play requires.

We are exploring the idea of running occasional tournaments on alternate server fleets in smaller sub-regions, but don’t have a specific date.

Q: /u/Flippingdeath: Is there going to be any competitive Ltms Like competitive solid gold.

A: We are actively working on updates to be able to run LTM tournaments - Solid Gold Squads will actually be our first LTM tournament :)

Q: /u/Noobface_: Is it possible to have someone’s player stay inside of a game (motionless) if they disconnect? That way you can join back but someone could’ve still killed you in that time. Many other games do this and it’s a really neat feature.

A: We actually implemented this feature in a recent update but disabled due to an associated bug. There's a fix for the issue in the v9.20 update so you'll see this return!

Q: /u/bradleycarlyle: Is there work being put into the audio side of the game?

A: Yes! We actually have regular audio updates hitting the FortniteBR sub weekly that generally get crossposted here - https://www.reddit.com/r/FortNiteBR/comments/bqyoen/audio_content_features_and_fixes_for_91_release/ Expect the comms to keep coming :)

Q: /u/ImProspect: Will you be communicating your reasoning behind changes/nerfs/additions to the game in the patch notes more often? Such as in the patch notes for v9.10 where epic's thoughts were communicated at the bottom of each change in italics?

A: Yes, we plan to continue doing that and in places you feel we could be more clear with our goals behind changes - speak up!

Q: /u/tiller921: Without trying to sound disrespectful, why is the spectating in this game so... rough, compared to other games?

A: We're always looking to improve and iterate on the spectating and replays. Of course we want the best viewing experience for everyone. What are some specific things you would like to see?

Q: /u/Ziggomatic_: Will there be a stream dedicated to display the minimap and players remaining in the future WC event like at the IEM Katowice tournament? If yes, can you add pattern like grid, tiles or cross on arrows and add it on the remaining players list to help viewers differentiate between teams, and sort the remaining list by points earned by each teams ?

A: We're looking into having a few different streams with one of them being a persistent map and some more situational information.

Q: /u/FruityFeathers: In LAN events like the Secret Skirmish, how do you add facecams onto the player perspectives? Is it automatic or do you have do each one individually?

A: Good question! We actually have an automatic tool for switching facecams. It's based on which camera a spectator is watching and then it automatically selects the proper face cam is routed. As you might imagine capturing, transporting, and switching between 100 camera feeds can be tough. We need it to be instant so we can cut to any view quickly so having an automated system was critical.

Q: What improvements are you making to the replay system?
Are you aware that skipping is currently extremely broken?
What new features are you adding to the replay system?
Are we gonna see a different spectating system for the World Cup? Everyone can see that the current one is struggling.


A: We are always looking for ways to improve the replay system. Some of the upcoming improvements include improved HUD and situational information.

We are generally aware of the issues with the replay system. As with most aspects of Fortnite it is constantly evolving.

We are working on adding blendable cameras as well as an auto-highlight tool.

We will not have a new spectating system but it will be improved. For our coverage of World Cup we'll be using Live Spectator. Live-ish server replays will also be available during the World Cup (and ProAm!) matches.

Q: /u/NeverBenCurious: What makes you feel more excitement early game or endgame? Playing or watching.

Will the WC offer individual or team perspectives and comms? Communication is key and sometimes it's hard to follow 100 different perspectives each game.

A: Definitely endgame! And watching since I don't usually last past the moving circles!

​We will have both individual comms and team comms. We'll be able to take their mics to air which will be fun especially for Duos, Creative, and the ProAm.

Q: /u/Efelo75: Would you agree that the Creative mode has insane potential for Competitive Fortnite ? Ever considered using it for this purpose ? Or maybe are you already considering this?
Maybe the Creative World Cup is a start, but seriously seeing as how customizable Creative mode is and how it can evolve don't you think it has exceptional potential for esport, as you could basically change rules so much more easily than regular matches ?


A: Yes to all :)

Q: How are the improvements to the player payout process going? Also, can we get a confirmation that there are weekly tournaments after the World Cup ends?

A: We're diligently working to finish paying players from events prior to the Fortnite World Cup Warmup. For all tournaments from Fortnite World Cup Warmup and beyond, we are still verifying and confirming winners. You can find our most-up-to date tracking of this in our payments blog here: https://www.epicgames.com/fortnite/competitive/news/fortnite-competitive-payments. We'll also have a payments update next week.

Yes, there will be more cash prize tournaments after Fortnite World Cup ends. Stay tuned!

Q: /u/AshxRobin: Can you please explain what future plans you have for custom matchmaking? 

A: Next release, we have plans to improve private matchmaking functionality. These improvements include:

1) Only allowing the server host to start the match.

2) Allowing the server host to see how many players are in queue for that matchmaking key, rather than all players who are in queue for a private match in the host's region.

Q: /u/Karam2468: Will there ever be an implementation of a widget to show the current storm phase along with indicators as to when slipstreams and dropships will be disabled?

A: Adding current storm phase to the HUD is great feedback and I will make sure to relay this to the team.

As for the slipstreams and drop ships being disabled after phase 5 we agree there should be more feedback and we plan to make sure there's corresponding feedback for them being disabled. This is currently planned for 9.20