Fortnite Battle Royale - Weapon Accuracy
It’s been fantastic to see everyone playing Fortnite Battle Royale and we’re really excited to finally get it into your hands.
Since we first entered public test on 9/12, we’ve been scouring the forums, Reddit, Twitch, and other outlets for feedback. There are tons of great constructive criticisms that we’ve added to our backlog, and we’re actively working to make improvements as quickly as we can. As we mentioned in a recent update, some of our key features coming are leaderboards & rankings, cosmetic customization, inventory management, and stats.
In addition, we’ve received a lot of feedback on our weapon accuracy and combat feel. Before outlining our approach moving forward, I want to share how we got here.
First, almost all of our weapons are hitscan (Sniper Rifles are the exception). That means when you fire, there is no travel time and the target is hit instantaneously. In very early prototypes of Battle Royale, we started with very high accuracy on our weapons. Often this led to being shot by someone who you couldn’t see, making crossing open fields too risky. People responded by playing more conservatively, and camping became dominant. This didn’t feel right.
It also didn’t differentiate the weapons well – if a Pistol can kill people at the same range as a Rifle, were there enough other differences? That didn’t feel right. We think engagement strategy is a key component of our combat (including building walls), and if you don’t have time to defensively respond to being shot, we lose out on what Fortnite brings to the table.
Quickly after, we did some iterations with aggressive fall-off damage (as a lot of you have already suggested). There were three main concerns we had with this model:
- It felt unnatural to hit a far-away target with a rifle but only do 7 damage (as an example)
- It was unclear at what distances your damage would be reduced
- It was still difficult to respond since you couldn’t see who was shooting at you
- Goal #1 – Pistol sniping at long range should not be possible.
- Goal #2 – Our weapons should have characteristics that encourage a wide range of engagements based on: distance to target, target type, ammo availability, etc.
This meant using accuracy as a mechanic to force closer engagement distances. In most cases, this had the desired result: weapons very neatly grouped into different ranges.
[Weapon range image]
After looking at this data, we quickly realized that a Scoped Assault Rifle and a longer range SMG were required to round out our base weapon lineup, which we added in the update on 9/26.
So, what are we doing going forward? There’s a few things.
- In the short term, some weapons don’t quite live up to their expectations. The biggest culprits are the Assault Rifles (especially the white and green variants) and the SMGs (which we just adjusted in the 9/26 patch). We’re going to look into improving the overall feel (including base accuracy) and will likely push out a hotfix in the next few days. To set expectations, this will be an incremental improvement and not a radical adjustment.
- At times it can also be unclear what improves accuracy. Standing still, crouching, and aiming (instead of hip-firing) all have some form of impact on accuracy, but it’s not always clear what penalties are applied. We’ll look into ways to improve usability on the reticle, including improved readability of your accuracy cone.
- We’ll also be running prototypes using more recoil and reducing accuracy penalties. The idea behind this is that the first shot will have higher accuracy (but again, not perfect) and then subsequent shots will require slightly more skill. Again, these will be incremental adjustments until we find the sweet spot.
- Lastly, enabling projectiles for all weapons (not just the Sniper Rifle) is something we’d like to explore. Doing this would allow for tighter accuracy overall. We’ve run some prototypes internally and it shows promise, but currently there are a few things preventing us from turning it on. Once those are sorted out, we’ll consider running a broader test.
Our goal is to provide a competitive experience, but without losing our unique playstyle and crazy over-the-top moments that Fortnite Battle Royale brings to the table. We look forward to your help as we continue to hone the experience.
For those of you who have strong feelings on this subject, we encourage you to participate in discussions on our forum. We also plan to spin up a PTR in the coming weeks where we can test out some different ideas and gather your feedback.
Some examples of data from 9/25