New item the Baller has divided Fortnite’s competitive community
This last week saw a new item added to Fortnite. This new addition has gone through the life-cycle of reactions to big new items in almost record time. Baller hit all of the usual notes, it was added, it was deemed overpowered, it upset competitive players by completely ruining the meta, glitches and exploits were found, and it has been vaulted. At least temporary, after only a few hours it was back in the game with little changed. In its short lifespan, the baller has had quite the impact on Fortnite.
The Baller was added to the game as part of the ongoing changes for Season 8. This is the season of Fortnite that will be used in the qualifying rounds of the Fortnite World Cup. Players quickly found that the ball had a lot of uses in-game. It provides a staggering 300 HP of protection and really fast transport. Coming just before some major tournaments, competitive Fortnite players had some justified concerns about this new addition.
In essence, the problems it brought to the metagame are comparable to planes in Season 7. Players are spending the entire endgame period inside The Ballers. Instead of building or engaging other players, the end-game area is a mess of hamster balls. Like the planes that players will stay in until the very end, The Baller encourages a style of play that many don’t view as legitimate. Since it allows players to ignore all aspects of the game other than acquiring a baller for the end-game.
The reaction from players has been strong, to say the least.
The endgame of each match has begun to resemble a weird lab experiment with rats in hamster balls fed on red bull. If this wasn’t bad enough, an exploit was also found. The Baller could be manipulated to repeatedly launch the player high into the air. This gives them an unfair advantage. This particular bug was enough for Epic to act. The Baller was immediately vaulted, prompting some positive feedback from players.
The bliss wasn’t to last. Only a few hours later The Baller returned to the game. It is clear that Epic removed The Baller from Fortnite only to fix the exploit. The problem with The Baller wasn’t how it breaks the metagame. The impact of these hamster balls on the end-game seems to have been intentional and is here to stay.
Popular Streamer Ninja has weighed in this issue. He has lashed out at competitive players for their constant complaining about additions to the game. and put the blame on popular members of the Fortnite community. This might be a controversial opinion but it does have some merit. Fortnite’s constant updates keep the metagame in a constant state of renewal. That the game is so different at each major tournament is often part of the fun. While competitive players like to complain about changes, they usually do a pretty good job at adapting. It’ll be interesting to see what strategies they devise to work around The Baller in upcoming events.