Epic Yields, Nerfs Fortnite’s Controversial BRUTE Mech

But is it enough?

After what feels like 14 solid years of complaining from the greater Fortnite Battle Royale community, Epic has finally toned down Season 10’s hugely controversial (and just huge) BRUTE mech. The changes have already gone into effect, so if you’ve noticed that you’re exploding far less often than earlier in the week, this is why.

To start things off, the BRUTE now fires six rockets per charge instead of 10. Rockets also fire 56 percent slower than previously, in order to better “increase the back and forth between the users of the B.R.U.T.E. and the players they face,” according to Epic. “These changes allow the players on the receiving end of the missile volley to have more time to react and protect themselves.” On a related note, the radius of the explosion caused by each rocket has been reduced by a staggering 42 percent, “to improve consistency and understanding around focused barrages of missiles.” Epic hopes that these changes will keep BRUTEs strong against structures, but reduce how lethal they are to tiny, squishable ants players.

In order to make BRUTEs an easier target to hit from a distance, the mech’s dash cooldown has increased to five seconds, up from three. Likewise, the amount of speed gained from boosting in the air has been lowered by 33 percent. “The adjustment here reduces the ability to close gaps quickly while in the BRUTE while also increasing the ability to land shots on target for players facing the BRUTE,” says Epic. “In general we hope to shift BRUTE away from being highly mobile and put more emphasis on their already defensive nature.”

Epic has also taken away the BRUTE’s ability to harvest building materials for its two pilots, a change that aims to prevent said pilots from accruing huge amounts of materials without placing themselves in any danger. BRUTE spawn rates have been adjusted to no longer guarantee a minimum of two BRUTEs per phase of the storm, as was previously the case. There is now a minimum 25 percent chance that no BRUTEs will spawn in a given phase.

And finally, in keeping with Epic’s decision to take the BRUTE in a more defensive direction, the giant mech’s health has been increased from 1000 to 1250, and the material cost for using its shield has been reduced from 200 to 75.

So! Are these changes enough to placate the furious, churning masses on r/FortniteBR? Not in the slightest.

“The only thing good about the mech was the fact you could get mats. Everything else was just annoying and OP,” said u/Pay-Dough in the thread announcing the nerf. “Don’t even vault it. They need to delete it from the damn game files.”

“They also mentioned the ‘defensive nature’ of the Brute. LOL,” said u/moonshinedad. “They still don’t respect us.”

“What was the straw that broke the camels back?” asked u/DrCarter1991. “Since just a week ago you were telling us to go fuck ourselves.”

That straw was, in all likelihood, when several top streamers quit playing Fortnite mid-way through a $400,000 Twitch Rivals tournament earlier this week. Duos team CouRageJD and TimTheTatMan bailed on the tournament after getting obliterated by another team in a BRUTE. As seen in this clip, CouRageJD erupted over Epic’s seemingly incomprehensible obstinacy in the face of overwhelmingly negative feedback from fans and professionals.

“It doesn’t! Make! Sense!” CouRageJD shouts from off camera as he paces around his room. “I’ve talked to so many people at Epic about so many things, and they get me so excited, and then they do this. There’s no rewarding part of this thing. I can’t find anyone that likes these. When you use them, they feel terrible. It makes my blood boil. Holy shit. There’s no actual reasoning behind this. Holy fuck, man! I’m not playing anymore. I’m off this game. I’m sorry, Tim. I’m not playing anymore today. I’m off this fucking game.”

Fortnite World Cup Champion Bugha and Twitch streamer Tfue, who has 6.8 million followers, also quit midway through the tournament. And as Kotaku reported yesterday, other top Fortnite streamers have been playing games like Counter Strike: GO and Minecraft instead of Epic’s Battle Royale, explicitly because of changes made during Season 10, including the BRUTE.

Twitch popularity is one of the biggest driving factors for the money engine that is Fortnite, and Epic’s apparent willingness to prolong this controversy is surprising, to say the least. Fortnite always has some big new thing with each season, and at least some contingency of the community gets upset about it every time, but I’ve never seen it come to a head this severely, or this quickly, involving this many prominent members of the professional scene. I don’t see any way forward for Epic that retains the BRUTE and isn’t also detrimental to the game’s exposure and long-term popularity.