Fortnite Devs Completely Changed How Players Use Shotguns Without Actually Altering Them

Fortnite Devs Completely Changed How Players Use Shotguns Without Actually Altering Them

Sometimes, a weapon is only as strong as we believe it to be. Fortnite recently saw a game-wide shift in how people use a weapon type, and it’s all because people are thinking about those firearms in a different way. The developers didn’t actually change anything under the hood, but everyone is approaching the game differently now.

In Fortnite, colours are used to denote the rarity and power of a weapon or item. Grey items are common, whereas orange weapons are legendary and scarce. Last month, Epic Games, the developers, adjusted the rarity colours on Tactical Shotguns and Pump Shotguns as follows:

Tactical Shotguns are now Common/Uncommon/Rare (was Uncommon/Rare/Epic).

Pump Shotguns are now Uncommon/Rare (was Common/Uncommon).

Mechanically, nothing about these weapons changed. They stayed the same, power-wise. Epic wanted the colours to “more closely represent their effectiveness,” that’s all.

While the efficacy and rarity of the weapons was not altered, the way players approached these same weapons completely changed since late March. On Twitter, Fortnite design lead Eric Williamson shared a surprising graph that detailed how players were now using the very same weapons:

The weapon that is considered “better” in terms of colour started getting more kills from players, even though it didn’t actually become better. The more common weapon, meanwhile, saw fewer kills despite also staying exactly the same.

“I’d say we expected a slight change, but not that dramatic,” Williamson told Kotaku in an email. “There’s an association with rarity colours that’s clearly very strong, and if you only have a split second to make a decision about what weapon to grab, colour is one of the simplest things to compare.”

While this makes sense, the situation still feels shocking in that changing the colours had a more pronounced effect than any change that Epic has made before. “No balance change (where actual numbers were affected) even comes close to the shift we saw here,” Williamson added.

Anecdotally, I saw a variety of players who, following the announcement of the colour change, became confused over the meaning of the tweak. Some players genuinely believed that because the Pump Shotgun had a better colour, it was now a better weapon.

“I don’t know why, but I feel really weak and uncomfortable with the grey [tactical shotgun],” one Fortnite fan told Williamson on Twitter.

“I tried to tell ppl the shotguns power did not change,” another said. “Just the colour. They insisted I was wrong.”

“I always see the grey tactical shotgun as much worse than it use to be for some reason,” said another player.


  • I don’t play Fortnite … do they actually show you weapon attributes in game (damage/accuracy/etc), or is it all just inferred from the colour of the weapon? If so, I’m not sure what kind of reaction they were expecting with a change like that…

    • You can see the *basic* weapon stats as you go to pick it up, but you need to go into the inventory and review from there if you want detailed information. It’s not immediately apparent.

  • Another close game option would be nice. A sword that does actual damage perhaps. The jumpy shotgun stuff, whilst used very skilfully by pretty much everyone but me, seems quite clumsy at the moment.

    • If you’re getting wrecked with a shotgun, why do you think you’d fare better with a sword? You would be better served learning to shoot (and move) more accurately.

    • They really need to up the exhaustion amount for consecutively jumping in my opinion. Many will disagree but all never every gunfight whether CQC or long range just turns into some weird game of bullet frogleap.

      • Yeah I agree 100%. Build battles are cool, terrain battles are cool, bouncy frog battles….. not great.

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