Last weekend, a vault opened beneath Loot Lake in Fortnite. Players were given the option of bringing back one of the game’s previously retired weapons. They chose the Drum Gun, one of the most overpowered weapons in the game’s history.
Then, late this week, Epic announced the Drum Gun would be coming to the game’s tournament playlist starting this weekend, much to the frustration of some of the game’s most competitive players.
“You can expect to see the Drum Gun in this weekend’s Tournament playlist,” Epic Games said. “In the v9.00 update today we’ve adjusted the spawn rate of the Drum Gun to be more in line with other similar items. We will be closely monitoring feedback over the Season launch to determine any next steps.”
Many users on the game’s competitive subreddit believe this signals a reprisal/return to the “spray and pray” meta that got popular last winter when the Drum Gun was first introduced. The weapon’s combination of damage, accuracy and rate of fire made it a boon to more casual players, but it’s unclear why it would be introduced onto playlists dedicated to ranked play.
“It’s starting to get ridiculous with the drum gun being added back and shotguns being nerfed,” wrote one person on the subreddit. “The game is not fun anymore when you’re trying to make each fight almost like a coin flip.”
The move has also opened up questions about if and when the Drum Gun will begin to play a part in Fortnite’s ongoing World Cup tournament.
“The Drum Gun will not appear in the Fortnite World Cup Online Open this weekend,” Epic tweeted following the announcement of the patch notes. That phrasing seems to leave open the possibility that it could become a factor in later weeks, or potentially in the finals in winter.
The company also said it plans to look at adding new competitive modes for the Fortnite World Cup once the open qualifiers have finished up.
“In the weeks leading up to the Fortnite World Cup Finals, we’ll be experimenting with adding additional non-Battle Royale events, such as Creative modes and LTMs, to our weekly tournament rotation,” Epic said. “This will open up a more dynamic competitive scene that allows for more paths to win.”
Rapid change such as this are nothing new for Fortnite, but it is uncommon in the wider world of esports. The studios behind other major competitive games such as Overwatch and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive have made a point of keeping the meta stable in the lead-up to big events. Epic, on the other hand, seems intent on marching to the beat of its own Drum Gun.
Week five of the Fortnite World Cup open qualifiers gets underway on Sunday at 6:00AM AEST with the semi-finals before resuming on Monday at the same time for this week’s finals. Everything will be streaming live on the Fortnite Twitch channel.