Games

Fortnite Removes “Siphon” Game Mechanic Because It Hurt Total Player Count

In a new blog post, Fortnite developer Epic Games explains why it is finally removing Siphon. The controversial game mechanic nets players bonus health and shields for every kill. While this game mechanic was good for high-skill players, the majority of players disliked it, so much so that it apparently caused them to stop playing the game.

Siphon

Siphon is a game mechanic which was first added to Fortnite last December. In the v7.40 update, Epic introduced siphon to all default playlists. This resulted in a lot of backlash from the community. Although it was removed in a later update, the mechanic still existed in competitive matches.

Epic says that siphon was introduced “to provide incentives for aggression that more closely resembles how the regular modes are played, and to increase entertainment value and spectacle.” 

However, the significant change affected the game more than the developer expected. “Players at large grew more frustrated with Fortnite play, feeling they had less of a chance due to encounters with high-skill players with full health and shields, explains Epic. “Ultimately, Siphon increased engagement for the highest-skilled 10%, while the remaining 90% were more frustrated and played less.”

Fortnite players all over began complaining about Siphon, stating that the game had “gotten too intense to be enjoyable.” As such, the siphon mechanic and the material changes have been removed from the core game modes. Fortnite players in favor the mechanic can still enjoy it in the Arena mode.

Field of View Slider

On the topic of competitive play, Epic also discussed the requests of a Field of View (FOV) slider. An introduction of an FOV slider could provide players with a gameplay advantage, which is something Epic doesn’t want. The developer feels the same way about 4:3 aspect ratios, a display setting removed from Fortnite a while back.

“When a game introduces a feature that provides a gameplay advantage, players gravitate towards turning it on to maximize their chances of success, even if this makes the game look and/or feel worse. The stretched characters and distorted views detract from Fortnite as an entertainment experience for all.”

Currently, Fortnite features a default unchangeable FOV of 80. Epic claims that this value is a good middle ground between the following:

  • Varied engagement ranges, favoring a low FOV and thus a closer view of enemies.
  • Minimizing potential motion-sickness in players further away from their screen. The further a player’s head moves from the center of the in-game field of view, the more negative the reaction.
  • Minimizing jarring transitions when aiming down sights.
  • Visual fidelity.
  • Performance.

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