BallaTW on competitive integrity, format changes, org signings & more
We spoke with Ballatw about competitive Fortnite, changes to the arena system, tournament formats, cheating, and a whole lot more.
Competitive Fortnite fans know Arten ‘Ballatw’ Esa as one of the most accredited analysts in the esport. Over the course of Fortnite’s history, Balla has been the most recognizable voice on official Fortnite broadcasts. He also hosts VoD reviews of professional players on his Twitch and YouTube channels.
We sat down with BallaTW ahead of the Season 4 FNCS to get his thoughts on the current state of competitive Fortnite, the new competitive season, the biggest issues in competitive Fortnite, and a lot more.
We began the interview by talking about how Balla got into Fortnite, his early goals, and how he got into the industry. For the sake of length, we’re going to skip that and get right to the Fortnite talk.
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The first Fortnite question I asked was how many Arena points Balla has. He responded by saying he was only around 5,500.
So, you’re not in Champion’s League?
No, what’s the point of me being in Champ’s? I just don’t care.
Exactly. That’s what I wanted to bring up. Is there anything immediate that Epic can implement to make competitive Fortnite more rewarding for “casual competitive” players like us?
I don’t think there’s anything that can happen immediately that would do what you want to do. I think that there are things that don’t happen immediately that do what we want – like a real ranking system that you can decrease in, that’s not linear, that’s dependent on the lobby.
There are a lot of changes around that which could work, but immediate changes? The first thing that comes to my mind is a leaderboard. I don’t know if there’s anything immediate that can happen.
How do you feel about Storm Surge? To me, it’s always felt like a Band-Aid for server performance. The Server can’t handle so many people, so we need to have Storm Surge.
I think that if it’s necessary, it’s necessary. I don’t think that it’s a mechanic that ruins the game by any means. I think with 50% chest spawns it’s more rough and random, but both of those things do force the lobby to be more aggressive.
If you’re looking for a gameplay solution to make people be more aggressive, I’d rather other things. It definitely is a Band-Aid but I think anything is gonna feel like a Band-Aid in this case.
We’ve gone through formats that try to incentivize aggressive play – that never works when it comes down to a Grand Finals lobby because the nature of it is that pushing people and playing aggressively is too risky in the grand scheme of things.
I think the best solution that I’d have is try to change that, try to break that risk. Siphon was one that I was pushing for, for a long time and it got added to the game and it did very well at what it was supposed to do.
In this case, Siphon was addressing recovery from fights which is important but still, there is no incentive to go push somebody because you don’t gain anything most of the time.
It’s a crazy risk and it a grand finals level that will happen only in these very tight circumstances when you know you have a big advantage, so to me I think of an idea like if you get a kill, drop a guaranteed mobility item, like one or two Shockwaves, a launchpad something like that. Just guaranteed.
Or maybe a guaranteed weapon upgrade or something like that. You kill somebody you get an upgrade on your Scar or an upgrade on your shotgun or whatever. I don’t know exactly how these things would work out I think that’s just an idea like Storm Surge that might help people play a little bit more aggressively.
Let’s talk about 50% chest spawn rate. Everyone hates it. Even the most casual player – who knows about it – hates it. It’s hard to tell why Epic changed this – maybe to address pacing issues in core game modes?
I think if they were trying to address pacing issues, they would go about it a different way, although I think there might be some validity to that. I think the biggest thing that you touched on is, casuals don’t even like it.
And so, that’s what I think of when I try to figure out why it went into competitive as well. Is that it’s going to be an unpopular change no matter what and if you don’t put it in competitive and you do put it in casual, casuals are going to choose to play competitive instead they are going to play arena because it has 100% chest spawn. Which is kind of a similar dilemma to siphon a lot of people don’t play pubs.
Ya, we already see that with Siphon
Exactly, so you kind of have to. If there is any reason at all to do 50% chest spawns in casual, then you kind of have to. You are kind of forced to do it in competitive too from their perspective.
I don’t agree with it but I think you kind of have to because it’s kind of like, ‘well this game (Arena) is better, but I still want people to play this game’ and to me, its that bad players are better served by a 50% chest spawn, because they get the opportunity to get that dopamine hit of getting a kill because somebody doesn’t get a chest.
That’s something that a lot of people struggle with. So to me, it’s very much that simple. They want that effect for bad players, but if a bad player knew that he had the choice of getting 100% chest spawns, he would rather that even though the other game is better for him.
I’m a huge fan of Ninja Battles. Do you think the 60 player format is the answer to certain Fortnite problems like griefing and server performance?
I’ve gone back and forth on how I feel about 60 players. I think that we definitely should experiment with fewer people but 60 players is drastic. That’s 13 missing teams.
At the same time, I feel like that does devalue players like Chap, players like Arab who hasn’t played in a Ninja battle but in any case, these are guys who are very good at not only the early game navigating the early game getting a nice split but also rotating through the mid-game which we kind of miss entirely.
I’ve been feeling the last couple of weeks that the 20 team format is more like a glorified zone rule scrim than anything else because everyone comes in the end game with full kits, fully upgraded, max metal, all this stuff.
It also gives you the time to fight. If you do fight off spawn you have time to finish without getting third partied.
That’s really fun, that’s why I think you know maybe remove 5 teams something like that and I mess around with the idea in Elite cup. Well, they used the idea. Let’s kick teams out who are playing poorly throughout the tournament after a certain amount of matches. I think that should be experimented with more. Because it gives both the incentive to fight off spawn or not and also reduces the lobby size to make the games more competitive down the line.
We’ve had a lot of recent org signings in the Fortnite world along with brand-new organizations popping up like Gamma Gaming. It seemed like orgs were divesting in Fortnite early in 2020. Why do you think they’re making a comeback?
There are definitely new orgs popping up and to me, Cloud9 getting back in is huge news because they just completely disappeared off the face of the earth at the end of 2018.
I think that just in general, Fortnite did not decline as hard as people thought it was going to. So this return, this resurgence might be a little bit getting back at that. And I think people are also understanding how to actually get value out of orgs in Fortnite.
Things like the NRG guys, things like BBG really strike me as a new understanding of that. Where they are making content, they’re promoting their players, they’re actually getting people to stream more often not necessarily just tournaments.
I think that there’s a new understanding for orgs in Fortnite, I don’t think its broadcast returning, to be honest. Even though I alluded people were leaving because broadcasts were gone. I think there was a scare at the beginning of the year because there were no comms for a long time about anything. There was no broadcast where you could get those comms there was nothing so everybody was terrified of what was happening. That’s why they left and I think right now they are realizing it was an overreaction.
I loved the days when it was the Liquid boys and the FaZe team and TSM all together, and we don’t have that at all anymore. There’s no allegiance to an organization and a team – it doesn’t mean anything. Do you think they’re missing an opportunity there? It sounded like you did.
So, I think that people kind of misunderstood what I was saying about that topic. I mean, I do agree with what you’re saying but I was just trying to say that there was no link whatsoever between people, right? People were like, ‘Oh. NRG doesn’t have any links between their players.’ And I come back and I say, ‘Yes, they do.’ Right?
Unknown is good friends with Clix, Ronaldo is good friends with all of them, like, Edgey has all of a sudden been a really really fun part of that group when they went to the house.
If there are not links, they’re making there be links. NRG has done a great job with that to make their team be a little bit more – I don’t know – approachable in a sense, because it’s not just one-off players, randomly.
So that’s why I was confused about Cloud9, like, there’s no, you know, similarities between any of these players and they have nothing to do with each other except for Avery and Nosh – now it’s Chap and Vivid too – but at the time, Chap wasn’t signed.
But, in any case, ya I think there are missed opportunities. I think that’s a really easy way to get people to know who your org is. And you brought up the examples of, like, Liquid – the Liquid boys – sure, they weren’t necessarily doing many events together but because they were playing multiple duos together, a lot of people wanted – a lot of people loved Liquid, right? The OG Liquid – still, people think about that all the time. OG FaZe, people think about those teams all the time too. Like, even TSM, right?
Daequan. Hamlinz, and Myth. That was – you thought they were gonna rule the world at the time.
Exactly, and so, when you see orgs not have these types of links then you’re definitely wondering. You’re definitely wondering and I think we’re missing an aspect of fandom because of it.
What do you think the biggest problem facing competitive Fortnite is right now?
Competitive integrity, I think is the biggest one. It has to do with Ninja’s tweet for example, griefing all those different things. I think that needs to be solved.
I think cheating and I think what happened last season was an absolute abomination. Not necessarily like there was a big problem with hacking but what we did as a community was terrible and it affected the competitive integrity of tournaments. Because when the player base and the community start believing that there is a problem whether there is a problem or not, there is now a problem.
Hacking aside, I think teaming is a problem, I think griefing is a problem, I think agreements and collusion are problems, whether we have found them or not.
Balla is hosting viewing parties for all of the FNCS competitions and is still broadcasting Fortnite with third-party tournament organizers like DreamHack.
You can find Balla on Twitter here, and can catch his weekly FNTASIA podcast on his Twitch and YouTube. He expresses his opinions in written form on his blog, Ballatw.com.
How to get the Dish Destroyer pickaxe in Fortnite Season 3
Another exclusive pickaxe arrives to Fortnite in Season 3 and it sure looks quite different. Here’s how you can get it.
The Dish Destroyer pickaxe is another free cosmetic you can get in Chapter 3 Season 3 if you haven’t already. Here’s how to get the pickaxe right into your locker.
Fortnite players sure love freebies that the developers give them away each season. From a free Refer-A-Friend skin to a slurpy back bling that you can get upon completing quests, players have faithfully completed every task that Epic has asked them to claim the free reward.
However, over the course of several seasons now, getting these freebies is starting to feel too much work to some players. Epic continues to add away free content, but players are asked to put in the work in order to claim these rewards.
This time around, there’s a new item on the block, The Dish Destroyer Pickaxe, which you can get in Fortnite now by doing a few simple steps. Here’s how you can get it in Season 3.
Get the Dish Destroyer Pickaxe in Fortnite now
Nvidia’s cloud gaming platform GeForce Now was launched earlier this year when players were able to stream Fortnite on any device if they were a member of the service. This also allowed iOS users to stream the game on their phones despite the Apple vs. Epic lawsuit.
In a recent tweet, Nvidia announced that Fortnite players will be able to redeem a free Dish Destroyer Pickaxe if they stream Fortnite on their GeForce Now enabled devices until August 4, 2022. Players who are members of the exclusive service will only be able to redeem this for free in-game.
However, in another announcement, Epic told its player base that the pickaxe is not exclusive to GeForce Now but will also be available in the Item Shop at a later date. This means that those who aren’t able to redeem the free pickaxe using their GeForce Now memberships will have a chance to buy it using V-Bucks in the Item Shop.
The cost of the pickaxe has not been revealed as of yet as players believe that it will be released once the limited window of August 4 for GeForce Now members have expired. As soon as we get any news on its Item Shop release, we’ll be sure to update this article.
GeForce Now players have had the perks of free rewards ever since the service allowed players to experience the thrill of Fortnite anywhere on their devices. Falling in line is XCloud’s gaming service which has become extremely popular amongst Xbox players.
For more, check out our guide on How to use Ice Cream cones in Fortnite Season 3.
Fortnite players call on Epic Games to fix Loot Chests bug in Season 3
As the latest Fortnite Season 3 update brought players a No Sweat Summer, it left a weird bug in the game where players are getting empty loot chests. Here’s the latest on that.
Fortnite players have finally given up on the game due to its never-ending glitches and bugs that affect their overall gameplay experience. The latest glitch in the game is teleporting chest loot to a different location, and it’s getting pretty annoying for players.
Player feedback is one of the many things Epic takes very seriously that it aims to fix in every major weekly update or minor hotfixes from time to time. Often there are times when these bugs can get pretty annoying as they affect the overall gameplay experience for the player.
Fortnite players have seen bugs ranging from being stuck under the map or taking fall damage after jumping off a launch pad. From pros to content creators, each one of them took to social media to call on the developers to “fix the game”.
However, a recent update, v21.30, left a bug that has tested the patience of every Fortnite player active this season – potentially the most annoying Fortnite bug of all time. Here’s everything we know about it so far.
Fortnite bug teleports chests loots to other locations
A strange Fortnite bug that is going viral right now on social media is the Loot Chests bug. It all began when Epic added the update v21.30 and introduced players to this year’s summer event, No Sweat Summer.
The update also saw the addition of Prime Shotgun which is considered to be the best shotgun in Chapter 3. While all the additions are fascinating and exciting to the players, the bug the update left in the game is still haunting players who are failing to win a game like they used to.
The bug, as shown in the clip above, teleports the chest loot to a nearby location outside if a player opens a chest box inside a building. This is pretty annoying as it doesn’t let the player farm loot fast as they usually would while landing on a hot drop.
Players have already started uploading their clips of the loot chest bug and are calling out the game to come out and fix this issue. This bug also creates double the work for those players who like to play a fast-paced Battle Royale match.
Joining in the conversation are a few FNCS players who feel that this bug might cost them several games where they would end up losing on a major competitive level. The entire community has joined hands together to ask the developers to fix the game at the earliest.
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While Fortnite has not addressed this issue on their social media handles or on the Trello board could also mean that players in higher ping regions might be the only ones experiencing the bug. However, the player base is still keeping their hopes high to get these issues fixed as soon as possible.
As bugs and glitches continue to add to several issues Fortnite is filled with, events like No Sweat Summer keep the community excited for more in-game content and freebies that they can get. The challenges for No Sweat Summer are live in-game now and players can redeem their share of rewards upon completing them.
For more, check out our article on Fortnite introducing the new Prime Shotgun in update v21.30.
Fortnite introduces the new Prime Shotgun in update v21.30
Prime Shotgun is the latest game breaking weapon that has been added to Fortnite in v21.30. Here’s all about the new shotgun.
Prime Shotgun is another addition to Fortnite this season in terms of weaponry that has been added to the game. Here is all about the latest shotgun that was introduced in v21.30 and what players think of it.
Fortnite Chapter 3 Season 3 has been a joyride for both OG and new players alike. The new mechanics, the reality bloom spreading everywhere, and the addition of new weapons to the game have kept the community satisfied so far.
However, during the beginning of Chapter 3, the shotgun meta was deemed to be the worst shotguns the game had added to the game. The Striker Pump, Ranger, and Auto Shotguns were weapons that players had deemed incompetent to other shotguns in Fortnite.
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Much so, even the newly released Two Shot Shotgun couldn’t impress the players with its faster fire rate and damage. So, Epic decided to throw a new shotgun into the mix to seek player reactions and improve the messed-up shotguns in-game.
Prime Shotgun is the new community favorite shotgun in Fortnite
Prime Shotgun was added in the latest update v21.30 to the unvaulted weapons arsenal in Fortnite. The shotguns were the second one introduced to the player base apart from the Two-Shot shotgun.
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It holds 4 bullets in a clip and promises heavy damage on the first shot fired from a fully loaded clip. The 3 shots that follow inflict lower damage than that of the first one.
When a player reloads the shotgun, 3 blue dots appear on the gun with the red dot being the first shot being loaded. This brings back the memories of the infamous “One Shot Meta” from the OG days when the community used to perform using a Pump Shotgun.
Pros like NickEh30 sang high praise of the Prime Shotgun as the weapon contains elements of the OG pump in terms of range, accuracy, and firepower. Other pros like SypherPK & Ninja also commented their thoughts on the gun which were highly positive.
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With the recent Fortnite update, leaks have also been floating around about the No Sweat Summer and Ice Cream cone consumables that the player base can see in-game in the coming days. However, an official announcement has been made about the same on the official blog website of Fortnite.
How to get the Dish Destroyer pickaxe in Fortnite Season 3
Another exclusive pickaxe arrives to Fortnite in Season 3 and it sure looks quite different. Here's how you can get...
Fortnite players call on Epic Games to fix Loot Chests bug in Season 3
As the latest Fortnite Season 3 update brought players a No Sweat Summer, it left a weird bug in the...
Fortnite introduces the new Prime Shotgun in update v21.30
Prime Shotgun is the latest game breaking weapon that has been added to Fortnite in v21.30. Here's all about the...