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Fortnite’s latest season took away my favorite weapon (and my self-confidence)

This season of Fortnite began like any other. Like always, I was excited to see what was being thrown into the mix to change the always-evolving game up. Epic Games excels when it comes to sprinkling the smallest tweaks to its battle royale formula that result in big meta changes. These tiny changes, like shifting map formations or simply throwing in one new item, always refresh the game and add a new way to play. That’s what makes Fortnite the never-ending experience it is today.

Fortnite Chapter 3 Season 4 Official Cinematic Trailer

I was a little late to the party, as I was busy the first few days into the battle royale game’s new season. When I finally arrived, I got hit with an unexpected reality check like an egg to the face. That egg told me a hard truth: My aim is absolute garbage.

I’m not new to Fortnite. I’ve been playing it for years, and I’ve played other shooters since I was a kid. I spent years grinding away at Halo on my Xbox 360. By this point, I thought I had a pretty strong handle on the genre — my aim was better than ever in the last season of Fortnite! Or, at least, that’s what I thought before the game’s current season refreshed its weapons, which has forced me to either get good or die trying.

The latest weaponry

This season’s weapons include various assault and burst rifles, a DMR, the usual pistols, a few great shotguns, the hunter bolt sniper, and some of the worst-feeling submachine guns in the game. That’s a large range of weapons that suit multiple playstyles. So how did the game make proper aim more important and inadvertently nerf me? It got rid of my baby and favorite gun: the burst assault rifle (modeled after an AUG).

Fortnite's official image of the burst assault rifle.

Yes, there are still burst assault rifles in the game, but none of them compare to my one true love. The AUG had it all: an amazing scope, good long- and medium-range power, multi-shots, amazing headshot damage, and instant fire with no bullet lag. It’s a weapon that carried me through some of my toughest matches.

The AUG’s long-range prowess may make it sound like a long-range gun that required great aim, but that wasn’t the case. Thanks to its instant bullet travel time, scope dot, and greater damage, it was an easy ranged weapon for players like me to pick up and run with. You don’t have to calculate lower damage due to distance or bullet travel time. It was more cut and dry compared to some of the game’s other rifles, which made it perfect for my needs. And now that it’s gone, I’m feeling its absence all too well.

While I mourn that specific loss, the new season does add some powerful weapons that have helped heal my loss. The DMR does great damage if you can compensate for the bullet travel time. Burst rifles are great medium-range weapons, but can be strong at longer ranges too if your aim is on point. Shotguns are as good as ever, and snipers are instantly deadly in the right hands.

Fortnite character crouching and holding an EvoChrome shotgun.

This time around, though, it seems Epic wanted de-emphasize long-range battles while avoiding the close fights we had in the drum shotgun era. The AUG placed the game into a ranged meta, as teams climb towers and focus on an unsuspecting traveler with four of these rifles. They could chill across the map and let loose to quickly finish them off. Like always, Fortnite had to be refreshed to keep strategies like that from going stale, and that has pushed it into medium-range warfare. As a result, the gun has been vaulted (along with my aim) as of Patch 15.00 … at least for now.

There’s a silver lining to my despair. This new update (along with a desire to generally get better at the shooting genre) finally got me to learn mouse and keyboard, which has led to a better experience altogether. With how Fortnite is constantly reinventing its meta, I can’t help but feel the weapon refresh is ultimately the right move, even if it pushed me out of my comfort zone.

So bring on whatever patch and weapons refresh you want, Epic Games! (But feel free to give us back some fun SMGs again.)

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