Fortnite’s Double Pump Nerf Has Created An Even More Annoying Meta
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UPDATE 1: a new content update has vaulted the tactical SMG, but you can just replace its references in this article with the drum gun or suppressed SMG for the same effect.
UPDATE 2: the new submachine gun works more or less the same as the tac, so there you go.
Fortnite’s shotgun problem divided fans for months. Not only was a large part of its gameplay a roll of the dice of hopping around with a pump in hand, an exploit allowed players to “double pump”. A technique that’s debated as frenziedly as modern politics, double pumping was achieved by firing off a shot with the pump shotgun and then swapping to another pump to fire off another shell in quick succession.
The pump shotgun, on its own, is a slow-firing weapon that is absurdly deadly with headshots. However, compared to the tactical shotgun, it leaves you massively open if you miss a shot as the wait time is fairly pronounced. Swapping to another pump would negate this, basically allowing players to best the fire rate of the tactical shotgun and pop off two surely deadly shots. Players could even stack up to five shotguns and quintuple pump, as shown by some of the game’s most popular streamers.
Epic Games have always been wary about allowing the meta to become stale, evidenced by season 5 introducing all manner of madness. Double pumping was nerfed before being brought back roughly midway through season 4 and then (hopefully) finally being phased out with the release of season 5.
Now, when players try to swap between shotguns a large circle appears on circle to show when another shotgun can be shot. This effectively cancels any hope of double pumping at all; the tactical shotgun is a far more feasible option if you want to fire off blasts quickly. The pump still does massive damage on its own, though Epic also recently limited their damage so they aren’t quite as efficient at doing the murder as before.
Epic have been trying to veer the game away from shotgun reliance for a while now, as evidenced by the introductions of the dual pistols and drum gun: two weapons that can cause complete destruction at close range. The pistols have been somewhat overlooked by most of the community thanks to their unreliable accuracy, but the drum gun has stuck around with the meta now all about ripping through walls with rapidly firing weapons.
One of those weapons is the tactical SMG: a gun that was criminally underrated for months and is now arguably just as desirable as a shotgun. Following a recent tweak, they can positively tear through enemy structures with ease with their only drawbacks being a small clip size. As they use the most common ammo type in the game, small bullets, that isn’t such a big deal.
The damage to enemies is also massive, meaning that, if you land your shots from close range, you can dispatch of fully shielded opponents in seconds. I should know: I used to always favour this strat over the double pump or even a pump into a tactical. It would just completely bewilder people.
However, with double pumps now out of the question for season 5, it seems that almost everyone is running the same setup. Rifle, pump or heavy shotgun, tactical SMG, sniper/explosives, heals. Those who were angry at double pumping should be just as mad at this new trend, which I have decided to christen “shottacing”. Needs work, sure, but it’s ultimately the same principle as the double pump: one meta being far too powerful to consider experimenting with your loadout.
Almost all encounters now boil down to players getting off quick shots at each other before swapping to a tactical SMG and unloading at close range. Epic never seem to be able to incrementally limit or increase weapons and items: it’s always far too little or far too much. C4, for instance, was a decent enough explosive that could at least stem opponents’ building but now it’s so powerful that it’s as useful as a rocket or grenade launcher. Its explosion radius is absurd with two C4 changes more than enough to take down even the most labyrinthine of builds.
Clearly, there’s more work to be done with Fortnite to bring weapon balance and season 5 looks like it most be its most experimental yet. Hopefully at some point they can deliver strategies that aren’t quite so intent on cheesing.