When Epic Games announced that Fortnite Battle Royale was getting a new competitive-focused limited time mode last Thursday, the community was excited. The Solo Showdown mode ran for four days, with 50,000 V-Bucks on the line for first place, rewards for the top 100 finishers and a unique spray for anyone who simply completed 50 matches. Everyone, from the world’s best pros to bush-camping amateurs were ready to take their shot at the prize. Unfortunately, there were quite a few issues standing in their way.
The rules for the mode were simple enough: Every match earned you points based on where you placed. Your total score for the event was based on how you performed during your first 50 matches. First place got 100 points, second 94, third 91 and so on, all the way down to the players that finished between places 76 and 100, who each got 25 points.
But after a quick glance at Solo Showdown’s final leaderboard — which went up when the event ended on May 21 — you might have noticed just how outrageous the top scores are. The Solo Showdown winner, vRxthless — an Xbox One player who plays from the Oceanic region — earned a score of 4,881 points. That means vRxthless probably won about 48 out of their 50 qualifying matches. But if you scroll to the bottom of Epic’s leaderboards, players are still sitting around a massive 4,000 points for the event as a whole.
In other words, in order to be even close to the prize, you would have had to boast an 80-percent win rate across your 50 matches. That’s a feat only attainable by the smallest fraction of Fortnite’s massive global player base, and even then, only for players that focus on survival above everything else.
Worst of all, even if you just opted to get the 50 matches out of the way to get your limited-edition spray, the game didn’t have a means of tracking how many Solo Showdown matches you played. So, unless you kept count yourself, hitting 50 matches was basically just guess work.
Despite all that, the community still seemed to have a great time with the event — at least based on some popular streams — which means there’s plenty of room for Epic to improve on it in the future. And there are a few specific tweaks that could make a world of difference.
How to make Solo Showdown better
First and foremost, Solo Showdown simply wasn’t out long enough. From the morning of Thursday, May 17 to the morning of Monday, May 21, you had to make time for 50 matches. Assuming you do well, that’s almost 17 hours of Fortnite. Even if you are playing just to die and get it over with, you’d still end up playing for about four hours, which could still be a heavy time commitment depending on your weekend plans.
Players would be much better served if the event lasted closer to a month, and if they were required to play 100 games — with a handy counter to help keep track of progress. This would keep the time commitment fairly high, and ensure that players were taking the mode seriously. It would also allow them a little more space, both in-game and out, to rack up a few more wins on their own schedule.
Speaking of wins, placing high probably shouldn’t be the only way that players earn points in Solo Showdown. After all, being the last person standing may be the goal of each game, but some players prefer a more aggressive style. Thankfully, this problem has an easy solution, should the mode return: make kills worth a few points toward the total score as well. If each kill in Solo Showdown contributed seven points to the overall score, then a 15-kill game would be roughly equal to a win; some wins would be more valuable than others. That way, all different types of play styles — from the most defensive and slow to the all-out assaults — can be a viable way to succeed.
Equally important would be changing the rewards and how ehey’re handed out. Sure, V-Bucks are nice, but a line of cosmetics would make things feel a little more special — and Epic could give them out to more than just 100 people. Splitting players into tiers based on their Solo Showdown scores would make more sense.
Every player that plays the mode could get a spray, while every player that completes all 100 matches gets a glider. Players within the top fiftieth percentile might earn a special pickaxe, while those in the top 10 percent gain a unique emote. Finally, players ranking in the top one percent of the mode could get access to a special skin that would let everyone around them know that they really are the best of the best.
Despite its problems, Solo Showdown was still a fun game mode — and a great sign of how exciting every single fight in Fortnite can be when everyone has their eyes set on a win. It may not have been perfect in its first foray, but with just a few improvements, Solo Showdown could become one of Fortnite’s best limited-time game modes.