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Fortnite’s latest patch nerfs the Drum Gun and Ballers after frequent complaints

Epic also added the new Tactical Assault Rifle

female Fornite character firing the Tactical Assault Rifle in the snow
Fortnite character with the Tactical Assault Rifle
Epic Games via Polygon

The first patch of Fortnite season 9 has arrived and it’s all about balancing some of the things players find most frustrating.

The first big balance change is a nerf to the Drum Gun’s damage. While the Drum Gun is an undeniably popular weapon in Fortnite — after all, it won the unvaulting event at the end of season 8 — it was also way too powerful. Among the gun’s most vocal critics have been pro players, who made their displeasure at its return known as soon as the unvaulting event started.

With this latest damage nerf the Drum Gun should still be a solid option for close range fights and destroying buildings. It won’t be quite as overpowered as it was when it was first added back into the game.

Another slight change to the game is coming to Ballers. The vehicle that has plagued the late game of Arena matches over the last several months is getting another nerf to its health in hopes of keeping it from being the safest choice for every player in the game.

Fortnite’s Tactical Assault Rifle
Fortnite’s Tactical Assault Rifle
Epic Games

While balance changes seem to be the main focus of this patch, there’s also a new gun being added: the Tactical Assault Rifle. This gun is designed as a short range alternative to the assault rifles that are currently in the game. It’s somewhere between a rifle and an SMG with high accuracy up close that falls off drastically as you start to shoot it further away. The Tactical Assault Rifle can be found in Rare, Epic, or Legendary rarity and looted from all of the usual places.

For a look at all the changes coming to Fortnite with patch v9.01 you can check out the full back notes below.


Weapons and Items

Tactical Assault Rifle

  • Available in Rare, Epic, and Legendary variants.
  • Available from Floor Loot, Chests, Supply Drops, and Vending Machines

Fully Automatic

30 Round Magazine

Deals 22/23/24 damage

Headshot Multiplier of 1.75x

This weapon has a tight spread in close quarters but is less effective at long range when compared to other Assault Rifles.

Reduced Baller Health from 200 to 150

Comment from Epic: The primary goal of the Baller is to provide fun and exciting mobility. We feel that it still has a little too much defensive agency - this change should reduce the effectiveness there while not impacting its strengths.

Drum Gun

  • Reduced base damage from 26/27 to 22/23

Comment from Epic: Since its unvaulting, the Drum Gun effectiveness has been slightly higher than we wanted. This change should reduce its combat effectiveness while still retaining its flavor.

Vaulted Compact SMG

Comment from Epic: Due to the recent addition of the Drum Gun and the brand new Tactical Assault Rifle, we wanted to reduce the availability of high rate-of-fire weapons.


Slipstream adjustments

  • Slipstreams no longer block building.

Comment from Epic: Trying to build up to get into a Slipstream should be an easy & intuitive experience. We noticed some cases where players would build up to the Slipstream, but due to build restrictions would take a ‘leap of faith’ and not make the jump. This should make getting into a Slipstream easier.

  • Players flying in a Slipstream will destroy player built objects when they collide.
  • Slipstreams are now disabled after storm phase 5.

Comment from Epic: We’ve seen a number of cases where Slipstreams caused issues during late game circles - primarily around getting pulled into the storm unexpectedly. Since the value of Slipstream mobility is limited in those scenarios, we felt it’s better to simply disable them.


  • Improvements made to level streaming performance on all platforms.

This will reduce cases of buildings not loading in.

  • Physics optimizations to improve performance in conduits

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