Since the start of Fortnite's 10th season, conversation around the game has been dominated by one thing: its horrible hulking death robots.
Epic has tweaked the mech's design to add in a warning laser and drastically nerf the spawn rate in competitive playlists. But for the vast majority of the playerbase, the B.R.U.T.E. is clearly still a problem: evidenced by #RemoveTheMech trending worldwide on Twitter last weekend.
Now, Epic has laid out why it has not removed the mech, and why it thinks the bastard bot is fine to stick around. (For now at least - nothing in Fortnite is permanent.)
In short, mechs have given new and less experienced players a bigger chance of getting kills, Epic says, without impacting the overall kill count of pros.
"The mission of Fortnite is to bring players of all skill levels together to have a fun experience where anyone can win," the developer wrote in a new blog post. "For example - everyone having a shot at that first elimination or Victory Royale moment and the satisfying feeling that comes with it. Right now, we know there are players out there who have never had that opportunity.
"We have seen players who had previously struggled with getting eliminations acquiring more, while the number of eliminations earned by more experienced players remained steady."
Epic provided graphs showing the average number of mech kills per game (fewer than seven across all modes) and explained its nerf to spawns in competitive playlists was because a greater percentage of players in those matches survive into later stages.
"We're happy with the results," Epic said of its competitive playlist nerf, "and the below graphs represent the current state of B.R.U.T.E. eliminations across both Arena and core modes."
Which is all fine, except it doesn't change the fact that many players simply do not enjoy the mechs. And I wonder about some of those numbers. In games I've played, I've seen the online memes played out where players actively hunt down mechs to destroy them before they can be used. Alternatively, they're simply left, ignored because no one wants to be the player using them.
As Fortnite's big ticket addition this season, regardless of their strength in matches, it's hard to shake the feeling they are a disappointment. And that, unlike their over-powered laser missiles, they have absolutely missed the mark.